99 legacy wont start no spark - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-06-2012, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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99 legacy wont start no spark

OK so here is the whole story. I have a 99 outback legacy automatic that we changed the head gasket, timing belt and water pump. Put car back together and it did not start. Rembered I had not plugged in cam position sensor. Plugged in sensor and car started but was running rough. Let it run for 30 seconds or minute to see if it would start running better and it didnt. Turned car off and it would not start again. Gave up for the day and tried car again next morning before work. It started right up but rpm's were real high so I shut it off. Since then I have not been able to get it to start. I have no spark. I have triple checked alignment of timing belt and it is fine. I pulled one of the spark plug wires and put spark plug against engine. No spark. Hooked up timing light no light. I have ohmed out the cam and crank position sensors and the coil all ohm out good. I have 12v going to coil when key is turned on. Any ideas what to check? Did i mess up computer or cam sensor when I first tried starting and forgot to plug it in? Gonna look around for OBD code reader to see if I can get code off it to see if that will help.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-06-2012, 12:32 PM
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trip[le check the timing marks, I bet you are a tooth off, this is quite common even pros screw this up from time to time.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-06-2012, 12:36 PM
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hmmm...you might take look at those lugs around the pulley that the crank sensor senses. I've heard of people breaking them off.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-06-2012, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for quick reply. Checked timing belt again for about 10th time and it checks good. Checked lugs around crank sensor and they all seem to be there. I am at a loss
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-06-2012, 03:14 PM
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The ignition circuit on these cars has what is called an Ignitor in line between the ECU and the coil. When it goes bad, it causes a no spark condition, so it's something for you to take a look at. It's mounted on/near the firewall behind the intake manifold. I do not know of a test for it, but some people have removed, cleaned, and reinstalled with success.

Hope you don't have to buy one as it's a pricey little bugger.



From the 1999 Service Manual, diagnostics for a no start condition (611kb file):
http://jdmfsm.info/Auto/Japan/Subaru...5TCD99L493.pdf
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-06-2012, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Roblog that is what I was thinking. I had today off and my son brought his car over which is the same car except it is a 98. I pulled the ignitor off my car and put it in his car and his car started right up. I also pulled my crank and cam position sensors and put in his car and it started right up. I also did the coil and my coil let his car start right up. So it just confirms my sensors, coil and ignitor are good. I ohmed out every fuse in the car just to make sure I am not missing something and all checked good. There are some relays in the fuse box that is located by engine but I am not sure what they do. Its almost like I forgot to plug something in but I dont see what. I have gone over motor several times looking for something unplugged but everything seems ok. I am at a loss. Could the ecm have gone out?
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-06-2012, 09:59 PM
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I know you have already checked and rechecked the timing belt alignment, but ...

One common mistake is mis-aligning the crank sprocket by using the arrow mark on the front of the sprocket instead of the mark on the rear ... see graphic for details.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-06-2012, 10:23 PM
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Another possible (thankfully rare)cause of a no spark condition is a broken crankshaft pulley/harmonic balancer. It is made of two pieces separated by a strip of rubber and has been known to separate with the inner and outer pieces moving out of alignment with each other. I believe this is more likely if a chain wrench was used to hold the pulley when removing the crank bolt. Only fix is a new or wrecking yard pulley.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-07-2012, 01:10 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks again. Went and checked timing belt again and it looks ok aligned to back. Will try and check pulley/harmonic balancer tomorrow. I don't claim to be a great mechanic and I understand how car wouldn't run with timing belt and pulley/balancer problems but how would it not let car create a spark?
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-07-2012, 02:10 AM
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You have a crank and cam sensor. Crank is spark, cam is fuel injection. The two sesnors do compare notes. If things are really out of wack you may not get a spark. You wont get a cel light as that requires the car to actually run to throw one.

Make sure the sprocket that triggers the pulse works and is not damaged at all. the slightest bit of damage can cause a no fire condition .

Test the sensor. Use an analog meter set at the lowest AC reading. Let the engine crank (you need a freind) and look for the AC pulse pattern:

(these are all ish)
0deg-pulse
22deg-pulse
45deg -pulse
180deg-pulse
205deg-pulse
225deg-pulse
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