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2009 2.5X EJ253 Manual
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Discussion Starter #1
This may be fuel quality related, or not. It only happens on the cold start. Cranking time is same as always but engine light-off or fire-up is kind of sloppy-- instead of the immediate light off and immediate idle-up to about 1500rpm, it stumbles a little during light off with some chuggle before it idles up. And tonight leaving work it had a hard starting episode-- 29 degrees (F). Not that cold. Sat on the parking garage 8 hrs. Cranked extra long maybe 4 seconds worth before it tried to light-off and then the light-off was very sloppy with a lot of chuggle to the point I shut it down and re-started it (sounding like Microsoft Windows now...). The restart was clean and as normal and warm up idle while I cleaned snow off of it was smooth and as normal. Drive home (in the snow, yay!) it ran great with its usual decent power, smooth accel. Warm starts after having been run, like parking and running into the store for a bit and coming back out, those warm starts are perfect.

Haven't done the magic handshake yet to display codes on the LCD odometer readout, will do that in the morning to see if any DTC codes are stored. But the check engine light is not on or anything.
 

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2009 Forester X Premium
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132 Posts
I think it is just the nature of cold weather cranking. I had an '06 Pilot and an '01 Tracker that had some hiccup issues when starting cold. I have noticed my FOZ isn't any different, and the majority of time I keep it in my garage (not heated). Maybe everyone north of the Mason/Dixon line should consider engine block heaters. They are virtually standard on any car in Canada.
 

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2008 XS 4EAT
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9,878 Posts
I think there have been a few posts about turning the key on for about 5-10 seconds before starting the engine, that seems to help. Give that a try.

I'm also always on a campaign to get people to periodically charge their battery, this also applies to newer cars, over time electrical draw, cold weather and non-use will reduce a battery's condition. Low amp chargers are the safest and always disconnect the battery before charging. Related to a newer vehicle you don't know if the dealer charged the battery before taking delivery or how long the battery has sat. A lot of the electrical devices on our cars have reserve power capabilities, so you have that instant on, so there is always an electrical drain. Driving only produces a certain amount of charge for the battery, so if the battery is low it still has to supply power for all those constant reserves as well as operating the power demands while driving.

Not as eloquent as an electrical engineer or mechanic would describe, but experience with low amp motorcycle batteries taught me to periodically charge them. This carried over to my cars and trucks and has provided me with years without battery or electrical issues. Just sayin'.
 

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2008 XS 4EAT
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Maybe everyone north of the Mason/Dixon line should consider engine block heaters. They are virtually standard on any car in Canada.
Sorry to dispel the stereotype of freezing cold Canada but block heaters are still an under-used option on cars sold in Canada. Only have I found in places such as Alberta and the prairie provinces that dealers will install them before the car is sold, alleviates any cold starting problems they have to deal with if they educate the new owner beforehand to plug in.
 

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2016 Outback and WRX CVT
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2,589 Posts
FWIW, Lone Ranger, my wife's '05 WRX, even when brand new, was always a bit hesitant to start when cold.

It'll either require longer cranking, a re-crank (second or third attempt), or will "chug" just a little after light-off.

To circumvent this, I taught her the trick of, on colder days, inserting the key, switching to the "ON" position and doing a "one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi" before cranking.

The above trick correlates to a speculated - on LegacyGT.com - slight delay in the fuel pump, which becomes more noticeable in colder situations. The three-second delay in "ON"-then-cranking corresponds with the advised technique there of waiting for the gauges to complete their start-up sweep, before attempting to turn-over the car.

My '05 Legacy and her current '09 FXT, on the other hand, never seems to have this issue.
 

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2015 Forester X 6MT 6-Gear Manual
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LR - We have a slow crank - but lightoff is OK. Hopefully just a fuel issue - you know all the water in the ethanol :(
 

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2009 2.5X EJ253 Manual
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Discussion Starter #7
Lol, about the need for waiting a few seconds after key-on before cranking... is there a Glow Plug icon lit up on the instrument cluster I'm missing? :raspberry: My Forester spending too much time around the wife's Volkswagen diesel TDI in our garage... TDI corrupting it :biggrin: Because that's cold start procedure for her TDI... key on, wait a few seconds for the Glow Plug light to go out (indicating glow plug pre-glow cycle is complete) then crank.
 

