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tamaz, Subaru master technician
Category: Subaru
Satisfied Customers: 1250
Experience:  Subaru certified,ASE Master technician,25 years experience
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I have a 97 Subaru Legacy Outback and it was running fine

Customer Question

I have a 97 Subaru Legacy Outback and it was running fine and then let it sit due to a death in the family and being out of town. When I went to use it, it did not start. Changed plugs and it starts but won't sustain. Can't get a sustained spark on 1 and 2, 3 and 4 are fine. 1 and 2 spark initially but not again. I was seeing online that it most likely was coil or ignition module.... I don't want to buy both just to see which it is. Wires and all are fine, checked spark at source and not sparking.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Subaru
Expert:  tamaz replied 1 year ago.

Hi,the ignition coil is the most likely culprit here intermittently you may have a primary ignition internal problem in the coil.Thanks for your time.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi! Before I received your response we changed the coil and the Igniter but still doesn't work. We have changed the plugs, checked wires, etc. Still no spark in 1 and 2, 3 and 4 are fine. Car starts but barely. If you touch the shifter or give it gas it dies. The ECM has power as the check engine light comes on and everything works. We have run testers and no errors come it shows all is fine. Had a new engine, new clutch, new water pump, belts, hoses and such about 300 miles ago but then as I stated car did sit due to an illness in the family and I had to be away. Started up initially after charging battery.and was moving it onto a trailer and it died. When we changed the plugs 1 and 2 were bad. 3 and 4 were better but we changed anyway.
Expert:  tamaz replied 1 year ago.

Hi, does the car have any aftermarket equipment like a remote starter or alarm?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. It has an alarm but it came with it from the factory however it is unhooked at the moment as when the battery went dead and I had triple A come to start it they could not shut the alarm off as my key remote stopped working so they unhooked the alarm and said I could just have someone hook it back up once I got my remote changed but I just have left it unhooked.
Expert:  tamaz replied 1 year ago.

Hi,please check the engine harness the connectors are located on the passenger side where the engine and transmission meet,try manipulating the harness and connectors to see if you can get it to start and maintain idle,thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We manipulated the harness cables and a couple other things and the car started as mysteriously as it quit so not sure if it was that or we grounded the coil... but it started. Do you think it will happen again or its fixed? Thanks!
Expert:  tamaz replied 1 year ago.

Hi, I think we've found the problem but at this point it's impossible to say its fixed you just need to roll with it since you can't pinpoint the exact cause but I'm leaning toward a poor connection in the harness somewhere.