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Hey guys.

 

So lately with the cold weather, my outback wagon has an intermittent rough start. It sounds like the starter is doing that winding up sound and also takes a few extra cranks to start like when I had to replace the contacts. However, now when the car does start, I can tell it's having a tough time for about 5 seconds.

 

My mind tells me it's time for new starter contacts again but I never got the rough start thing before. maybe a fuel pump that's starting to go bad? When the car is running rough for that brief moment, the piston slap when cold is more pronounced too but then the high initial idle at start up kicks in and everything is fine.

 

Sorry for the mash-up of symptoms but that's what I'm facing. I just don't want to get stuck somewhere up in the mountains this winter so any advice is much appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Matt

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About 30k on NGK Laser Iridium plugs, 20k on NGK plug wires, 4 rebuilt fuel injectors about 10k ago, battery is about 2 years old. Umm, fuel filter has about 15k on it and air filter has probably 10k. Valves were adjusted 30k ago when complete timing belt/WP/seal job was done.

 

Knock sensor has been replaced, PCV valve is good, only non Subaru part I've used lately is NTK o2 sensors, I get an occasional CEL for that fuel solenoid valve thing that's mounted under the intake manifold on the passenger side... hasn't popped up in a while.

 

Oh, and another symptom that popped up around the same time is what I believe is the alternator bearing making some noise. I rebuilt the PS pump not too long ago and put in a new bearing so I don't think it's that and also, when I loosened the belt a bit, the squealing went away but now it's back all the time.

 

Ran a little rough when I was getting an EGR code but replaced the backflow transducer with a used one and that fixed it. It starts and runs completely normal when warm but I drive my car only every other day and when it isn't parked in the warm garage, it starts to act up. Car has 180k, I've owned it for 10 years. I am pretty OCD about car care and since my commute is 90 miles round trip, I really don't want to break down somewhere random.

 

 

 

Thanks for any and all insight!

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98 may have a separate Engine Temp Sensor - it might be bad, failing to 'choke' the car when cold. Later soobs have that combined with the Temp Gauge Sender. Either way, could be bad. someone will chime in with details for a 98 i'm sure.

 

I suppose one slim possibility would be leak-down of fuel pressure after the car sits for a long period. To test that, next time you're confident the car would fail to start well, cycle the key to ON (but not start) wait 5 seconds, then to OFF. repeat 4-5 times. The fuel pump should cycle on fro a few seconds each time - pumping-up the pressure if it's low. The see if the car starts normally. If it does, maybe an injector is leaking or there's some other fuel pressure issue.

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I would check what kind of voltage you are getting at you battery when the car is running, make sure the bearing squeal is the only thing wrong with your alternator

Just a thought

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I would advise adding a can of fuel injector cleaner, the good stuff that cost $6/can, like Chevron Techron, and a tankfull of mid grade gasoline. It is possible that you got a bad tank of gas. Maybe a can of "dry gas" would help, if some water is in the gas.

 

Also could be engine temperature sensor, as someone also mentioned.

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