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2006 Forester Auto
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all!

I'm new but have lurked a bit and have been trying to find a thread with the answer to my issue but so far have been unsuccessful so I decided to start my own and hopefully find the solution and share with anyone else with similar issues.

The car in question is my girlfriends 2006 Subaru Forester. I did a head gasket and timing belt on it this summer after which it had a cylinder misfire which was fixed with a new coil(the wires and plugs were replaced ~2 years ago). Since then it had been running pretty well then the cold weather arrived and now it wont start after sitting all night. It will crank over it just doesn't catch and run unless you give it a jump start then it fires right up and then it starts fine the rest of the day.

The battery is a brand new AutoCraft silver 500 CCA and I had it tested at Advance and it passed as well as the alternator. I checked it this morning before trying to start the car and it was sitting at 12.5v. It does get a CEL after refueling occasionally for a faulty gas cap but other than that it hasnt thrown any codes recently.

I'm not really sure what to test next so I'm looking for help. If more information would be helpful just let me know and I will clarify.

Thanks
Kevin
 

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2003 EJ20K Forester
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326 Posts
Weird problem. Since jump-starting it fixes it, that makes me think it is electrical/grounding. I'd clean up your battery connections to start, and check that you didn't forget to reconnect the ground straps when you did the HG job. Wouldn't hurt to add more, either.
 

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1999 "L" - 231,000 mi. AT
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703 Posts
Hello all!

The battery is a brand new AutoCraft silver 500 CCA and I had it tested at Advance and it passed ...
Kevin
So the battery is delivering the amps that it's supposed to, but just isn't delivering the amps that are needed to start the cold car and needs extra amp delivery from the second battery.

My '99 has a group 35 battery with 640 CCA listed on its case; it starts. Think that battery group 24F has a 740 CCA rating.

Suggest: just get a larger capacity battery.
 

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‘14 FXTT; '15 Legacy FB25
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I agree with RyanT about where to start looking - easy checks.

I was going to suggest that it might be the alternator; however, you're saying that it starts and continues to drive/start throughout the rest of the day, right? Does this mean that you've driven significant distances between restarts?

If you don't already have one, I'd recommend you buy a cheapie digital multi-meter (DMM) to check the battery voltage in the morning before starting and the alternator output after starting, just to be safe and ensure it's not an intermittent issue, as unlikely as it sounds from your description of the problem.

So the battery is delivering the amps that it's supposed to, but just isn't delivering the amps that are needed to start the cold car and needs extra amp delivery from the second battery.

My '99 has a group 35 battery with 640 CCA listed on its case; it starts. Think that battery group 24F has a 740 CCA rating.

Suggest: just get a larger capacity battery.
His battery is fine - let's not get side-tracked.
 

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2006 Forester Auto
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Discussion Starter #5
Weird problem. Since jump-starting it fixes it, that makes me think it is electrical/grounding. I'd clean up your battery connections to start, and check that you didn't forget to reconnect the ground straps when you did the HG job. Wouldn't hurt to add more, either.
I went out and cleaned all the grounds I could find, most weren't badly corroded. Also cleaned the starter positive connection. Didn't seem to make a difference.

So the battery is delivering the amps that it's supposed to, but just isn't delivering the amps that are needed to start the cold car and needs extra amp delivery from the second battery.

My '99 has a group 35 battery with 640 CCA listed on its case; it starts. Think that battery group 24F has a 740 CCA rating.

Suggest: just get a larger capacity battery.
I did consider this just wanted to see if I was missing something before shelling out for another battery since this one was the spec'd option.

I agree with RyanT about where to start looking - easy checks.

I was going to suggest that it might be the alternator; however, you're saying that it starts and continues to drive/start throughout the rest of the day, right? Does this mean that you've driven significant distances between restarts?

If you don't already have one, I'd recommend you buy a cheapie digital multi-meter (DMM) to check the battery voltage in the morning before starting and the alternator output after starting, just to be safe and ensure it's not an intermittent issue, as unlikely as it sounds from your description of the problem.

