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Old 12-20-2005, 10:50 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 81234
Join Date: Feb 2005
Default Can a remote starter ruin the starter motor? Please Help!

Hello all,
I've had a matrix 3.5 in my forester for about 20k miles. A couple of weeks ago, I started my car with it and there was a funny noise; kind of like when a diesel engine is initially turned on and is being primed, like a metallic electrical whurrr. When I got to my destination, the car was fine. Left it in the parking lot for about an hour and tried to start the car again. It didn't start. I was able to push start the car and get it to my mechanic where we proceeded to diagnose the problem. When we took the starter motor out and shook it, it sounded like a can of peanuts rattling around in the actual motor of the starter. I replaced the starter and everything is fine now.
My question is: Is it possible that the remote starter is responsible for the short life of the starter in my forester? Everyone that I have talked to (a bunch of Subaru techs) repeatedly tell me that Subaru starters are virtually indestructible.
One hypothesis is that there is a short in the remote start unit and power(not enough to crank the engine) is continuously being supplied to the starter motor, which is causing the starter gear to be engaged with the flywheel while I drive, spinning the starter motor faster than it was made to go (750-7500 RPM ).
Any input, help, or opinions are greatly appreciated.
Thank you
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Old 12-20-2005, 11:01 PM   #2
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 33933
Join Date: Mar 2003
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Nashua NH
2011 WRX Limited


I don't see your hypothesis as being very likely. Possible, but unlikely. If the remote starter has kept the starter engaged for a long perios of time it can burn out the starter. This can happen if it isn't reading a good tach signal. If it doesn't see a tach signal it will continue to crank until it sees one.

You need to pay more attention to how the car sounds when starting...by key and by remote. If the starter stays engaged, you need to have it looked at.

Subaru starters are not virtually indestructible. Every part on your car can break.
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Old 12-20-2005, 11:33 PM   #3
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Member#: 81234
Join Date: Feb 2005

I don't hear my car crank continously while the car is idling or running. What would I be looking/listening for upon startup?
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Old 12-21-2005, 12:54 AM   #4
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 53936
Join Date: Jan 2004
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Exit 10
2008 Leg GT
2004 WRX -> Billy-fied


Your remote start does not control the starter directly, it only controls when a electrical signal is applied to the starter wire in the ignition harness. It's either on or off. IMHO If there was a short, most likely you would have noticed because of a dead battery (because the short would exist all the time, not just when the car is running).

I think you had a bad starter. However, if the R/S was not installed properly it could be causing any number of problems. I'm assuming that since you "push started" the car it's a M/T, which the Matrix 3.5 is not designed for.
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Old 12-21-2005, 10:15 AM   #5
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Member#: 64374
Join Date: Jun 2004
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: Baltimore, MD
03 2.5ts BRP long gone


I could see how a remote starter could shorten the life of your starter.
Do you know if the unit was installed with a tach wire or with voltage sense?

I would imagine at continual usage of it over cranking it could eventually cause damage to the starter.

like stated above you should be around the car while you remote start it to see how it sounds. Does it sound like everytime you remote start it that the starter is still engaging after the car starts?
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