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Old Dec 20, 2008, 09:25 AM   #1
silbeej
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New Subaru very hard to start in cold!!!

So we just had the first storm of the year, and our brand new (8k miles) outback took around 30 seconds to start up! The engine just kept turning and turning, it eventually got faster and faster and finally kicked over. It was like i was trying to start our 77' MGB! Our new Nissan truck started right up, but i was very dissapointed seeing as our previous subaru had went through worse temps (colder) and never missed a beat. Anyone have an idea what would have caused this?
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Old Dec 20, 2008, 09:27 AM   #2
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If it's brand new, not used, I would take it to the dealer/shop and get them to look at it. It could be something simple.
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Old Dec 20, 2008, 09:29 AM   #3
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get rid of your stock battery and get an optima. Also, buy some HEET gas line antifreeze from your local auto parts store and poor it in your tank. This should help, but you have to understand that all your oil is going to be so cold its viscosity changes so the parts get harder to move. Keep it in the garage or wait for it to warm up outside lol!
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Old Dec 20, 2008, 09:30 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by silbeej View Post
So we just had the first storm of the year, and our brand new (8k miles) outback took around 30 seconds to start up! The engine just kept turning and turning, it eventually got faster and faster and finally kicked over. It was like i was trying to start our 77' MGB! Our new Nissan truck started right up, but i was very dissapointed seeing as our previous subaru had went through worse temps (colder) and never missed a beat. Anyone have an idea what would have caused this?
one of my parents bought an (new) 08 Outback in the spring and it runs smooth, granted when you start it up the engine is a little rowdy but we took it to the dealership and they said it's supposed to be like that because of the PZEV Engine or whatever it's called.

but 30 seconds to start? take it to the dealership...
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Old Dec 20, 2008, 09:39 AM   #5
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I would not worry about it if it just a one time thing. Those things happen. Could be the oil pressure had dropped. The fuel was not vaporizing because it was too cold and so on.

I have had my Sentra over the past 4.5 years be hard to start and take a few tries to tap the key and it turns right over.

Also do not hold it for 30 sec. If it does not turn over after 5sec Stop for 1 or 2 sec then try again. This gives the fuel pump and other parts of the car a second get everything read to go and removes the heavy load of the starter.
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Old Dec 20, 2008, 09:46 AM   #6
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I would not worry about it if it just a one time thing. Those things happen. Could be the oil pressure had dropped. The fuel was not vaporizing because it was too cold and so on.

I have had my Sentra over the past 4.5 years be hard to start and take a few tries to tap the key and it turns right over.

Also do not hold it for 30 sec. If it does not turn over after 5sec Stop for 1 or 2 sec then try again. This gives the fuel pump and other parts of the car a second get everything read to go and removes the heavy load of the starter.
lol yeah, like i said, i'm used to the old MG cuz when it doesn't start you need to keep going to get it, but with these new electric throttles, you can't pump the gas.
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Old Dec 20, 2008, 09:51 AM   #7
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30 seconds is a long time. I hope that was an exaggeration to get your point across.

If it takes you a few tries, then it may be normal. However, it shouldn't be too difficult. I can start my parents' two new Hyundais within a second. Absolutely no problems, even in -11 C temperatures and colder.
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Old Dec 20, 2008, 09:57 AM   #8
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The easiest and first thing I would look at is; your oil level. It may be too high. Oil places do this all the time. I change my own oil on my 05 STI for this very reason. If it is too high take it back to the place to have them change the oil properly for free of course.
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Old Dec 20, 2008, 09:58 AM   #9
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30 seconds is a long time. I hope that was an exaggeration to get your point across.

If it takes you a few tries, then it may be normal. However, it shouldn't be too difficult. I can start my parents' two new Hyundais within a second. Absolutely no problems, even in -11 C temperatures and colder.
Um, no, it wasn't, lol. It went from like 1 crank a second to around 2 cranks a second and took a few tries before it eventually was spinning the engine fast enough to start. I'm hoping it was just a fluke, but if not, it's going in and telling them to give us a new battery cuz when we bought it, it had a dead batt and all they did was charge it even tho it shouldn't of had a dead one on the lot.
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Old Dec 20, 2008, 10:22 AM   #10
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Um, no, it wasn't, lol. It went from like 1 crank a second to around 2 cranks a second and took a few tries before it eventually was spinning the engine fast enough to start. I'm hoping it was just a fluke, but if not, it's going in and telling them to give us a new battery cuz when we bought it, it had a dead batt and all they did was charge it even tho it shouldn't of had a dead one on the lot.
No offense but if the battery is dead it will not work "better" the longer you crank it. Your battery is fine. You need to seriously look at your oil level and also I hope they put 5w-30 in and not 10w-30. I'm guessing you have had an oil change on this car, as you are past the first and maybe the second oil change interval at 8K. As I said before I own a Subaru Impreza WRX STi and a 05 Subaru Impreza WRX Wagon.
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Old Dec 20, 2008, 09:55 PM   #11
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How cold are we talking? When it's colder than -10 (fahrenheit) all cars have trouble starting. Does it sound like the battery is having trouble finding the juice to start the car, or does it sound like the engine just won't get going?

