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Old 07-22-2009, 08:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Trouble starting

I have a 1998 Subaru Forester (yep, a first gen Forester) and this problem started about 2 weeks ago. I pulled the car to the house (started fine) to load it with luggage. When I tried to restart the car, it wouldn't. I turned the key, and not a sound. I tried several times, making sure the clutch was in so the safety would deactivate, still nothing. I ended up popping the clutch and it ran fine. Not wanting to get stranded though, I turned the car off and tried again. Once again nothing. So, with the car off (and no more slope to pop the clutch), I kept trying the ignition. Eventually, it did start though. The same thing happened yesterday. I'm not sure about the first time, but it was definately raining yesterday, not sure if that has anything to do with it. The starter has been worked on / replaced before. The car is set to go to the shop on 7/29. Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated.

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Old 07-22-2009, 08:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Check your battery terminals.
Make sure the terminal connections are making good contact. (I.e. free of corrosion, and tightened down all the way)
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum!

Assuming the battery is good & once it does starts, everything is normal. My guess would be a failing ignition switch.

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Old 07-22-2009, 08:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2.5x_sleeper View Post
Welcome to the forum!

Assuming the battery is good & once it does starts, everything is normal. My guess would be a failing ignition switch.

Bobby...
Thanks for the welcome and the tips. The battery is clean and strong. The ignition was one of my initial thoughts as well.

JJ

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Old 08-04-2009, 02:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, the dealer could not recreate the not starting issue. However, they tell me my Airbag Control Module is causing the airbag light. Cost to replace, $1,150. I'd do it myself, but I don't want to mess with the airbag.

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Old 08-05-2009, 06:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I have had the airbag light go on and stay on and it has always been something on the floor under the passenger seat either rolling around or pressing against the carpet (and underneath the AB wiring). Now I keep the area clear - no AB light.
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by wmp3 View Post
I have had the airbag light go on and stay on and it has always been something on the floor under the passenger seat either rolling around or pressing against the carpet (and underneath the AB wiring). Now I keep the area clear - no AB light.
That's the first thing the dealer suggested (credit to them for being honest) but I checked and I didn't even see any wires. Besides, they found two error codes when they ran the diagnostic test. Oh yeah, update: an extra $425 to replace the harness (the second error code).

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Old 08-06-2009, 07:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Update: dealer calls and says that they plugged in the new harness, and the error code still persists. Therefore, I will not be charged for the harness (wish I had known about this dealership 12 years ago). However, it turns out that the same error code indicates that the airbag itself is bad. Cost for parts alone: $1,100. Well, there goes every cent I made this summer. It's things like this that make me wonder if I'm really as attached to my Subie as I think I am....

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Old 08-16-2009, 11:55 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Back to the original topic, the car wouldn't start again. All the accessories worked, but when I turned to start, nothing. However, I may have limited the causes. After trying for 5 minutes, I kept the key turned in the "start" position, and wiggled it. Bada bing, she started right up. From the responses I've read, this tells me that it's the ignition switch. I spent enough money getting the airbags to work ($2K+) so as long she starts when I wiggle the key, I'm happy.

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Old 08-16-2009, 01:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hi JJ...

I am having exactly the same problem as you with my 1999 2lt S (auto) Forester..! And yes, have discovered that wiggling the key in the start position does make it go...

Anyone know what the cost of an ignition switch is? Will it involve new keys, coding and all that stuff? Like you JJ, if I can get away with wiggling the key, I will.. But if it gets worse, will I need a second mortgage?

Steve..
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Old 08-16-2009, 03:24 PM   #11 (permalink)
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looks like there is one on ebay. I have seen switches go bad from all the crap some people have hanging on the their key chains. Keep it light, like house key and car key only.
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Old 08-16-2009, 05:17 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsay777 View Post
Keep it light, like house key and car key only.
Well, I know it's not the weight. All I have on the keyring is the Subie key and a rubber keychain from the dealer. How many miles are on your Forester, Steve? I have almost 138K, so maybe we can work out a life expectancy for the ignition.

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Old 08-17-2009, 12:10 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Hi JJ..

118,000 and bought it a few days ago so not sure of its history.. Had my own post (Help!, Forester wont start.. Sometimes..!) and so was very relieved to see yours, Ferret had narrowed it down to either ignition or Inhibitor switch.. Your post has decided which one for me...

Have found a schematic and procedure for removing and replacing the ignition switch, only iffy bit is removing the shear bolts with a hammer and spike.. Should be ok though.. But I still dont know about whether it involves new keys, coding, new remote locking zapper etc.... Hopefully someone on this forum can advise..

Steve...
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Old 08-17-2009, 09:04 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Hi again..

Spoke to my local mechanic today, he reckons the switch is loose, and that this is not uncommon. For the switch to be faulty, he reckons it would either work, or not. The fact we can jiggle it means it is much more likely to be loose... Pull the housing off and just re-seat it.. I will do this as soon as I have a spare few mins and let you know the result...

Steve..
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:03 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Ok... Unplugged the switch, gave it a bit of squirt with WD40 and plugged it back in... Has not failed to start once, although it has been only 24 hours..

Will let you know in a week whether this has fixed it or not....

Steve...
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