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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone.

new to the outback world. Just became recent owner of a 2014 3.6 limited with 41k on the odometer.

engine is having a very rough time starting when cold. It will crank all day long, but takes a solid two to three seconds to turnover. A couple times it wouldn’t start at all, had to shut off radio and heat and wait a couple minutes to try again.

I replaced the battery with a optima red top, still same issue. Wondering if it’s spark pluga?
Had a friend recommend fuel cleaner and premium gas for a while.
Any thoughts? Could it be an alternator issue?

thanks!
Michael
 

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'10 3.6R Outback Limited, 2zr swapped Toyota Yaris track toy, '05 AWD Pontiac Vibe
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start by testing the battery voltage and if possible load test it (the new battery likely isn't the issue however).

Then go on YT and watch some videos on how to test the starter system on a car. You won't need much more than a multi meter and it will rule out bad wires/connections by looking at voltage drop.

I'm also not really clear on your starting issue - you state it cranks but doesn't turn over? I have always considered those things the same. Do you mean the starter spins but doesn't catch the flywheel and turn the engine over? Or do you mean the engine turns over but doesn't start as in a crank but no start condition?
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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What condition are the battery cables? Did you get the ground clamp on tight? Grab it and try to spin it. Most times you have to remove that plastic spacer so the clamp will close up more.

If the cables are corroded this limits electrical flow and effect starting.
 

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2010 Outback 3.6R 2014 Legacy 2.5i 2003 Legacy L special edition (retired to backup)
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does it turn over slow? or does it crank at normal speed? if it cranks over fine, it is not the starter, it if it slow like a low battery slow, starter is toast (assuming battery is fully charged) After doing the above mentioned trouble shooting, throw an amp clamp on it and see what the current draw is during cranking.

do yourself a favor and spend the extra for the OEM starter unless you want to do the job again...

any stored codes for knock sensors? when those go, cranking can take a bit.
 

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@YeuEmMaiMai The starter is not the problem. No way that starter is bad. It has A LOT of miles left in it.

Electricity is the problem.
if the starter it drawing current above spec, that could be an issue. to rule it out, I would amp clamp it and see what the draw is cold.

He also says "but takes a solid two to three seconds to turnover." Now where I come from turn over = engine cranking

if the armature has a dead spot, this could also explain the delay in engine crank.

OP is not clear in regards to what they mean by turns over
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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Low mileage, old battery, weak positive and/or negative cable, these are the symptoms you get. If the car was at 150k miles or more, then I'd check the starter closely and maybe replace it, but only after checking the supply chain.

Ampere draw is going to be high with weak cables or battery. The important thing is the ampere output of the battery, tested cold, without any loads. Then check conductance through the cables to the ground lug, starter, alt case, engine block, intake manifold ground lug, firewall lugs, etc.. This will identify the issue.

Looked at an 06 Outback, 2.5 today. It had a new alternator and communication codes all over the car's systems with low voltage codes right along side them. The battery was 2 years old and crap. Swollen walls, leaking post seals, and low ampere output, below 200A, with 12.4V measuring at the post.
 

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amperage cannot be high with bad cables or batteries. current flow is a direct result of voltage/resistance high current demands low resistance. low current demands high resistance when voltage remains the same, in this case 10-12V during crank.

The more I think about this the more I want to see what his fuel pressure is when the engine cranks and does not fire. OP do us a favor and turn the car ON but do not start, do you year the fuel pump turn on? (might have to have someone turn the key on while you listen at the rear of the car). repeat a few times and make sure the pump is turning on when the key is in the on position. pump should run for a few seconds and then turn off.
 

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In relation to available current in the battery and the resistance in the cables, you will see a large drop. The starter is not the only appliance, input and output, drawing current at start up. The starter will be the largest consumer, but you also have fueling, ignition, lights, emission mgmt, TCM and any accessory that may be on with ignition on. A lack of available amperes in the system effects everything connected to the battery, from start up to shut down.

You ALWAYS start at the battery and cabling, then work your way to the individual parts. Otherwise, your wasting time, and in some cases money if you throw parts at it. And if you are working in a shop, both. Yours and the owner.
 

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That's why you amp clamp it, you get the draw, you can do it twice, once for the main lead off of the battery and then once for the lead going down to the starter. Then you can do some fancy math thing and get some answers. If draw current is within spec.... well move on. Next up is does the car get fuel?

BTW an amp clamp will also give you a good idea of individual cylinder compression as you can analyze the 6 current ramp ups as the engine cranks, if they are not relatively even, u got other issues to tend to as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sorry for the delay in getting back to this thread. To those asking for specifics on symptoms, I have posted a link to me starting car this morning after sitting overnight. As I am not a car guy, I am sort of lost on this except to say I don't think starts should be this much of a struggle.

Link:

3.6r cold start
 

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'10 3.6R Outback Limited, 2zr swapped Toyota Yaris track toy, '05 AWD Pontiac Vibe
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Sorry for the delay in getting back to this thread. To those asking for specifics on symptoms, I have posted a link to me starting car this morning after sitting overnight. As I am not a car guy, I am sort of lost on this except to say I don't think starts should be this much of a struggle.

Link:

3.6r cold start
You're chasing your tail if you want to try and improve that. My 3.6 starts like that almost every time and that is with a new over sized battery and a newly lubricated and cleaned starter and new ground wires.

I will admit it takes an extra turn over or two compared to my 4 cylinder Toyota's I oen/owned but it is normal for the 3.6

Chalk it up as normal and enjoy the fun engine
 

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This post pulled me in. I'm having an issue with starting in cold/wet weather on my 2014 outback. Inconsistent and doesn't always happen. Been round and round with dealership and they say everything is fine...

Video from today ->

Any thoughts?
 

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I noticed the extra turn over or two myself when I first purchased my 3.6 - a quick search of this forum turned up multiple discussions suggesting that it's perfectly normal.
 

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The engine is turning over quite well (not sluggish) and I can tell it took a little longer to “fire up” than I would think is normal (maybe only one half revolution more than normal).

I would suggest you try some fuel injector cleaner as the injectors could be dirty if you have not been using premium grade fuel.

I notice my 2011 3.6 responds well to a dose of injector cleaner every now and then, which reminds me it is probably due for a dose about now.

Seagrass
 

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here at -20F car starts fine. in the summer I plan on changing out the fuel pump assembly for a new one because at 140K it is due...
 
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