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Grant

Reluctant Subaru...

14 posts in this topic

Won't start. Sunday, I ran my oldest down to her mother's house after my weekend time with her was up. went to leave, and couldn't start the car. turned the key first to ON and waited a few seconds, then when I turned to the START detent, all I got was a single relay click, no starter. when the key is released from START, another single relay click. All other electricals energize fine; radio, windows, lights, alarm system and what not. at first, thought the battery had given up. not the problem, after putting a new off the shelf battery in. was advised by a mechanic friend of the family, to replace the starter. this I did, and whereas the old starter was looking rather rough, and likely was about done working anyway (drive cog on the starter was rusted to heck and barely extended even when clamping a visegrips on and pulling), didn't do the trick and get the motor running. A thought I had, was maybe the sensor that told the ignition system what gear the trans was in, is stuck in whatever position indicates the trans is in gear, and locks out the starter? either that or a bad relay?

I have checked and found no blown fuses in either the fusebox under the dash, or the power distribution unit under the hood.

vehicle is a 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback Wagon. 2.5L H4, 141K

Any advice that anyone can offer to locate either one of these two components, so that I can check them out would be greatly appreciated.

Also, if anyone has any other thoughts as to what might be causing this, I would love to hear them~ I need to get my car back on the road.

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Automatic?

Your owners manual should tell you where the starter relay is if it is equipped with one.

If it is an automatic did you try shifting it into neutral?

Do your dash lights (oil, check engine light, brake light, etc) function as they did before it would not start?

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yup it's an auto. I'll check the book tomorrow, as it's past my bedtime tonight wink

I did try the neutral trick, as well as working the shifter back and forth several times in case it was just stuck.

all one-who-thinks-I-am-silly lights function as per normal.

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The only thing I'll add to the above is to check your battery cables and your ground. Corroded positive or ground cables can keep your car from starting.

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Looking at the diagram it could be a couple things, I would first check to see if there is power on the big wire at the starter, then check for power at the small wire R/Y while the key is in the crank position. It looks like their is a security system option on some models, and this can and will prevent power going to the R/Y wire during crank at the starter. it could be a the ignition switch (doubtfull since you hear a click), or the trans range sensor.

Just for starter test purposes you can jump a power to the R/Y wire when the key is in the run/crank position and see if it starts!

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4WE- I'm fairly certain there is juice on the big wire (almost accidentally welded the wrench to the motor when it arced!) Battery came out as soon as my arm stopped tingling. blush

I'll see if I can check the small wire next, that should be plenty easy.

I've eliminated the quality of connections, that was actually one of the first things I did (cleaned them)

for jumpering power to the R/Y lead, would I just take a probe with 12v DC on it and touch the spade connector on the side of the starter?

if there is no voltage to the small lead to the starter, assuming no wires being physically broken, would that narrow it down to the trans position sensor or perhaps a lockout from the security system? (although I don't think it's the latter, as the alarm is from the same vintage as the car, and I don't think that alarms were that advanced 10 years ago, although I could be wrong)

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It might be possible when you caused the arc it might have blown a fuse! You could just jump power from the big wire to the small wire, see if the starter turns over then. Looking at the diagram the start wire runs from the ignition switch to the security module to the trans sensor, then to the small wire on the starter.

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checked fuses after it happened, no blown fuses.

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Is there power at the 45 amp fuse for the starter in the main fuse block? Theres a fusible link that powers that fuse. If the link is burnt the fuse could very well look fine but there will be no power to it.

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no fusable link issue...

I've replaced the starter anyway, as when I took the old one off, it was pretty much shot ... Also, the old batt isn't holding a charge, and is begging to swell to boot. I have one of those to swap in as well.

turned out there was a secondary problem in the matter, the security system was locking out the starter. resetting the module worked to correct the deal.

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Is that the one that has the rest button under the dash up by the left foot area? I didn't even think of that and I get burned on those every time I disconnect/replace the battery. I guess you could say I got burned by it again!!! It is good to hear you have it running. Know all you have to look forward to is the axle shafts next weekend!!! grin

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actually got the shafts done tonight. got a good deal from a fellow who is lead tech at one of the big name chain places, and does work on the side for extra cash.

was rather impressive how much beefier the Napa parts were than the originals.

and yup, there was a little reset dealiebob up under the dash.

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Sorry Grant! That should have been the first thing I thought of!! Like I said for some reason everytime I forget about those reset buttons!?!? crazy

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no worries. it's all done now, got my car back in working order.

like the avatar btw.

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