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Subaru Outback/Legacy Starting Issues



  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    98 Legacy running rough first thing in AM, CEL on, P0303, cylinder 3 misfire.
    136K on car, had new plugs and wires at 120K. What could it be? Coil problem?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Could be; could also be a fuel injector problem.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Since you already changed the plugs and wires, the next thing to try, both in terms of likelihood and low cost, is the ignition coil. It was $80 for my Forester, and fixed that exact code, even on the same cylinder!
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    thanks wes and juice, will get coil tomorrow
  • PZEV vehicles can be sold in any of the sates. Your dealer can order you one if they do not have one available. We have been getting some in stock and are in a non-PZEV state. The ectended PZEV warranty is only good though if the car is in a PZEV state.
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    my dealer ordered one for me, took about 6 weeks to get it. You get a nice PZEV logo on the back under the Outback. Have not noticed any of the rough running issues others with PZEV have had.
    My neighbour who just got a Prius (to add to his stable of an Escalade , Carrera and E500!) is upset I have a PZEV too like his Prius! I still think the household fuel economy in my household beats his even with my little Winnebago dragging me down!
  • nano7nano7 Posts: 1
    I drive a 1993 subaru legacy wagon.
    One day i was driving along and the car started to smoke from the hood. It had a sort of burning rubber smell. As i drove up the road my car starting chugging and when i would give it gas nothing would happen. then while driving it shut down, and now it won't start again. when we turn the key on the car tries to start but it doesn't.
    Please help, and thanks in advance for your help.

  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Are your belts intact? If the exposed belts are intact then it's likely the timing belt that went on you. But it could be something totally different w/o much info to go on.

  • I have a starting issue in our 2000 Subaru that has never happened before
    last month. Cold weather seems to be the trigger. New battery, still problem. I also notice "clicking" sound when I "move" the shifter to the right getting ready to engage
    it. Lights seem to be dimer...
    On these sights i see everyone, for the most part getting new batteries with the same problems coming back...
    Surely someone has solved this issue?
    edbaseball :sick:
  • Did you ever get this resolved? It sounds like what is happening to us and i have read many postings and concluded:
    1. Already replaced battery
    2.Replace solenoid and or "relay"
    3. Replace starter?
    4. One person replaced electrical system?(not doing :( that)
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Tighten your alternator belt and/or replace the alternator, that sounds like the issue to me.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • Hi, I need to change the fuel pump in my friends 1995 Legacy wagon, I don't have the shop manuel. Is the fuel pump under the back seat, or do I have to take the gas tank out. I need to change the fuel filter too. Any tips would help.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Fuel filter is on the driver's side under the hood. It's a black canister with a bunch of hoses going into it.

    For the fuel pump remove the back seat and then access the hatch on the passenger side of the car. The fuel pum assembly is located under there and lifts out. Fairly easy swap.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • On the way for my first oil change the car would not start. It acted like the the battery was dead I tried to jump start it. I tried several times to no prevail I even had our company mechanic try; nothing, so he told me to take it out of park and put it in gear then back in park and it just started right up, but this that time without a jump. The dealer could not figure it out. Any help would be appreciate.
  • I have a 08 Legacy PSEV and when I start it for the first time in the morning it is very loud shakes and rumbles. It quiets down after the engine warms up. My neighbors think it is very troubling. PS it is very loud. Thanks in advance
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Well, that sounds like the shift interlock did not engage for some reason the first time around. Unusual for sure; if it happens again, you should mention the shift interlock to the dealer and see if they will replace or inspect it for you.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    There is a TSB available regarding cold-starts on the PZEV models. It does not mention anything about it being very loud, though. Below is the text of the TSB to which I refer, and a link to the site is here. In what part of the country do you live?

    "This bulletin is for informational purposes only.
    If you encounter a customer complaint about an idle fluctuation (“hunting”) during cold starts which generally last about 20 to 30 seconds the cause is a combination of factors.
    Some of these are:
    • Fuel blends
    • Percentage of Ethanol content of the fuel being used
    • Temperature
    • Narrow operating range of the Air Fuel Ratio Sensor
    The main cause of this idle fluctuation is fuel related and not the vehicle.
    PZEV engines are designed to run on fuel blended for distribution within certain areas of the U.S. (such as the state of California). Fuels available in other markets, that may have adopted
    California emission standards, may be a slightly different blend. If you live in any other state than California, your vehicle will operate on gasoline meeting Federal specifications. However, PZEV vehicles may experience this issue especially during the summer months when summer blend fuels are distributed. There is no effect on vehicle emissions, and no short or long term damage will occur due to this issue.
    The condition may be reduced or eliminated by changing to a fuel that contains a lesser percentage or no Ethanol. Also, a light throttle application while the vehicle is exhibiting this condition will stabilize the idle. As we move towards cooler weather many areas of the country will be changing to a winter blend of fuel which may also alleviate the condition.
    If this condition is confirmed, no repair attempts should be performed beyond confirmation and checking all other systems are operating within design parameters."
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • tswitztswitz Posts: 3
    Very helpful TSB. Thanks for posting. We just took delivery on an '08 PZEV Legacy yesterday. Appreciate the input!

