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Newest- 05 OB 2.5 XT Silver * 94 Loyale Teal * 90 Legacy L Silver * 81 DL Silver (of course)
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm not sure I am ready for the 21 century! We bought this 05 OB to replace our 1990 Legacy that has 322k miles on it, last month. We had to take a 2000-mile trip the week after we bought it and got pretty crappy mileage the entire journey. About 20 mpg on the highway. Also thought it was idling rough.

When we got home we thought maybe it needed a tune up and thought the spark plugs seemed to be a good place to start. After the winning the spark plug fight, turned the key and all the pretty lights came on but the engine wouldn't turn over. Thoght maybe it had to do with having the battery unhooked but looked up the reset info in the shop manual- turning the key 3x, throwing salt over your left shoulder... and that didn't make any difference.

I've been reading about other folks' problems for several hours now. There seems to be alot of wisdom on this forum. If anyone has a possible fix I would love to hear about it. Thanks!
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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6,164 Posts
Did it crank but not fire, or was it not even cranking?

If the latter, I would concentrate on the battery cables, especially if they have never been replaced. They might have been marginal with the copper internally corroded to the point that any slight disturbance (e.g. unhooking and then re-hooking the battery) caused them to be near open - but not so much that the computer and the dash lights don't work.

If it cranks but doesn't fire, it''s probably something you did with the plug replacements - perhaps coil packs or even too much stress on the plug wiring.

Any codes thrown?
 

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2005 OBXT Limited, VF37, STI intake, 5MT
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1,553 Posts
Assuming "won't turn over" means no crank.

Is the car automatic or manual? Any clicking/grinding/snapping heard while trying to start?
 

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Outback 2.0XT, Audi TTq, Ducati M750
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318 Posts
So I'll ask the obvious - did you confirm the wires were plugged in correctly? The white plugs go on the front coilpacks, the black plugs go on the rear, and swapping those would definitely prevent startup.
 
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2013 BRZ 2005 OBXT
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231 Posts
Another thing to check did you check to make sure your battery is fully charged and nothing weird happened to accidentally discharge the battery?
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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16,120 Posts
My vote is for a bad main ground, the one to the starter. If no-crank, nothing? Bad Ground.
 

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2005 OBXT Ltd Obsidian Black 5MT
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1,079 Posts
2,000 mile drive on a new to you XT? :eek:

So the good news is that terrible gas mileage probably is normal. These get, properly tuned, about 17-22mpg, maybe just a little better on the highway, but not by much. I'm working on getting mine tuned and I'm averaging about 15mpg in the city.

When you go to crank the engine are you getting the starter to engage and turn the engine over, but the engine doesn't start, or is nothing happening when you turn the key? If nothing is happening, check to make sure the gear shift is fully in park (if auto). Try moving the gear selector out of park, down to drive and back to park a couple times. The interlock might not see that it's fully in park.

The other thought is as @traildogck said, check the cables to the starter. Is it cold where you are? Under 40*F overnight? The starters on these have a history of the grease gumming up inside in cold weather and causing the starter to not engage.
 

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Newest- 05 OB 2.5 XT Silver * 94 Loyale Teal * 90 Legacy L Silver * 81 DL Silver (of course)
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Discussion Starter #10
Sorry for the poor use of terms! The car is a manual transmission 5-speed. The starter turns over and it is getting gas. Changed the coil packs. Checked the wires to the plugs.

The shop manual talks about clearing the memory after you changed the plugs, which I thought would happen when the battery was unhooked. Don't have a 'Subaru Select Monitor' or a general scan tool but I read in another thread about how to have the codes come up on the dash so will try that next. Does the memory have to be cleared in order for te car to start?

We live in northeast Wyoming. This time of year it might not make it to 40° during the day so if the grease gets gummy in the starter in cold weather and it doesn't engage, I'd better get a block heater. (In fact it is snowing right now.)

