Starting problem, 5 mechanics and no luck, 97 subaru

subaru
starting
legacy

#1

97 subaru legacy, automatic, 90K miles. has had starting problems since before purchased 2 years ago. starter and battery replaced 2 years ago, starter replaced again 4 months ago. battery terminals cleaned and one replaced 4 months ago. battery holds charge well.



when car is driven for over an hour, or less in hot weather, then stopped and restart attempted, will not start. if permitted to sit for 15 minutes to an hour-and-a-half, will restart. jumping does nothing.



lights come on, and a buzzing sound comes from the steering column/ignition when the key is inserted and turned fully. no starter click, no engine crank, and the car will not start. have taken this to 5 mechanics, including dealers, and no luck. thoughts or relevant posts?



(sorry, hope this is posted correctly, let me know if a problem.)


#2

I’d bet dollars to donuts that your ignition switch is the culprit. That’s the switch actuated by the ignition key. Simple enough to diagnose by checking the voltage into and out of the switch. 5 mechanics??? wow.


#3

Has anyone measure the amps this starter is pulling, both when working good and not working? How about I tell you it sounds like your crankshaft is siezing up when the engine gets hot? Any heat shields missing (I guess it would be hard to tell if they are missing as you can’t see them). You may need someone who knows what equipment is suppose to be there. What voltage is shown at the solenoid when you have a "no-crank’ condition? this could all be too many individual voltage drops adding up.

Just because one mechanic yells across the shop “What do you 4 others think” does not mean 5 mechanics worked on your car.


#4

It sounds to me like you may have a simple heat-related starter solenoid failure.

As Oldschool suggested, someone needs to look at voltage and current at the starter when the key is turned. If there’s 12VDC applied, that means everything to the starter solenoid is okay. The there’s also little current being drawn and no click, it means the solenoid winding is opening up when the assembly becomes hot. If there’s a click and the current draw is high, then the solenoid is actuating and the motor is probably unable to turn the flywheel, indicating that the motor windings may be heat-sensitive…or worst case the crank is binding at temp. That condition can be confirmed by trying to turn the crank manually with a wratchet and socket.

If, back at square one, there’s no voltage at the starter motor, then either the starter relay (under the hood) has become heat sensitive or the key cyilnder itself is malfunctioning. The buzzing sound from the steering column makes me wonder about the cylinder.

First step: checking for voltage at the starter assembly when the key is turned.
Second step: find out whether the motor is simply not engaging or is and cannot turn the engine over.
Third step depends on the results of the first two.


#5

Your talent with the English language far exceeds mine, and the scary thing is I try to do better. Besides helping people, one reason I took up answering posts was to improve my writing skills. I think I went 30 years without writing a letter and the only writing was my story on a repair order.

I have fixed these multiple voltage drop conditions by bussing the 12V for the solenoid right off the battery (with a FORD starter relay in the circuit). I did not come up with the idea myself, I simply started copying a kit I bought for a guy that got a 68 3/4 Chevy pickup with a fresh small block for a 49 chevy pickup in trade. The guy with the 68 was hysterical over no one being able to fix his small block that would not crank when hot, he got even madder when I fixed it for the guy that traded his 49 away.

I admit an adversion to posts that imply “five of you jerks could not fix my car”


#6

If the car has an automatic tranmission it could well be the neutral safety switch is failing. This switch is what allows the car to start in the PARK and NEUTRAL positions and it’s not a rare problem.

Next time it acts up try shifting into NEUTRAL and/or wiggling the gear lever back and forth to see if it will start.

It’s a simple matter to diagnose this problem when the car is acting up by testing for power at the starter solenoid when the key is turned to the START position. No power means either the neutral switch or the ignition switch is faulty. Hope that helps.