    Tom :)
  • rallyfan,

    I have had this problem for the past 6 months or so. It was intermittent and really annoying. Finally, a dealership in Ohio found the problem, allegedly known by Subaru. They called it a "shift linkage" problem and described it as: "...the computer returns a message as the car is in gear hence it doesn't start when the key is turned in the ignition". If needed I can get more details from the dealership.
  • I have a 2.2 wo/turbo that refuses to start. I have had the Starter and Alternator tested.The Alt. was bad so I replaced it. I put it on and it started maybe five times. Went to start it the next day and all it will do is click. Yes the Battery is brand new too. It's a good little car, I don't want to junk it. I need it running. :confuse:
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925

    Does it click once, or repeatedly?

    You should check the connection of the negative battery lead, where it connects to a bracket that mounts on/near the starter. There are two points that need to be tight here, and if one of them is ever so slightly loose, it can cause the car to periodically not want to start (I would get a repeating click). If it is a single click, then likely the starter solenoid is bad. Try starting the car while someone taps lightly on the solenoid with a mallet or hammer. I know, it seems weird, but if the solenoid is hanging up while trying to engage the starter, it can result in the vehicle starting! If the tapping does help, replace the starter as soon as possible.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Our wonderful '93 Legacy wagon has over 300,000 miles on it, and has given us few problems. But there is one problem that has started happening when the weather gets cooler. It's nearly impossible to shift into Drive. One can push the release in, but it doesn't work as usual; there's a small black button located in front of the shift lever, and pushing that while continuing to push the release button, and simultaneously attempting to get the gearshift into Drive eventually will work. (What it does is put the car into "manual," as a small sign on the dash saying "manual" lights up when the black button's pushed.) I have arthritis in my hands, and it is quite difficult for me to do all these tasks at once! Is there some simple "cure" anyone knows about?
  • I have a 2000 outback. Recently I'll go to start it and sometimes it will start right up, other times I turn the key and all the dash lights, radio etc. comes on, but the engine does not turn over at all. It doesn't make a sound. I can turn the key 5, 10, even 15 times or more before it will suddenly start up on the umpth try. Is this a starter motor problem?

    Any suggestions?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That would be my guess...
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    This was a fairly common issue for a few years. I had it in my 1996 Outback, and have come across several local Subaru owners (same generation, 1995-1999) suffering the same issue. It may be a faulty starter solenoid (mine seems to have been), but replacing it does not cure the problem in all cases.

    I would, however, start there.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I just went to our local "all batteries all the time" store and had the battery in my fob replaced as was the first suggestion of my mechanic. Unfortunately, to no avail. I hopped in my car this morning and it started just fine, drove out to my barn to care for my horses and about an hour later hopped in and expected her to just start on up again and nothing. No radio, no clock, no click, no build up of fuel. It seems like the security system is involved somehow and the car is reacting like its being stolen, but there's no loud horn, no locking doors. I am sure the fob is in good working order, but what do I do about my car? Its been in regular maintenance since the day I bought her, she just got a new battery no more than 4 months ago. Gas tank is half full. She just refuses to start. I called a dealership and all they could recommend was to disconnect and clean the battery terminals. Any ideas from any folks out there? :confuse:
  • I just bought a 2003 subaru legacy sedan and there was a bit of a noise when I bought it, but i just thought this was the norm for with the cold, it has been worse, but does not go seem to go away. There also seems to be a very quite whine now as well. Anyone any ideas what the problem could be?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Can you describe the "bit of a noise?" I almost want to say piston slap, but that has rather distinctive characteristics so a better description from you could pin it down.

    The whine may be a pulley bearing, but I could not tell you on what. It could be an accessory or a timing belt pulley.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I've got a '96 legacy AWD wagon. Cold starts are fine, but if I shut it down after the engine is warm, it won't restart. wait 20 to 30 minutes and it will start. thoughts?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    Yeah, that is a tricky one.... Mine did this as well - for years. I always said that it was not an "errand" car, as you never knew when it was going to leave you sitting. My general rule for it was that if it failed to start after its normal 2-3 cranks, I would wait 5 minutes then try again. It would normally start the 3rd or 4th try (10-15 minutes of waiting), but sometimes would take as long as 30-40 minutes! That was okay during the summer, but very frustrating at -40F. :surprise:

    Ultimately, though, I ended up having the knock sensor go out. When that happened, I replaced the knock sensor and, on a whim, the crank and camshaft sensors at the same time. After that, I no longer had the cold start issues associated with the faulty knock sensor, but also had no more problems with the no-start situation. I have no idea whether doing this on yours would alleviate the problem for you or which sensor it was that may have actually been the root of the problem, but this was my experience.

    Good luck - I know how frustrating it is, especially because it would not throw a code in the computer and therefore no shop was able/willing to diagnose it. I spent hundreds of dollars on shops trying to figure this one out before I finally gave up and decided to live with it. If I knew I was going to only be at a place for 30 minutes or less, I would usually leave the car running to avoid having to deal with it. Four years passed before the knock sensor issue finally came along and fixing it had the very happy side effect of eliminating the no-start problem.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
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