98 DOHC 2.5 forester not starting


The Northernah'
So I just bought this car, see my journal thread. I got it cheap because the guy doesn't know cars, hes really old, and got a new one. 

Heres the story he gave me:

- " I was with a friend trying to see if the alternator was actually bad and while I wasn't looking my friend took the positive battery terminal off while the car was running to see if the car would die, like how you would test an old car" 

Now im not sure if the car eventually did die, or what happened here exactly. Ill ask him. 

- " I hooked everything back up an now it just turns over and wont start" 

In comes me to buy the car. Now to figure out whats wrong.


  • it tuns over, and while it was turning over the odometer would flash in and out, all other electronics were fine. 
  • I dont need to push the clutch in at all to try to start it, in gear or neutral (not sure if related) 
  • Battery light is on, even when hooked up to my jeep trying to jump start it.
  • It was turning over slow

What ive tested:

  • Every fuse/ relay related to the ignition and starter/ alternator in the engine bay and under the steering wheel was checked and good.
  • Its getting fuel
  • Testing for spark revealed Cyl 3 had no spark, 1,2 weak spark and 4 had great spark. 
  • Disconnected battery and tried one I k now was good, same symptoms.
  • I had a 2.2 ecu laying around I thought I'd try just to see if it made the symptoms change at all, but it wasn't even close to right so it wouldn't plug in. So I put the foresters ecu back in and now it cranks over fine and fast. BUT now it has no spark in any cylinder!!!
  • So unplugging and plugging the ECU made it change???
I had to go back to New Hampshire where im working for the summer so this is where I left it off. Sorry its such a read, and I know diagnosing cars over the internet is not easy! But i figure id ask around here to see if there was anything else I should try before I buy an ECU (60$)

So what do you think....



I havr an ecu sell 20 if you want to try it. It's from a 98 forester. I know with my rs when i jumped timming it cut spark to two cyilinders. Butits odd that it changed just like that. Any codes?codes



The Northernah'
Is the ecu from an auto or 5spd? I have a 5spd. It is odd it changed, and before it was only without spark in 1 cyliner...