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2003 LL Bean 3.0l
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Around a year ago, the car began to get hard to start sometimes. When we turnd the key, the starter wouldn't begin to crank for a second or two, but the car always started. I checked for loose electrical connections and starter bolts, but all was fine.

Sometime last summer, the CEL came on after a delayed start and stayed on for varying amounts of time before resetting. I finally took it to the dealer and had the crank position sensor replaced. Several days later, the same old problem began coming back. It's been a few months since I had the sensor replaced. This evening, it started for my wife after a short delay, then she shut it off to retrieve something she'd forgetting from her office. When she came back, she held the key for 20-30 seconds before it finally started to crank. Once it started, the CEL was on again.

Anyone else had this problem or have any ideas?

Gregg Chapman
2003 LL Bean Wagon
H6 Auto
~165K Miles
 

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Premium Member
03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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18,114 Posts
could be worn contacts in the starter solenoid or battery cables corroded.

if someone could use a piece of wood and strongly tap on the starter next time cranking is 'delayed' to see if it starts cranking, that would be diagnostic.

checking the voltage across the battery while cranking might be a good test for cables.
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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15,483 Posts
The starter won't set a code.

What's the code(s)?

And to clarify, is it taking a while for the starter to engage and turn the engine or is it a delay in the time the engine actually starts running?
 

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2003 LL Bean 3.0l
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your replies!
The cables are clean and tight. The delay is from the time the key is turned until the starter begins to crank (i.e. turn the key and nothing happens for as long as 30 seconds or so). I don't know what the codes are...did I see a post somewhere that mentioned one of the car stores will read codes?
 

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2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
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672 Posts
If you can, go to Advance Auto Parts to have codes read. For some reason, Autozone's scanners seem to be hit or miss.
 

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2003 LL Bean 3.0l
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I finally went to a store to have the code read and it shows the crankshaft position sensor. Since I posted, the CEL has come on once or twice, but not often. The starter delay has been no more than a second or two lately. Any thoughts?
 

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Premium Member
01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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15,483 Posts
Again, are we referring to the engine does not turn over or it does not start. Turning over is turning without running. Starting is running without your key in start position.
 

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2003 LL Bean 3.0l
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Sorry I haven't been clear enough, cardoc. The short answer is that the engine sometimes does not turn over initially, but it does turn over and starts eventually.

In a little more detail: When we turn the key to the start position, there is often a period of time during which nothing happens before the starter starts to turn, as if we hit a "pause" button (we simply hold the key in the start position until is starts to turn). Once it does start to turn, the motor turns over and the engine starts and runs as if there was no problem. The CEL sometimes comes on when this happens, but not always. Much of the time, the car starts without any noticeable anomaly.

I hope that helps. Let me know...and thanks for your help! :)
 

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2003 LL Bean 3.0l
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
1 Lucky Texan: I'm sorry, I don't remember what the code was! I'll go by the store again when I'm out this afternoon.
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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15,483 Posts
Either the battery ground is bad, battery positive is bad, the battery is bad or a combination of the three.

Its a connection issue and that connection issue is most likely why you have a code, or codes on the car.

03, 10 years old, 165k miles. Change the ground cable to the block at the starter mount position, add a 4 gauge cable from the negative to the upper rear AC bolt, clean the grounds on the left fender by the battery, firewall by the booster, firewall above the pitch stop, right fender, ABS ground, lug on the right injector cover, lug on the manifold runner for cyl 5, and the lug on the runner for cyl 6 (back side).

In disconnecting the battery, the ECM will reset. If your battery is good, doubtful with weak connections, the car will start proptly. Poor connections will also cuse poor battery charging and alternator function, so it will most likely be a good thing to just get a new battery while your at it.

Let us know how it turns out, please.
 

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2002 VDC 440k - 2009 WRX 115k
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227 Posts
My 02 H6 does this EXACT same thing sometimes... I finally got around to cleaning all the ground wires on the engine and it helped a lot but didn't solve it completely. I also replaced the battery last year, it got better for awhile but didn't fix it.

The code is P0335 for crankshaft position sensor. On my car it throws the code when the key is held in the start position for about 5 seconds when the starter isn't cranking.

If the CPS was actually bad it would crank fine but the engine wouldn't run. Whenever mine does this I just clear the code with my scangauge, it is just a symptom of whatever wiring issue is causing the problem.

I still haven't completely solved it :confused:. Sometimes it cranks and starts as soon as I turn the key, sometimes I have to hold the key for 2-3 seconds before it cranks. Even rarer it doesn't crank at all and that is when it throws a P0335.

I wired in a switch from the battery positive directly to the starter solenoid, it cranks instantly every time when I use my backup switch and starts with no problem - even if it didn't start with the key.

I'm still convinced it's a ground issue somewhere but with my kludge in place I haven't really felt like spending the time to track it down.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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5,947 Posts
Anytime the starter does not turn but the battery power otherwise seems normal, don't forget to try starting it in N. Don't be afraid to hold the key in 'start' and move the shifter.

The electrical interface/switch position on the trans is adjustable and might be a bit off.
 

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2017 3.6R Limited (Wifes), 2009 3.0R Limited 125k (Mine)
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241 Posts
Anyone figure this out? My 01 does the exact same thing. Thanks.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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Have you tried starting it in N? Holding the key in the start position while moving the shifter through the gears? (foot on brake! heh)
 

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2017 3.6R Limited (Wifes), 2009 3.0R Limited 125k (Mine)
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241 Posts
Have you tried starting it in N? Holding the key in the start position while moving the shifter through the gears? (foot on brake! heh)
I have not. I will try that next time it acts up. Thanks.
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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2,439 Posts
Sounds like a bad ground (usually at the battery) or a bad starter.

The subaru ground cables at the battery have a tendency to stretch over time and the ground cable will then not hold tight enough to the negative battery post. Although you cannot reverse the stretching process there is a piece of plastic/rubber in the ground strap. If you remove the bolt you can remove this piece of rubber. Once this is gone you will be able to get your ground strap tighter.

I have had to do this on all my Subaru's at some point in time.
 

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2017 3.6R Limited (Wifes), 2009 3.0R Limited 125k (Mine)
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241 Posts
Sounds like a bad ground (usually at the battery) or a bad starter.

The subaru ground cables at the battery have a tendency to stretch over time and the ground cable will then not hold tight enough to the negative battery post. Although you cannot reverse the stretching process there is a piece of plastic/rubber in the ground strap. If you remove the bolt you can remove this piece of rubber. Once this is gone you will be able to get your ground strap tighter.

I have had to do this on all my Subaru's at some point in time.
Not to steal this thread but I will check the ground again. I did go through all the grounds a few months back. It times will go weeks and not act up but then it will happen. The starter sounds logical since it will land right at the dead spot from time to time. The car does have over 200k so it would not surprise me that it is bad. Seems like the H6 starter would not be too hard to replace since you can get to it from up top. Any DIY’er tackle this? Looks like two bolts and the hot. If anyone has swapped this did you go aftermarket, rebuild or OEM? I’m inclined to go Subaru but open to suggestions.
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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2,439 Posts
Starter is easy to replace. I would only consider Denso reman. Other than Subaru OE a new starter is not available in the aftermarket.

Most of the time the starters stop working because the starter contacts go bad and wear out. Those can be replaced if you have access to a alternator repair shop that can sell you some.
 
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