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2007 Outback H6 LL Bean - Champagne Gold Opal
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Discussion Starter #1
Well, let's see. I drove to work today no problem. I drove to the auto store to buy a plug gap tool no problem. I drove home no problem. It sat about an hour.
Now I just went to leave and...it won't start.

There is nothing at all. All electronics are working, lights, radio, alarm, etc etc etc. When I turn the ignition, nothing happens. No sounds. No engine noises. It doesn't do anything. How STRANGE. We tried jumping it to no avail, it's obviously not a battery issue.

Opinions please. ASAP!

All I can think of is the starter, but how random that it hasn't given me any problems and all of a sudden it's gone dead.
I checked the 15A Ignition Fuse and it is normal.

Lame, I'm all excited to put new plugs/wires on my baby and it just dies in the driveway!
 

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2007 Outback H6 LL Bean - Champagne Gold Opal
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Discussion Starter #3
Auto. If I found a clutch pedal saftey switch on my car I'd have bigger issues to deal with than just a potential starter problem!


Also, I don't know where the starter is. It was dark and I peeked around the engine bay with a flashlight, but I couldn't really figure out what the starter was. Drivers side? Pass. Side? Towards the front/rear? On the engine or attached to the car body?

I found a thread from back in June that said replacing the starter is a relatively simple job and he got it for only $100, so I'm not really worried if that is my problem. Unfortunately I don't think there is anyway for me to find out other than either A) having it towed and diagnosticated (made that word up, but it works) or B) just guessing and replacing the starter anyway.

Keep the ideas comin'.
 

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'04 OB Wagon
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FM,

That may be your problem; the starter. I strongly recommend that in the morning you locate the starter and tap it a few times with a hammer (not too hard though). This usually allows the mechanicals to release and the car will start. If it starts after that, you can be almost 100% certain that the starter is sticking and buying a new one is money well spent.

Kurt
 

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2007 Outback H6 LL Bean - Champagne Gold Opal
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Discussion Starter #5
Got her running again.
It's definitely the starter, but I don't think it's a mechanical thing.
The ground wire (big one on top of the unit) was relatively loose and didn't have a good connection. We tightened that bolt and she sprang to life on my next attempt. Actually started a little smoother than normal.

At least I know where it is now and that I could probably change it myself if I ever have troubles again. It'd be easy to replace if it wasn't for all the tubing and wiring that is in the space above the unit.

Thanks for the quick response KG.
 

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'04 OB Wagon
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Good job on the fix!

A drop of blue Loctite or a new lock washer should help to ensure that you don't have the same occurrence.

Kurt
 

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2007 Outback H6 LL Bean - Champagne Gold Opal
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Discussion Starter #7
I'm not too worried about it. I've got a socket set in the car at all times so I'm ready for just about any situation.
Though I hope I never have to change a tire 'cause the lug wrench that came with the car is only like 12" long...no room for leverage with that little sucker.
 

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2007 Outback H6 LL Bean - Champagne Gold Opal
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Discussion Starter #10
She died today, 50 minutes from home. Lame!
Luckily for me, my girlfriends grandmother has AAA Plus, which gives a free tow anywhere within 100 miles, and she was with us. That was a lifesaver as I could use her AAA (mine only gives 5 miles) and have them tow it to the shop where I have most of my work done back home, at no charge!

I'm positive it was the starter. On the way out there I stopped at an Advance Auto Parts to buy some things and at the counter I had the guy give me a price on a remanufactured starter, $108. I get out to my car and it's dead again, same as it always used to do. But I tapped it a few times and jiggled the wiring and she started up.
I drove to my destination and picked up my girlfriend and her grandma, didn't turn off the car, then drove them a few blocks to run an errand. There I parked in a spot on the street and turned the car off. When they came back, it was dead again. This time nothing I did could get her started.
At first there was no noise, then after I banged it a few more times it made that fast clicking noise but wouldn't start.

It's lame that it's at a shop now because I was planning on changing it myself but in this circumstance I had no choice but to have them bring it to the shop so I could get it fixed ASAP, as I have no time this week to fix it myself.
The shop was closed when they dropped it off so I have no diagnosis yet, but I'll let you all know what happens when they tell me what's up.
 

