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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hello everyone, my name is William, everyone calls me Will. i am having an issue with my 03 outback wagon 2.5. a little history. i rebuilt it 58k ago, full rebuild. so throw out bearing went out a week ago. i pulled engine and replaced clutch kit. while it was out, i went ahead and did valve cover gaskets and rear main, only because i had it out. I reinstalled engine. everytthing went perfect. went to start her up and it cranks and cranks , no start. everything is hooked back up the way it was 100% correct. all 3 grounds correct and good and clean, top line to fuel rail is correct to line off fuel filter. i have 40 psi fuel pressure. i can get it to start on ether and once it fires off , it runs and drives perfect. shut it off, no start, act as if out of time. I yanked off the timing cover thinking i guess anything is possible. marks are dead on! i have no security warning light or anything of that wierd nature. im at my wits end as i didnt do anything other than install clutch kit and replace valve and rear main seal. it has to be something dead simple but i cant figure it out. i have gotten an cpk {crank shaft position sensor} code a couple times during cranking. i replaced it and cam sensor for shits and giggles to no avail. i have checked , triple and qaudruple checked all connections , vac lines , etc , even though none of that was messed with. Thank you all for any help !!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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have you tried starting fluid?

another thought:
one of the things that happens on such projects, the gas in the car gets condensation water in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
eagleye, yes, it will start with ether, once fires off it, runs perfect, getting to fire off without starting fluid is the issue. no problem with water in fuel here. was only down for 2 days to begin with.
 

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and it runs fine forever after a start on ether. ( no missing at all?)

is this in a cold garage or outside? is it humid from snow?

or inside a warm / dry garage?

what do you got for engine oil viscosity in it ?

what do you got for plugs? what do you got for plug wires? (ages on those).

(subarus like NGK, I have NGK double plats in my H4 car, still pretty cheap as they are so small).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
5 w 20 mobile 1 since day 1, heated garage around 60 deg , it will start but backfire slightly using ether, after it starts, runs perfectly fine and drives perfectly fine., has oem ngk plugs, ran perfectly fine and started fine before i replaced clutch and put it back together, ive checked the harness for bent pins , moisture etc , all good. i replaced crank sensor and cam sensor becuase while cranking , occasionally it will throw crankshaft code. timing is dead on. it just will NOT start or even act as if its getting fuel while cranking. like its in some sort of security mode, but , i have no flashing security light or anything of that nature.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
now your at least making me wonder about wires, plugs and wires only have 58 k on them since i rebuilt engine. but i did change valve cover gaskets while i had engine out. maybe , i didnt get one of the wires on solid when i put back together and it cant relearn because its misfiring during cranking and throwing cranks sensor code now and then??????????? if you think youre stumped, imagine how i feel , ive went over every single ground, harness connector , checked fuel pressure, but i havent repulled plug wires. its got to be something simple and stupid and i cant for the life of me get it figured out. Im a pretty good wrench, been doing it since i was literally 12 yrs old.
 

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did you try jumping it off a wall charger or a known great battery? (wondering if what you got is just a little wonky, and not cranking the starter fast enough).

or if the starter is getting tired. or the wire to the starter is not great anymore. (not sure if light tapping will make such things turn any faster).

(I just replaced a 2002 starter with one I found in a subaru rotting in a field, and never a bad start ever on the original 2002, ...that one would not turn at all, tapping did not help ...beware if you are out to find a used starter to try, subaru changed #s on manual trans more then automatics...so look up the item 23300AA40A I see that as 98-2004 legacy / legacy outback/ baja manuals, no forester or impreza).


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I wonder what the plugs look like, the OEM low cost choice on NGK plug only lasts 30,000 miles.
(like they are getting old and worn, or sooty).

edit: I would keep plug wires on this for 60,000 miles. (would keep NGK double plat plugs for 60,000 too).

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@traildogck you park and work in a warm garage like this, what is this missing that it starts with ether?
 

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scan for pending codes

after it has run from an ether start, will it restart and run without ether? That is, does it only seem to fail starting after it sits for some time? If so, try turning the key from OFF to ON (but not START) several times like; On, wait for a 4 count, Off, On, wait, Off, On, wait, Off, START . maybe the fuel rails are losing pressure and this test should power-up the fuel pump a few times before starting.

maybe engine temp sensor ???
 

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does it start again and run fine if the engine is warm to near operating temp ?

seeing as how it is a manual, I wonder if in a no start situation would start if you ran it down a little grade to pop start it .
(I have seen old manual beater jeeps that had dead starters in them for years, just had to leave them on a slight graded driveway).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
no, to either question, it wont start easily at all even after operating temp. it will just crank and crank, very seldom did i get it to start using just key. after about 30 seconds of cranking it will hit but not start. fuel pressure just key on , no cranking around 44 psi, while running around 38 psi. you really have me thinking plug wire issue. they were **** trying to get off when i did valve gaskets, i dont think they broke but may well could have. has me thinking its setting crank sensor code when its backfiring. when i say back firing, its not a full on back fire , just a little pop about every 30 seconds. shoot it with either, it will start right up. im gonna grab a set of wires in the morning and put them on tomorrow after work . you guys have no idea how much i appreciate the fresh line of thinking here!!
 

