'02 Impreza won't start, no engine turning
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This is a discussion on '02 Impreza won't start, no engine turning within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; My friend has an '02 Impreza. He said after he parked it, he couldn't get it out of park and ...

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    Question '02 Impreza won't start, no engine turning

    My friend has an '02 Impreza. He said after he parked it, he couldn't get it out of park and now it doesn't start.

    I charged the battery for him and we put it back in. Turn the key to the first position and the electrical accessories seem to work, the lights work, and the brake lights work.

    When you turn the key to the start position, there is no sound at all. No clicking, nothing.

    Also, we can not get the car to shift out of park, but I don't know if that's because its not running (I would hate to have to move a dead Subaru if that was the case).

    Anyway, I know nothing of your world here and need some advice.

    One last thing, when I press the button on the shifter, there is a clicking at the ignition.

    So what should I check first? Is there anything to test or do I have to throw parts at it?

    Thanks,
    John

    '86.5 928
    '88 951

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    Good news, everyone! xxxxxxxAnub1s's Avatar
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    Remove the starter and get it tested first, it's an easy process to and a good place to start. If that's not the issue there's a bigger problem at hand.

    As for shifting out of park do you have the key in the on position and are you holding down the brake when trying?
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    I imagine the car won't start if it's not in park, and given your trouble getting it OUT of park, I wouldn't be surprised to see the problem lie somewhere in there. I'd recommend getting a wiring diagram and seeing if you can short-circuit whatever sensor tells the car that it's in park.

    I owned an automatic '91 Legacy once; to get that one out of park when it's not running there was a separate button that had to be pressed...read the owners manual to see if this applies in your case.

    Wouldn't hurt to get the battery tested, too...it's possible it's not holding a charge.

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    It should be your neutral safety switch which prevents the car from starting unless it is in P or N - that is probably borked. Instead of "shorting" it test it with a meter.

    If you turn the ignition to on it still won't come out of park? Shifting in and out might be a temp fix.
    "From a little spark may burst a mighty flame." - Dante
    "The stitch is lost unless the thread is knotted." - Italian proverb

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    So my friend got the cover off the shifter and found something in the manual that told them how to get the car out of park so the stuck in park thing seems to be solved, but still no start.

    How would one go about testing the neutral safety switch?

    Thanks.

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    It's worth spending $35 for 72-hour access to Subaru Technical Information System - Home where you can download the factory manual in PDF form.

    See if the starter will turn if the transmission is in R,D,3, or 2. According to the shop manual, this can be a sign of problems in the selector assembly (inhibitor switch, select cable, select lever, starter motor/harness).

    It's still most likely to be either a starter motor or battery that's the problem here. I'll attach the starter circuit wiring diagram to help you troubleshoot.
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    Good news, everyone! xxxxxxxAnub1s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jw_928 View Post
    So my friend got the cover off the shifter and found something in the manual that told them how to get the car out of park so the stuck in park thing seems to be solved, but still no start.

    How would one go about testing the neutral safety switch?

    Thanks.
    Pretty much by replacing it.

    That's why I said start with the starter motor. Takes all of a few minutes to take out and put back in, and you can get it checked for free.

    The neutral safety switches are known problems with early 2000's Subies, so it is quite likely that.
    Last edited by xxxxxxxAnub1s; 04-15-2010 at 07:33 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jw_928 View Post
    So my friend got the cover off the shifter and found something in the manual that told them how to get the car out of park so the stuck in park thing seems to be solved, but still no start.

    How would one go about testing the neutral safety switch?

    Thanks.
    If you have access to the select monitor or perhaps another decent scan tool you can view the position of the neutral switch...

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    So I was wondering how expensive it would be to throw a part at this so I call the dealer to get the highest possible price.

    The parts guy at the dealer told me there is no neutral safety switch on an automatic.

    Is there a different name for this part?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jw_928 View Post
    So I was wondering how expensive it would be to throw a part at this so I call the dealer to get the highest possible price.

    The parts guy at the dealer told me there is no neutral safety switch on an automatic.

    Is there a different name for this part?
    Inhibitor switch. See the info I posted below.

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    I would be all over that manual except my friend is moving out of state next week and I'm just hoping to help him get his car started before he leaves.

    I appreciate the help so far. One more question. I'm going over to look at the car tomorrow, where exactly would the inhibitor switch be, and, ok, two questions, would it be possible to jumper the switch to see if bypassing it would enable the car to start?

    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by jw_928 View Post
    I would be all over that manual except my friend is moving out of state next week and I'm just hoping to help him get his car started before he leaves.

    I appreciate the help so far. One more question. I'm going over to look at the car tomorrow, where exactly would the inhibitor switch be, and, ok, two questions, would it be possible to jumper the switch to see if bypassing it would enable the car to start?

    Thanks
    The inhibitor switch is located on the P/S of the transmission...You could prob bypass it someway however I have never done it...The connector for the inhibitor switch is located right where the bell housing of the transmission meets the engine on the P/S under the air cleaner assembly ( assuming this is a N/A subie)..Also check the linkage down to the lever which moves the parking pawl/rod (this should be attached right next to the inhibitor switch). I have seen that linkage get very crudded/rusted up before and cause similar problems...

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    Note in the wiring diagram the yellow wire leading to the starter solenoid. This should have +12V when the key is in the start position, and zero the rest of the time. Probe that with a multimeter or a test light...if it lights up when the key goes to start, you KNOW the inhibitor switch, etc is all OK and that the problem is either starter motor or battery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jw_928 View Post
    So I was wondering how expensive it would be to throw a part at this so I call the dealer to get the highest possible price.

    The parts guy at the dealer told me there is no neutral safety switch on an automatic.

    Is there a different name for this part?
    Have you tried tapping on the starter with a hammer to perhaps jar it enough to operate...that wouldnt really explain not being able to get out of park though...
    :/

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