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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2006 has been having intermittent non starting. Leave it for a few minutes and it would usually start. Thought at first it was a ECM or chip key issue but started with the starter. Pulled existing starter and solenoid wasn’t engaging.

1. replaced solenoid and bench tested with jump leads off car - works (jumped hot to ignition connection)
2. Installed cleaned all connections - no start or engagement
3. Check voltage at ignition lead to starter 12v when key in start position
4. Jump 12v to ignition connection on starter - nothing
5 check voltage across solenoid to chassis ground 12.2v
6. Remove starter and connect with jumper cables to chassis ground cable and a starter battery at the starter end of cable. 12v to ignition terminal, starter works
7. Clean and polish all connections, reinstall starter - nothing
8. Make jump lead from ignition lug on starter so I can test to battery - nothing

I’m at my wits end, other than getting a complete starter. It just doesn’t make sense. Am I missing something obvious?
 

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Am I missing something obvious?
Not obvious, but possible . . .

The problem of the solenoid not activating when there's 12 V at the solenoid start terminal (small single wire) could be the brushes in the starter. See 2005 Outback XT Starting Problems.

In order for the solenoid to activate, it needs two coils inside to be conducting significant current. One coil goes from the start terminal to ground (the body of the starter). The other coil is from the start terminal to the braided cable that goes between the solenoid and the starter motor. The current for the second coil, therefore, goes through the motor brushes to ground. The solenoid will not be able to move its plunger if there isn't sufficient current through the brushes and the second coil, which can happen if the brushes are worn. When the brushes are worn, they can also be very intermittent, sometimes making good contacts (with the starter motor rotor commutator) and sometimes not. Even a slight movement of the rotor, or a tap on the starter can change the situation.

The linked thread has some resistance measurements that will indicate if there's too much resistance through the motor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Battery cables and terminals clean? Tight? No corrosion. Is this a manual or automatic?
Automatic. I’ve even connected the starter positive cable and bolted the the chassis ground to one ear and jumped the ignition terminal. Works when out of engine, nothing when installed. Maybe it is bad brushes
 

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2009 Outback Limited
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Take the starter apart, clean and re-grease, they are relatively simple and you can also check the brushes at this time.

I was having intermittent problems with the starter not disengaging quick enough when cold. I was surprised how dirty it was, once all cleaned up I have not have a single problem, this was a few years ago...
 

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2007 Outback 2.5i
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159 Posts
If you’re unfamiliar with the starter, and I recommend you locate a small electrical repair shop. We’ve got a nice mom and pop in our little town and they work on rebuilding starters all the time and will be completely familiar with The rejuvenation process. Shouldn’t be horribly expensive.
 
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