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Old 03-04-2003, 04:00 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 33615
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Sarasota, FL
1993 Impreza Wagon
210,000 miles

Unhappy Weird starting problem--1993 Impreza

All right, you Subaru experts, give me your ideas on this one.

I own a 1993 Subaru Impreza FWD wagon with 163,500 miles on it. I'm the original owner. I've taken great care of the car and it has served me well.

About a year ago, in the Spring of 2002, I was out running errands one day. It was a nice day, maybe in the 50s or 60s. I turned the car off for maybe 5 minutes while I emptied my recycling bins at the recycling center. When I got back into the car and tried to start it, it would not run. It would start immediately, but would not idle. If I kept my foot on the gas it would run, but the second I took my foot off the gas it would die.

I finally called a tow truck and had it towed to a shop. It was a Saturday afternoon and they couldn't look at it until Monday. When they started it on Monday morning, it started right up. They drove it around with no problem. They performed $80 worth of diagnostic tests, but couldn't find anything wrong. The mechanic said that it might have been some bad gas or something in the fuel filter. He suggested that I run a bottle of Techron through the gas tank about every 3,000 miles.

I've faithfully done the Techron thing all year. The car ran fine all year with absolutely no problems. I even drove it to Colorado and back, putting 2,000 miles on it, with no problems.

Yesterday was a nice day here, in the 50s. Once again I was out running errands. The car was fully warmed up. I turned it off for maybe 5 minutes, and when I went to start it again.... you guessed it. The EXACT thing happened that happened last year. I had it towed to the same shop. It was late in the day and almost time for them to close. And, once again, they didn't try to start it until this morning, and once again, it started and ran fine.

Does anyone have any ideas as to what might be going on?

KUgrad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2003, 05:14 PM   #2
Subaru Bounty Hunter
Member#: 7131
Join Date: Jun 2001
Chapter/Region: TXIC
Location: Houston - Downtown Julie Brown
2015 Outback - Croc
Dundee Edition Ice Silver



might be a loose connection somewhere... sometimes those can be hard to find...

that's all i can think of...
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Old 03-04-2003, 05:20 PM   #3
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 31115
Join Date: Dec 2002
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: northeast PA

there could be a number of things that it could be. i'm no expert though, but i would definitly check the spark plugs. it sounds stupid, but it could even be that your plugs could have become fouled, which would make it difficult to start, but if you let it sit overnight the excess fuel won't be on the plugs anymore. that is one possibility because i'm kind of trying to compare it with my bike. it fouls the plugs, if it is running too lean, and i can wait overnight and it will start up fine. i don't know if these are anything alike but that is the best thing i can think of.

the other thing that it could be is if you run your car almost to empty before filling it up, you could suck up any water or debris that could be in your tank that would get into your injectors and clog them. that would stall the engine and make it not be able to run unless you hold the gas down which would try to force the gas, debris, and water into your engine making it harder to stay running. but if sat overnight, it should clear out and be able to run in the morning.
i hope that some of this was helpful! but those are only my guesses, i'm not an expert!
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Old 03-04-2003, 05:37 PM   #4
NASIOC Supporter
Member#: 177
Join Date: Aug 1999
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
The 93 W/EJ20K
Series 10 FRS


whether or not its the problem
go buy NGK spark plugs (ones specfied in the manual)and new wires .. it is an easy install (do not use any other plug than ngk)

it did wonders for my 93
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Old 03-04-2003, 07:05 PM   #5
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Member#: 15543
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: san francisco, ca
90BJ Legacy LS ABS
AWD 946 Rio Red Jpn built


My guess is corroded connections. Take them all off and use an emory board.

Id check the AFM/MAF first.
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Old 03-05-2003, 06:09 PM   #6
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 33615
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Sarasota, FL
1993 Impreza Wagon
210,000 miles


Thank you to all who replied. I just picked up the car from the shop. Here's what they found.

They read the car's on-board computer and found two trouble codes. One was for the idle air control valve (apparently not the same thing as the MAF). It was clogged with carbon deposits.

The other code was for the crank angle sensor. This sensor apparently tells the spark plugs when to fire, depending on the position of the crank shaft.

They replaced the crank angle sensor and cleaned the idle air control valve. The car is running great once again. 200,000 miles, here I come!

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Old 03-06-2003, 02:15 AM   #7
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Member#: 19018
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Maribor, Slovenia
1995 Legacy Wagon


Originally posted by KUgrad
The other code was for the crank angle sensor. This sensor apparently tells the spark plugs when to fire, depending on the position of the crank shaft.
I had a similar problem with this sucker too. If I had my car fully warm and turned it off for like 5 minutes - 1 hour, it wouldn't start anymore (there was no spark). Sometimes, a little knock/bang on the sensor was enough to make it work, but usually I had to wait till the engine cooled down considerably (1 hour, sometimes more). That was kind of annoying.

Since the sensor costs obscene $160 where I live (Europe, Slovenia) and the failure looked just like a cold solder joint inside the sensor, I've decided to try and repair it myself.

So I cut the sucker open on the top (the plastic), where the lead goes from the connector to the inner part of the sensor. There are two soldered wires which I just re-soldered. Covered it all with hot melt glue and it has been running without a single problem since!

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Old 03-07-2003, 12:37 AM   #8
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 33615
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Sarasota, FL
1993 Impreza Wagon
210,000 miles



Yes, it sounds like the same thing. Both times when it happened to me the car had only been off for a few minutes. I did try to start it after the tow truck dropped it off at the shop, but even then it had only been maybe an hour and it still wouldn't start.

I'm glad to know that you fixed yours. That tells me that they probably replaced the correct part on my car!

(It was $60.00 for the part, by the way. The part cost included overnight shipping.)

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Old 03-07-2003, 10:07 AM   #9
North Ursalia
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Oct 1940 - Feb 2008

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Join Date: Jan 2000
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: NH, Land Of Many Trees
2000 2.5 RS, '14 For
92 5MT SVX


The idle air control valve going bad/getting dirty is a very common reason for Imprezas to stall and/or idle very high, mostly on the newer models 2.5's (97+). Thankfully, it can usually be cleaned, and if it needs replacing, isn't outrageously expensive .

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