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2016 Outback and WRX CVT
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Lol, about the need for waiting a few seconds after key-on before cranking... is there a Glow Plug icon lit up on the instrument cluster I'm missing? :raspberry: My Forester spending too much time around the wife's Volkswagen diesel TDI in our garage... TDI corrupting it :biggrin: Because that's cold start procedure for her TDI... key on, wait a few seconds for the Glow Plug light to go out (indicating glow plug pre-glow cycle is complete) then crank.
^ ROFL!!!! :icon_biggrin::icon_biggrin:
 

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2006 V50 T5 6spd Manual
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Sounds like the fuel pump delay. On my '00 Outback, I always turn the key on, wait until the noise stops (it's very quiet... but you can hear it... only lasts for a second or two) and then turn it over. Fires right up.

My parents/sister have been complaining about their '05 Forester not wanting to start cold lately... maybe I'll have them give that tidbit. Gonna go try it out now, it got a new battery yesterday. :biggrin:

EDIT: Yup, it worked!
 

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2009 2.5X EJ253 Manual
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Discussion Starter #10
It does kind of seem like a fuel starvation type of slop. I'll try the delay thing... wait until the needles are done wagging. Similar to symptoms my old Dodge truck started displaying when the check valve in the in-tank fuel pump started going south... wouldn't hold fuel pressure at key-on.
 

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1999 Forester S
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Cold starts

This may be fuel quality related, or not. It only happens on the cold start. Cranking time is same as always but engine light-off or fire-up is kind of sloppy-- instead of the immediate light off and immediate idle-up to about 1500rpm, it stumbles a little during light off with some chuggle before it idles up. And tonight leaving work it had a hard starting episode-- 29 degrees (F). Not that cold. Sat on the parking garage 8 hrs. Cranked extra long maybe 4 seconds worth before it tried to light-off and then the light-off was very sloppy with a lot of chuggle to the point I shut it down and re-started it (sounding like Microsoft Windows now...). The restart was clean and as normal and warm up idle while I cleaned snow off of it was smooth and as normal. Drive home (in the snow, yay!) it ran great with its usual decent power, smooth accel. Warm starts after having been run, like parking and running into the store for a bit and coming back out, those warm starts are perfect. Haven't done the magic handshake yet to display codes on the LCD odometer readout, will do that in the morning to see if any DTC codes are stored. But the check engine light is not on or anything.
My 09 with PZEV had intermittent starting issues. Sounded like crap (rattles, inappropriate noises) for first 2 mins after start up. Re-flash during recall seemed to cure the problem. Starts and runs much better now.
 

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2009 Forester (MT)
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226 Posts
29-degree F is not cold at all, at least compared to below zero. I can leave my 2009 Forester outside all day at -10 degrees, and it starts right off and not noisier than any other time, except for higher motor RPM.

Your car should start right off and should not die. However, wait a second or two before you move the key from the middle position (ACC) to start. If the car starts and then dies, remember to turn the ignition switch all the way back to OFF, and then start again. If you don't turn it off, the computer can't reset. It may start this way, but it will be rough for a few seconds.
 

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2009 2.5X EJ253 Manual
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Discussion Starter #13
Checked codes and no P-codes stored. Must be the fuel. Wonderful stuff, ethanol blended E10 gas. Not. Might be time for a can of BG44K in the gas tank next fill-up.
 

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2015 Forester X 6MT 6-Gear Manual
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1,373 Posts
Noooo! its a pump melter! You already used some in the past? That may be the problem. In tank cleaners are a no-no. BTDT.
 

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2009 2.5X EJ253 Manual
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Discussion Starter #15
What does BTDT mean and how can any in-tank fuel system product cause problems with the fuel pump? A lot of dealerships use BG products.
 

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2010 Forester 2.5X
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1,698 Posts
Hey, MY2010 did this on cold start.. about 50 degrees a month or so ago. Started and it was stumbling. Shut it off and started again.
I thought maybe I didn't engage the starter for a long enough duration.....***
Hasn't done it again.
 
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