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Old 11-17-2011, 10:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default '00 Forester: battery's good, but won't turn over

My wife's '00 Forester (non-turbo 5-speed) has an intermittent no-start problem: the dash lights work, and all other electrical seems to work, but periodically, the car won't turn over,and it makes no sounds that indicate it's trying to. Early this afternoon, she called to tell me it wouldn't start. I was about to leave to take a look at it, when she called to say it finally started. 20 minutes ago, she called to say it wouldn't start again.

When it does turn over, it seems like the battery has plenty of power, and the starter's only a little more than a year old. Note that we experienced the identical problem shortly after we bought it 4 years ago: I cleaned up some grounds, and made sure the relays were seated, and the problem went away.

I'd appreciate your suggestions. Thanks for your help.
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Clean the battery cable connections again. Low amperage draws such as dash lights will continue to work but high amp draws like the starter won't.
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Old 11-17-2011, 03:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If/when this happens again, turn on a map light or headlights and try cranking. If the starter is getting current, the light(s) will dim a bit - even with a fresh battery. If there's no change in the light level, then no current is going to the starter. If that's the case, you have a bad connection somewhere and you have a pesky job on your hands tracking it down.
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Old 11-17-2011, 04:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Neutral safety sw? Check the switch behind the clutch pedal. Since you're getting no click, noise, or anything like trying to start, I think you'll be looking for either a bad switch or a bad relay.
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Old 11-17-2011, 04:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Could also possibly be the fuel pump.
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Old 11-17-2011, 04:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RadcomTxx View Post
Could also possibly be the fuel pump.
Not if it's not even turning over. You'll need to chase down the problem with a meter while the car is malfunctioning. First test for 12vdc at the little wire going to the starter when turning the key. If you have 12vdc there, you have a bad spot in the starter motor. If not, check continuity through the switch at the clutch pedal. Next would be the starter relay. That's a little harder to check. You'll need to figure out which wire does what.
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Old 11-17-2011, 05:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgrote View Post
Not if it's not even turning over. You'll need to chase down the problem with a meter while the car is malfunctioning. First test for 12vdc at the little wire going to the starter when turning the key. If you have 12vdc there, you have a bad spot in the starter motor. If not, check continuity through the switch at the clutch pedal. Next would be the starter relay. That's a little harder to check. You'll need to figure out which wire does what.
Oops! My bad, I read it as 'won't start' instead of 'won't crank'.
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Old 11-17-2011, 08:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Starter contacts, remove the starter and disassemble the selunoid and replace the contacts
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Old 11-18-2011, 01:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Have the battery tested. They will do all sorts of stupid things when they are on their way out. Just because it shows 12-13v doesn't mean it's good.

In our Impreza, I also had an ignition switch go bad, but that was with 160,000+ miles on it.
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Old 11-18-2011, 01:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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smack the starter with a hammer and see if that works next time. Seriously.
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Old 11-18-2011, 07:09 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MonstarMotorsports View Post
smack the starter with a hammer and see if that works next time. Seriously.
done that many times,, but never successfully on a Subaru.

Seriously, IF the starter is "Clicking" with the key turn, AND there are 3 bolts holding the selunoid on, it is rebuild-able....
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Old 11-18-2011, 07:22 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chax View Post
... the car won't turn over,and it makes no sounds that indicate it's trying to....
This is not a symptom of a bad starter. No noise, no click, no starter relay click means the problem is going to be before the starter. It's a fairly simple circuit if you are proficient with a multimeter. He (we) need to know where the power is getting lost to help find the problem.

ddavidv- you are right, but without tools to load test, watching voltage drops are the best you can DIY. Voltage drops will tell you a lot.
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Old 01-07-2012, 10:45 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Which is the starter relay? I cannot find any labels or anything to tell me.
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