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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I bought a 2005 Forester X at an auction. It has some light front end damage which I am fixing. I have have driven it and it runs great. Strong motor with no unusual noises. I drove it for about 30 minutes and parked it last weekend. I then shampooed the entire interior, seats, mats, etc. I used a lot of water, but there was never MUCH standing in the floor boards (not nearly enough to get to the electronics is my point). However, I was using a water hose in there, so it's possible something could have gotten slightly wet from splashing. Before anyone asks.....yes.....it was THAT dirty on the inside. I went to move it today and it won't start. It started, ran rough for a few seconds and died. It hits very briefly here and there but won't start. I'm a fairly experienced DIY mechanic and everything I know says that it's not getting fuel pressure. I CAN hear what I believe to be the fuel pump running for 1-2 seconds (very faint) when the ignition is switched on. The check engine light goes out when cranking, so I assume there are no codes present. Is there a fuel pump relay, fuse, etc. on the inside of the car? Any way to check for fuel pressure (did not see an obvious place to connect a pressure gauge)? Other ideas?

Thanks a bunch.

Todd
 

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G'day & Welcome aboard.

I hope you haven't drowned the ECU! I think it's the same as mine so it's located under a plate LHS front floor.

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2012 XT Touring 4EAT
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<snip> It started, ran rough for a few seconds and died. It hits very briefly here and there but won't start. I'm a fairly experienced DIY mechanic and everything I know says that it's not getting fuel pressure. I CAN hear what I believe to be the fuel pump running for 1-2 seconds (very faint) when the ignition is switched on. The check engine light goes out when cranking, so I assume there are no codes present. Is there a fuel pump relay, fuse, etc. on the inside of the car? Any way to check for fuel pressure (did not see an obvious place to connect a pressure gauge)? Other ideas?
Todd:

First post? Welcome to the forum (from Dayton, Ohio - birthplace of aviation . . . and the radar detector!)

For the engine to run, you need fuel, spark and air. If you have fuel in the tank and you hear the fuel pump running, you can probably check 'fuel' issues off your list. If you want to be absolutely sure, simply disconnect one of the small clamps next to a fuel buffer, pull off the hose and crank the engine. Do this outdoors (not in a garage) and don't smoke while trying this ;-) The fuel buffers (two of them) are little black round gizmos, about 1-1/2" diameter with input and outgo pipes - they vaguely resemble a man's hat. They're located on the driver's side of the engine compartment, inboard from the engine fuse box.

Speaking of fuse box, you have 2 of them - one under the hood and one by the driver's left knee. Go through both boxes, one fuse at a time. Pull the fuse, inspect it (not blown, right?) then put it back. If you do find a blown fuse, replace it. There should be a 'fuse puller' in the engine fuse box. Also pull each relay out - then re-insert . . . doing this cleans the crud off the contacts.

You did not indicate the type of transmission. Be aware that there is a neutral start switch for all transmissions (the 4EAT auto tranny will also start in Park).

You might have put water into the ECU (it's below the passenger's feet) but you would need to work very hard to accomplish this. And, if you did manage to accomplish this, why would the car start even once? Leave the mats out for a day or so. Put a fan on the wet area. . . maybe use wife's hair dryer. Let things dry out. Do this while checking elsewhere.

Take a hard look at your ignition system - particularly, the coil pack and wires. If the interior of the vehicle was a mess, how is the engine compartment? The standard test for "spark" is to remove an ignition wire from the spark plug, hold it ~1/4" from the plug tip, crank the car and see if there's a visible spark. This is a PITA on Subaru boxer engines, but it is still doable. Simply disconnect one of the wires from the coil pack. Crank the engine and see if you get a spark across a 1/4" gap at the coil pack. No spark? You have ignition failure.

Remove the coil pack completely (disconnect wires - bolts). Clean it thoroughly and inspect for cracks, damage, "tracking" - carbon traces to ground.

Inspect your ignition wires carefully. They probably need replacing. Two (or maybe even one) bad wire can wreak havoc on your engine.

Hopefully, something above will solve your problem - or you will discover the real problem while going through these steps. Report back on progress.

p.s. By any chance, did you mess with the wiring under the driver's side dash? Two green plugs? They were disconnected, right? They are supposed to be disconnected, so leave them that way.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the response. The engine cranks over and fires briefly, so I know there's spark there at least part of the time. When I went to start it after washing the carpets, it started but was running rough and would not rev up. Seems like it was using up the pressure in the system. It eventually stopped running and would not start. However, it continues to fire just briefly from time to time. I'm going to do as you suggested to test for fuel flow tomorrow morning.

Thanks.
 

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<snip> I'm going to do as you suggested to test for fuel flow tomorrow morning.
On the fuel flow test, wrap a rag around the disconnected fuel line before turning the key. Gasoline should come out of the disconnected hose quite rapidly. (Ask me how I know ;-)

Check your gas cap. Genuine Subaru? Seems to fit okay?

Look around the front of the engine for loose or cracked vacuum hoses, broken plastic pipes on vacuum gizmos, etc.. An '05 vehicle needs all of the vacuum hoses replaced.

If the engine tries to start, it's probably not a 'neutral switch' issue.

Rough running is classic bad-ignition-wires / bad-coil-pack symptom - maybe even really bad plugs. This is always a good place to look for problems - a reason that some Subarus (and all Toyotas) went to coil-on-plug ignition.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well....I went out and tapped the top of the fuel pump with the handle of a hammer as shown in some YouTube videos. Turned the key and the engine started right up and ran smoothly. I have no idea if that was coincidence or if the pump is failing slowly. We'll see!
 

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2018 Forester CVT
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I had to do something similar with a sticky starter(used a 2x2 and a hammer) I had back in the late 60's (Triumph GT6) usually happen in winter. That car was easy to work the hood and fenders went up and I could sit on the wheel.
Hope you get it solved.
 

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The ECM is located under the carpet on the front passenger floor. There is a steel plate covering the ECM under the carpet. This is the way my 2009 is configured. I think the 2005 to 2008 models are the same. I have 2009 and 2006 Foresters.
Sounds like you might have moisture / water on the connectors on the ECM. I would disconnect the battery, gain access (lift the carpet and remove the steel plate) to the ECM and check the connectors for water/moisture. You can remove the connectors and use a commercially available contact cleaner to clean the moisture on the connectors. Make sure everything is dry and the battery stays disconnected until after the electrical connectors are reinstalled.
Good luck,
 
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