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Occasional reluctance to fire when starting


norfolkRX
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I'm have occasional trouble getting the car to start. It is a registered in March 2010 (2009?) non-turbo model with push button start.

It seems to turn over OK but is reluctant to fire whereas normally it springs into life. The most times in a row is 3 tries after which it reluctantly started but with a petrolly smell. No warning lights were showing but would there still be a fault logged that I could read? I have checked the battery/charging which seems normal and it has had a major service including spark plugs 6 months ago.

Other times it behaves quite normally. Any help appreciated as this is my first Subaru and I'm still finding my way around.

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From my experience, I have read stored codes from some cars where the light isn't on... there was also a Ford Focus where using the dash check for diagnostic trouble codes was clear, but my scanner read 3 codes.

Do you do a lot of short drives then turn off the engine?

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There was this micra (old one) where we turned it on, moved the car to another parking space, turned it off and it flooded the engine but to the point where it didn't fire anymore.. we ended up just towing it in gear :)

Are you any where near wymondham?

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Sorry saw other post, 20m west so around Dereham? I've a code reader but normally work 7 days of the week. I have an older car (2001) so I don't know if it's anything like yours, but have you tried starting the car with your foot half pressed on accelerator?

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I'm near Watton but don't worry, I've got a code reader on order now ('bout time I entered the 20th century anyway).

I know what you mean but I'm thinking the petrolly smell is a symptom of the lack of desire to fire rather than the cause. I was thinking along the lines of the crank sensor as I've had these go before and they usually give you a few warnings before they quit altogether.

Start procedure on this car is foot on clutch, press start button, and the electronics are supposed to take care of the rest. The time it refused to start 3 times in a row, I did use the accelerator on the final time and it eventually struggled into life.

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Well, code reader arrived today and I did a quick check without the engine running.

Shows no pending or permanent codes which is good, but also shows time elapsed since DTCs were last cleared was 1255 miles and 52.5 engine hours. Unfortunately I can't remember what date I first had the issue, but this distance might be about right for it. As I haven't cleared the DTCs, I'm assuming the car cleared any pending codes cause by the starting issue, itself. So looks like the car just got its knickers in a twist when trying to start before.

Will try a check with the engine running tomorrow and see if that's OK too.

Still looks OK with running engine (though there's a lot I need to learn about ODBII to be sure).

Found this at:  https://www.engine-light-help.com/oxygen-sensor-codes.html

"The most common issues for lean codes are: . . . . . .

4. Engine misfire - Yes I know this one may seem weird. You might think that if there is a misfire then you will have all that unburned fuel and it should read rich; right? Well the O2 sensors read only oxygen content in the exhaust, so if you have all that unburned fuel from incomplete combustion then, you guessed it, you also have all that unburned oxygen. High O2 content in exhaust equals a lean reading! "

Which I suppose explains the petrolly smell when the engine didn't fire.

 

Edited by norfolkRX
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/30/2016 at 11:16 PM, norfolkRX said:

I'm have occasional trouble getting the car to start. It is a registered in March 2010 (2009?) non-turbo model with push button start.

It seems to turn over OK but is reluctant to fire whereas normally it springs into life. The most times in a row is 3 tries after which it reluctantly started but with a petrolly smell. No warning lights were showing but would there still be a fault logged that I could read? I have checked the battery/charging which seems normal and it has had a major service including spark plugs 6 months ago.

Other times it behaves quite normally. Any help appreciated as this is my first Subaru and I'm still finding my way around.

Hi, I very very occasionally get the same issue, also a 2010, N/A keyless entry car. I've not identified any particular situation that might trigger it though (had the car a couple of years). On mine it just runs the starter for what seems like ages (probably only 5 or 6 seconds in reality) then eventually starts (so far!)

So, I'm sort of glad to hear it's not just my car ;-)  Doesn't happen often enough to be an issue for me, but I do have a code reader also, will try to remember to connect it next time it happens.

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I'll have to read the manual again but I think it says something to the effect of not cranking the engine for longer than 8 or 10 seconds and not to try again for 30 seconds (don't quote me). Of course I ended up reading that after the problem. I think that what you're trying to avoid is putting unburnt fuel on the cat. No DTCs were present so I'm assuming the car cleared them when they did not re-occur.

Mine's a 2010 reg, but the VIN points to a car built in 2008. Haven't yet worked out which models & variants get the push-button start.

 

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