His battery is fine - let's not get side-tracked.
Yes once it is started with help the first time I have driven it ~10 miles shut it off and then it starts again fine and continues to the rest of the day with shorter stops as well. I am happy to try testing the alt again tho if it would help.

Will do. I had a couple but they died on me, only have an analog cheapie right now that I'm not a fan of. It was reading 12.5-13V on the battery this morning before i tried to start it when checked with that.

Thanks for all the replies guys!
 

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‘14 FXTT; '15 Legacy FB25
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Another test from another place won't hurt, but having your own DMM is a must. There's one on-sale on Amazon right now for $7 (Code: 8XFF7PBJ):

With that said, your symptom doesn't sound like an alternator problem at all, based on your additional information.

//

When you try to start it, walk me through that. You turn the key and....

1. Nothing
2. Single Click
3. Multiple clicks
4. How many times do you try?

Sometimes, a starter will behave and actual perform normally when it's warmed up. I got stranded way back when under similar conditions; however, banging on it with a hammer worked for a little while.

Eventually, the starter gave up the ghost and wouldn't work no matter how many times and how hard I banged on it. I don't recall what I heard when this happened, it was so long ago; it was either a single click or nothing.
 

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2003 EJ20K Forester
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Your resting battery voltage (car off) should be over 12V. The voltage while cranking shouldn't dip below 10V (this is still an approximation), and the idle voltage should be over 14V. The resting voltage is probably the most useless piece of information there. Just because you connected 8x AA batteries together for 12V doesn't mean they will start your car.

The starter circuit will draw as much current as the battery can supply. If the starter or the cabling/connections are in bad condition, it will take a beefier battery to actually start the car.

If jump starting it works, and your connections are good (battery post connections clean and tight), then it has to be your battery.
 

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2006 Forester Auto
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Discussion Starter #8
@gathermewool

Thanks for the link I'll check it out. Also going to attach a picture of the tests results I got from Advance the other day after jumping the car and driving about 10 miles to the store for said test. (if it will let me)

When i turn the key the car cranks over but doesn't fire and run. I will crank for 20-30secs then try again and the same will happen. I can get a video if it would help for now ill run to the local hardware and see what they have for a multi-meter.
 

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2006 Forester Auto
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Discussion Starter #9
Your resting battery voltage (car off) should be over 12V. The voltage while cranking shouldn't dip below 10V (this is still an approximation), and the idle voltage should be over 14V. The resting voltage is probably the most useless piece of information there. Just because you connected 8x AA batteries together for 12V doesn't mean they will start your car.

The starter circuit will draw as much current as the battery can supply. If the starter or the cabling/connections are in bad condition, it will take a beefier battery to actually start the car.

If jump starting it works, and your connections are good (battery post connections clean and tight), then it has to be your battery.
Makes sense just checked advances site and the battery I have appears to be the lowest CCA they sell for this car
 

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I'm a total nincompoop! I totally misread the OP where you clearly stated that it cranks, but won't catch. I guess we can't rule the battery out, then. Sorry, UhOh!!! :redface:

//

How does the cranking sound, early in the morning vs subsequent starts?
What's the minimum amount of time you've let the car sit and it didn't start?

A few more things:

1. It could be the battery, even though it's new. Resting voltage won't tell you whether it has the ability to start a car, but it DOES let you know that you don't have a major fault (shorted cell) and you're not draining your battery after extended driving (i.e., the alternator must be doing something).

2. It could be the fuel pump. Any unusual noises coming from behind/beneath the rear bench seat?

3. It could be the starter. If the battery is good-to-go, then the starter may be requiring more current to crank.
 

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2006 Forester Auto
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Discussion Starter #11
haha its all good! Easy to miss things

A bit slower but not so slow as to make me think the car shouldn't start(then again this isnt about what I think:rolleyes:)
Overnight has been the least I'm aware of but it may have been less for my gf at some point I can double check this.

