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Subaru Outback/Legacy Starting Issues

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Comments

  • nrabeknrabek Posts: 3
    I have a 1995 Legacy which has 180,000 miles, and, until now, no major problems. Last week the fuel pump suddenly stopped delivering fuel consistently. The pump no longer runs the second or two when I first turn on the key, except occasionally. I tested the relay, and it worked. I pulled the pump and it runs fine outside the tank, when plugged in to the control wires for the tank. If I hear the pump run up initially and start the car, the car will continue running. Otherwise it won't pump any gas and no matter how long I crank it, it won't start and the pressure won't build up. It has fuel injection. What am I overlooking? Is it a weak pump that can't maintain pressure or a problem with the computer control? Whatever it is, it is driving me nuts. Thanks for your help.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    hmm, is the pump running when it's stalling or is the pump cutting out? I think it might be a relay problem. Perhaps a fuel injector? Did you recently get 10% ethanol fuel in your area? If so it could be the sock at the bottom of the pump is clogged. That's a start, let us know what you figure out.

    -mike
  • nrabeknrabek Posts: 3
    No, the pump doesn't run much now, only when it wants to. So, the engine will start but immediately die. It has a tank full of regular gas with no ethanol. When I pulled the pump, the sock was fine, and, as long as the pump was out, it ran continuously while connected in the circuit with the relay and all. Not problems till after it was submerged back in the gas tank, and the key was turned on several times. Then it refused to pump at all, until it was pulled again. I have continuity on the relay on the control side, but when it acts up, the relay doesn't "click" to complete the power side till the control side is grounded. I can jump the power side of the relay and the pump will run fine outside the tank, but not when in the gas.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Seems from your description that it's a ground or power issue to or from the relay. How about replacing the relay it's a fairly in-expensive item to test out to see if that's your cause. My guess from the data provided is that it's not the pump or the lines at this point but rather either the relay, the ground for the relay or the power from the relay to the pump itself.

    Have you tried the pump connected up but physically outside the tank but connected to the car's wiring?

    -mike
  • nrabeknrabek Posts: 3
    Yeah, I have pulled the pump twice now, and both times it runs outside the tank. It just runs for a second or so when the key is turned on, like it is supposed to, but if I jump the power side of the relay it will run continuously. When I test the relay by energizing the control side, the relay works and closes the circuit on the power side, so that part seems to be functional. When I check for voltage at the relay, I have 12 volts at both leads going into the relay, but the line leaving the relay has only a minimal amount of voltage - from 1/10th to 1/2 volt. This is with the key on. While the test the manual gives for checking the relay - energizing the control side - seems to indicate that the relay is good, I am with you on replacing the cheap stuff first. The pump is $100. Thanks. Norman
  • phil34phil34 Posts: 1
    I have an intermittent problem with my '94 Subaru Legacy...when turning the key, I hear a click but the engine does not turn over. Several tries and it may or may not start. Dealer guesses it is the starter because they could not duplicate the problem and wants to TRY starting there for the tune of $350. Any suggestions that may cause this behavior.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Starter should run about $90-120 and you can install it in about an hour, as it's right on top of the engine.

    I would check the grounds but you may have a bad starter, seems like it's not engaging properly.

    -mike
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    so my 98 legacy GT (135K) with new plugs and wires at 120K, new battery around Xmas and new starter this year, wouldn't start. all electricals work fine but not even a click. it had done this intermittently the last year (hence all the various work done) but it usually would start up after you turn the key several times. new starter went in when it started to do this several times a day rather than once every few weeks. since new starter in ? January, it has been perfect , till yesterday. Tried over an hour to see if it would start, nothing, though all electricals seemed fine, tried jumping it, nothing. Didn't even seem like fuel pump was whirring when key turned. Called AAA and while waiting said a prayer and tried again. Of course now it started just fine!! Drove it to my mechanic who's looking at it right now. There was that one time last year when the negine kept running when the key was in the off positiion!
    Is it the ignition key switch?? Good thing I'm getting rid of this soon (as soon as they start delvering 2.5OB with VDC to the dealers). there is a line of people who want the car but I don't want to sell, or even give them something which will leave them stranded somewhere.
    PS never get stuck in a parking ramp with 6' 7" clearance, not many tow trucks can get it!!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,567
    While it is surprising to me, I think that the ignition switch is the most likely culprit in your case. The one on my '69 Econoline is going out. While I have never had it not start, it will often not turn off.

    From the sound of it, it is giving you nothing - not even electric for your windows, etc... is that right? Since you said it did not seem like fuel pump was turning on, I would guess nothing else that should come on in the "ON" position was working either.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    all the electricals work (very well) which is what got me puzzled
    well, car got checked out, all electricals seem fine, couldn't reproduce the no start. had a CEL a few weeks back P1507 and they cleaned the engine idle sensor or something.
    thinking back, the car started up after I had tried to get it into N and try push it out of the parking space as the AAA lady was despairing of ever finding someone who could get their truck into the parking ramp. I usually put my cellphone in front of the gear shift and I know sometimes when I put it in P, it jams up against it. maybe it wasn't quite in P and the Neutral safety interlock switch or whatever had me cut out so engine couldn't start. when I fiddled with it to get into N to try push the car it must have gone back into P properly and then worked!!!
    well I 'll be more careful about getting the gear into P and see what the future holds!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Yup, quite common problem. I used to do that on my Rodeo and my Trooper all the time.

