'95 Sudden Instant Subaru Death Syndrome

My '95 Legacy needs a new clutch. So in preparation of the deed (I’m planning on doing myself, thank you)I gave the engine compartment a good wash at the Do-it-yourself bays. I get in, start up and notice that things are running a little rough. I figure some water got into a connector and the heat from the engine will dry it out. Sure enough, after about 15 blocks of L.A. traffic things are fine. Suddenly. Plotz. Shudders and Dies. Nothing. Cranks and Cranks and nothing. I get it towed home. I clean the igniter connection, crank, nothing. I disconnect the battery (now near death) and charge it for 2 hours.

Reconnect and it starts first try.

What happened and why did the “hard reboot” work?


water and electronics don’t like to play nice in the same sand box. I would start by removing spark plug wires, coil, and distributer cap if equipped and dry it all off.

You should not wash modern cars with high-pressure water spray. The high pressure will force water into sensitive places not meant to get wet, and could trap water behind seals in sensitive electical connectors. You got lucky. Nuff Said!

Not a clue but count your blessings. An interruption in any of the signals could have done it I suppose.

OK, I have been chastised. But I had a '95 Impreza and I would wash the engine compartment regularly without problems. I’m not playing water streams on any visible connectors, so I guess I felt safe.


Man, you’ve not been listening to the show! It’s kar-ma! What else?!