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bPlust

1995 Legacy hard start when cold, easy once operating temp

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Hi all,

 

This is my first posting here, and it is regarding the first gas (and electronically injected) rig I've ever owned.  I have a number of diesels, all of them mechanical, and just acquired a 1995 Legacy wagon.  I'm quite pleased with the car, but we have been have some cold weather recently (I live in Northern Vermont, about 1/2 hour from Canada), and the colder it is, the more trouble the car has starting, to the point that this past entire week, I have had to hook up my 200 amp battery box to get it to start.  Today, which pre-windchill temperatures haven't climbed over -6F, no amount of cranking will get it going, and I don't feel like buying a starter, so I'm not going to push my luck.  I did crank it for 30 seconds a couple times, and it sounds like it wants to start, but no-go.

 

Once warm and up to operating temperature, however, it has no issues.  The engine purrs, and it'll start right up time after time when running errands around town and the like.

 

Any ideas? 

 

Thanks in advance for any replies,

 

Bryan

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oil might be too heavy. you need 5w-30 in those 2.2 all year round. try that. a 5 quart change jug of Valvoline (Subaru's best friend) is only 15 bucks at any local Wal-Mart

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That's what I'm running.  

 

Also, the starter has no problem turning the motor over, with ease.

 

In some of my diesels, I'll switch to a lighter oil in the winter, and the cranking capabilities are noticeably different. 

 

But this Subaru's having not the slightest problem turning the engine over.

 

Bryan

Edited by bPlust

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Welcome aboard, man. What diesels have you owned? Temp related no start these three things came to mind:

 

Trash in fuel lines/lost pressure

Failing electrical connection

Gasket/vacuum issues. 

 

Will the car catch with some starting fluid down the throttle before you crank? How do the neg/pos battery and ground cables look? Any CEL codes? 

 

This cold snap is a pita on us good coasters for sure. It was 5* down here in Va this morning. Nothing like trying to adjust timing on your old Ford truck so you can make it to an 8am lecture haha. Times like these I really miss my w123/4 

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Welcome aboard, man. What diesels have you owned? Temp related no start these three things came to mind:

 

Trash in fuel lines/lost pressure

Failing electrical connection

Gasket/vacuum issues. 

 

Will the car catch with some starting fluid down the throttle before you crank? How do the neg/pos battery and ground cables look? Any CEL codes? 

 

This cold snap is a pita on us good coasters for sure. It was 5* down here in Va this morning. Nothing like trying to adjust timing on your old Ford truck so you can make it to an 8am lecture haha. Times like these I really miss my w123/4 

 

 

w123... now we're talking.  Though it's not like it would do you much good in these temps, unless you're close to an outlet.

 

My diesels:

 

85 300td

84 300d

72 22d (slowest car on earth)

84 330d (for parts, rotten frame)

89 w250 Dodge

99 w250

 

I'll check my connections and run around with a vac gauge.  

 

All I can say based on observation is that the colder it is, the bigger of a pain in the rear it is to start, and cranking is not affected much by the temp.  As as I previously stated, I have a 200amp charger, so I have all of the cranking one could ask for.

 

By any chance could it be a coolant temp sensor?  I ask based on little actual experience with this motor, just looking at possible culprits based on research, and maybe a bad sensor is giving me a constant, non adjusted air/fuel ratio, which grows more evident as the temperature gets colder.  Correct me if I'm wrong, it's just a hypothesis.

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Also, yes, my check engine light is on, but I thought that these rigs will NOT start with a bad cam and/or crank sensor.  For all I know, the sensor is bad, but the symptoms I have described have been ongoing since I got the car (a month ago).  It just hasn't been frigid enough for me to care until now.  

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if you have a CEL you need to get the code - that will more than likely tell you what the problem is.

 

 

 

hard starting in cold makes me think coolant temp sensor.

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if you have a CEL you need to get the code - that will more than likely tell you what the problem is.

 

 

 

hard starting in cold makes me think coolant temp sensor.

 

Are 1995's OBD I or II?

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OBDII ...look on left side of lower dash - there should be a small door looking thing - the connector for the code reader will be in there.

