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Is my Subaru's starter giving me trouble or is it something else?

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Jan 7, 2008, 6:22:07 PM1/7/08

This is my first post to this ng and perhaps there are better places to get
advice on fixing my car.

I think that this question could be applied to any make or model but in
particular I have a 92 Subaru legacy. I have noticed that sometimes the
starter just does not want to turn over. Almost as if, say, the battery were
dead. I replaced the battery, which was old anyway and that had no effect. I
will try to start it, hear the click of the solenoid wanting to engage, and
then nothing. After a couple of trys, it eventually "turns over" and the car

So, if it is not the battery then it could be the starter or some switch or
relay feeding power to the starter.

What does anyone out there think? I would also appreciate recommendations
for a website on which to post questions like this if this is not the proper

Thank You

Mike Walsh

Jan 6, 2008, 8:50:30 PM1/6/08

Most likely a bad starter. These symptoms are typical of a high mileage starter just before it completely dies.

Mike Walsh


Jan 7, 2008, 10:27:27 AM1/7/08

Thank you for the reply.

I was doing some research and came across the possibility that it could be
the "neutral safety switch". I had not heard of this before, nor do I know
where it is on the Subaru, but it sounds interesting. I noticed that when it
does not start, if I move the stick shift around, it then starts.


"Mike Walsh" <> wrote in message

Mike Walsh

Jan 7, 2008, 11:35:05 AM1/7/08

The neutral safety switch can keep it from starting.
The fact that it clicks but does not start and eventually starts after several tries is what lead me to suspect the starter.

miner_tom wrote:
> Mike,
> Thank you for the reply.
> I was doing some research and came across the possibility that it could be
> the "neutral safety switch". I had not heard of this before, nor do I know
> where it is on the Subaru, but it sounds interesting. I noticed that when it
> does not start, if I move the stick shift around, it then starts.

Mike Walsh

C. E. White

Jan 7, 2008, 11:49:17 AM1/7/08

"Mike Walsh" <> wrote in message

The fact that car starts after playing with the gearshift might be
significant - or not. Does the car have a manual transmission or an
automatic? If it is a manual, moving around the gearshift might move
the flywheel just enough to correct an alignment issue between the
starter teeth and the flywheel teeth. As far as I know, manuals don't
have a neutral safety switch, only a clutch switch, so I think the OOP
must have an automatic. If this is the case, it could be that starting
after moving the gearshift indicates a problem with the neutral safety
switch, Will the car start in neutral (as opposed to park)? However,
the click indicates to me that the problem is not a neutral safety
switch issue. I would bet the problem is a bad solenoid (on the

A bad starter solenoid will exhibit similar symptoms. If you are
hearing a "click" it is unlikely to be the neutral safety switch. I
would wager the "click" is the solenoid trying to engage the starter.
I do not know if you can buy the solenoid separately, sometimes you
can, sometimes you can't (I am talking about the solenoid mounted to
the starter). The starter solenoid has two functions - first it moves
the starter gear to engage the ring gear on the flywheel or flexplate,
then it energizes the starter (by shorting across some terminals).

The solenoid can be related to a failure to start for a number of

1) - the wiring to the solenoid can be bad
2) - the actual solenoid windings can be bad, preventing the solenoid
from engaging
3) - the solenoid slug (the moving part) might have restricted
movement due to contamination, a problem with starter alignment, or
bad teeth on the starter or ring gear. If the slug doesn't travel the
full distance, the contacts aren't closed and no current is sent to
the starter
4) - the wiring to the starter might be bad. It will carry enough
current to energize the solenoid, but the wiring has so much
resistance that it can't power the starter motor
5) - a weak battery might have enough current to activate the
solenoid, but not actually crank the engine



Jan 7, 2008, 12:13:43 PM1/7/08
Thanks to all for the most insightful replies.

I should have been more clear in that I did not state that my 92 Subaru
Legacy has a MANUAL transmisison. If I might ask, where is the stamp that
has the engine size on it? It does not appear to be on the drivers side

I have been looking through the Chiltons manual on this and the schematic
diagrams are very poor. Not sure that I have found the correct schematic for
the 92 but I only saw the Neutral safety switch shown in the older models.
Perhaps I missed it. Need to keep looking. Not used to working on the
Subaru. I do have a Toyota 84,4x4 pickup and I have the service manual, now
worn with use. Much better. That will teach me to get the service manual for
every car that I ever own.


"C. E. White" <> wrote in message


Jan 15, 2008, 10:43:49 PM1/15/08
live by faith."

34Rom. 10:17. "Faith cometh by hearing."

35"I know." "I believe."

36Ps. 119. 36. "Incline my heart, O Lord."

[37]Wisd. of Sol. 15:8, 16. "He moulds a God... like unto himself."

38Matt. 18:3. "Except ye become as little children."

[39]Ps. 119:36. "Incline my heart, O Lord, unto thy testimonies."

40Cicero, De finibus, V. 21. "There is no longer anything which is ours;
what I call ours is conventional."

[41]Seneca, Epistles, xcv. "It is by virtue of senatus-consultes and
plebiscites that one commits crimes."

[42]Tacitus, Annals, iii. 25. "Once we suffered from our vices; today we
suffer from our laws."

43Saint Augustine, City of God, iv. 27. "As he has ignored the truth which
frees, it is right he is mistaken."

[44]Cicero, De officiis, iii, 17. "Concerning true law."

45Eccles. 3:19. "for all is vanity."

46Rom. 8:20-21. "It shall be delivered."

[47]Horace, Odes, III. xxix. 13. "Changes nearly always please the great."

48Seneca, Epistles, xx. 8. "In order that you are satisfied with yourself
and the good that is born from you."

[49]Montaigne, Essays, ii. 12.

50Cicero, De Divinatione, ii. 58. "There is nothing so absurd that it has
not been said by some philosopher."

51Cicero, Disputationes Tusculanae, ii. 2. "Devoted to certain fixed
opinions, they are forced to defend what they hardly approve."

52Seneca, Epistles, cvi. "We suffer from an excess of literature as from an
excess of anything."

53Cicero, D

Jul 15, 2019, 6:08:33 PM7/15/19
My 07 Outback was rear ended a few days ago. I drove away from the accident and then later my car would not turn over. I am told by Subaru I need a new starter which I had replaced 2 years ago. Think I am missing something here or rather the mechanic is? I am thinking it may be time to replace the car as a result of accident. MB
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