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Old 04-10-2004, 10:39 AM   #1
amjf088
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Default I may have really screwed something up - Help

I'll preface this by saying I feel like a real idiot!

My car ('02 WRX) has been in the garage this winter, and I've been doing some suspension and brake work. I didn't bother to disconnect the battery (yeah, pretty lazy), so it ran down and the last few times I started it to run it for a few minutes, I had to boost it, but it started with no problem.

Now, I tried this again this past week, but I used a different car for the booster than before. There was a red cover and red label on the one side of the booster batter that actually was the negative side, but in my silly rush, I did not notice this and assumed positive. As soon as I connected the last cable to ground, there was quite a spark, and then the horn started to sound continually. I tried jumping in the car and starting it (I know, really stupid) but of course nothing happened. I disconnected the booster cables at that point after perhaps 30 seconds and then finally figured out what I had done.

I reconnected the cables the right way, but now the electrics were dead with the exception of the horn and 4-way flashers. I checked all the fuses and found that the 80A main was blown and all others were OK. WIth this fuse replaced, the electrics seem normal again, and the engine cranks when I try to start it (with a boost) but it will not start. It just cranks. I never had a starting problem before, so I fear I have seriously screwed something up. I am just guessing it might be fuel delivery issue or (shudder) an ECU thing.

Any help or advice would be really appreciated!

Thanks,

Allan
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Old 04-10-2004, 01:01 PM   #2
munkis
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Check to see what you are missing now.

Spark or Fuel.

It could just be flooded.

try holding the gas pedel to the floor while cranking it over, for 10 seconds at a time, do this 3 times. Then try and start it normally.

Do you have an aftermarket alarm?

Jay
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Old 04-10-2004, 06:13 PM   #3
amjf088
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Thanks,

I've tried the flooded engine start procedure and that has not had any effect. Any recommendations of the easiest way to verify spark or fuel delivery?

Thanks again,

Allan

P.S. no aftermarket alarm (or anything aftermarket related to the electrical system)
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Old 04-10-2004, 09:48 PM   #4
Avenger
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Quote:
Originally posted by amjf088
Thanks,

I've tried the flooded engine start procedure and that has not had any effect. Any recommendations of the easiest way to verify spark or fuel delivery?

Thanks again,

Allan

P.S. no aftermarket alarm (or anything aftermarket related to the electrical system)
You can buy a spark tester and use that or you can pull out the sparkplug wire off the spark plug then use a long screw driver and place it into the spark plug boot and place it very close to the engine block (ground) (about 1/4 inich) and get someone to start the car. Be very careful since you might get a shock from this. If you see spark then you got spark and you have another problem.
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Old 04-10-2004, 09:55 PM   #5
Mulder
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^
^
This won't work on the WRX because of the coil-on-plug ignition system. There are no plug wires and the coils are mounted directly on the individual plugs.

Have you checked all the fuses in both fuse boxes? You might have blown one in the under-dash box that is needed to power the ECU.
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Old 04-11-2004, 09:53 AM   #6
amjf088
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Yes, I've actually pulled out each fuse to verify that it is OK and they are. There is one fuse however in the under dash panel (the airbag one I think) that is protected from removal, but shining a light on it reveal no sign of it being blown.

The suggestion that it may be the fuel pump relay has been offered from elsewhere... Any thoughts on this, or a good way to test for this or fuel delivery?

Thanks everyone for taking a look and offering advice,

Allan
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Old 04-11-2004, 10:09 AM   #7
Mulder
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Is that the fuse labeled "IGN"? That one will kill the ECU so it has to be checked. If you don't want to remove it or it can't be easily pulled, the fuse has exposed terminals that can be probed with a tester.
The fuel pump relay is controlled by the ECU, so if it isn't activating it would indicate an ECU problem rather than a relay problem.
If you can get access to an OBDII scanner it would be extremely informative to plug it in and attempt to scan the ECU. If there is no response this means the ECU is either blown or not getting power.
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Old 04-12-2004, 09:30 AM   #8
amjf088
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Thanks for that input.

I did check the "IGN" fuse and it is OK.

I also checked for the sound of the fuel pump priming (by turning the key to the "run" position in the dead quiet of my garage with the trunk pass through open) no sound was heard, which indicates that the fuel pump is not operating (for whatever reason).

I don't have access to an OBD scanner, but I'm looking into it.

Thanks again,

Allan
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Old 04-12-2004, 07:31 PM   #9
OPcustomz
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I believe any autozone has a scanner but i may be wrong. I am not sure if you can do it with the subie ECU's but i know the nissan ones you can reset yourself. I would look into it and see if thats a option.
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Old 04-12-2004, 07:34 PM   #10
Mulder
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He is in Toronto. I don't think there are any Autozones there. Also his car currently doesn't run so no way to bring it someplace for a scan. That's why I suggested borrowing a scanner. And, the purpose for doing this is not to read or clear any codes but to see if the ECU is "alive" or not.
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Old 04-28-2004, 05:52 PM   #11
amjf088
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Good News...

All is well and the car is running just fine. Thank you to everyone who offered some ideas.

I've learned a few things that I thought I'd pass along:

1) Obviously, don't forget to pay attention, even when doing the simplest tasks which may have been done many times before!

2) The problem was amazingly simple. After I had blown the 80A fuse, I first made a home made one with a bunch of 12 Ga. wire and a household fuse as a temporary means while I waited for the actual replacement part. The home made fuse seemed to work as the starter motor would crank. When the actual fuse finally arrived, I tried starting the car again, because I had the weird idea in the back of my head that maybe it did actually make a difference and...presto! I turned the key to the "on" position, heard the fuel pump prime and then when I turned it to start, the engine fired up immediately. So somehow, that ECU must have detected that the actual replacement fuse was not in place (perhaps the extra resistance of the connecting wires between the fuse box and my house fuse?).

3) In the meantime I also brought a OBD-II reader, when I connected it up, I was able to verify that there are no trouble codes. Everthing seems to run perfect. (Actually, I had wanted to get one of these units anyway, so it was not a waste for me). However, the battery was not holding charge, so I've replaced that.

4) To prepare for the anticipated repair job, I also decided to finally spring for the service manual (something else I've also been wanting). What has held me up in the past though, was the high cost of the manual set from Subaru. I've known for some time that bootleg CD's can be had from Ebay for next to nothing, but I've not really wanted to do that. (Must be something my Dad drilled into me.) Well, as necessity is often the stimulus for solutions, I found that I could download individual PDF's of the manual sections from Subaru. The cost is US$19.95 for a 72 hour download window, with a maximum of 20 downloads per hour. I am fortunate to have a fast connection, so it only took a few minutes each hour to achieve this. I was able to get the entire manual (all sections), as well as TSBs, tech tip newsletters and Subaru Technical Guide books. Perfect: Nice and cheap and 100% legal. This may not be news for many, but in case, here is the link:

Link

Thanks!

Allan
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