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Sambar van doesn't start after the engine has warmed up...

Discussion in 'Subaru Sambar' started by sambar8833, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. sambar8833

    sambar8833 New Member

    Hi I'm not new to the site but this is the first time I've posted! ..have had a VW body kit 1995 SC sambar van in the UK for 5 years without too many major problems! (Ok had a replacement ECVT gearbox fitted last year but it has done 140,000 km so that's not bad) one problem which has been bugging me recently now is that it starts always on the first turn of the key but if I run it for say 10 - 20 minutes then try to start it again it won't start (ignition turns over strongly but doesn't start) until the engine has cooled down (this always seems to be about 20 minutes also) then it will run fine after that and chances are, stop and start again fine for the rest of the day. This problem has been intermittant for about 9 months and even seemed to disappear completly for a month or 2 (possibly I was doing longer or shorter trips so the problem wasn't appearing) Any ideas??

    second problem (could it be linked to the first?) is the problem many people have it seems, the old catyltic converter warning light being lit. This has been on for at least a couple of years! I've trawled the forum and the consenus by most is to cut the wire and earth it to the chassis if the car drives fine and theres no burning sulphur smell!(apart from the few who say you'll fry the engine and burst into flames!). Well the question is to save me trying to trace it under the van from the exhaust in the wet and the cold is, from the engine bay I have seen this wire running down in the direction of the exhaust and I'm wondering whether this is the exhaust temp sensor wire to earth sam003.jpg . The wire I'm talking about is the yellow wire by itself coming off the wiring loom above it to the right, The yellow wire attaches via a plug to a black wire that seems to run to the exhaust... can't get my hand down there to see if its the case but thought if someone else out there has done this job they might know...

    ...this forum has proved very helpful over the years and I'm hoping one of you experts out there might have the answers... thanks...
  2. allen0288

    allen0288 Member

    I had the exact same problem with my 95 Hijet s110v van. Changed many parts to try and fix it, and ended up being a crack in my distributer cap. Solved the problem for me. Just wished it had been sooner.
  3. nippon4u

    nippon4u New Member

    Subaru Sambar engines with SC have an issue with moisture buildup under the distributor cap; therefore is the rubber protective guard is either cracked or missing moisture buildup once the engine is (hot or running temp) can short out the pickup coil. Take of the cap and investigate. The sensor wire you mentioned for the exhaust temp running hot indicates the fuel is too “Lean”. One more issue that can cause your first and second problem respectively is you may have the wrong plugs installed. The SC engines require the split fire two lead plugs; if you have single lead you will run lean and your coil system will overheat and stop working until cooling down.

  4. SpikeFiend

    SpikeFiend Member

    That's not true at all. And I'm pretty sure split fire plugs are a scam/gimmick.

    I've attached a page from the Sambar Maintenance Manual that details the spark plug requirements from Subaru. They list two different heat ranges to try.

    Here's some info on how to select the correct heat range spark plug for your engine:




    Attached Files:

  5. nippon4u

    nippon4u New Member

    Really? Since we wrote the book you copied the page from and you know so well we wish you luck in trying to fix your Subaru.

    Subaru Mechanic 28 years,

    Thank you,
  6. SpikeFiend

    SpikeFiend Member

    If you wrote that book can you explain why it lists NGK or Nippon Denso spark plugs, and does not mention anything about splitfire double lead plugs? Splitfire is a USA brand using a forked ground electrode that seems to be largely discredited and was charged with deceptive advertising by the United States Federal Trade Commission. Their official website currently directs to a dead-end requiring a username and password to enter.

    If by "splitfire" you're referring to the two ground contacts centered around a single electrode (which NGK refers to as "multi power"), the additional contact points will not cause you to run lean or overheat the coil system. Spark plugs cannot cause your engine to run lean. They have no control over the air/fuel mixture in the cylinder. The purpose of having multiple ground contact points is to improve the spark plug life (so as one electrode wears down, the other one takes over... sharing the wear between the two plugs), not to improve combustion. Changing spark plugs more frequently or using iridium plugs will help keep your plugs fresh.

    Direct from the NGK website:
  7. SpikeFiend

    SpikeFiend Member

    This seems to be a common problem that all cars can have (google turns up lots of hits). If your engine is cranking, it's either fuel or spark that you're missing. The first thing to check is if your battery terminals are corrosion free and tight (maybe clean the posts anyway), this can cause lots of electrical gremlins.

    When you try to hot start the car, do you hear the fuel pump whirr for 1-2 seconds before shutting off (if you turn the key to ON, but not start)?

    Here's a good trouble-shooting flow chart I found that may be helpful: http://www.ifitjams.com/starting.htm#starting8

    You might be getting vapor lock, possibly caused by a weak fuel pump or clogged fuel filter. Most of the parts that might be causing the problems could probably stand to be replaced anyways (unless you've changed them recently).

    As for the exhaust temperature sensor, it's not tied into the ECU (the sensor goes directly to your dash) so it won't electronically interfere with starting. If it's on all the time (especially right after you start up and the muffler will be cool), then it's probably a bad sensor.
  8. udidwht

    udidwht Member

    These engines do NOT require split fire plugs. That is nonsense. As for the exhaust light being on. It can only be 3 things...

    1. Bad exhaust sensor

    2. Broken exhaust sensor wire and/or disconnected from sensor

    3. Plugged or partially plugged CAT convertor

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