Thanks for the suggestions. The car is not at the house so it takes some time to check things out. Appreciate your help.
 

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2005 OBXT Ltd Obsidian Black 5MT
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Living on the knife edge.
I mean, I can hardly talk. I drove mine 600+ miles home the day I bought it. :surprise:

But now I know more.
 

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Newest- 05 OB 2.5 XT Silver * 94 Loyale Teal * 90 Legacy L Silver * 81 DL Silver (of course)
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Discussion Starter #12
Aside from DOJs, the Subarus we've had have been very dependable. I expected this one to be also. LOL From what I've been reading here I may have been blinded by the (pretty dashboard) light.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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16,120 Posts
Aside from DOJs, the Subarus we've had have been very dependable. I expected this one to be also. LOL From what I've been reading here I may have been blinded by the (pretty dashboard) light.
Another word for CEL?

Say it isn't so ... Whats the code?
 

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Newest- 05 OB 2.5 XT Silver * 94 Loyale Teal * 90 Legacy L Silver * 81 DL Silver (of course)
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Discussion Starter #14
I was actually talking about the vast number of lights on the dash- not a CEL.

There is a video on how to get the codes to come up on the dash posted on this site. Since we don't have a reader that's what we'll try next.

I am still curious about "clearing the memory". Does that have to be done after changing the plugs?
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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16,120 Posts
I was actually talking about the vast number of lights on the dash- not a CEL.

There is a video on how to get the codes to come up on the dash posted on this site. Since we don't have a reader that's what we'll try next.

I am still curious about "clearing the memory". Does that have to be done after changing the plugs?
That's good news then.

And no, there is no clearing necessary. If there was a power issue, or dead battery ... you already reset the ecu. It will do it's normal learning for 10-15min worth of driving.
 

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Newest- 05 OB 2.5 XT Silver * 94 Loyale Teal * 90 Legacy L Silver * 81 DL Silver (of course)
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Discussion Starter #16
Looked for the wires w/white ends like the video shows but there aren't any in the fuse box. None under the glove box either. The instructions are pretty specfic for 05, 06-09 but there aren't any in this car.

How much do the code readers cost?
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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How much do the code readers cost?
Free to borrow at a lot of parts stores. If you want to take it home to read codes from a non-operating vehicle, they might want a deposit, though.

But try the procedure you saw in the video first.
 

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Newest- 05 OB 2.5 XT Silver * 94 Loyale Teal * 90 Legacy L Silver * 81 DL Silver (of course)
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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Headed back out to try it again. If we still can't find where they tucked the wires- the shop manual we have says it is under the glove box but no luck there.

It seems like a fair deal if a parts store would want a deposit. Can't blame them. We'll try THAT in the morning if we can't locate the wires.

Does your cat like to drive? LOL We had a silver tabby who use to sit on the dash when he rode in the car. He'd wince whenever we went under an overpass.

I do appreciate all of the suggestions. Forums like this are the best use of social media there is. Thank you all for your help.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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16,120 Posts
Under the passenger footwell carpet, for green test connectors
 

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turned the key and all the pretty lights came on but the engine wouldn't turn over.
The starter turns over . .
Based on the above quotes (the only two I could find regarding what's happening), it's not apparent whether or not the engine is being turned by the starter motor when the ignition switch is at Start.

Pending clarification, this thread -- http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/66-problems-maintenance/44728-need-some-help-seriously.html -- might be relevant. In the thread, when the ignition switch was turned to Start, the starter motor itself did not run and, of course, the engine itself wasn't being turned. The problem was eventually traced to a bad crank position sensor. If the symptom in the current case is the same, then perhaps the connector to the crank position sensor was disturbed during the spark plug work, or the sensor just happened to fail at that time, as in the linked thread.

And, here's another 2005 no-start thread, that has the same troubleshooting characteristics, all the way back to the connection between the BIU connection and the security relay, but the final resolution isn't reported. http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...37-05-outback-dead-battery-no-start-help.html
 
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