98 Subaru Forester Starter Manual Transmission

Hello! I am new to the site, but a old time mechanic, always trying to keep learning new things! I just picked up a 98 Forester for a Winter ride. It seemed to be cranking slow, even with a new, fully charged battery in it. When it was warm, it even cranked worse. The vehicle has 139,000 on it, & I could see it was the original Mitsibishi starter in it. So I bought a new after market starter on line, & I installed it. It cranked a lot faster than the oid starter right off. But it sounds kind of " Tight " , like it is not shimmed right, but I don’t think these starters use shimms, correct? Then after about the 6th start on it, the bendix drive slipped on it! It has not done it since. Just doesn’t sound right when cranking. I just wonder if someone with subaru experience, could shed some light on this matter? Please reply! Thank you! oldgrouchy1

Subarus do not use shims on the starter motor and starter failure is almost unheard of on a Subaru.

I’d check the battery ground cable connections and make sure that’s tight and clean.
You might also check (if you have an ammeter) the starter motor current draw. This could possible reveal something. What you would be looking for is about a 300 and up amperage draw on the intial surge followed by a roughly 125 amp steady reading. (engine being cranked over and disabled where it will not start)

If the steady reading is in the 200 amps (or even more) range then either the starter you bought is dragging or something in the engine or transmission is dragging.
Check the transmission gear oil level just to (hopefully) make sure that a trans mainshaft bearing is not trying to seize up.
In regards to something dragging on the engine, the possibilities there could be:
Idler or tensioner trying to seize.
Water pump trying to seize.
Crankshaft bearing trying to seize. (ouch)
Coolant entering the combustion chamber through a head gasket breach and the engine attempting to hydrolock. (compression test for this)

Hope some of that helps anyway.

Hello, and thank you for your reply! Today I checked, and cleaned all of the grounds. I turned the motor over by hand at the crank pulley. I used a ratchet, and it did not seem to take any unusual force to turn the motor. I will do the starter amp draw test as soon as possible. I do have a amp meter to do the test. Ehh, no one around to crank the engine for me today. I will check the manual tranny oil, when i get it on a lift next week. I am concerned to check all of the gearbox fluids! I don’t have all the service records on this vehicle, so i don’t know about the head gaskets. It doesn’t seem to be using, or leaking any coolant so far. It seems to be cranking ok right now. Like I said, it was cranking very slow, even slower when the engine was fully warmed up, before i changed the starter. There is much improved cranking with the new starter, both cold, and warm. I don’t think the starter i bought online is of very good quality. It was $89.00 with free shipping. A remanufactured starter locally was a lot more than that price, and it had to be ordered, so the low cost sold me, and i got it in 2 days. The starter i got is some weird chinese starter! LOL!! I think the bearings are made from rice! I hope to be able to get some service out of this old forester. The winter here in the western pa area in really starting to move in on us! This is a really nice site, if i can help anyone out, i will do my best. The older i get, the more i realize how little i know about anything. Thank you!

If the engine turns over comparatively easy by hand then there should not be a problem with the engine or transmission.
It’s entirely possible that it could be the starter. I’ve veered off a few times and bought a few automotive items from eBay and in every case it was a mistake. Fuel pump failure in 5k miles, distributor failure in 10k, etc.

The Chinese are glutting the world with recycled junk, much of it being recycled not too long after it’s sold. :slight_smile: