Subaru Brumby cold-start problem – update

Last week I wrote about my Subaru Brumby problems, with the car proving very difficult to start in cold weather. The car started OK most of the time if it was used day-to-day, but give it a two or three day break and it just wouldn’t start.

Last Friday I flattened the battery trying to get the car started, so I put the battery on charge all weekend as I had it booked in with my mechanic for Monday morning. Sure enough, as is usually the way with intermittent problems, the car fired up first-turn on Monday morning.

It started with no problems Monday lunchtime.

It started again with no issues on Tuesday morning. I’m sure my mechanic was thinking I was a complete dimwit by this stage.

I had a chat with Steve and asked him to leave the car alone for two days. My theory was that his tests on Monday and Tuesday didn’t replicate my problems for two reasons: a) because it wasn’t as cold on those mornings as it has been on the mornings I’ve been having problems, and b) because I usually have problems after the car hasn’t been running for a few days.

So he left it.

Thursday morning has just passed by as I write this – 48 hours since its previous successful start – and I’ve never been so pleased to report that my car wouldn’t start today!!

This morning was indeed a cold one, at just 2 degrees C. The car hadn’t been run for two days and sure enough, when Steve tried it, the Brumby wouldn’t start.

He’s traced the problem to a faulty ignition module, which from a quick few minutes of Googling means that the coil isn’t getting the signals it needs to send the spark to the distributor. Apparently these are more prone to faults with heat rather than cold, so there could be more to the story but for now, he’s replacing the IM and hopefully that should do the trick.

So, it’s tentative good news for the moment; no need for a carby service or replacement and all going well, my Brumby should finally deliver the reliability it has lacked so far. Perhaps it’ll run a little smoother, too.

I’ll pick it up at lunchtime.

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  1. “and I’ve never been so pleased to report that my car wouldn’t start today!!”


  2. Swade,

    Happy to hear you are on your way to fixing it. Sounds like you have a smarts and experienced mechanic.

  3. I’ve been having similar problems with the Jaguar Sovereign. I don’t drive it on Sundays. So, when Monday comes along, it’s a bit difficult to start. Apparently some XJ-S owners have had problems with the wiring on the fuel pump. But I’ve always managed to get it started … eventually … so I’m not sure what the problem is. We shall see.

    1. Seems to be fixed! Used it again today and started up first of the key this morning.

      Now to fix the door this weekend, then with a week’s untroubled use I can reverse the sentiment in my previous post 🙂

      It’s going great, and nice to feel secure with the thought of using it.

      1. Well done. Ignition faults are notoriously finicky beasts.

        I feel for you, it took about six months before I felt that I could ‘trust’ the 9-5 as a reliable daily driver. Cars this old have faults, and if they’ve been sold at the wrong time those faults become yours to resolve.

  4. Glad to hear it’s behaving itself for the time being.
    Not sure how many others will have had the same experience but since you bought this car and have been blogging about it, I seem to have seen no end of them about on my trips around this district. Mostly white or a sort of vanilla colour, with the odd red one here and there.