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Saturn S-Series Starting Problems



  • I took our 94 saturn in for it's smog check this morning and as soon as he was finished running it on the dyno it overheated and blew water out of the coolant bottle cap. The car was running at the time and he backed it out of the shop right away and then shut if off. We finished the paper work and when we went to start the car there was nothing. The idiot lights come on but not the stater wounldn't turn not even a click. The guy at the repair shop says we needed to let it cool down and it should start. My wife said this happened a couple of times before and it started after it cools down. Her daughters have Saturn and it has happened to them also. Well it has been 5 hours since this happened and still nothing from the starter. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!! Not sure if it's actually the starter or something else.
  • bunt2bunt2 Posts: 3
    Re problum 1997 Saturn, after a lot of grief it turned out to be a heat sensor and cost me $14.95, worth checking. Hope this works for you.
  • johnbarjohnbar Posts: 1
    I have exactly the fault on our Saturn 2000 SL1 my manual gave me some good tips to help find the problem. There are four basic parts the 30 Amp fuse under the bonnet, the key, the switch behind the key on the columb, the soleniod and starter.
    Run a wire (15 amp capacity) from the "S" terminal on the soleniod up to the battery terminals (do not connect).
    Run the car till fault appears ie starter does not turn. Put a meter from the wire to the ground battery terminal (black). (If you do not have a meter connect 12V bulb) Turn the ignition switch to start if the meter reads or the bulb lights power is getting to the soleniod. If this is happening (on my car it did not) then use the wire (with the ignition switch turned on) , holding it with pliers hold it on to battery positive terminal (make one good contact or it will spark quite well). If the starter motor does not turn have it checked, if engine starts, you have reduced the fault to, ignition key, ignition switch or fuse. Use meter with power off to check on resistance reading in thoes area's.
    Mine the engine started and now I am chasing the fault in thoes curcuits, when I find it I will let you know.
  • sdsunsdsun Posts: 13
    I changed the starter (finally got a new one-still had original one---2001 model) and changed the ignition switch.

    So far, so good. My car has not abandoned me. It came out to about $245.00 through my wonderful mechanic. Saturn wanted close to $800.00 for the repairs. :shades:

    Through Saturn there is a bulletin on this problem. What happens is that there is a problem with the solenoid in the ignition switch that get worn with time and use.
  • I have got to ignition switch wire harness I can take off harness but how do I get switch out do I take whole assy or just back part of switch I have a no start electrical situation key is working lights come on but no start:::
  • Did you ever resolve the shut off while driving problem for your 95 SL Saturn? I have the same problem. Thanks
  • Did you ever resolve the shut off while driving problem you had with your 99 Saturn. I have the same problem. Thanks
  • Hi all. I am at my wits ends with a problem with my saturn. i have owned it for 4 mths now and this problem i have been having has been about 3 mths now. let me start with my symptoms...
    i have RKE and i lock the door, come back to the car and the RKE isnt wroking. The stereo has no power, no interior lights, no real power for extras. but the car tries to start. i can get it started but it stalls shortly after and runs with a bad shake. im gathering that the "no power" is affecting the fuel pump too. throughout the day i get this several times and i can tell when its going to start happening because i start getting shocks whenever i get outta the car. which gets stronger and more annoying throughout the day. if i push around on the fuse panel, i can usually get all the symptoms to go away and the car starts running like nothing ever happened. i have changed the battery, starter, disassembled the fuse panel and did not see any problems. my hubby and i have spent many hrs going trough wiring looking for any open wires and still the problem persist.
    any ideas would greatly be appriciated!!
    thx in advance
  • I have a 99 sc 1.9 doc that has a ongoing starting problem or multiple problems. It use to start just fine in the morning. After shutting it off it would not restart without waiting 5 - 10 min or if I gave it a shot of starting fluid it would start. This was more of a pain in the *** but dealt with it for a while.
    Then the idle was running high, especially when in drive and started having stalling problems. Reading through the forums there are many answers leading to the ECTS and dirty EGR valve.
    So I purchased the sensor and connector from the dealership. Installed and soldered the connections, cleaned the egr valve which was dirty. I also, cleaned the throttle body while the car was running with valvoline carb and throttle body cleaner. Car started and ran well. Filled the tank with 93 gas and a bottle of Chevron fuel system cleaner.
    Car ran great for 2 days. Then we had a cold night (28 is cold for florida) I went to start the car in the morning and it barely turned over, did get it started with jumper cables. Put in a new battery, couldn't get it started. I checked for spark - none.
    Again, reading the forums I picked up a Crankshaft Position Sensor and installed it.
    Cleaned the battery cable connections at the block and fender, also the positive connection at the fuse panel on the fender. Change the oil and filter to 5w30, I was running 20w50. replaced the spark plugs with autolite plugs.
    I removed the spark plugs and connected the plug wires to them and rested the tips on the exhaust manifold. Getting spark on all cylinders.
    Looking down in the cylinders with a flash light I could see all the piston tops are wet and all the spark plug tips are wet.
    There is a popping sound coming through the intake tube every 3 -4sec while cranking.
    Someone recommended I switch the new autolite plugs for ngk plugs.
    I did and no change.
    There is less visible spark with the ngk compared to the autolite plugs.
    When cranking the engine the starter seems to bind for a second then continue.
    We removed all the plugs again ( they were wet) and cranked the engine, trying to dry out the cylinders. no change.
    Removed the hose that runs from the air cleaner to the throttle body. no change
    while someone turn the key I gave it blast of starting fluid in the throttle body.
    It shot a flame back out at me. (I will not try that again)
    Here is the latest scan info
    P0107 MAP/BARO circuit low input
    P0336 CKP A CKT range/perf
    DTC that caused freeze frame P0336
    Throttle Position 0.0%
    Engine rpm 132 rpm
    Load value 0.0%
    Map Sensor 99 kpa
    Coolant temp 46 f
    Long term fuel trim 1 0.0%
    short term fuel trim 3 50%
    long term fuel trim 3 -38.3%
    Please Help!!
    Thank You
  • Daughter is a single mother, no money and just moved home to get back on her feet. Blew the engine on her old Neon and was beyond fixing. We were totally shocked to see how much cars with 160,000+ miles were going for. We found this '99 SL1, 116K miles, one owner car that was really clean and within our limited price range. Drove it around in a snowstorm, seemed like a really nice car, bought it, drove it home and the right front wheel bearing howled beyond belief. Cost us $350 to fix it. The first time she went to go somewhere, it wouldn't crank at all. It has a Loctronics ignition immobilizer that I hate but ruled out because it will start with a jump. I came home, it started right up. Worked fine for about 2 weeks and then left her stranded at the doctors office with her 2-year old. Wouldn't crank. Popped the clutch, started right up. Wouldn't crank the next day. Took out battery, had it tested and failed. Bought new battery, good for about 2 or 3 weeks, then won't crank. Had starter, battery and alternator tested in car, tests good. Good for a few days. This time, wouldn't jump. Parked it until I can look at it tomorrow but would try to start it every once in a while and this afternoon, it cranked right over and started 6 times in a row. She has no confidence at all in taking the car anywhere and we are all extremely frustrated. There are some good ideas posted here about about ignition switches, starter flat spots, etc. Sometimes, the key / switch does seem a little weird. I am in New England, working outside and can't even see the starter from the top. Any suggestions about the most logical place to start troubleshooting, especially now that it is starting like a normal car?
  • Now the latest. I found that with the key held to start, slamming the clutch pedal against the floorboards seem to jar the solenoid into action. This worked for about a week. Then it died on her again. Out of frustration, we took it to a garage near my work. They confirmed that it was a starter, and although I knew that $302.00 installed for troubleshooting and replacement was high, I went for it. Worked for about a week, now it started with the old tricks again. Except, now, sometimes you have to wiggle the steering column or pull back on the bright switch to get the engine and panel gage lights on. And in a seemingly unrelated matter, it appears that the drivers side wiper shaft doesn't work and turn with little or no resistance (loose or broken linkage) and the domelight fuse blew. A new fuse seems to be okay.
    The sad part is that I really want to like this car but it is making it very difficult.
    Any ideas - multifunction switch, ignition switch?
  • sdsunsdsun Posts: 13
    edited February 2010
    You didnt indicate what year Saturn you have. I have a 2001 Saturn SL (manual tranny) with 177,000 miles on it. :)

