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Cranks/Turns Over But Won't Fire


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47 replies to this topic

#1 Cowgirl

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 09:46 PM

So DH got the "new" Subie (1993 Subaru Legacy 2.2 2WD 180K) all put back together again. New temp. gage, new timing belt, new upper & lower radiator hoses, new A/C & alternator belts, new battery, new spark plugs, and oil changed. (Original thread here: http://www.ultimates...ad.php?t=101504 )

The big moment came to fire it up. On the first crank I *thought* it had started, so I let go of the key. But nope, it hadn't. So I turned the key again, and it just cranked, and cranked. So I stopped turning the key and thought for a moment. Next key turn I pumped the gas a bit and it seemed like it was trying to fire, but when I would stop pumping the gas pedal it would just crank.

So I told DH what was going on and he got some starting fluid. He sprayed it down the intake. Abit, a bit too much because it caught FIRE!!! So we let things air out, and did a take two. This time it actually "ka-puutta, ka-puutta"ed a bit and seemed like it was almost getting going. But when he would let go of the key, it would stop. So then he tried cranking it again, without spraying, and if he held the key in the cranking position it would try to "ka-puutta, ka-puutta" but as soon as he let go of the key, the engine would stop. Sooooooo..... I'm guessing it might be a two fold issue: fuel and electrical.

I did some searching here on the site and fuel injection issues seem to be commonplace. So when DH has time again to work it in the daylight, we will do some checks. But what about him holding the key??? Why would it try to run in the "crank" position but not in the "run" position???

Oh the joys of getting a car to run that you've never heard run before....

Edited by Cowgirl, 16 August 2009 - 10:21 PM.


#2 Fairtax4me

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 12:59 AM

Timing belts off. Read up on positioning the pulleys and re-check the marks. Big time issue, apparently Subaru made it too hard for normal people like us to figure out how to set it right the first time. :confused: I've not done a TB job yet, but I've read so many threads about them here, its not even funny how often people get it wrong.

#3 OB99W

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 07:22 AM

While there are a few possible causes for the engine to not fire, incorrect timing during a belt change is a common one. Using the wrong marks on the crank and cam sprockets is often the cause (the arrows are not the correct marks). The following links should help if that's the problem.

2.2 Liter, timing belt:
http://endwrench.com...leOverWin01.pdf
http://endwrench.com...fs/2.2Liter.pdf
http://endwrench.com...BeltEWWin05.pdf

Motor Magazine series; starts with 2.2, then moves on to 2.5:
http://www.motor.com...s/072001_08.pdf
http://www.motor.com...s/082001_08.pdf
http://www.motor.com...s/092001_08.pdf
http://www.motor.com...s/102001_08.pdf
http://www.motor.com...s/112001_08.pdf

Recent thread:
http://www.ultimates...ad.php?t=102383

#4 Cowgirl

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 07:27 AM

THANK YOU!!! I *TOLD* him he probably had the timing off, but nnoooooo.... he insists that he lined it all up "right". So I gave him the benefit of the doubt and was diagnosing from that point forward. I will do some searches on lining up the timing marks and have him read them. I will let you know what he says...

#5 davebugs

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 07:30 AM

Hash marks only!!!

Ignore arrows and such.

#6 johnceggleston

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 08:53 AM

THANK YOU!!! I *TOLD* him he probably had the timing off, but nnoooooo.... he insists that he lined it all up "right". So I gave him the benefit of the doubt and was diagnosing from that point forward. I will do some searches on lining up the timing marks and have him read them. I will let you know what he says...


if you can show him some pictures ir may help. nobody reads directions, but pictures are pretty, we'll look at them. :grin:

throw in one of yourself just for fun.


good luck.

#7 Cowgirl

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 05:48 PM

So, DH is outside wrenching on the "new" Subie again.... Everyone he's talked to in the past week, says "timing." Reluctant to think he did it "wrong", he took off the cover to find...... it's off. The timing marks for the pully on the passenger side don't line up. The other two do, but that one does not. He says "it used to!". But it doesn't now.

It's only off by one belt notch or so, but I'm sure that is enough to make things not run. But, what might be the cause for it to "move"?? Anyone know?? And DH is wondering where the lines went on the belt that he used to line it up?? They seem to be gone.... faded off in a week?? or did the belt jump around that much?!?!?! I-yi-yeee..... advice or experience on this anyone?:confused:

#8 johnceggleston

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 05:55 PM

So, DH is outside wrenching on the "new" Subie again.... Everyone he's talked to in the past week, says "timing." Reluctant to think he did it "wrong", he took off the cover to find...... it's off. The timing marks for the pully on the passenger side don't line up. The other two do, but that one does not. He says "it used to!". But it doesn't now.

