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Old 09-10-2007, 06:50 PM   #1
96WRX
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Default Weird Starting Problem

I have a JDM conversion that has been running for 3 years now with no major problems. Within the last year, there have been 4 times that it didn't want to start after a short drive. Here is the scenario, it has been exactly the same each of the four times. I leave my house around 4:30 Am drive about 7 miles to a Safeway store where I stop to pick up things for breakfast and lunch. I get back to my car after buying the stuff I need, try to start the car but it just spins, like it is either not getting spark or gas. If I let if sit for about 15 to 20 minutes, it will start right up, no problem. In the last year I have make this stop at least 80 times, but have only had this problem 4 times. Since it is dark and away from where all my tools are, there is not much I can do to diagnose the problem. Does anyone have any idea what might be happening? Oh yea, I don't get a CEL when this happens.
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Old 09-10-2007, 07:27 PM   #2
deviantek
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The starter is starting to give way? Only thing I can think of.
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Old 09-10-2007, 07:49 PM   #3
specialev
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I've seen a very similar problem in Jaguars and Land Rovers due to heat soak affecting ignition amplifiers and crank position sensors. The sitting in the parking lot without any airflow (presumably) causes the electrical bits to heat up cease to function as they soak up the thermal energy which would normally dissipate as cool air flows over them while the vehicle is in motion. As conductive bits get hot, resistance can increase quite a bit in old electrical parts. Maybe you should pack a timing or induction light with you to see if your ignition is firing off next time this happens.
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Old 09-10-2007, 09:22 PM   #4
07BlueWRX
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I had something very simalar happen to my integra, I would try to start it, would just spin, then would sit there and smoke a cig, after the cig I would try it and it would start right up, it was the ignition control moduel. I dont think its the same in subarus though, just something to check either way
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Old 09-10-2007, 10:13 PM   #5
Danbob99
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I'm going to make a guess that your JDM motor has the same cam and crank position sensors as a normal 96 imp or legacy. Its very common to see one or the other fail, in exactly the situation that you described (Short drive, sits for a few minutes, won't start) To verify, find yourself an OBDII scanner (if your car is equipped, I don't know much about the JDM ecu situation) and see if there is a code for a crank pos. sensor or a cam pos. sensor.

You could also just replace them, the two sensors are about $50. I have a couple spares you could throw in to test with also.

Dan
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Old 09-10-2007, 10:45 PM   #6
96WRX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deviantek View Post
The starter is starting to give way? Only thing I can think of.
I don't think it is the starter, the engine spins fast, just doesn't seem to be getting any spark and or gas.
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Old 09-10-2007, 10:48 PM   #7
Hecatoncheires
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my 96 legacy had the same problem. it would also go through cam and crank position sensors.
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Old 09-10-2007, 10:49 PM   #8
96WRX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danbob99 View Post
I'm going to make a guess that your JDM motor has the same cam and crank position sensors as a normal 96 imp or legacy. Its very common to see one or the other fail, in exactly the situation that you described (Short drive, sits for a few minutes, won't start) To verify, find yourself an OBDII scanner (if your car is equipped, I don't know much about the JDM ecu situation) and see if there is a code for a crank pos. sensor or a cam pos. sensor.

You could also just replace them, the two sensors are about $50. I have a couple spares you could throw in to test with also.

Dan
No OBDII here, it is just like the earlier cars, connect a wire (basically ground it out) and the CEL flashes a code, but like I said, I get not CEL when this happens. I think I have a spare set of JDM sensors, I may stop by a dealer to see if ther are the same. If this is common on other Subarus, that is probably the case here. I need to check, I would expect that they would be the same as the 2.5 DOHC engine, if those are different then the SOHC engines.
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Old 09-11-2007, 12:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 96WRX View Post
No OBDII here, it is just like the earlier cars, connect a wire (basically ground it out) and the CEL flashes a code, but like I said, I get not CEL when this happens. I think I have a spare set of JDM sensors, I may stop by a dealer to see if ther are the same. If this is common on other Subarus, that is probably the case here. I need to check, I would expect that they would be the same as the 2.5 DOHC engine, if those are different then the SOHC engines.
The 2.5 sensors are the same as the late 2.2 sensors, they are just the sensor, no extension wire before the plug.

The CEL does not usually come on once the car starts (on OBDII cars) it will register a CEL code though while cranking, but not illuminate once the sensor starts working and the car starts.

Your description of the problem fits this specific failure to a T. I would certainly pursue a new set of sensors before spending time on anything else.
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Old 09-11-2007, 03:57 AM   #10
scrappydoo
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I had this happen once with my 97 STi RA. I really thought it was my fuelpump going bad because I didn't hear it prime when I tried to start it. I've only had that problem once. When it happens again, listen for the fuelpump and see if it was doing the same thing mine was.
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:34 AM   #11
96WRX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danbob99 View Post
The 2.5 sensors are the same as the late 2.2 sensors, they are just the sensor, no extension wire before the plug.

The CEL does not usually come on once the car starts (on OBDII cars) it will register a CEL code though while cranking, but not illuminate once the sensor starts working and the car starts.

Your description of the problem fits this specific failure to a T. I would certainly pursue a new set of sensors before spending time on anything else.
Both of my sensors have wires coming out of them, probably 6 inches or more, these plug into the manifold wiring harness.
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:51 AM   #12
junk240sx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrappydoo View Post
I had this happen once with my 97 STi RA. I really thought it was my fuelpump going bad because I didn't hear it prime when I tried to start it. I've only had that problem once. When it happens again, listen for the fuelpump and see if it was doing the same thing mine was.
Fuel pumps can be expensive and not always the cause though. If you don't hear it priming then it could be the relay as well...

As been mentioned, other cars have similar problems such as older Honda/Acura. I know people had issues with the main relay going bad which would cause cranking but no start right after parking the car after a drive...

Hope you can figure it out...
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Old 09-11-2007, 12:37 PM   #13
saggioWRX
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Try leaving at 4:45am instead of 4:30am.
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Old 09-11-2007, 06:40 PM   #14
96WRX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saggioWRX View Post
Try leaving at 4:45am instead of 4:30am.
That would only give me 15 minutes to get to work in Everett (32 miles one way) so I would have to average just over 120mph to make it. Unfortunately, the JDM ECU has a built in speed limiter and cuts the engine at 118mph, so I could never make it on time. Nice thought though.
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:41 PM   #15
Danbob99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 96WRX View Post
Both of my sensors have wires coming out of them, probably 6 inches or more, these plug into the manifold wiring harness.
That is unfortunate, the early legacy's use that style sensors. They are hard to find and horrifically expensive (Compared to the new style sensors)

On the other hand I do not believe I have ever replaced one of the older style sensors, though I'm sure they could fail just the same. Its a simple hall-effect sensor reading registration marks of the crank and cam; which in turn controls (mainly) ignition.

The trick to a solid dio on this would be to use an oscilloscope to monitor the pattern from the sensor at the time of failure, though I understand this would be nearly impossible to do in a store parking lot.

Do you have an adapter cable to read current data from your ecu using your computer? I know I've seen a few of those things floating around: very simple cable adapted from OBD1/0 to a serial connector. That would enable you to monitor things fairly easily.
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