1. Okay I'm not opposed to getting a different battery, I think i may be able to return this one still if need be.

2. Sounds pretty normal to me no super loud whining but it does start when the key is turned. I also tried priming the pump a few times then starting but no go.

3. Is there a way to test this besides a different starter?
 

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2003 EJ20K Forester
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You may also have a small fault that drains the battery down overnight just enough that it won't start. For giggles, try disconnecting the battery first thing after parking it after a trip, and reconnect the battery just before starting it in the morning. It might be slow enough that short stops throughout the day aren't long enough to cause it not to start. Having a small drain while the car is off is normal. They call this "dark current" and it is typically about 20mA or 0.02A.... to run things like the clock and monitor the remote functions (the thing listening for a key FOB signal). Too much draw due to a fault will cause problems like this.
 

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2006 Forester Auto
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Discussion Starter #14
Last night I drove the car to a friends place for the evening after a jump start. Was there for a couple hours it started fine I then drove it home and removed the negative battery terminal to let it sit overnight. Went out this morning battery was at 12.68V but trying to start the car resulted in the same cranking but no start.
 

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I'm actually pretty baffled by this. I'm thinking it has to be the low CCA on the battery, just because the jump start always works. When the engine is warmer, it is easier to start, so the 500 CCA might be enough.

Do the interior lights/dash lights dim pretty obviously while cranking?

Can you swap in a battery next time you start it cold, instead of jump starting it? Or heck, just go buy a battery. Americans can get good cheap batteries. I think mine is 800 CCA, but we get a lot colder than NY. Try something in the 650 range.
 

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1999 "L" - 231,000 mi. AT
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Try something in the [CCA] 650 range.
Yes - at least that high, but the OP has a no-start problem so he should get the battery with the highest CCA rating he can afford - being able to start is every car's most important quality.

Also, not mentioned on this thread, but, OP, check that the engine oil is at spec'd or lower viscosity grade for the winter. Suspect 0w-20, 5w-20 or 5W-30 would work for northern NY.
 

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I still can't believe it's the battery, though the jump fixing it makes it almost the smoking gun.

I looked at the starter test voltage curve and it looks normal. It dips down to just above 8VDC, but then climbs and levels off at ~10VDC, which seems normal to me.

This amateur mechanic is stumped, too.
 

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Just for giggles, attach a jumper lead from the battery earth terminal to a good earth point on the motor and see what happens when you crank it.
 

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2006 X Premium
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I just posted about this a few days ago. ( after struggling since last winter and this winter so far) . I have an 06 forester , had a misfire last spring , did kinda like you. Changed plugs , wires, coil ( I replaced the coil twice ) . Got cold during the night , cranks in morning but not firing . Wouldn’t start below 26 degrees . Started oka once going for the day. Spring and summer ran and started fine.
This winter , same thing . No start below 26. Problem solved ! Power going into coil , nothing coming out . Coil was ( both from auto zone ) , not original Subwaru . Put an original subi equipment coil in, problem solved. Talked with a friend mechanic who specializes in foreign cars , says subi’s do not like aftermarket coils, coolant temp sensors , and drive axels ( his experience). I beleave it. I took my coil back to autozone and got my money back. Was 10 degrees out this morning. No problem starting.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'm actually pretty baffled by this. I'm thinking it has to be the low CCA on the battery, just because the jump start always works. When the engine is warmer, it is easier to start, so the 500 CCA might be enough.

Do the interior lights/dash lights dim pretty obviously while cranking?

Can you swap in a battery next time you start it cold, instead of jump starting it? Or heck, just go buy a battery. Americans can get good cheap batteries. I think mine is 800 CCA, but we get a lot colder than NY. Try something in the 650 range.
Somewhat cheap anyway if 250 is cheap ouch... but ill try swapping batteries tomorrow and see how that goes.
 
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