It's only off by one belt notch or so, but I'm sure that is enough to make things not run. But, what might be the cause for it to "move"?? Anyone know?? And DH is wondering where the lines went on the belt that he used to line it up?? They seem to be gone.... faded off in a week?? or did the belt jump around that much?!?!?! I-yi-yeee..... advice or experience on this anyone?:confused:


the marks are there but they only match up with the cam sprocket marks rarely , like every 275 rotations. start over, use the correct marks on all 3 sprockets, hash marks / lines, not arrows.
NOT ARROWS!!!!!



it will run. keep at it.

#9 Cowgirl

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 06:40 PM

Okay..... we both checked that all the marks lined up. Everything was tight. Turned the key. Almost started--just like first time we tried to start it up. But I let go of the key before it really caught.

So second crank I kept holding onto the key, cranking the engine...it ran, sort of "cha-chugging, cha-chugging". I kept holding the key in the crank position waiting for the engine to "take off". It didn't. So I let go of the key, and the engine died immediately.

Third crank, it sort of tried to "cha-chug", but quickly changed to just cranking and not trying to fire. So I stopped and said it is same as before. DH unhooked the air intake to make sure it was getting enough air and we gave it another try. No fire. Just crank.

So we line up the timing marks, and now the center "pully"/crank is off. But outer two line up perfectly still. :confused::confused:WTH is going on!?!?!?!:confused::confused: Is the belt jumping? Is our tensioner possibly bad?? HELP!!!

#10 Olnick

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 06:53 PM

And DH is wondering where the lines went on the belt that he used to line it up??



The marks are there, they're just hiding.

At this point he has to "start all over again." Remove accessory belts, crank pulley and timing belt cover. Remove the tensioner and lower right (passenger side) idler. Then take the timing belt off, inspect it to make sure no damage was done and, using the marks on the belt, position it properly. [I am assuming here that he knows the correct marks to align to on the pulleys and rear timing belt covers.]

Replace the lower right idler. Replace the tensioner, still depressed and pinned. See pages 19 & 20 in the Endwrench 2.2L Timing Belt article referenced above for tensioner positioning.

Give one last visual inspection that all marks are still properly aligned then pull the pin on the tensioner. Then button her up.

Good luck.

#11 89Ru

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 07:04 PM

Original post mentioned pumping the gas pedal, does this do anything helpful in a fuel injected car?

#12 Cowgirl

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 07:12 PM

Okay, some MINOR sucess--got it to run (roughly while holding gas pedal half way down AND key in the run positon like a "normal car"!!..) for about 30 seconds!! Hooray --IT DOES WORK!!! BUT--success was short lived when I eased off the gas and it slowly died out and engine stopped. So we cranked it over again. It TRIED to fire, it tried to "cha-chug, cha-chug" and run ONLY when I held the key in crank position. Then it went to just cranking no fire. URGGHHH!!! And of course the timing is off--AGAIN!!! WTF!?!?!?!:mad::mad::mad:

Guuyyyysss.... We are needing some hints here... I don't mind reading and research to figure it out, but WHAT should I be looking for?!?!?!

#13 89Ru

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 07:44 PM

Try a new tensioner from the dealer (repeating someone else's wisdom here)

#14 Cowgirl

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 10:02 PM

Try a new tensioner from the dealer (repeating someone else's wisdom here)


Sooooo... a new tensioner is most likely in order here?? I asked DH about the tensionier.... he could NOT move it using finger pressure, it only took (in his words) "about a minute" to compress it in the vice, and the belt is most definetly tight and no measure of play after it is installed.

It's dark here and late, so we are all hittin' the hay. I will check in tommorow to see what sage advice anyone might have to offer on the problem... :):popcorn:

#15 OB99W

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 10:02 PM

[...] And of course the timing is off--AGAIN!!! WTF!?!?!?!:mad::mad::mad:

Guuyyyysss.... We are needing some hints here... I don't mind reading and research to figure it out, but WHAT should I be looking for?!?!?!

The tensioner sometimes gets damaged if it isn't compressed properly (not enough time taken, or the wrong orientation). Assuming a new timing belt, idlers in good shape, and the tensioner doing its job, a possible cause of the timing belt jumping is a camshaft or the water pump being too reluctant to turn.

#16 Cowgirl

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 10:14 PM

Okay, DH says it has something to do with putting the belt on. When he puts it on, the tension jerks it back and off it's timing. So he said he tried to account for that this last time he placed the belt on, but somehow it didn't quite work. BUT--it must have worked some, because the car DID run for 30 seconds!!! *SIGH* He's tired, I'm tired.... we are done for tonight... tommorow is another day.... THANK HEAVENS FOR NON-INTERFERENCE 2.2 ENGINES!!!! Or else we would be in HUGE trouble!!!!:eek:

#17 Fairtax4me

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 11:18 PM

Original post mentioned pumping the gas pedal, does this do anything helpful in a fuel injected car?

