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1995, imprenza, trouble starting after sitting overnight

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Hello folks,

I love my 1995 Subaru that I have had since 2008.  Received it from a lady moving to Greece.  Her son was a mehcanic and kept it in mint condition.  I have had very little trouble.  Tires, brake pads, a starter..nothing major until recently needed new fuel pump, axle work.  That was done and all seemed well but then it would not start in the morning unless I pushed way down on the gas and there was a big roar and it would start.  It was fine for the rest of the day.  After several days, I took it to Raul, my mechanic, and he kept it over night and looked at it the next morning.  He found rust in the fuel line and mositure in the gas tank.  Fixed that & I brought home.  Next morning, would not start easily.  Back to Raul who kept it for several days and found the problem -- a wire that connects the computer to the ? that gets fuel going.  He said there are two wires that do that work and a third wire that kicks in when the engine is cold.  I needed a new third wire.  Done.  He charged me $0!!!  Big test this morning.  Car parked since 10PM.  It is 6:30AM.  I try and first try does not connect.  But second try does!  Yipee.  Runs well.  Re-starts easily today.  I am still nervous, however.  Does anyone have any thoughts? 

Thank you.

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seems like there could have been more than one problem, wondering about the wiring issue. Kinda wondering why the fuel pump was changed too.


On 'cold' starts, the computer only knows to add fuel (choke) by getting a temperature reading from a sensor. If that information is good, it chokes the car allowing it to start more easily. Then, as the engine temp goes up, it reverts to a more efficient/leaner fuel map. So, the Engine Temp Sensor (not the temp gauge sender for the gauge on the dash) and it's wiring is important.


But, if you had a leaking injector , you could have TOO MUCH fuel and, holding the gas pedal on the floor causes a 'clear flood' setting to be used. That's when the computer shuts fuel off.


If you want to do more testing, checking fuel pressure after sitting overnight or pulling plugs to look for one wet with fuel might be a good idea.


maybe someone else will have some ideas.

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Thank you.  We changed the fuel pump over a month ago because the engine light came on.  I don't think it's related to this problem.  Funny thing, when I came home from that repair, my  car lights came on in the middle of the night!! Mechanic came next day, got car, said it was a faulty installation and something wrong with the part that turns the key.  Well, that got fixed.  Then the recent problems with starting in the morning.  I think it is getting a little better.  What I do is go out and start the car about every 4 or 5 hours.  It's like getting up in the middle of the night to feed the baby only I get up tostart the car!

I'm curious -- when did they start putting computers in cars?


P.S.  I'm pretty sure Raul would have looked at the plugs and checked the fuel pressure since I dropped the car off after work and he looked at it next AM.  I myself would not know how to do that.

Edited by JRose

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maybe someone from maryland here could suggest a different mechanic to take a fresh look at your car.


some computer controls began in the early 70s. Quite common by mid/late 80s.


read here; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Board_Diagnostics


Though some cars were OBDII compliant in 95 (possibly yours, might be on a label in the engine bay, or underside of the hood), it was mandated in 96.

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan

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Thank you.l  That is just what I am going to do.  My neighbors & I have a list serve for e-mails and I asked for good mechanics in our area not counting the most convenient one which is where I have been going.  I received several responses and good suggestions.  Many said I need somebody to take a fresh look at the situation. 

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describe it a little better with specific details - remember we can't see or do anything, we just have your words and can't fill in the blanks ourselves.


was the fuel filter ever replaced?  there's no mention of that but if the tank was rusty then it seems plausible the filter is sub-par.  though i've never seen a Subaru have starting or driving issues due to a filter so i'm just guessing based on the "rust in the fuel tank" description.


if you let it sit all night and encounter a non-start episode - what exactly does it do and how long/what's it like trying to start it?


does it turn over but doesn't fire?

does it turn slowly or strongly when it doesn't start?

will it start after trying 10 times...1 time....never....have to try again in an hour....how do you finally get it started if it won't at first?


if we know exactly what it's doing that  might help narrow it down.


nonetheless one possibility is that the fuel pressure is loosing pressure over night and bleeding off through the lines and the vehicle has to prime the entire system every time it sits for an extended period.  fuel injector seals and Fuel Pressure Regulator need to be tested or inspected.  both are cheap and easy to repair.


be best to have someone familiar with Subarus, but that's hard to find in some areas, i've never seen a subaru specialty shop in maryland (where I'm from), but i have in WV and GA (of all places).


a 1995 impreza is an amazing platform for inexpensive reliability.  if you don't overheat or run low on oil they'll essentially last as long as you care to maintain them.  and if you're good with Subaru maintenance (timing belts, fluids), they'll be very reliable for 300,000 miles.  get a timing belt kit off ebay with all new pulleys/tensioner next time you have it done.  if i were still in maryland i'd offer to do it for you, i'm from there and used to work in Greenbelt.


previous mechanic was mis-diagnosing, but we've all done that before.  this is not a common Subaru issue.

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