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99 L 5MT
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333 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I went to leave the junk yard and my 99 SF6 wouldn't start. Luckily there was a lot of car guys around to help, lol. It's done this a few times before but I had never suspected the starter until now, it always would fire up after a few tries and I figured it just needed a couple seconds to build oil/fuel pressure. Now I'm thinking all along that the starter may have been going out.

The battery is new, about a month old. I have a voltmeter wired up inside and the voltages look normal (although I know that doesn't give you a full picture without the amp load as well). When I turn the key it will make a click sound but no cranks, there's never any cranks when it's having this particular issue. I have a portable lithium jump starter and it didn't seem to help at all, no cranks. Another guy had a car battery sized jump starter and that didn't help either.

Had a guy help me push start it and it fired up, so I was able to get home. When I parked it I tried starting it a few times and it fired right up each and every time.. Right now I'm waiting for it to cool off to see if I can reproduce the issue because I've heard that a dying one will fail more when it's colder, but I live in socal so there's not a lot of opportunity to test out cold temps.

Being that I'm a noob, what do you guys think? I was thinking the starter itself because it's intermittent & that jumping it didn't help. I have a multimeter and I'm hoping I can get it to start failing again so that I can test it, but either way I think I might end up pulling it & cleaning it with a wire brush. Never messed with starters before so any advice or ideas are definitely appreciated!
 

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2001 Forester S, 4EAT
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6,599 Posts
I have a 2001. It clicked when I turned key. Took a long screw driver and tapped the starter a few times and it started. Fixed by buying new brush set for about $40, pulled the starter apart, popped in the new brushes and it's been starting just fine.

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99 L 5MT
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333 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@bman400 Tried that at the junk yard & no dice.. But today after poking around with a multimeter I think I've got it isolated to the starter. Unfortunately I'm really dumb and I underestimated how complex these starters are & rushed into this too fast.. I took mine apart and I'm not confident it's put back together the right way. Pulled it apart and didn't expect so many pieces to come out at once, lol. Mainly I'm not sure that the gasket is on the right way and one of the phillips screws on the side of the big cylinder (the one that actually cranks) is in there tough, I've almost fully stripped it trying to get it out and I can't seem to drop whatever piece is holding those brushes in without it or even put it back together. I think you have to take that piece out to get these 4 posts holding the round copper part (sorry for the terminology) to retract a bit to actually put the housing part all the way back down.

At this point I'm thinking about picking up a new one off rockauto because even if I can get it to work again I wouldn't be confident in it as it already usually works. It doesn't help that I don't know what exactly to look for but it looked a lot cleaner than a lot of the ones being rebuilt that way on YouTube and the teeth all seemed fine to me. I use this Forester to go camping/exploring up in the mountains where having a no start is extra inconvenient . Pretty embarrassing to fumble the attempted cleaning this badly but at least I'll know the history of a new one & I'll be a whole lot more careful next time.
 
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