As you said, you may just have a bad battery. One technique some friends of mine use when it's ridiculously frigid is to actually run the stereo, fans, and lights for a few minutes before starting. Their theory is that this runs enough current to get the battery warm, which then provides enough amperage to start the engine (turn everything off when you start it up, though). Disclaimer: I'm not sure if this technique actually accomplishes anything or if my friends are just wasting their time.

If it sounded like the engine just wasn't starting, and this has happened only once, it could be a fluke. I've heard that newer cars save the gas/air mixture settings from when they were last run. For example, say you you took your car out for a spin on thursday, when it was 35 degrees outside. You then let it sit until this morning, when it was 5 degrees. When you try to start it up, the computer is not providing enough gas for the colder, denser air.
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Old Dec 20, 2008, 10:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobfitz14 View Post
one of my parents bought an (new) 08 Outback in the spring and it runs smooth, granted when you start it up the engine is a little rowdy but we took it to the dealership and they said it's supposed to be like that because of the PZEV Engine or whatever it's called.

but 30 seconds to start? take it to the dealership...
Yep, looking at the PZEV Subaru engine, it being noisy when cold is normal due to revised mapping of the ECM to heat up the cat quicker.

http://www.carguidemagazine.com/news/article/261722

But, not starting when cold doesn't seem to be an issue, though it was on some of the early 90s vehicles.

Edit: buy an Optima or Interstate gel battery for $150 or find a regular lead acid battery with a bunch of CCAs, if the battery tray is larger than the battery -- some of them will allow a much larger battery to fit in there reducing the battery as a source of future pain.
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Last edited by Sun Baked; Dec 20, 2008 at 10:24 PM.
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Old Dec 20, 2008, 11:59 PM   #13
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As you said, you may just have a bad battery. One technique some friends of mine use when it's ridiculously frigid is to actually run the stereo, fans, and lights for a few minutes before starting. Their theory is that this runs enough current to get the battery warm, which then provides enough amperage to start the engine (turn everything off when you start it up, though). Disclaimer: I'm not sure if this technique actually accomplishes anything or if my friends are just wasting their time.

.

I would like to point out that your friend is wrong. Those devices do not pull enough amperage to heat up the battery. The Starter would heat the battery up more in a single start your friends method.
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Old Dec 21, 2008, 10:20 AM   #14
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Yep, looking at the PZEV Subaru engine, it being noisy when cold is normal due to revised mapping of the ECM to heat up the cat quicker.

http://www.carguidemagazine.com/news/article/261722

But, not starting when cold doesn't seem to be an issue, though it was on some of the early 90s vehicles.

Edit: buy an Optima or Interstate gel battery for $150 or find a regular lead acid battery with a bunch of CCAs, if the battery tray is larger than the battery -- some of them will allow a much larger battery to fit in there reducing the battery as a source of future pain.
thanks for the input, i didn't know that the noise was to heat up the engine quicker.
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Old Dec 21, 2008, 10:32 AM   #15
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I would like to point out that your friend is wrong. Those devices do not pull enough amperage to heat up the battery. The Starter would heat the battery up more in a single start your friends method.
If we're talking very cold, and you (OP) have a garage or a driveway from which you can access an external plugpoint, you might also consider an engine block heater....

If this happens more than once, you should definitely go see your dealer -- either to evaluate whether you need the block heater or to determine if you have another problem, because you can kill your starter with that much cranking.
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Old Dec 21, 2008, 03:20 PM   #16
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Not to point of the obvious but what type of oil are you using?

If it has a thicker viscosity it's going to be harder to get the engine moving when its cold. Perhaps switch to something thinner.

Your manual should have a listing of the best oil to use depending on the climate.
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Old Dec 21, 2008, 04:01 PM   #17
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yeah just checked the oil, it's 5W-30, not the 10W-30. Had to start her today and it was a little tough but turned over right away, nothing like the other day. Maybe it was just a fluke, but since its under warranty i won't hesitate to bring it in and have the batt tested cuz it was bad when we got it and im sure they just charged it and not replaced it.
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Old Dec 22, 2008, 12:23 AM   #18
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+1 on the Optima (Red) battery.

I used that battery along with 0w30 in more than a few NY winters and I never had any starting issues.
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