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Questions and Answers

Subaru Starting Problem

Q. My car has had trouble cranking over. It's worse in the morning when it's cool or if the car has been inside a parking structure in the shade. When it's in the sun or hot in the afternoon, it seems to start more easily. When cold, after trying to crank it a number of times, it will usually eventually start. The ECS (Engine Control System) light blinks or lights during driving and at those times the car is hesitating even at freeway speed.

1986 Subaru XT
Not sure of engine size--there were only 2 engines that year and mine is *not* the Turbo
Manual transmission
180,000 miles
Fuel Injection
Front disc brakes
P/S but no A/C or Cruise Control
Rack and pinion steering

I had the timing adjusted recently and also changed the spark plugs and spark plug wires. The old spark plug wires were fried and the #1 plug was arcing and had a lot of carbon. After replacing the plugs and wires, the problem seemed cured for about 25 miles of driving, then it was back. The car started hesitating at freeway speed and the ECS light came on. It's very hard to start in the mornings now. I re-checked the plug wires and the #1 plug wire seemed a bit loose, so I reconnected it. All the wires are now tight. I have also run some fuel injector cleaner through the gas tank twice. The oil was recently changed; I'm running 10W/40 in it.

I'm wondering if the solenoid is the problem here? Or something else?

Thanks for any help you can give!!!!

A. With that ECS light flickering as it is, I would suspect that there is a loose connection somewhere. But I suspect that is a separate problem.

You have me a little confused here, does it crank slow? Or does it crank okay and just not starting up right away? If it's cranking fine, then I suspect there is a problem with the cold start injector. This is an injector similar to the regular fuel injectors that squirts an additional amount of fuel into the engine to facilitate cold starting.

If it's cranking slow cold, then I would suspect a weak battery or the starter going bad. The stater solenoid will either work or not work.

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