 

you should be able to get codes read at any major chain parts store - Advance Auto, Auto Zone, etc

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It looks like a 95 Legacy should be obd2. If not this video should help: 

 

If it's -2 I'm betting you'll pull a P0111/2/3  http://www.troublecodes.net/subaru/

 

The sensor should be that orange/brown two wire. The obd2 connector should be right above or below the hood latch, possibly under a little cover. 

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I get the same problem (95 legacy w/high miles). The car is very solid otherwise, but when the temp is either, single digits overnight, or if it sits for several days in the cold it will not start.  usually I can power through it and just crank for 20 seconds or more a few times it tries to start and even starts enough to almost outrun the starter... but it DOES NOT LIKE THE COLD. As soon as it warms up to the 20's (F) or so it will start with no problem.

 

My son has a 95 Soob engine in his Vanagon and this week he had the exact same problem... cold - cranks away but no start. soon as the outside temperature warmed up it started with no problem.

 

We are thinking;

 

"Trash in fuel lines/lost pressure or Gasket/vacuum issues".

 

Electrical connections seem fine otherwise and no other fuel-pump symptoms...

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Could be a bad ECT sensor. You can check the temp reading with a scanner when its cold and compare to outside temp.

 

There was a TSB about fuel injectors on 95 and early 96 Legacy, Impreza, and SVX models where the tip of the injector would ice up in cold weather.

They redesigned the injectors with a new tip in mid 96 model year to correct the problem. Unfortunately I can't find pics of the injector tips that had the problem. The tops of the new injectors are Red, I don't know if the old injectors were the same or a different color.

 

You might try adding a bottle of Heet to the tank to see if it helps.

 

Pulling the injector to check isn't easy since they are side-feed and all the fuel in the rails dumps into the port around the injector if you pull it loose.

 

Injectors are usually pretty cheap at a U-pull yard. If you want to try a different set make sure you get them from a 97-99 engine.

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I experienced this a few weeks ago requiring the purchase of a new battery as my attempts cooked the old one.

 

Suspect the ECTS, change it anyway our of routine maintenance as it is a 23 dollar part.

Hold down the gas pedal half way or fully while cranking, especially if the engine is flooded and smells of raw fuel.

Replace the fuel filter as it may be freezing in sub zero temps. blame it on the alcohol in the fuel.

 

You sound like you know what you are doing. my comments based on my experience. Good luck

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Could be a bad ECT sensor. You can check the temp reading with a scanner when its cold and compare to outside temp.

 

That is also what I was thinking. However, my 99 impreza (1.6) is hard to start when cold, and stalls immediately once it started, or stays at 200 rpm. Strange enough my ECT (engine coolant temp sensor) is spot on. If it is -5 C it says -6 (on OBD port reader), and it 0 it shows 0. For me that shows it is something else, but what I have no idea. 

In this case he should check the ECTS. I was thinking it could be the IAC valve?

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Could be the IAC in your case. Might check to see if fuel pressure is holding after start.

How old are the spark plugs?

Sorry for semi-hijacking the thread (although it could still apply to the thread starter)

 

Plugs are new, so are HT leads (and fuel filter too). Weird enough if it drops below 200 rpm and it stalls and I restart immediately (not flooding it) it runs as a shine at 1100 rpm slowly dropping to 750. I really have no idea what it is, and usually just stall it on purpose because I know the second start is OK. If i floor the pedal on the first attempt I can also 'save' it from stalling. Weird!

Edited by rverdoold

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Yeah I would check fuel pressure and make sure that's building properly before starting, and then holding after starting.

 

You can do a feeler check by turning the key On once or twice to prime the system before starting.

 

Some other things; make sure the throttle body and plate are clean.

Make sure the PCV valve is in good shape, replace it if its old. Check the hoses for the PCV for clogs.

Just did the one on my grandmothers car because she was consuming oil. PCV valve looked fine, rattled, wasn't dirty at all. But after replacing, the oil consumption problem is gone.

The engine does pull air through the PCV at all times, so it being clogged can affect idle A/F ratio.

 

Pull the IAC and make sure the valve and the ports in the intake are clean.

If you have a MAF sensor make sure that's clean.

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But it starts right away after it stalled and then runs fine! I will check the fuel pressure. Since it runs on propane and only starts on gasoline the pressure might be low indeed.

(PVC system is basic 1 line and its clean, valve is ok, oil consumption is >100 ml over 12000 km)

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