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The old subaru just aint what it used to be

Ola,

we have a 1993 subaru loyale wagon, four door and hatchback. its been sitting for a few years. we just put a brand new battery in it and it turns over fine, but will not start. we will likely be donating this vehicle so do not want to spend more than one hundred dollars. does anybody know what the next step should be? please if you do let us know.

Thank you!

This is a fuel or ignition problem. You’ll need to take it into a good shop that can determine exactly what the problem is. My guess is that the old fuel is gummed up and you’re not getting good gas into the engine.

Other posters will likely tell you to drain the tank and put in fresh gas as a first step.

Spray some starter fluid into the air intake and see whether it wants to cough like it wants to start. That will mean your ignition at least does something. If it doesn’t want to cough, your ignition will need work.

If ethanol has ever been run through the system, make sure that more then just draining is done. A thorough inspection is necessary as hoses, gaskets and seals were not meant to handle the ethanol. Have a mechanic check for leaks before you attempt to start it. You would hate to have raw fuel leaking while trying to start and run the motor.

My guess is the fuel pump has sat there unused for some time and is now stuck. Mechanics have tricks to unstick fuel pumps. Which don’t involve a lot of time and effort. And which actually work sometimes. Tow the car to your mechanic and tell him you have $100 to spend to try to get the car started. He/She’ll know what to do.

First, you want to attempt to discriminate between a fuel or a spark problem. It could be either, or possibly both. Given the long repose, fuel is probably the most suspect, as others have mentioned. Then again, I recently jump started a vehicle which had been sitting a long time. It started easily on 5 year old gas, and has run fine ever since (six months). Others here have similar success stories.

If you are so inclined, you may be able to isolate this problem yourself, without advanced mechanical skills. Making that attempt is simple and cheap. If you don’t get clear results, then you may have to resort to taking it to a shop, but chances are that will bust your self imposed budget.

Start with the good advice offered by @Remco: provide alternate fuel, albeit in very small supply, with a spray can of starter fluid. Maybe it will almost start, or even run for an instant. If it does then it’s more likely a fuel problem. If not, it’s probably ignition (no spark). To confirm or refute the results of that test, or as an alternate test, check to see if you have spark. A simple and inexpensive device makes this quick and easy:
http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result?q=spark%20tester.
You can probably buy something similar at any parts store.

If you want to get into it that far on your own, post back what you find and someone here will probably be able to offer suggestions on where to go from there. Good luck!