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Kevin C.
Kevin C., Subaru Master Tech.
Category: Subaru
Satisfied Customers: 1738
Experience:  34 years of Subaru service experience, ASE Master Technician.
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Subaru Legacy wagon: my subaru will not start! I have taken

Resolved Question:

my subaru will not start! I have taken it in 4 times now and it will work for a bit and then it will not start again. THere is a laundry list of stuff that has been done to this car to no avail. First it was the plugs then the wires. Next it was a temp. sensor. It worked for a week then it would not start and the mechanic told me that the battary may be the issue. i put a new battary in and it worked for about three weeks. The mechanic then told me that the battary being weak may be because of the aftermarket auto start. I had that removed and was able to get it home but the next day it would not start. I put the battary charger on it because it was showing me 11volts. Charged it all day and plugged it in because i live in alaska. It started. I took it back in because the next day it was running like crap and a check engine light came on. The mechanic said he put in a few things to no avail but then he replaced the brain box and it ran great for him. brought it home and it worked good for a day. Then now it will not start again and i am about to take this car out to a cliff and push it off of it!!!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Subaru
Expert:  Kevin C. replied 2 years ago.

Kevin C :

Welcome to Just Answers, I'm Kevin and I'm here to help resolve your Automotive issue Please click the ACCEPT button when satisfied with your answer.Positive Feedback is appreciated.

Kevin C :

Hello

Customer:

how is life, can you help

Kevin C :

First, when you say it doesn't start, does it crank and crank without firing or nothing at all?

Customer:

it cranks but will not fire

Kevin C :

ok, do you know what sensors he replaced besides the coolant sensor?

Customer:

no he did not say but he did replace the brain and it started working for him. He said that made it instantly run great and he tried starting it several time over the 3 days he had it and it worked for him.

Kevin C :

Has the fuel pressure ever been tested..when the problem is occurring?

Kevin C :

These vehicles have had fuel pump issues

Customer:

I have not but i can ask him or check it myself

Customer:

Also i was told this is the vehicle is the odd one that year that was right before the changed design if that helps

Kevin C :

That's where I would start, my own car (years back) was having an intermittant no start problem, found it to be the fuel pump. I also have found a few dozen over the years failed on 1995 to 1999 Legacy/outbacks

Kevin C :

The best way to tell initially is..when the car will not start, remove the fuel line from the fuel filter, point the line in a glass jar and have someone crank it over..while you look for a good spray

Kevin C :

only crank it over for 4to6 seconds

Kevin C :

another big problem is the main Relay, they will have intermittant issues as well but..there would be a code in the ECU..IAC code as I recall

Customer:

i wanted to ask why i am seeing a lower voltage on the battery the next day. It seems to be the area i am told it is at. Also i have taken the fuel line off of the small canister that is just inside the drivers side in the engine were the fuel goes into. I noticed that the line sprays a full tube of fuel out, will that answer the fuel pump issue?

Kevin C :

did you check the fuel when it wouldn't start?

Customer:

yes, that is when i would check that. I thought it was that when this first started but both in and out of that cansiter, what ever it is, it would spray some fuel. I only would check it by turning on the Key and i could here the fuel pump, i did not continue to crank the engine, should i?

Customer:

would you like to buy a great 1999 subaru for cheep!

Kevin C :

lol, I would crank it safely into a jar to be sure it has good flow...as far as your voltage..11volts is not good

Kevin C :

the fuel test is only good when the car is not starting

Kevin C :

even with the new battery, you had 11volts?

Customer:

the new battery worked great and i did not check it then, i only checked it after i started having problems again. could it just be a crappy temp sensor again with the addition of a shitty battery that i got at Oreilly auto parts.

Kevin C :

well, without having a scanner to monitor data, like the temp sensor reading when it acts up, that's hard to say, there were problems with the temp sensors but not the replacement sensors..at least not Subaru replacement sensors

Kevin C :

If your battery keeps dropping voltage overnight, you may have a parasitic draw in your car

Customer:

I think that is were the mechanic was heading but i was hopping that you could point me in the direction to be able to find the draw that could be happening. I don't know were to look.

Kevin C :

If your voltage drops too low, it effects your ECM and sensors which can cause starting issues..an easy way to confirm or eliminate that is to jump the car when you have a starting problem but..if the car does crank normally and not slow when it won't start, it is doubtful a battery issue as far as starting but it still is not normal to have the battery drain down

Kevin C :

does the car crank slow when it will not start?

