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1999 Subaru Legacy Outback 2.5l
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

My son's 1996 LSI Sedan has a difficulty starting issue. He turns the key and there is a short delay until the car starts, could be as much as 2 or 3 seconds. The key is turned to the start position and the dash lights come on....they stay on during this delay and finally the car starts. Since the lights stay on and there is no dimming I thought the battery (new), alternator (fairly new) and starter (?) were probably not the issue. So I tightened all the connections with no luck. The problem does not happen every startup but occasionally and with both a cold and hot engine.

Next I was going to try changing the ignition switch. It looks fairly simple because it appears the lock cylinder doesn't might not have to be removed........am I correct?

I have a 2000 Legacy that has done that on occasion too. Is the 2000 ignition switch change more difficult or the same?

Sorry for running on but any suggestions or help will be greatly appreciated as always.

Sincerely,

Bob
 

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1999 Subaru Legacy Outback 2.5l
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59 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Hi again,


I forgot to add that the last two days the car would not start after several attempts to hold down the key. He had to get a jump each time and it immediately started. Thanks
 

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Bad contacts at the connections where the battery cable connects to the starter solenoid. Or bad connection between battery negative and the engine block. Starter solenoid and/or contacts are also a very good possibility, and not uncommon on cars of that generation/years of service. Or worn brushes on the starter motor. But I doubt it's the ignition switch.

When experiencing the problem and when the key is turned to Start is there an audible click or clunk coming from the starter solenoid area?

On the starter solenoid there's a single small wire push-on connector. When the problem is showing up, measure the voltage at this connector when the key is turned to Start. If there's 12 V (or thereabouts), there's no problem in the starter control circuitry, including the switch.
 

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1999 Subaru Legacy Outback 2.5l
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59 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There is no audible click when the key is turned to the on position. The lights come on bright and stay bright until the car starts seconds later. Recently it did not start until getting a jump. Why would the jump make a difference

Bob
 

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Two possibilities I can think of, off hand:

The solenoid plunger is binding and not moving to connect the battery to the starter motor and engaging the starter motor shaft with the engine flywheel/flex plate. The added jumper battery might be in a higher state of charge. When the key is turned to start, the solenoid plunger moves in a stronger magnetic field, completing it's travel as it should. If the plunger was working properly, the car battery would be sufficient, as is the case some of the time. It's not unusual for the solenoid to bind on the first few tries and then work afterwards. Probably some grease that is dried up -- it stiffens when the car is parked, and then each time the starter is tried, the plunger moves a bit more until it finally can move all the way.

When the solenoid activates, it closes two large contacts that connect the positive cable coming from the battery to the start motor itself. If the contacts are worn (common), and especially if the plunger is also binding, this connection isn't going to be made. Consequently, the starter motor isn't being connected to the battery, so there's no dimming of the lights and no sign of the starter motor trying to turn the engine.

Again, if you can, try to measure the voltage at the single-wire push-on connector on the solenoid. If the voltage is there, it means that the ignition switch is good; the problem is in the starter/solenoid. If there's no voltage at the connector when the key is turned to Start, then the problem is upstream, and further troubleshooting will be needed.

(As I mentioned, I doubt it's the ignition switch, but that doesn't mean it isn't impossible. But it's very uncommon, and what you're describing is not unusual. Do some searching of the forum -- there's a good number of discussions of the same no-start or delayed-start symptoms.)
 

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01 Outback H6 VDC, 97 GT wgn w/ ej22, 98 OBW w/ej22
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first, i am not a electrical guru, as a matter of fact it is my weakest area regarding cars. i understand the principals involved, but i do not have the patience to track down a problem.

in my experience, and i think as suggested in your situation, the voltage going to the starter solenoid is not strong enough to activate it and therefore activate the starter.

most common cause, bad battery connections, or old and weak battery. do the work, clean the connections. i know you don't think that is the cause, but you would be surprised how many times the owner says that only to eat their words later. clean the connections. dielectric grease will not hurt.

it is probably the contacts in the starter, old and warn, or voltage loss in the circuit feeding the solenoid, or both.

search ''starterrelayfix''. or the like, posted by me. read the oldest first.

one solution is to replace the solenoid contacts it is cheap~$15 and not very hard. another solution is to add a relay to the circuit right at the starter. i did this in my 97 obw with 100k and it worked perfectly for 45k miles when i sold it.

the dirty worn scorched contacts need more power to activate, and the relay delivers that. so either fix may work, i chose the one that did not require removing the starter.

so when the car will not start, jump 12v directly from the battery to the small spade connector on the starter solenoid. (key must be in the run position.) if it starts you have identified the problem.
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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first, i am not a electrical guru, as a matter of fact it is my weakest area regarding cars. i understand the principals involved, but i do not have the patience to track down a problem.

in my experience, and i think as suggested in your situation, the voltage going to the starter solenoid is not strong enough to activate it and therefore activate the starter.

most common cause, bad battery connections, or old and weak battery. do the work, clean the connections. i know you don't think that is the cause, but you would be surprised how many times the owner says that only to eat their words later. clean the connections. dielectric grease will not hurt.

it is probably the contacts in the starter, old and warn, or voltage loss in the circuit feeding the solenoid, or both.

search ''starterrelayfix''. or the like, posted by me. read the oldest first.

one solution is to replace the solenoid contacts it is cheap~$15 and not very hard. another solution is to add a relay to the circuit right at the starter. i did this in my 97 obw with 100k and it worked perfectly for 45k miles when i sold it.

the dirty worn scorched contacts need more power to activate, and the relay delivers that. so either fix may work, i chose the one that did not require removing the starter.

so when the car will not start, jump 12v directly from the battery to the small spade connector on the starter solenoid. (key must be in the run position.) if it starts you have identified the problem.
Actually, no. It will not remove the ignition switch as an issue. The starter will operate when jumped in this manner even with the key off, out of the car and in your pocket.

The purpose of checking for voltage at the solenoid ign wire is to verify that the ignition switch is making contact to deliver the necessary 12v to the solenoid. If the ign wire is getting 12v in the start position and the starter doesn't turn, it means the switch is good, starter is bad.
 
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