engine won't turn over, battery fine

maryp3177maryp3177 Member Posts: 6
edited July 2014 in Subaru
Hi, all. Have 1996 Subaru Legacy Outback, Ski Edition, with 276K miles. We're the 3rd owners.

Today my husband went out to start the car and...nothing. Turned the key and the car made a clicking sound.

Mechanic had told us a few months ago that we had about 6K left on timing belt, but wasn't sure. We haven't driven nearly that much since that diagnosis. Also said that car would just stop once timing belt went out.

Could it be the timing belt? All electrical comes on when key is turned, but just doesn't "kick over."


  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    To me it sounds more like a bad starter.

    The EJ25 is an interference engine, though, meaning there could be valves and pistons colliding and preventing it from turning over. So it is possible.
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Member Posts: 166
    Sounds like this could very well be the battery itself. How old is the battery?

    You mention that it hasn't been driven much. The battery is recharged by your alternator as you drive. So, if you haven't driven, you have an old battery, or you've had a lot of cold weather lately, I would think it's quite possible that your battery might have discharged.

    You can check for yourself by opening the hood and peeking in to see the "eye" of the battery. Or, you can try and jump it using another or a neighbor's car (follow your instructions CAREFULLY as connecting the wrong polarities can result in bad things (fire, explosion). If you want a more user-friendly tool, there's a type of adapter that plugs in from one cigarrette/accessory power port into another, but it takes a little while longer.

    Try it, let us know! If it isn't the battery, the clicking sounds like it's pointing towards the starter.
  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,726
    If it isn't the battery, the clicking sounds like it's pointing towards the starter.

    Agreed. Actually, having had a '96 Outback myself, I had a similar problem occur once that seemed to be the starter. The car would either start perfectly fine, or it would do as you say.... "click" (repeatedly) and nothing else. That problem turned out to not be the starter at all, but instead be an ever so slightly loose connection where the negative battery terminal mounts to a plate that is, in turn, held by a starter bolt. The point where the terminal mounted to the plate was fine, but the connection between the plate and the starter bolt was just a tiny bit loose. I pulled it apart, cleaned the metal with a wire brush, and reinstalled to no more problems.

    When I first bought it, it did have a bad starter solenoid (intermittent problems), which can also cause that. Often, you can tap the solenoid with a mallet or hammer while attempting to start and it will engage the starter.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
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