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Too bad it's at the shop. Starters are relatively easy to replace. Usually involves 30 minutes, a couple wrenches and a smattering of profanity.

How many miles are on your car?
 

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02 OB sport, 2.5, 5MT, WRX seats/catback/rear bar, Hellas, Home Despot CAI and roof rack
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i hadn't seen this thread b4 today. not sure if AA's policy covers this but a lot of towing policies will cover towing it home instead of to shop...my USAA policy does.

also, if you run into this again...most of the otto partz chains will bench test starters and alternators for free if you bring em in, obv hoping that you'll buy new one there if it's bad.
 

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2007 Outback H6 LL Bean - Champagne Gold Opal
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Discussion Starter #13
Well, as expected, the car showed no signs of problems today when the mechanic looked at it. He said it started 10 times in a row with no problem.
I explained what I did the last time with the ground wires etc and he said he would take a closer look and let me know.

Called me back and told me that he tightened another bolt that is connected to that ground wire terminal and that he would continue to start it throughout the day to try to duplicate my problem, but he thinks that it was probably just the bolt.

I hate to think how much gas he is wasting starting my baby so many times in a row...dammit.

So, at this point it's back to normal. I assume the long bumpy ride on the flatbed last night probably jarred something loose/into place and that's why it started fine this morning.
 

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02 OB sport, 2.5, 5MT, WRX seats/catback/rear bar, Hellas, Home Despot CAI and roof rack
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OK, now i'm confused. did you say that it died on the way home? this would sorta point to something besides starter. either wires or ign switch....read on

i just went through this with SO's Nissan pickup....there are basically 5 things in ign circuit: battery, main fuse, ign switch, park interlock switch, and starter assy. and obv wires in between. you've eliminated batt and main fuse so far. and i doubt that the connection on the neg terminal is so iffy after you tightened it (you did clean it and the spot where it attaches, right?) that it would keep starter from even cranking, or that it would be affected by a long bumpy ride. a multimeter will ley you check resistance and therefore continuity/connectionms of any wire.

what i'd do next is remove and bench test starter to eliminate that, then if that checks out OK, get a "remote starter switch" (standard tune-up tool avail at any otto store or Sears)(or borrow one from car geek friend) and see if car starts with that when it won't do so normally. what this does is jump around the ign switch and circuit, to connect starter solenoid actuating terminal directly to hot 12V power....so if your problem is in switch circuit, it shd start normally this way.

periodic nature of problem is not atypical of switch going out, either the ign switch itself or the one which won't let the starter operate unless trans is in park (akin to clutch interlock switch). don't i recall your car having somewhere >140K miles? prime time for ign switches to go iffy. you might also try using simple jumper wire to jump around the "Park" interlock switch (pull plug and jump between the 2 terminals) to see if that affects problem.

on the Nissan, it ended up being the clutch interlock switch, which i only learned after buying a non-returnable starter motor and ign switch, due to my failure to follow logical diagnostic procedure. shudda known better.

good luck.
 

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2007 Outback H6 LL Bean - Champagne Gold Opal
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Discussion Starter #15
Well let me clarify:

The car died at Advance Auto Parts. I jiggled the wires connected to the starter and whacked it a few times with a wrench and she started right up. Then I drove and picked up my girl and her grandma and drove them a few blocks.
I parked in the road on a slight downhill grade and when I went to restart, it wouldn't. Did the same thing as always, wires/whacking...wouldn't start. After a few more harder whacks, it made the fast-clicking noise, but no start.
So they towed it from that point to my usual shop in town.
The next morning the mech. started the car 10 times in a row with no problems.
He checked the wires that I pointed out and noticed some more loose bolts, tightened them all, and gave the car a clean bill of health, and best of all gave me no bill.
 

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02 OB sport, 2.5, 5MT, WRX seats/catback/rear bar, Hellas, Home Despot CAI and roof rack
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cool! i'd still get and carry a cheap multimeter unti you're sure it's licked. one thing people sometimes overlook is that the starter grounds through its case and mounting bolts, and if that conenction isn't good....was once ready to buy another starter on the Mazda truck and found out that it was just bad ground due to mounting bolts loosening up.
 
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