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Not a mechanic but I could play one on tv.  I drove my Forester to the store and when I returned and tried to start it; it was a no go.  I had it towed home and have tried all the easy fixes that I could think of; I changed the spark plugs, plug wires, coil pack, fuel filter and finally the crank shaft sensor.  I don't think it's the fuel pump because I smell gas in the engine compartment after I try to start it.  The only thing left that I can think of is that the timing belt has slipped or broken and I am looking for confirmation as to if this is the reason or is there something I am overlooking.  Thanks for any input.

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How many miles? check engine lites? Could be a crank or cam sensor, engine temp sensor, causing the problem. An obd2 scanner will give you a clue

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try HOLDING the gas pedal to the floor and cranking. maybe it's flooded. (modern ECUs know to shut down injectors if starting with the gas floored)

 

look around for fuel leak?

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan

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Not a mechanic but I could play one on tv.  I drove my Forester to the store and when I returned and tried to start it; it was a no go.  I had it towed home and have tried all the easy fixes that I could think of; I changed the spark plugs, plug wires, coil pack, fuel filter and finally the crank shaft sensor.  I don't think it's the fuel pump because I smell gas in the engine compartment after I try to start it.  The only thing left that I can think of is that the timing belt has slipped or broken and I am looking for confirmation as to if this is the reason or is there something I am overlooking.  Thanks for any input.

Hi, when the timing belt breaks it usually happens while the engine is running, or on rare occasions, on start ups. The engine might knock due to a piston hitting an open valve, and you would notice a that there is little piston compression (Normal: kyuk-kyuk-kyuk-kyuk, Missing Compression kyuuu-kyu-kyuuu-kyu-kyuuu). For the belt to break some factors are key; milleage (MTs tend to wear out quicker due to constant rpm variance), water pump gone bad, and tear down of tensioner and idler pulleys. If it's cranking, but no start, you got no spark, it may be a sensor, ECU gone bad, or a loose vacuum hose. Even if you smell gas, check for fuel pressure, never hurts to check. Hope this was useful.

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checking the timing on the 99 - 04 forester is a little harder than the earlier years.

you can remove the driver side timing cover with no problem, 3? bolts?

but to check the passenger side you have to remove a round plug in the cover (no bolts) and look inside the cover.

i say this is harder since you have to look inside a small hole.

but having never done it, i guess it could be easy.

 

check to make sure both cam sprockets are in the same relative position.

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pull the front timing cover, the drivers side i think still has only 3 10mm bolts to remove for access and there are small rubber plugs as mentioned too.

 

a broken timing belt/bent valve engine generally spins pretty quick without any compression being made.  unless you got lucky and the valves are stuck close after the breakage.

 

if it broke - hang another belt and see how it runs to ascertain valve damage.

 

check engine light/codes?

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Thanks for all the input.  Now working on changing the sensor under the alternator, crank sensor.  Just very difficult to get out.  Had to step away from it for a while in order to get a better perspective. 

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