car won't start-just clicks-has new starter. any ideas?

08-15-2010, 06:38 PM
I have a 1997 legacy 2.5 gt (yeah that one) and recently have had an ongoing problem. It occasionally won't start, engine just clicks and wont turn over. However, sometimes after an hour or so of trying, it will suddenly start.

The problem is that 2 weeks ago I had the starter replaced, and the shop said for sure that the problem was the starter. I guess they were wrong, it was fine for 2 weeks, however today I went to start it and the same thing again!

Prior to getting the starter replaced, I had AAA come and test the battery, alternator, clean the battery terminals....everything checked out fine.

The maddening thing is that it doesn't happen every time. Anyone know what it could be?

08-16-2010, 08:08 PM
If the starter engages but won't turn over you have one of three problems. #1 is the most likely, not enough juice getting to the starter. You need to do a voltage drop from B+ to B+ starter post while cranking to see how much juice is being used. The number you get is how many volts it takes to get through the wire, take that number and subtract it from 12 and that is how many volts are starting your car. 1-2 volts is ok, any more and you have a cable problem. #2 and #3 are about the same likelyhood. #2 is you got a bad 'new' starter. #3 is an engine problem. Whether it is a headgasket or bad accessory keeping the engine from turning over. Might want to get it to a Subaru dealer.

08-16-2010, 09:17 PM
Thanks. It started fine this morning and I took it to the shop. They replaced the starter with another one, so supposedly that was the problem.

I replaced the head gasket at around 160,000 miles. Now theres about 190,000. Other than the typical overheating/coolant/oil/exhaust issues, is there anything else to look for with a head gasket problem?

08-17-2010, 01:39 PM
Generally they just leak.

08-17-2010, 05:25 PM
At lunch break at work today, car wouldn't start again. So this is 2 new starters, you would think the people at the shop would realize that the problem isn't the starter now. I was able to start it after trying about 30 times.

Maybe its just some small wire or connector. Either way, I spent over $325 at this shop, so I'm gonna keep taking it back there till they either fix it or give a refund. There was an alarm system in the car that they "disabled" that was hooked up to the starter somehow, maybe this has something to do with it. The frustrating thing is that it usually starts for a few days, then the problem returns.

holldun View Public Profile ( Send a private message to holldun ( Find More Posts by holldun ( iTrader: (0) ( ( Message Cancel Changes (

12-19-2011, 12:38 AM
you may want to do a compression test, and check that your injectors are firing. the compression test will tell you a great deal about the conditions inside your engine.

#1 compression- this tells you that the head gasket, valves, and piston rings are making a proper seal to create a vacuum in the combustion chamber. normally a cold engine will hold around 75-95 PSI (any lower than 50PSI and you have POOR compression, and will not suck in enough fuel to start up normally). next up some compression kits will let you hook up an air line and charge the cylinder to around 90 PSI and listen for leaks in the headgasket, or leaking valve seals. In removing the spark plugs to install the compression tester you will need to read the plugs.. if there's any oil, or water vapor on them then you have a bad piston ring, or head gasket. as oil passages, and coolant flow between the block and head through the head gasket.

#2 you may have a blockage in the exhaust.. broken up Catalytic converter,

when you have an issue like this first thing you should do is clean out all the sensors you can get to in the intake.. such as the MAP sensor, EGR valve, this means grabbing an aerosol can of carb/intake cleaner and some paper towels.. spray away, and wipe out the intake plenum/butterfly valve, and removing as much carbon/dirt as you can.. and replace the air filter. you can do this with the engine off...

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