2018 Forester sometimes very hard to start

Recently my 2018 Subaru Forester is sometimes very hard to start. I only have 10K miles on it, regular service. The engine just cranks and cranks but won’t turn over. Finally after many attempts it will start and run rough for a short time. Then it drives fine. Then the next day, week, month it starts fine, no problems. Subaru has run diagnostics and can’t find the problem. The battery is fine, no error codes. The almost impossible to start events have only happened twice: once in Dec 2019 and once in Feb 2020. I purchased the car in the summer of 2018, new. I did get a message recently on my display that said to check the MFD (multi function display). Very vague. I’m thinking the starter could be going, but works fine most of the time. Any thoughts?

If it reliably cranks and cranks, that means it IS turning over and the starter motor is OK. You have a no-fuel or a no-spark condition.

presumably, you should still have it covered under base bumper-to-bumper warranty

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If you’re getting a message I’d think something saved in the computer. What does you dealer say?

The problem could be the fuel in the fuel rail is draining back into the tank when you turn the engine off due to a faulty fuel pump check valve. The fuel is supposed to stay in the fuel rail overnight, so when you start the car the next day it immediately starts and idles impeccably. Ask your dealership to measure the fuel rail pressure when the engine is warmed up and running, and how well it holds that pressure after the engine is turned off. You may be looking at a replacement fuel pump there. As mentioned above let the dealership diagnose and handle this since the car is under warranty. Don’t attempt anything on your own, as that may void the warranty.

It is very likely that the much-longer Powertrain Warranty would cover it.

I would assume powertrain warranty would hae waters muddied with a number of exclusions on control systems and supplemental systems or whatever language they will have to get coverage reduced to bare mnimum

It’s at the dealer now, and I’ve got a loaner. Still under warranty and the problem has been documented. Since it’s an intermittent problem, there is no telling if the car will be “misbehaving” while they have it. I hope an error code was generated the last time it was acting up. Thanks.

Make sure you get a receipt documenting the visit. If they don’t find anything, you at least show that you contacted them during the warranty.

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That would provide the techs an important clue. Unfortunately the power-train computer probably has no method to monitor either the fuel-rail pressure or the crank position sensor. The computer software’s priority is to keep track of stuff affecting the car’s emissions; temporary faults in those two gadget have little effect on emissions. So if the problem turns out to be one of those, it wouldn’t be unusual for there to be no codes. However if they can get it to act up while it is at the shop it’s a pretty good chance they’ll be able to figure out what’s causing it without much trouble. If it won’t act up at the shop ask if they’ll let one of the staff drive it as their daily driver. Sometimes this sort of thing only occurs in certain driving situations and just idling the car at the shop or driving it around the block won’t recreate the necessary conditions.

My guess, this is a fuel pump problem.