Intermittent starting problem in 2003 Forester

A

AZ Jim

I've run into a classic problem where the dealer can find no problem,
but there clearly was a problem. Here it is - maybe somebody else has
run into this.

I've got a 2003 Forester X with the 5-speed stick. Total mileage is
4200. Two weeks ago I drove home from work (2.5 mile trip) and
stopped at a neighbors' house to drop something off. I returned to my
car within about 3 minutes, tried to start it, and it wouldn't run.
The engine cranked over normally and would catch quickly but then
sputter at maybe 100 rpm for a few seconds and then die. I tried
about 20 times to get it started without success. Much to my
embarrassment, my neighbor (a pretty old guy) and I had to push the
car back into my driveway. I tried another 20 or so times to start it
and then gave up. Two hours later I tried again, and eureka, it
started! Now I've been using the car for a few days without incident
and I took it into the dealer but they found no problems and couldn't
replicate the incident. I have to admit that without some resolution
my confidence in taking the car somewhere remote or even some distance
is greatly reduced.

Any suggestions?

Jim
 
I've run into a classic problem where the dealer can find no problem,
but there clearly was a problem. Here it is - maybe somebody else has
run into this.

I've got a 2003 Forester X with the 5-speed stick. Total mileage is
4200. Two weeks ago I drove home from work (2.5 mile trip) and
stopped at a neighbors' house to drop something off. I returned to my
car within about 3 minutes, tried to start it, and it wouldn't run.
The engine cranked over normally and would catch quickly but then
sputter at maybe 100 rpm for a few seconds and then die. I tried
about 20 times to get it started without success. Much to my
embarrassment, my neighbor (a pretty old guy) and I had to push the
car back into my driveway. I tried another 20 or so times to start it
and then gave up. Two hours later I tried again, and eureka, it
started! Now I've been using the car for a few days without incident
and I took it into the dealer but they found no problems and couldn't
replicate the incident. I have to admit that without some resolution
my confidence in taking the car somewhere remote or even some distance
is greatly reduced.

Any suggestions?

Jim

Hi Jim:

I don't have any ideas about what's wrong, but I know you're not
alone. Search this group for 'forester starting' and you will find
some other articles about '03 Foresters starting normally, then
stalling after 1-2 seconds. Doesn't seem to matter whether it's stick
or automatic. My wife experienced the exact same thing you did,
except hers is an '03 Forester XSp automatic. She tried to start it
about 6 times before she called me, I held the gas down about halfway
while starting it, and it started OK. This was in late July in
Michigan, car had about 500 miles on it. It happened again a few
weeks later, again, depressing the gas while starting got it going.
It hasn't happened since then, it now has 3700 miles on it. I haven't
taken it to the dealer because I'm lazy :) and there didn't seem to be
anything major wrong (no check engine light, at least)

Maybe there'll be a recall..?
 
Sounds like you flooded the engine. If it ever happens again, try this
old-timers trick. Push the gas pedal all the way to the floor and hold it
there. Crank the engine for 15-20 seconds. This opens the throttle all
the way and allows a lean mixture of gas/air to clear the engine. Usually
the car will start before the 20 seconds of cranking is complete.
 
Peter said:
Sounds like you flooded the engine. If it ever happens again, try this
old-timers trick. Push the gas pedal all the way to the floor and hold it
there. Crank the engine for 15-20 seconds. This opens the throttle all
the way and allows a lean mixture of gas/air to clear the engine. Usually
the car will start before the 20 seconds of cranking is complete.

Do you know if this really works on a fuel-injected Subaru?
I'm not trying to be a smart-ass and I'd really like to
know. A friend of mine had a fuel-injected BMW and holding
the pedal to the floor would make the flooding worse.
 
"Starting a flooded engine.

If the engine doesn't start it may be flodded (exessive fuel in the engine). In
the case os a flooded engine, turn the starter motor for 5 seconds with the
accelerator pedal fully depressed. Repaet this 2 or 3 times until engine starts."

section 3-5 03 Forester Owners Manual.
 
I agree with Jim, fuel injection is smarted than that and flooring the gas
pedal doesn't help. It only works with carbuerated engines. In fact, as
far as I can tell, fuel injection is so smart that flooding doesn't occur.
Never happened with me as long as I've owned a fuel injected car.

Chris
 
Can't flood a fuel injected car. The throttle has a WOT (wide open throttle)
swithc that (depending on the computer) will tell the computer to no send as
much fuel. This keeps you from over-reving engine.
 
I have a 95 impreza 1500. I have flooded this. I moved it a few feet to wash
it and started it again to move it back. Each time I ran the engine for only
a few seconds. When I tried to start it a third time it sounded terrible.
Like metal rubbing on metal. It was flooded.

I called the AA man. He stuck his floor to the floor and cranked it over
until it started. It cranked for about 20 -30 seconds then came right. Ran
slightly rough until all excess petrol was spent.

Has been fine ever since. Hasn't happened since. I make a point of running
it a bit longer when moving it to wash it. 30s each time is enough.

So yes you can flood a fuel injected engine and depressing the accelerator
is the fix.

Mike.
Auckland.

--


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----
Contact Mike & Christine Fitzmaurice at:
email: (e-mail address removed) http://www.fitz.orcon.net.nz/
http://www.geocities.com/mikefitz_ak/
Home phone/fax: 64-9-622 0423
Mike's Mobile 021 139 2093
Christine's Mobile 021 139 2094
Work: www.tower.co.nz, direct: 09-368 4172 fax: 09-306 6801
 
I flooded my 2004 Forester, unless Subaru made a huge mistake it is
fuel injection ;-)

I am used to my Civic that started after 1 second, my Forester take
just a bit more time and I release the key to fast,( I am no mecanic)
but I think that when I restart for the second time it sends a second
dose of gas.

My 2 cents.
 

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