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Old 07-17-2015, 09:38 PM   #1
Michelle L
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Default 1999 Legacy won't start after engine got wet

For starters, I have spent a couple of weeks searching the web, testing components, cleaning sensors, consulting a mechanic friend and crossing my fingers. Nothing has seemed to help so far.

I recently was involved in a front-end collision in my 1999 Legacy postal wagon. I removed all of the front-end parts from the car once I had replacement parts from the junkyard purchased. Even after the collision, the engine was running without issue. The only problem was the fans pushed into the front timing covers. Still, the engine would run. I left all of the front end parts, including the hood, off for one night before going to install them the next day. The battery was removed from the car as well. That night, it rained. A lot.

When I went out the next day to check things over I decided to see if it would start. I reinstalled the battery and tried to fire it up. It was later in the afternoon and the Texas heat had already dried everything up to the point that I wasn't overly concerned about moisture. The engine would crank but it would not start. The cranking was very strong so I immediately ruled out the battery or starter. I then grabbed a spare spark plug, pulled one of the wires off of its installed spark plug and plugged it the spare to test for spark. I grounded the plug and got nothing when trying to crank again. So, I'm not getting spark. I pulled the crankshaft and camshaft sensors and checked the connectors for moisture and cleaned the metal sensor surfaces. I reinstalled those and got the same result. I couldn't find my boyfriend's code reader so I ordered a Bluetooth one and tried that out. I didn't expect much of a result because the car cannot start to even register a code. A few days later I tested the coil with a multimeter. The '99 Legacy uses a 4-pin connector, unlike the 3-pin connector found in the earlier cars. The FSM tells you test across pins 1&2 and 2&4. I did both and got no reading on either. I tested across pins 3&4 and got 11ohms. I tested across the two spark plug wire towers (3 to 4 and 1 to 2) and registered nothing there as well. That seems odd that the coil would read that way.

The '99 cars also do not have a firewall-mounted ignitor that the earlier cars seem to. One of the "Phase II" differences, I'm sure. That is one thing that my research has pointed to, but only applies to '95-'98 cars of this body style. I've checked all fuses, relays, the fusible link and none seem to have any issue.

So, I'm coming to you. Can anyone help me out before I take this thing to the dealer? It's missing the front core support and all of the front panels except for a hood, so I'd really prefer to fix it here, but I'll do what I have to do. Perhaps someone can elaborate on my coil conundrum.

Thanks!
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Old 07-17-2015, 10:59 PM   #2
Uncle Scotty
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did the timing belt jump teeth?????

check this...common issue when in a frontal impact
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Old 07-18-2015, 01:00 AM   #3
Michelle L
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No, it ran completely fine after the collision. I drove it home after the accident and moved it around to different places in the driveway many times. This is certainly caused by the engine getting wet.
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Old 07-18-2015, 10:15 AM   #4
DrD
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Sounds like the coil is fried - maybe moisture got in and failed it. You should see a little under an ohm between pins 1+2 and pins 3+4, then if you measure at the plug wire connections, measuring between opposing plug connections you should see around 13k-ohms for each pair. If you are measuring an open, the coil has failed, so you don't have spark at the cylinders which is probably why the car won't run.
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Old 07-18-2015, 10:38 AM   #5
Michelle L
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And in principle that makes sense, but it seems odd for it to have failed so utterly and completely. Anyway, there's enough evidence to justify buying one, it seems. I'll keep everyone posted.
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Old 07-18-2015, 04:12 PM   #6
Michelle L
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To make this even more confusing, I'm now getting resistance across the coil between 3-4 and 1-2 once I've started using alligator clips to help me out. I'm not, however, getting any resistance between the pins on the primary connector. Even the ones that I was getting previously are no longer giving a reading. It must have been the electrodes touching in the close confines.

Also, I bought a new coil. O'Reilly Auto Parts had it in stock so I figured I'd try it. $113.00 later and it still doesn't start. I thought I was stumped before. I'm beside myself now.

Does anyone know where the ECU fuse is located? I can't seem to find any evidence of it in the 1999 Legacy's FSM.
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Old 07-18-2015, 05:38 PM   #7
DrD
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Engine control module and the fuel pump relay are on fuse FB4 (should be the under dash fuse box, I think) - I would go over all of the fuses (both in compartment and under dash) - when you gave it power wet, something may have popped. Just to be sure - if you check the resistance of the new coil you bought, does it read correctly (want to rule out the multimeter as an issue) - are the plug wires in good shape?
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