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2016 - Starter Motor Issues?

797 Views 14 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  bman400
So I had the OEM (at least I think OEM - car was bought used so I don't recall for sure) starter go out on me at about 70k miles about a year ago in july. I replaced it with this NAPA remanufactured one (interestingly napa's website search shows that part as being guaranteed compatible with the 2016 forester but when clicking thru to the product page it says it doesn't fit - hopefully a website bug) and it has been working well.

However just in the past couple days I had issues with the car occasionally not starting - no loud grinding noise just the classic clicking noise - almost got stranded but luckily was able to tap on the starter and get it to work and get home. So I immediately head to napa and swap out this <1yr starter AGAIN. I mount it up and on first start it works, second start it gives a loud grinding sound. So I pull it apart, look at the starter teeth, and attempt to look at the flex plate teeth with a camera - as best as I could tell they all look okay tho hard to say for sure.

Put it all back together again and notice that when the issue happens, if I manually turn the crankshaft a little the car will start backup fine usually. This sounds a lot like bald spots and/or warped flex plate / flywheel. Is this a common issue on these foresters? Is the non-oem starter a possible issue/culprit?

I know that recently these cars have been extended to 100k/10yr warranty on the CVT - is the flexplate covered under this? Thanks!
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If tapping on starter fixes the issue, it's got worn out brushes that need replacement. I bought a reman starter for my 2001 and it ran about 50000 miles so I took it apart and put new brushes in and been driving it ever since.
If tapping on starter fixes the issue, it's got worn out brushes that need replacement. I bought a reman starter for my 2001 and it ran about 50000 miles so I took it apart and put new brushes in and been driving it ever since.
Yes in my post I describe tapping the starter to fix it but I then replaced it with a new starter and have seeing a new issue. please take another look if you can
I have seen this type of thing on other machines where the starter is not exactly perpendicular to the flywheel. The pinion binds going in at an angle. I can't say that this is it or how to fix it if it is the problem. I think it was GM that had shims to correct things like this. First you'd have to find a way to verify the situation. It's not unheard of for a single engine to have improper machining. That's why they have lemon laws.
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+1 On what @donkpow said, @mcars2020 It's possible this 2nd starter is a poor quality Reman. I was not thrilled with the reman that was installed on my 2001, as it lasted barely 50,000 miles while the factory lasted nearly 150,000 miles!!! I replaced the brushes in it rather than getting another reman, so far so good with the new brushes.
Well I did another more careful inspection of the flexplate/flywheel whatever its called and dont see any damage to the teeth. Splines starter look fine too - and contact point is about 2/3s which I believe is correct. Barring something like a warped flexplate (which is hard to tell from looking at a camera shot of a small section of it) I am leaning toward what you guys are saying - issue with either the remanufactured starter or its clearance.
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Another update, swapped out the starter again, reinstalled it and notice an odd noise and louder than normal engine. Turned off and discovered the starter was actually stuck on - I imagine that the bendix was stuck on the flywheel causing the contacts to be energized. I would blame myself but this is such a stupidly easy part to install. Can't believe the luck I'm having.
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That is also one of the symptoms of misalignment.
You may have better luck with a used EBay or pull a part oem Subaru starter. Remans are hit or miss and usually very inferior quality compared to oem. Does Denso make the Subaru starter motor?

I’ve never had an issue with a starter on any of my vehicles so I don’t know if other aftermarket starters like Bosch are any good.

The oem Subaru is expensive but it will last for a long time.
@Theseus161, I can say that Bosch is junk. That's the reman that is currently on my 2001. As I mentioned further up, it only lasted 50,000 miles vs the factory unit lasting nearly 150,000 miles. But in my case I knew what the issue was and knew how to fix it by replacing brushes. If I could do it again, I would have kept the original starter and just replaced the brushes as that was the only issue when it went the first time. But at the time it was our families only vehicle and did not have the time to dig up a place to buy/find brushes.
Just to cap this off - I switched to an autozone reman and that appears to have fixed the problem. The autozone reman looked nearly identical to the napa one (and both made in mexico). Hopefully this lasts a while but definitely going OEM next time lol. Thanks for all the comments.
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Subaru does sell individual parts for the starter motor. Not sure if the brush holder includes the carbon brushes. Why can’t Subaru use a brushless motor design?
@Theseus161 I did not make an attempt to buy the brushes from Subaru, I bought them online from a Starter Motor company that sells various brushes for different motors. The brushes/brush holder is 1 entire piece:

Copied from a picture on ebay:
Sleeve Toy Font Toy block Lego

Pulled the unit out and pop the new unit in. I have not replaced that many starters, so I personally have not seen brushless starters, is this something new?
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Brushless motors have been around for a while. I don’t know if brushless starters are a thing. But it would be a good upgrade if it was possible.
Here’s a good web store for starter and alternator parts. If my starter went bad, I would try to rebuild it myself.

I went to a similar website and bought the brushes to replace my 2nd starter that was a Bosch Reman. But that's good information for others that want to attempt repairing the starter. Had I had the time when the first starter went, I would have done the same thing, but I am now stuck with my Bosch starter, hoping the brushes I put in will last 100,000+ miles.
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