    This is just what I did with my car as an example. It may be time to replace the ignition solenoid. I had problems starting my saturn and replaced the solenoid and (just because) put in a new starter, my car now starts! You might also want to check your crankcase position sensor, those go bad with use. Once you get these things fixed you will enjoy a wonderful car with great gas mileage and cheap on insurance.
  • I have ultimate solution but you would not like it. Try adding fuel injector cleaner and then cleaning EGR then throttle body of carbon -new pvc valve
  • tim_wvtim_wv Posts: 2
  • sdsunsdsun Posts: 13
    I had the same problem a few months ago. I have 2001 SL1. My crankshaft sensor went bad. It might be worth to check on that. Good luck.
  • tim_wvtim_wv Posts: 2
    I AM A SHADE TREE GUY, SO WHERE IS THE crankshaft sensor LOCATED ?
  • davidwyszdavidwysz Posts: 1
    i have been having much the same problem with my girlfriend's saturn as you are having. i finally traced it down to a bad window relay located on the center console fuse panel. when i changed it with a new relay the alarm started to work, the horn started going off..... it was as if the car had come back to life. the alarm on her car hadn't been working for ages but it didn't seem to affect anything so i ignored it. it does seem very unrelated but when we did try to start the car with the bad relay in it the same symptoms were there. certain things worked in the car but certain ones did not. when i turned the key to try and start it i got nothing but a soft noise. tracing the noise to the relay i started to remove it and the clock came on, this told me i was on the right track. i know its been a while since your post but this just has just happened to us. hope you got the problem fixed.
  • Mech told me to try to put 2 cans in even if on red on guage tried it and heard pow noise and started working put both in-fixed obstruction. this was done with fan on and ac and rewcycling sw. on and put new wheel bearing in -chewed up. :lemon:
  • Did you ever have any luck with this? I have what sounds like the same problem. 2001 SC1 ran fine, then the battery died from sitting unused in the summer heat for a month. Replaced the battery, everything cranks but it's like the fuel pump is shut off. Tried the passlock reset 10 minute procedure - no luck. Btw, how do you know if Passlock is engaged - does the engine even crank? Trying to discount that. It's odd that the car drove fine but now won't start. Don't want to tow it...and for that matter don't know where to even tow it to anymore!! Any suggestions for fuse pulls, etc. are appreciated!!
  • Turn key to on position wait-should hear click if fuel pump comes on then try start with no gas on if starts then stalls hit gas pedal once then try again my car does this in hot weather :lemon: bring to Firestone otherwise
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