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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have a 1995 w/ 125,000 miles. Battery replaced 2 months ago. Yesterday after 3 attempts it would not start. The lights on the dash were on but not starting. I was about to call a tow truck & tired again & it started. I drove home & tried again after about 4 hours & it started again.

Drove several places today & it started fine. Then it hesitated again, but did start.

So I am wondering is it the starter? Or does it have something to do w/ the ignitition. Because it sort of seems if I really push the key in while starting then it will start, even if starting w/ a little hesitation.

Any thoughts.
Thanks.
 

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Check your ground cables. These are known for causing issues in the older cars. Bad ground can cause lots of power and system issues.
 

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1999 Outback Wagon Green 2.2 swap
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Could be a bad ground as stated before, could be a bad neutral safety switch if it's an automatic, a bad or out of adjustment clutch pedal switch if it's a manual. More info would be helpful though. When it doesn't start does it do anything? Does it click at all? Does it turn over but just not start?
If it clicks more than likely it is the starter, or rather the solenoid which is built into the starter. If that's the case just replace the starter.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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given the relatively low miles, I'm gonna guess this car may have lived a life with a lot of short trips. So, I'm gonna suggest the contacts in the solenoid are worn out. However, it certainly is possible to have an intermittent switch.

The OEM starters are very robust, and rebuilding yours will likely give better/longer service than a typical replacement from a parts store. Even if the problem is not resolved, you will have a refreshed starter and will have eliminated one potential problem. If you are not a handy DIYer though, have a discussion with a trusted local mechanic. They may be able to diagnose and rebuild your starter.
 

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1993 Legacy LSi with still functioning Air Suspension, 1999 Outback 2.5L 5MT lab Rat
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If you suspect the Inhibitor switch (automatic trans) changing from Park to Nuetral should alleviate the issue at least for diagnosis. I would also look closely at the cables, older cables are known to cause issues. Its Rare but I have seen a few switches mostly on cars that came with a patched in Inventory control device prior to original sale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the input.

It is an automatic. And yes the last few years it has had short trips & sometimes it just isn't driven (riding my bike.)

When I got in the car to go to work this morning it would not start right away & did that "click" thing. It took several tries. Then it started & I drove off. Started after work & w/ several errands stops & started perfect w/ no hesitation at all!

Not in a do it yourselfer beyound a few simple things.

Hmm, maybe it is a gremlin. :)
 

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1999 Outback Wagon Green 2.2 swap
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If it clicks then it is most likely the starter solenoid so you can either replace it or rebuild the starter as stated above. There may be the off chance that it could just be poor connections or something like that, someone else would be able to comment on that better than I.
I have always just replaced the starter when it gets to that point, remember it's not going to get any better, just worse. Replacing the starter has always fixed the issue for me. If you go that rout make sure and do some research on which supplier has the more reliable units, they will almost always be rebuilt. Good luck, they are not difficult to replace.
 

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What size motor? 2.2?

It sounds like that starter, but your ground connection at the battery should be verified. Make sure that there is no corrosin and that it is tight.

If it is the starter, Denso (OE manufacturer) makes a reman which is the only replacement I would recommend. They sell them on rockauto. Do not use a Worldwide stater from Advance Auto.
 

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Does anyone know if there is a tutorial anywhere on rebuilding the starter solenoid (preferably with pictures)? I cant seem to find one here or elsewhere...
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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Does anyone know if there is a tutorial anywhere on rebuilding the starter solenoid (preferably with pictures)? I cant seem to find one here or elsewhere...
You might find this interesting. I thought it entertaining. Its a motorcycle starter:

and, a Denso; its an Honda but its similar,
 

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Realize this is an old thread, but recently went thru the same series of "won't crank" issues on my 1995 Legacy with automatic. Two years ago, installed new battery, new cables (both) and new alternator. Couple months later, engine wouldn't crank, would hear click and indicator lights on dash would dim, so suspected a failing starter. Purchased a new NAPA with lifetime guarantee. Solved problem for about 2 years, then issue started again. Went thru same troubleshooting steps with all items checking okay, so exercised the lifetime guarantee and replaced the starter. Helped for a couple days, but finally wouldn't crank at all, in either PARK or NEUTRAL. Had to jumper from solenoid terminal on starter to POSITIVE lead. Cranked normally, started and ran fine, but would not crank when I got home. Removed inhibitor (neutral safety) switch. Bench testing showed intermittent OPEN when in the both PARK and NEUTRAL positions. Light finger pressure would "make" the contact. Ordered a replacement Subaru kit which contains the new style inhibitor switch (31918-AA000), patch cable (31911-AA0100) and stopper connector (31968-AA000). Problem solved.

I have no idea what the purpose of the stopper connector is. Couldn't determine how it fits into the 12-pin connector at the inhibitor switch so left it off. If this was a mistake, please enlighten me and other Subaru fanatics as to why it is needed and how it should be installed.
 

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It sounds like that starter, but your ground connection at the battery should be verified. Make sure that there is no corrosion and that it is tight.
X2..... I had a similar issue and so did a friend of mine... both times it turned out to be mildly corroded battery terminals. So little corrosion that it wasn't even visually obvious but cleaned up the terminals and haven't had any issue since.
 
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