Inhibitor switch on a 2007 Outback automatic - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-05-2008, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Inhibitor switch on a 2007 Outback automatic

I have been having the same problem with my 2007 Outback. I brought it Dec 31st 07 with 12K on it. After 2 days it refused to start. After towing it to the dealer they replaced the inhibitor switch and things seemed to be fine for a while.

Then about two months later the same thing started to happen. I would turn the key and the electricity comes on but the engine refuses to turn over. I learned that if I push the gear stick hard into park the car starts OK. I took the car to a new dealer and they again replaced the inhibitor switch (claiming that due to corrosion on the switch the previous dealer must have done the work in a damp environment).

The problem still hasn't gone away. Over the past few months it has been getting worse and now that it is getting cold in Illinois it has been happening even more frequently. This afternoon my wife struggled to get the car started even after jamming the gear stick all the way into park.

I have scheduled another appointment with the second dealer for next week but I was wondering if anyone else has seen this problem (I couldn't find anything obvious on these excellent boards, but I wasn't exactly sure I have the correct diagnosis). Maybe I don't have a faulty inhibitor switch!

Any insight from anyone would be much appreciated.



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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-07-2008, 08:07 AM
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if replacing it solved the problem for a time, it seems likely that the diagnosis is correct. not sure how this switch is activated but it's possible that [if it's adjustable] the second switch was not installed correctly.

basically it sounds like the switch either isn't being activated or like they said, the contacts are somehow corroded and not making contact. the second seems unlikely as most switches are solid state and internally greased and relative humidity doesn't usually affect a switch that quickly [if it did, every car in seattle would have the dame issue]

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-07-2008, 06:29 PM
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There is a cable from the gear shift lever inthe cabin to the shift lever on the right side of the transmission. The shift lever engages a slotted lever which is part of the inhibitor switch. As the cable moves the shift lever through the various positions, the lever on the inhibitor switch moves, making and breaking its internal connections.

Check to see if you can start the car with the gear selector in neutral. The inhibitor switch is adjusted so that it’s contacts are closed when the lever is in neutral, and to open when the lever is moved up or down from there by about 1.5 degrees. If the contacts remain closed more in one direction, and open earlier in the other, then the inhibitor switch position has to be adjusted. When the position is correct, the switch should be closed when in Park.

If not, then it’s possible that the shift cable is binding. Also, the inhibitor switch and range select lever that activates it are exposed to the elements. This should not normally be a problem, but it’s also possible that there is dirt or corrosion that is preventing the shift lever from moving fully when the gear shift lever in the cabin is set to Park.

The inhibitor switch is checked by disconnecting it and measuring the continuity between the contacts while varying the position of the gear shift lever in the cabin.
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