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Bought a used '96 OBW w/ 175k miles a few months ago and I'm having trouble. The car always starts when it's cold. However, sometimes when it's hot, it won't start. Then wait 10 minutes or so and it starts right up.

I'll make a short stop somewhere (like to pick up milk) and when I get back to the car everything seems to work fine: fuel pump, radio, AC, lights, instrument cluster, etc. Then, when I turn it on, I hear the click behind the dash (starter relay?) and the solenoid clicks but the starter does not turn on at all. Then I wait a little while and it will start no problem. This happens ~25% of the time when the car is hot.

I replaced the starter with a new one (not rebuilt) but that doesn't fix the problem. I tried hitting the new starter with a mallot but no luck. Battery, alternator and starter checked out OK at the Autozone.

Anyone have any idea what it could be? Thanks in advance for your help!
 

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some thoughts;

intermittent crank angle sensor


does it seem to run rich? if so; bad Engine Temp Sensor (might be separate, might be built into the Temp Gauge sender)


next time you feel it 'shouldn't' start - try cycling the key off - past acc - to ON (but not start) wait 5 seconds, then do that 2-3 more times. Then try to start. If it seems better, then for some reason, you're losing fuel pressure.

I assume no CEL? If the light is on, get the code read.
 

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Thanks for you help Texan. No CEL so no codes to read.

Unless I am not understanding something correctly, I'm pretty sure it doesn't have to do with fuel mix, etc.

When the car won't start it just doesn't turn over. Sounds like the solenoid gets the signal because it clicks. So I don't think the problem is with the mix, sensors, etc.
 

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yeah - dunno what I was thinking.

could be a neutral safety problem. try starting in neutral with foot on brake instead of park.

it's a pretty old car - battery cables would certainly be suspect.

and try jiggling the key - maybe the ignition switch is intermittent.

that's about all I can think of.
 

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Fuel pressure regulator? Ive had one fail on a 99 impreza outback with the 2.2. Was doing the same thing.

What about the battery? I know they check out. It might be worth switching it with another to see if thats an issue, even if it did check out ok.
 

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I have the exact same problem. 1996 Subaru Legacy Outback. When the weather is cold, no problem. When the weather is hot, after you turn off the car for a few minutes, and then try to start it, there is one click and then nothing. If you are lucky, and you try turning the key a few times, something magical happens, and it turns over and starts. After 20 - 40 minutes it starts. If you get a "jump" from someone it immediately starts.
Battery is new (gone through 4 in a year thinking they were faulty - thank goodness for Costco return policy). Cleaned the attachments on the starter to the grounding sled. Starter is new. Alternator is new. Wiring from battery to starter is new. I am about $600 poorer. The Subaru dealer (that installed the new starter and alternator) couldn't find the problem. Tunex after several hours of tests on the electrical system - couldn't find the problem (they were nice and didn't charge me for anything but the new battery cables). The two local fix-it auto repair shops couldn't figure it out. I'm hoping a Subaru wizard is out there with a magic wand.
 
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