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Hi,

 

For months I've had trouble trying to get my '92 Subaru Loyale started. It shut off back in February, couldn't start it again for days. A mechanic said the timing had slipped, he fixed everything, put in new distributor, timing belts, a few new hoses, new coil. But it still gave him trouble starting up. He could fire it once and it ran good, but cut it off and try to start it again and it wouldn't work. Next he did some kind of coil bypass and said the problem is that the power transistor/ignition module was getting hot and needed to be replaced, which explained why he said I wouldn't be able to start the car again until about 5 to 10 minutes after it ran because the transistor/module was too hot. He also said my starter was going and that I should work on getting that replaced. He didn't want to go any further and pay for that or the ignition module, so left it to me. So the car did run great like he said, but I still had the problem of having to wait 5 to 10 minutes to start it again each time. Then one night my car made a weird sound under the hood on the road and it slowly started coming to a stop, check engine light was on. Wouldn't crank even after I gave it time to cool. Then after about an hour it started up and I got back on the road but it died down again. Had to get it towed back to my area. After that I got the new starter put in and it started up fine but again the engine died after some minutes. Then recently I finally got that new ignition module put in and also came with a genuine Subaru coil. It started up after a friend of mine who works on cars charged the battery, and it ran great. We let it run for about 10 minutes to get the kinks all out after months of not running. Then we cut it off and tried to crank it again and it wouldn't start.

 

I chalked the problem up to be that the mechanic who fixed my car the first time messed something up with the coil, doing some kind of bypass, but now I'm puzzled as to what could really be going on. Every time I get a jump to the battery the car will start up just fine, but then cut it off and try to start it again and it won't run. Really weird. Me and my friend also noticed that when he kind of touched the wires to the ignition module connector while I tried to crank engine that it roared to life, yet it will also start up when you charge the battery. I really don't get what's going on. Not sure if the issue is that I need a new ignition module connector, or a new battery.

 

Can anybody help me?

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"Every time I get a jump to the battery the car will start up just fine,
but then cut it off and try to start it again and it won't run"

 

This  is a pretty good indicator that the battery is not up to snuff.  Check all the connectors that they are good and clean, charge up the battery and then have it tested.   Eliminate that variable then you can go on to eliminate others.

 

Also, if your check engine light came on, get the codes for the cause.

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When your car isn't starting, is it cranking over quite well?

 

You say that the battery seems a bit iffy, but how is the condition of the alternator? Because if you've got a flat battery, it could be that is not getting charged.

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"Every time I get a jump to the battery the car will start up just fine,

but then cut it off and try to start it again and it won't run"

 

This  is a pretty good indicator that the battery is not up to snuff.  Check all the connectors that they are good and clean, charge up the battery and then have it tested.   Eliminate that variable then you can go on to eliminate others.

 

Also, if your check engine light came on, get the codes for the cause.

 

That's just it, the CE light doesn't come on anymore with the new ignition module in, and the meter hands stopped flipping and everything. And the battery is about 3 years old and my friend said I'd need a new one soon. He took mine back to his place and charged it over night, brought it back next morning and started car and it worked for awhile, but wouldn't start up again after we cut it off.

Edited by TheEmpireStrikesBack

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When your car isn't starting, is it cranking over quite well?

 

You say that the battery seems a bit iffy, but how is the condition of the alternator? Because if you've got a flat battery, it could be that is not getting charged.

 

I think the alternator is still in good shape, only a little less than 3 years old. Though my battery is about as old as it would be and around expiring.

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Decent battery properly maintained should go 5 years. I've had some go longer. A battery left partially or fully discharged is not being maintained properly, and this will shorten the life. Any deep discharge to a starting battery (typical car battery) does damage.

 

The car starting after putting in the recharged battery, and then not, does point to the alternator not working. Also, a good fully charged battery should be able to run the car and restart after a few drives even if the alternator is dead. Which of course, is not good for the battery. ..

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Just because it's only three years old doesn't mean its good.  After charging it needs to be tested.  When you go in for testing the battery they can test the alternator too.

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Decent battery properly maintained should go 5 years. I've had some go longer. A battery left partially or fully discharged is not being maintained properly, and this will shorten the life. Any deep discharge to a starting battery (typical car battery) does damage.

 

The car starting after putting in the recharged battery, and then not, does point to the alternator not working. Also, a good fully charged battery should be able to run the car and restart after a few drives even if the alternator is dead. Which of course, is not good for the battery. ..

 

So you don't think it could be a bad ECU?

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The description of starting with a jump points to battery / charging problems. A portable voltmeter would help figure out if the electrical system is working properly.

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You have been asked about engine cranking already. Sorry guys im simply repeating what you all have posted.

When the car doesnt start does it crank slowly or at all? Cranking performance has nothing to do with the ecm. You need access to a volt meter or at least have a way to get the car to a parts store that has free bat and alt testing.

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You have been asked about engine cranking already. Sorry guys im simply repeating what you all have posted.

When the car doesnt start does it crank slowly or at all? Cranking performance has nothing to do with the ecm. You need access to a volt meter or at least have a way to get the car to a parts store that has free bat and alt testing.

 

It will crank regularly at first, but the more you keep trying the slower it will crank, and then eventually you will get absolutely nothing at all, yeah. Until you ask somebody else to give you a jump. Are volt meters expensive? And can I use one on alternator too?

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They are free at harbor freight with a cupon, or cheap without. It will at leasr tell you voltage in the system. If you can get it to start fine with fully charged battery then later it gets weaker and weaker till it wont start, thats a classic alternetor failure. This is what the above posters have already mentioned.

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sounds like a bad alternator (not fully charging battery) and a bad battery.

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Alright, so I have finally got my car running again. I asked a friend of my mom's to give it one more jump the day after Thanksgiving, and this time I let the car run for almost 2 hours to get the battery charged up. So it's not an alternator or battery problem, but now the only problem is that every time I go to turn the key, there is a delay for some seconds before the car actually starts/cranks. Anybody have any idea what that could be? Starter relay? Ignition switch? The starter itself? The starter is new and was put in back in April but may not necessarily mean it's good. Anybody have any idea?

Edited by TheEmpireStrikesBack

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Starter problems of that type are normally resolved by adding a starter relay.

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Could be the battery wires as well.. as I first started reading I was thinking CTS (coolant temp sensor), but it does sound electrical. Good luck

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There are fusible links inside the little plastic box that is mounted on the coolant reservoir. Open the top and make sure the wire connections are making solid connection. Sometimes the connections get weak and cause a bad connection which then causes a voltage drop when the contacts heat up. This may well be your problem. If the link connections are okay then you need to check for spark getting to the plugs when the trouble is happening. If spraying a small amount of starter fluid gets the engine to fire up when having the trouble then you have a fuel delivery problem. Logical trouble shooting will lead you to the problem(s).

 

You would be wise to invest in at least a cheap digital multimeter as it is a big help in finding electrical problems. At least get a test light probe if you can't afford a meter.

 

The CEL light should come on when you turn on the ignition switch. Check the bulb if it doesn't work to make sure the bulb is okay. The ECU makes a ground connection internally to activate the light. Power should be getting to the lamp when the ignition is ON.

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