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View Poll Results: Will a new crank sensor get me back on the road?
Yes. They're only $25, you cheap @#%$& 0 0%
No. It's something else. 0 0%
Why do you care? This is a perfect excuse to start that swap... 10 100.00%
Voters: 10. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-07-2010, 01:58 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 182275
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Playing in deep snow... the next morning my car won't start

Is my crank sensor toast?

The car: 97 Legacy L wagon, 2.2l, m/t, 282k miles (!), 100% bone-stock

History: I'm the second owner of the car, I've had it since 178k. The only things I've ever replaced are the clutch, throttle pos sensor, timing belt (around 240k), and fuel pump and filter (also 240k). Also, this should be mentioned... when I 'replaced' the timing belt, it was because an idler pulley bearing let loose. Because I was planning on swapping in an ej20 at some point, I chose to go as cheap as possible, which meant getting a new bearing pressed into the pulley and re-using the belt. Nothing else in there really appeared to be a problem, the tensioner still had plenty of room to adjust, etc. After that the car was running great up until yesterday...

Story: We got a good 12-14" of snow the other night here in southeast pa, so naturally I was out driving around till about 2:30 am. Nothing too crazy, just having fun running circles around all the lifted 4x4's. I did get into a few un-touched roads where I was pushing plenty of snow with my front bumper. After a few of those, the car completely cut out for about half a second. It happened maybe three times. I'm not talking about a stumble or sputter, but like someone flipped a switch off and then back on, which led me to believe it was a spark issue. When I parked it it was running fine. The next morning it wouldn't start. Cranked and cranked at normal speed with nothing. The strange thing is when I let go of the key, it will diesel a little bit, as if the timing was off a tooth. I tried a little bit of starting fluid, and it didn't do anything. I'm not getting any codes. I'm thinking crank sensor, anyone have any other ideas before I go throwing parts at my old worn-out car?
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:05 PM   #2
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 94350
Join Date: Aug 2005
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: S. Maine

Definitely sounds like a crank sensor.
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Old 02-07-2010, 06:58 PM   #3
Back Road Runner
Scooby Guru
Member#: 60082
Join Date: Apr 2004
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Minnesota
2004 Forester STI


It's tough to say if it is in fact the position sensor. It's simply one thing to try.

What is the car doing?

Is it turning over? Do you see spark? Does the fuel pump prime? Where does the air come in on the 2.2L air intake(plugged)? I'm just curious if the main parts are there in the first place.

I've been through a lot of deep snow, and I've known a lot of people who repeated and purposely beach their cars on snow dinking around and have zero issues.
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Old 02-09-2010, 12:52 AM   #4
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 80465
Join Date: Jan 2005
Chapter/Region: RMIC
Location: Bailey, CO
2001 2.5RS
Black Diamond Pearl


there are only a couple of sensors that won't allow the engine to start. one is crank, one is cam sensor(possibly others, but I don't know them). if you think it's something else, try unplugging it and starting. One really easy thing to check is to pull off the timing belt inspection cover and see if the belt is even doing its' job. Have you checked compression?
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:48 PM   #5
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 182275
Join Date: Jun 2008

I pulled the crank sensor and it was really dirty so I cleaned it and put it back in just for kicks. Nothing. Then I reset the ecu and it started, although still not easily. But after it started the first time it was fine for a few days. Then we got a blizzard and I just let the car sit for about 2 days. When I finally got the driveway cleared it wouldn't start. Tried resetting the ecu. Nope. Unplugged the crank sensor. Nope. Plugged it back in and unplugged the cam sensor. Nope. Reset the ecu again. Nope. Then because I didn't know what else to do I pulled the battery out of one of my other cars and put it in, because after all that cranking it was sounding a little slow. Still nothing. Gave up, and now a few days later I went out and it started right up. Now the problem is it won't rev past about 2k, when I try to push it past that it cuts out and I can hear a relay clicking.

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