1997 Subaru



November, 4, 2007 AT 5:16 PM

I have a 97 Subaru Outback, 2.5, 4cylinder motor, automatic transmission. For two years now, there are times when the car will not start (the radio and windows will work though). If you let it sit for anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes it will eventually start. Replaced the starter with NAPA starter - thought this starter was bad & replaced with another NAPA starter. Still at times it wouldn't start so we finally put on a Subaru starter. We are still having the same problem & replaced the battery. It seems to have the trouble more when the car & weather are hot - happens less often in the winter. The starter wires and battery cables were checked & good. Could there possibly be a sensor bad or is there a recall that we were not aware of. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


9 Answers



November, 4, 2007 AT 6:27 PM

Hello !!

Well the starting schematic shows that the relays and switches on the starting circuit are: the ignition switch, the starter interlock relay, the security anti-theft relay and the inhibitor switch (AT)

Here the schematic:


I would start checking the starter interlock relay and the ignition switch (for intermitent fault) could be that the "heat" affect them on some way.. or the solder is weak and the temperature "expand it" and make it fail...

Let us know and we will continue with the troubleshooting..

BTW; thanks a Lot for your donation!

we appreciate that!


Service Writer

November, 4, 2007 AT 7:29 PM

I assume the engine is not turning over.

For what it's worth the Subaru alternaters were a problem child. They would typically act up when hot. The alternater will show a charge that is good. But if you get the engine hot, and put a full acceory load on the alternater, the Alternater will fail at 1400 rpms.



November, 4, 2007 AT 8:06 PM

I was in a hurry earlier when I wrote in. I forgot to include that the replacement battery is Mastercaft Titanium 640 cold cranking amps battery. Two days after the battery was replaced it wouldn't start again - sometimes it will eventually start, but it seems that more often than not it has to be jump started - it always jump starts when it won't start on its own. When you turn the key, the car doesn't turn over, most times you don't even hear the starter click. The lights, windows & stereo always work. Just wanted to make sure that this info wouldn't change what you suggested I check first (starter interlock relay & ignition switch). Thank you for your time & quick response.



November, 4, 2007 AT 9:39 PM

Hello again.
Well, if you have to jump-start to make it crank that change my mind.
I m with Service Writer. Start checking the alternator.
I, also, hear about a problem with the subaru alternators.

They fail under load at high temp.

Good luck and let us know!



November, 5, 2007 AT 3:29 PM

In 2003 I had the alternator replaced because of the Subaru Recall ID # 00I002000 - ELECTRICAL SYSTEM: ALTERNATOR/GENERATOR/REGULATOR. Could my current problem be related to that recall or is the problem with the alternator you are suggesting I check into a problem that has nothing to do with the recall? Also, is the problem you talk about with Subaru alternators still a problem with the newer alternators - should I replace my current one with a new Subaru alternator or should I replace it with an after market alternator (NAPA, etc.) To avoid this problem again?


Service Writer

November, 5, 2007 AT 4:29 PM

I don't recommed replacing yet, have it tested the way I described and see what happens. With alternaters in general, you never know what your going to have. I like NAPA electrical products, but they don't last forever like any other one. I would think the problem is still applicible due to engineering of the car and alternater. It happens when it's hot therefore I would suspect this condition would still apply. I don't know that you'll necessarily avoid the problem in the future IF I am right that it may be inherent in the design.

Us service writers don't like to paint ourselves into a corner.



April, 1, 2009 AT 7:25 PM

If I turn the key over and over it will eventually start. I've become more crafty by holding the key in the start position (when it doesn't start) and shift the shifter back and forth from R, N, and D. Unitil it starts. Is the inhibitor switch faulty?



February, 27, 2011 AT 7:54 AM

I am having similar problems with my 2000 subaru lagacy. Will not start sometimes, cold weather or hot. Can hear one click, every other appliance works: lights, radio etc. Have replaced battery, alternator.
Have you found an answer to this problem? If so please email me. Satelit4406@gmail. Com



November, 7, 2012 AT 11:22 PM

I am now having the same problem but has nothing to do with temperature. It can sit overnight and then nothing. Battery is good. It seems there is a problem with the shifter as I just noticed it would shift out of park when this was happening. Finally was able to shift it to neutral but didn't change things at all. I've only had the vehicle for a few days. It will always start when jumping though. Very strange.

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