It's arguable. Some cars it can help a bit, some cars it does nothing at all. Most fuel injected cars, holding the pedal at WOT while cranking will disable the fuel injectors so the cylinders can clear of excess fuel.

Line up the marks and zip tie the belt to the cam pulleys so that it can't jump. Place the belt so that all of the slack is between the crank pulley and the drivers side cam pulley. It should not be loose anywhere else or it will pull the driver side cam counter clockwise when the tensioner is let loose.

Edited by Fairtax4me, 23 August 2009 - 11:27 PM.


#18 Gloyale

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 09:59 AM

Sounds like you need to inspect the keyway on the crank that keeps the pulley aligned.

If it is hogged out the timing could be jumping.

But likely he is just having a problem getting the belts *set*

What I do, is install the belt and tensioner (don't tighten the tensioner bolts yet), and tensioner pulley. Then Last thing I install is the lower left (passenger side) pulley on the engine. The belt makes a long run there so it is the easiest one to install last.

Before pulling the pin on the tensioner remeber to do 2 things:

First, push down on the tensioner pulley to take up any slack and reexamine you're belt install to make sure it is still lined up. Ignore lines on the belt.....just go by the hash marks and get them all straight up.

Second, before pulling pin, use a screwdriver and pry the tensioner as far left as it will go.....this is the reason for the slotted holes.....once you've got it tighten the bolts down....

Then pull the pin.

#19 89Ru

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 11:28 AM

a possible cause of the timing belt jumping is a camshaft or the water pump being too reluctant to turn.


Tried free rotating the cams with wrench? See if one turns noticeably harder than the other. Woodruff key intact?

sidenote to casual readers: Try this ONLY on non-interference engines please!

#20 johnceggleston

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 01:17 PM

there is always the chance the engine had issues before the t-belt was removed.

#21 Cowgirl

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 03:12 PM

Sounds like you need to inspect the keyway on the crank that keeps the pulley aligned.

If it is hogged out the timing could be jumping.

But likely he is just having a problem getting the belts *set*

What I do, is install the belt and tensioner (don't tighten the tensioner bolts yet), and tensioner pulley. Then Last thing I install is the lower left (passenger side) pulley on the engine. The belt makes a long run there so it is the easiest one to install last.

Before pulling the pin on the tensioner remeber to do 2 things:

First, push down on the tensioner pulley to take up any slack and reexamine you're belt install to make sure it is still lined up. Ignore lines on the belt.....just go by the hash marks and get them all straight up.

Second, before pulling pin, use a screwdriver and pry the tensioner as far left as it will go.....this is the reason for the slotted holes.....once you've got it tighten the bolts down....

Then pull the pin.


I think you are onto something here.... my DH did NOT wait to tighten the bolts till the belt was installed, he did it before the belt was put on (MEN just do NOT like to READ THE DIRECTIONS!!!) and maybe your step by step instructions will do the trick. My other wondering is if the he compressed the tensioner too fast and damaged it (again--he needs to learn to READ THE DIRECTIONS FIRST!!!:mad::horse:). He won't have a chance till probably Friday at the earliest to work on the Subie, so I will have to let you all know when he does.

there is always the chance the engine had issues before the t-belt was removed.


DON'T SAY THAT!!! Although I do admit, I'm wondering the same thing.... but I'm hoping to cross that bridge AFTER we get the timing belt sorted out...:banghead:

#22 johnceggleston

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 03:48 PM

DON'T SAY THAT!!! Although I do admit, I'm wondering the same thing.... but I'm hoping to cross that bridge AFTER we get the timing belt sorted out...:banghead:


at least he isn't break.... i mean, learning on your daily driver. :lol:

#23 Cowgirl

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 05:34 PM

at least he isn't break.... i mean, learning on your daily driver. :lol:


Actually MY "daily driver" is... or should I say was a Ford Aerostar van. Which right now, will not run properly (that is another auto repair waiting in the wings :rolleyes:) so I have borrowed my Mom's spare van. And until yesterday, DH was driving HIS 1994 Subie Legacy.... but it needs major front end work (next in line to be repaired after my '93's timing belt:-\), so he has absconded with the borrowed van to get back and forth to work this week!!

So right now we have 4 giant paperweights sitting in our driveway.... all 3 of our vehicles and 1 being my Dad's old truck we are "storing":rolleyes: for him...

So we really NEED to get my Subie running, so DH can move on to fixing his Subie!!!

#24 89Ru

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 07:35 PM

Sounds like your onto something, get those subie's running before small woodland creatures discover them :lol:

#25 Fairtax4me

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 07:44 PM

Yeah, you don't want to end up like that Jeep commercial. :-p




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