    -mike
  • sheroosheroo Posts: 9
    I just got a 2007 OBW 2.5i A. Everything is working great except that whenever I start it for the first 20 secs or so it sounds like a old car. I know there are some issues with the OBW and cold starting but I am in SF, CA and have noticed this even after work if I park it inside. Any cause for worry? any advise is appreciated

    ---Sid
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Without hearing the sound live, it's hard to tell but my guess is that either it's low on oil, or it is the normal sound that a subie makes while starting up as it has to pump oil throughout the engine.

    -mike
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,567
    20 seconds seems like a long time, but when you first enter the car, try turning the key to "on" and waiting a few seconds (put your seatbelt on, adjust mirrors, etc) before attempting to start. This will allow the fuel pump time to prime, and may result in smoother startups.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • sheroosheroo Posts: 9
    Thanks for your replies guys. I did check the oil first thing this morning and it was to the correct level. I will try doing what you suggested and let you know
  • Make certain the battery terminals are VERY tight. I've experienced your type pf problem before and tightening an already tight terminal did the trick.
  • I have a 1998 Legacy OutBack with intermittent starting issues. The starter has been replaced. It won't do it for a month or so, but then all of a sudden it will start acting up. It won't start, but all of the other electrical works, radio, windows etc... just no starter... nothing. The car is in park (saw that in the other discussion)and fiddling with the gear shift doesn't do anything (its an automatic). After about 10 minutes, it just starts... any Ideas? Batter has been tested and is fine. New started as I said. Help.
  • dfciiidfciii Posts: 12
    We recently purchased a new 2008 Subaru Outback 2.5I. When the car sits all night and you go out in the morning to start it, for the first 10 seconds it spits and sputters and runs rough as all get out. We had it to the dealer 2 times already, and they have failed to fix it. They tried to feed me a line of BS about it being a PZEV vehicle. They said it runs to lean but cannot be fixed. I was very disheartened at the fact that it is an 08 doing this. Even after the first 10 seconds once the engine is warm, it runs rough enough that it literally makes the car shake.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,567
    That is definitely not normal. My '07 Outback ran smooth as butter from day 1 (at -45F, at that!) regardless of ambient temperatures. The only hiccups I felt at all happened if I tried to start it up with a full turn of the key rather than allowing the fuel pump to prime for a couple seconds with the key in the "on" position before starting. Even then, though, it was rough for only 2-3 seconds. Not even close to the apparent minutes you describe.

    I would recommend contacting SOA customer service and opening a ticket with them.
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    800-SUBARU3
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,567
    :blush:

    Was that bad, or what?!
    2010 Subaru Forester, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • dfciiidfciii Posts: 12
    I already did contact them and I did open a ticket. That was the first thing I did after the dealer said they could not fix it. I went to two other dealers and started a total of 5 new Outbacks. None of them acted like mine did. And I made sure that none of them were started that day. The dealership said it can't be fixed. I told them either fix it, or keep it. No new care should run like that. Anyone with any explanation as to what could cause this, feel free to comment. Thanx
  • cfezzacfezza Posts: 1
    I too have a 08 2.5i Limited and experience the same symptoms when starting a cold engine. I brought it to the dealer left it over night and was told the same as you....."characteristic of PZEV."
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    My guess is that the PZEV program in the ECU is causing this or the electrical air-pump that is used instead of a pre-cat.

    -mike
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    how does this PZEV stuff work??
  • dfciiidfciii Posts: 12
    PZEV stands for Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle. Basically what the dealer told me is that it would be healthier to breath the exhaust from our outback than to breathe the air in Los Angeles. He said Subaru sets the vehicles to run so lean that it does not give itself enough gasoline. He said that is part of the way they achieve PZEV. I told him that I live in a county in PA where emissions are not required and therefore I do not want a vehicles that runs like that.
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    how did you get a PZEV if you live in a non PZEV state??? do you live near NY? how can you tell if a vehicle is PZEV?
    are people in PZEV states having similar problems with their Outbacks??
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I think all the Subies sold are PZEV or all the ones of a particular model. I don't think it's specific to one area.

    -mike
  • tedyatedya Posts: 10
    I have a 2007 Legacy GT and I get the same weird noise right after it starts up. It goes away every time right after the RPMs wind down under 1500. I attribute this as a normal thing since it has done this since day 1.
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    according to their brochure only the 2.5i can be PZEV not the turbo or H6 and cars101 shows a price differential between PZEV and non PZEV ones (200 bucks).
    since I can't get a hybrid, maybe I'll get a PZEV to be "green". I'm going to talk to the dealer in next day or two about it, I am finalizing an order for a 2.5iLtd to replace my 98 GT.
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