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Intermittent Starter Problem in '03 Subaru Forester

Hi there, I have a question about my '03 Subaru Forester, 5-speed, 220,000 mi.

I recently had to replace the starter because, after being snowed in in 31" of snow for four days, when I finally got plowed out my car wouldn’t start and we couldn’t jump it either…I tried tapping on the starter but no dice, the car absolutely wouldn’t start, engine wouldn’t even crank, but the battery is fine. Instead of the “clicking” noise you usually get with a dead battery, this was a metal-on-metal grinding sound, but no engine cranking.

I took it to my regular mechanic, he replaced the starter but said it still “sounds funny.” I’ve spent a lot of $ on this car over the years and I’m not planning on driving it for more than 6 more months, so I’m really not trying to sink any more cash into it than necessary. Since I’ve gotten it back (just under a week) there have been a couple instances where I’ve had trouble starting the car. Twice was the same metal-on-metal grinding noise I heard when the car died originally, and one time the engine was cranking but wouldn’t turn over; and then it finally turned over and died right away and I had to start it again. It’s been well below zero the past couple of days, so that maybe isn’t helping, but last year it got done to -40 and my car still started.

Any ideas to what might be the problem, and any solutions/workarounds? I’m guessing it might be a damaged flywheel, which I have been told is an expensive repair. If I drive less and try to save my car for when I’m making longer trips, would that help to keep me from damaging the flywheel further and maybe help it last a little bit longer? Like I said, I’m not looking to spend a whole lot more money keeping this car running, but don’t want to have a car payment again until I’m out of grad school in May.

Well if you have a steep driveway or park on a hill you could always roll start it. You would have to use a jumper wire to defeat the clutch interlock. Or if you are a strapping young man you could push start it. I had a job when I was 17 where I occasionally had to push start a C600 Ford with ab 18 foot box.

Why ?
If you’re going to roll start it, you don’t need to bypass the clutch interlock, you’re not using the starter.

I guess I didn’t think about it, so it only disabled the starter, not the ignition. The last standard shift car I had was a 66 Valiant in 1997, and If I told it to start up in first gear and drive through a brick wall, it said, yes boss. I liked that. My 78 Cub Cadet and 72 Aries snowblower are like that too. They will happily run unattended in gear or out, the pull starter on the Ariens gave out about 10 years ago and once I start it, I just don’t shut it off until I am putting it away.