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A couple years ago my car-starting process began having problems, when I turn the key to start  the pinion would enter the ring gear area and I would hear the "click" but the starter wouldn't spin the flywheel. I turned the key multiple times and eventually the car turned over. I tried a couple times getting a jump start thinking it was my battery, and ended up buying a new battery just in case but that never solved the problem. The starting problem continued sporadically for a few weeks till I decided to replace my starter, as hitting it with a rubber mallet  seemed to solve my problem. I brought in my "dead" starter in for testing and they could not find any issues with it, but I bought a rebuilt one anyways, I had no issues for a couple weeks after installation but the problem did come back soon.

 

Since the installation 2 years ago, around every 10th time I've gone to start my car I have had to get out and whack my starter with a rubber mallet. Annoying, yes but I have learned to live with it. Recently I have had the pinion remain against the ring gear after I release the key and the engine is running, I have to get out and whack the starter with the mallet to release the Pinion from the ring gear(terrible sound).

 

Has anyone had a similar problem?? Is this an issue with my ring gear teeth? Or could it be as simple as torque specs on the starter bolts?? I feel hitting the starter with a rubber mallet might be jarring it from its optimal position, but what started the issue in the first place??  

 

I have also tried jiggling the two starter wires each time in hopes that it is that, but that never helps. 

 

Thanks!

Mike

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so I think the starter works like this:

the starter solenoid reacts to an excite signal  when you turn your key. Power is sent to the starter solonoid where  it tells the starter solonoid to engage. The starter solenoid is just a big  magnetic switch that operates a fork attached to the drive gear.  The drive gear is what actually engages the driven ring on the torque converter or flywheel. The solenoid pops out the drive gear-which engages the drive ring. At the same time full battery voltage is sent to the main starter motor. Wala, car starts. Release the key, power is cut to solenoid and a spring pulls drive gear away.

 

There are only a few reasons for the behavior you describe that I can think of.

The drive gear fork is corroded and the pivots it swings in are binding. Or the solenoid plate is sticking or broken etc.

The spring that pulls the drive gear back when the solenoid releases could be broken or weak or gunked up so bad it cant travel freely.

 

Either way having a reman starter is no guarantee of clean well working parts.

 

Another possibility is heat.  If the engine gets hot it can cause corrosion to buildup inside the fork pivot as well.  Builds up over time, every 10th time or so you have to smack it to break things loose. 

 

I lived in Phoenix and heat failures of starters were reasonably common on other cars.  I didn't own a subi then but heat and resistance is not model dependent.

 

The relay/solenoid is hanging for some reason. Look at the ground wire on the top starter bolt mount. Loose, corrosion, damaged? Could be heat or broken/weak internals in the solenoid.

 

I duno, I have had better luck with wrecking yard starters/alternators that were in good shape and OEM as well as cheaper in the bargain.

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