Kevin C :

like a weak battery?

Kevin C :

and, were there any codes?

Customer:

it seems like it but when it starts it will start right now so it is hard to tell. I will mention something else, it always seems to not start when i am parked in the driveway at a slight incline with the nose of the car up. The only code that he said was showing up is the bad wire on number three and a fouled plug on number three. the last code was "just because it was running light crap" as he put it. I find it odd that this problem never happens when it is parked on level ground or when i am away from the parking spot at home.

Kevin C :

Cannot really connect the parking incline to anything...what I would do is, next time it does not start,jump the car, if it starts right up, then you know it's a voltage/amp issue if not then there is another problem

Customer:

okay i think i can do that right now with my truck and let you know, if it is not that what could it be

Kevin C :

well, if there is good strong fuel delivery, the next step is to check for spark when it will not start, you have to approach this methodically, if there is no spark, then I would look at that main relay

Kevin C :

You have to go 1 step at a time or you're just guessing..a good scanner that can read data would also help

Customer:

okay you will not beleive this, i just went out to try and jump it and when i tried to start it with out jumping it, it fired off right away. The only thing i did was plug in the block heater for about an hour and a half.

Customer:

it is running like a champ right now!! WTF!!!!!!!!

Kevin C :

I agree, hard to find a problem when it's not acting up

Kevin C :

Next time it happens, jump the car, see if it starts or just cranks

Customer:

what would the block heater helping

Kevin C :

that may be a coincidence, but the only thing that may change the properties of is the Coolant sensor

Customer:

wow and i have not had anything to drink yet: be helping or be an indication of

Customer:

i don't think this is a coincidence because it has happened more then once to me. I just don't plug it in all the time but the last two times that i have had problem the combination of recharging the battery and plugging it in has worked.

Kevin C :

The coolant sensor that was replaced..was it aftermarket?

Customer:

i think it may have been, he got it at the local napa and we are a small town in Alaska. We don't have any local Subaru dealerships and he had it back to me within 2-3 hours that day. I can ask him to find out for sure.

Kevin C :

The block heater warms the coolant...the Coolant sensor responds based on coolant temp.

Customer:

and that sets the fuel to oxygen ratio right

Kevin C :

yes, and when it malfunctions, it usually will affect cold starting

Kevin C :

Something to look into

Customer:

I like it! i think that the battery could just be from cranking it so much which i know is not good. I will keep an eye on it and go from there. Why would an aftermarket sensor be causing a problem?

Kevin C :

I'm not saying aftermarket sensors are always bad, just do not trust their dependability as much as original

Customer:

also i here alot about a crank case sensor on the blog sites that will cause the subaru to not start. Is there anything to that or not

Kevin C :

yes but you would get a cran sensor code

Kevin C :

crank

Customer:

hitting the sauce too a

Kevin C :

lol

Kevin C :

some simple things to check all the grounds on the engine for tightness, also would not hurt to unbolt any grounds to make sure there is no corrosion

Kevin C :

a couple main grounds on the engine intake manifold

Customer:

something else i have noticed is this happens when there is a change in temp. not always cold but a drastic change none the less. and i will check all grounds. I found the one off the back of the motor and it looked a little dirty but not corroded. I noticed that there is another one to the front clip and that one i have not really check out to closely.

Kevin C :

cool, I found a bulletin that may help you as well, give me a minute

Kevin C :

just something to keep in your mind as well, this is from Subaru directly.

Full Size Image

Kevin C :

Just another avenue to explore

Customer:

Dude you are the man! I think that will help and i will keep that in mind, is that somthing that i would be able to replace on my own, is it simple? i work on old cars but not on new ones very often, dont have a scanner so i give up quickly. Give me a 360 or a 410 sprint car or a late model with a 383 stroker motor in it and i am happy.

Kevin C :

lol, the regulator is on the fuel rail

Kevin C :

If memory serves, its attached by 2 screws..on the rear of the right rail (passenger side)

Kevin C :

Wait, I can get a pic

Customer:

will i have to order it from the factory or will an aftermarket one work that i can get at the local napa

Kevin C :

Looks like it may be part of the whole rail.

Full Size Image

Kevin C :

Look at the rail, if the regulator is removable, try Napa, if not then I am guessing it's a factory item

Customer:

thanks buddy, i appriciate the help. Peace!

Kevin C., Subaru Master Tech.
Category: Subaru
Satisfied Customers: 1738
Experience: 34 years of Subaru service experience, ASE Master Technician.
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