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usually the tell that the plug wires are going is when the car gets in a damp condition and it won't start or you get misfires.

as the casings on the plug wires are old and brittle and getting exposed to the air vs. insulating and sealing it out. when its damp they start to create a problem.
 
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well, it may be worth the hassle to check for the cap/o-ring problem on the fuel pump. seems unlikely, but maybe this is the beginning of a bigger issue?
 

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well, it may be worth the hassle to check for the cap/o-ring problem on the fuel pump. seems unlikely, but maybe this is the beginning of a bigger issue?
I was thinking might be something like that and the pump is building pressure, but getting air in the lines too.

maybe combined with a gummy throttle body, and the addition of the ether is eliminating the pressure build up and letting it flow.

BUT, once going it runs it runs fine. no rising / falling rpm.

so that gets back to sensors and the specific things that have to be set and ready to make a good start.

I have been so lucky for 25 or so years to not have these kind problems.
I have never used ether on a car that I owned. ....small engines yes, other people's old junk cars yes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
i will definitley let you guys know what i figure out tomorrow. I hear what your saying about ether as well, its not a habit i use. i was at a loss , almost still am, it just seemed to me to be too coincidental that the car has been fine since i rebuilt it 3 yrs ago, bought it for 400 bucks , found me a block and went to work on it. junky autozone throw out bearing failed last week, so i got a new kit , pulled motor in 40 minutes. found it had blown left axle boot, so i bit the bullet and picked up both axles and struts and stuck them in. restabbed motor, started right up , let it run an hr, test drove it, parked it. went in the next morning to take for alignment and this happened. been pulling my hair out ever since. if wires and plugs dont give any relief tomorrow, i may bite an even bigger bullet and have it towed to one of my accounts {subaru shop} and have him tell me how dumb i am. i can drive it over there if i start it off starting fluid but im not willing to chance screwing something worse. i have been over and over timing at least 5 times rolling it over and checking alignment of marks, they are dead set, no if ands or buts. its absolutely either spark or fuel, i dont think fuel because it runs perfect once i get it started. no codes , no nothing. no pending codes. only time i can get it to throw a code, ckp code, is when it finally pops after cranking like forever on it. it has ran and still does run like a sewing machine once it gets started. before doing the clutch, it wouldnt even crank 1 revolution and fired right up, gets 26 mpg in the mountains of colorado here. if its these wires, im gonna take the old ones , make a rope and choke myself with them :p
 

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You said you replaced the CAM and Crank sensors when it was apart?

What CKP code does it throws?

Put the old ones back in and double check wiring. You may need to hook up FreeSSM or another scanner to monitor for crank signal.
 

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How is the starting fluid ("ether") being injected, and what, if anything, is removed or disconnected to enable the fluid to be sprayed into the intake that is restored after the engine starts?

After reading through the thread, I'm with the others wondering about the fuel supply/pressure.

I understand the fuel pressure was checked with the key turned to On but the engine not running, and again after the engine was started with the starter fluid. Where exactly was the gauge "T'ed" into the fuel system for this (at the fuel rail, before or after the fuel filter etc), and was it also read while cranking when the engine would not start on its own?

During cold engine cranking, the injector pulse width (PW) can be much longer than when the engine is running, including during WOT pulls. (On my 07, it can be as high as 50 ms when cranking, but nowhere near that during WOT acceleration.) If the fuel pressure in the rails drops during cranking due to the significantly longer injector PW, the fuel might not be atomized properly and won't ignite in the cylinders. The starter fluid is sprayed directly into the intake (pending description of how this was done), so it's already atomized and that enables the engine to start. Once it does start, the injector PW is much reduced, which might then be enough to sustain higher fuel pressure in the rails behind the injectors to keep the engine running. Consequently, the pressure at the rails during cranking (when it doesn't start on its own) could be an indicator.

Okay, that explanation might be too far off the wall, but it leads me to the question: What's different when using the spray versus normal starting in this case? The ignition wires are the same, the cam and crank sensors are the same, the coil is the same etc. Is it only the fuel being injected into the intake manifold, with nothing else being moved and/or disconnected to accommodate the spray?
 

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scan for pending codes after a failed start attempt?

guys - is it remotely possible a broken 'tab' on the rear of the crank sprocket could act like this? cause some weird intermittent sparking until rpms get up ???

I have read once of 'debris' stuck on a CPS causing problems. I guess iron filings collected on it and it was causing misfiring.
 

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this car is new enough free Rom-Raider should work, (with a $10 Vag cable, and a windows laptop).

or maybe one of the pro-shops that was just mentioned can see if it is running too rich or too lean when it is running.

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if the ether is being injected at the air intake. maybe the problem lies right up there, and the injection of the chemical is altering something enough to make a start.

(sensors up there, the cables up there).

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if there are 58,000 mile spark plugs and wires on this, now maybe a time to tackle maint. items. (and I wonder what the air filter looks like).

Subaru maintenance schedules and new car break-in period- 2000 through 2009, links for 2010, 2011...
 
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