Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Saturn S-Series Starting Problems



  • i'm having the same issue with my 1993 sc2, did you find out your problem yet, i'm changeing the fuel filter tomorrow hopefully that does it
  • jarquerjarquer Posts: 3
    unfortunately I changed the fuel pump and some other parts that had been suggested and it still is not working properly. I switched out the relay fuses like someone suggested and seemed to work for awhile, then back to the same old thing. I am gong to buy some new relays and see if that cures my problem. Good luck. :(
  • Well, I thought that switching the fuel pump relays was the cure. I WAS WRONG! The problem reappeared. Since then I have replaced FP relay and FP fuse. Also went in from driver side to wiring to fusebox (behind center console) to check for loose wires into fusebox as had been suggested. No help there. Next thing I was gonna try was replacement of CKP (crank position sensor) since they are inexpensive ($13.99 at autozone) and also I would get a look at the starter as you need to remove it to replace the CKP.
    I just happened by the library today and found one of those huge Motor Repair Manuals ( like 5 inches thick) for GM 99-01. There was an 8 part section on
    Engine Crank- No Start. problem= intermittent start
    connect to OBD and check malfunction history
    check circuit 402.
    ALSO, it said that when you turn the key to ON (not to start) the fuel pump should run for 2 seconds (every time) This I knew and when I go to start mine I have the radio off so I can listen for it- weirdly though, sometimes mine would start without hearing the FP make a sound. I would wait for the stupid chime to stop (5 dings) and then it would start most times.
    I am still looking for a way to turn off the annoying chime, but don't pull the chime fuse, it kills the whole ignition sysytem.
    So, I had surmised I had a problem with the fuel pump and/or filter, and I was going to take the car into the dealer and see if they can pull up the 'malfunction history'
    and tell me what the 402 thing is, along with checking fuel pump and fuel pressure.
    On the way home, as I got off the freeway and came to a stoplight, it now developed the infamous CHUGGLE at idle. Jeez, you had to keep the thing at 2500 RPM to keep it from stalling. Since then I went out to the garage twice and started it, but it needs to rev at least 2500 rpm to keep from stalling. That's where I am now.
  • I don't know what all years this covers, mostly later 90's (mine is '99) but check yours- there are 2 fuseboxes. One is under the hood, other is on PASSENGER Side of center dash console (radio, A/C) it is a plastic door with velcro. put your finger in the hole and pull it off. on the backside of the door is a chart with all the locations of the fuses and relays. swap the FP relay with the one next to it (HVAC blower). When you turn the key to on you will hear it click. Also, there is an FP fuse (should be 10 red) under the Rear Window Defogger relay. Pull off the defogger relay, then pull the FP fuse and check it. Sometimes when mine won't start, pulling the FP fuse and then reinserting it makes it start (weird huh?) CAUTION- when you pull the FP fuse, it will cause your radio to lose all presets and turn your clock back to 12:00.
  • racermouseracermouse Posts: 6
    I've just gotten out of surgery on the knee, so there won't be any car repairing again soon. I do have an update on the chuggle issue since my last post.
    I got a can of CRC carburetor cleaner (use some good stuff, not a cheapie so it can blast) and removed the throttle body and sprayed it out and the idle air sensor screw. Then I re-removed the EGR and sprayed it out also. Upon removal of the EGR , I found a little chunk of carbon deposit stuck in its needle valve, which turns out was the culprit. I had previously cleaned out the EGR with a toothbrush and this must have dislodged the chunk.

    Even though I am still chasing the starting problem, since cleaning out the throttle body the car runs like it has a new engine. and the weirdness continues....
  • racermouseracermouse Posts: 6
    The next thing I was going to try was to replace the CKP (CPS) Crank Position Sensor, but I didn't want to start replacing part by part until I found the problem. So I went to a shop and had them do a diagnostic and OBD scan.
    Code 336- CKP sensor fault code signal intermittent.
    So I went to AutoZone and picked up one SU-185, only $13.99. This repair will be around $200 if you have a shop do it.
    Now I am 2 weeks out of knee surgery with a knee immobilzer on, and I crawled under that car and did it in 2 hours, WITHOUT removing the starter.
    NOTE: The bolt that holds it into the engine block was so loose I unscrewed it with my fingers. This most likely contributed to the failure of the CKP.
    If anyone out there wants to do this themself and need more info email me I can tell you how I did it w/o removing starter. Also, I got great info from a Youtube video. There is a guy that has over 120 Youtube vids on saturn repairs of all types, and he is very good.
    my email :

    repair vids>
  • krisbj22krisbj22 Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 Saturn SL sedan. Frequently, I'll take a short drive to the store, the bank, etc. park, turn the car off, come back 15 minutes later, turn the key and nothing happens. The battery is fine, the radio runs, all lights turn on, door locks function, but the car will not turn over. Absolutely nothing happens.

    I have noticed that it seems to be related to the temperature. It only seems to happen on warm days. I've taken it in to be looked at by both the dealer and a private mechanic. They all seem to think it's the starter, but I don't agree. The car starts just fine most of the time.

    Anyone else have this experience or have any insight?
  • hey krisbj22, while researching my problem, (and I did alot of research!!) I found that Saturns typically run hot. This of course causes many engine parts and accessories to prematurely fail. It is well known in the Saturn repair circle that starter windings develop dead spots and solenoids burn out frequently. If you are of the mechanically inclined, remove your starter and solenoid and take it to your local Autozone where they will bench test it for free.
    Good luck!!
  • paul03paul03 Posts: 4
    Help me please! My girlfriend bought a 95 sl1 and It ran fine for a while exept for a wierd idle when she stops. I checked the vaccume lines and there all fine. Just recently she was having trouble tring to start it. She has to push the gas pedal to the floor to get the car to start. When she goes into reverse or forward the car stalls and frequently stalls while she drives it. I told her to turn the key to the run position and wait 10 seconds then start it ,and that only works sometimes.By the way the car does not have a check engine light on if that helps any. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • saturn56saturn56 Posts: 7
  • paul03paul03 Posts: 4
    I tried doing the hvac relay swap and that did not help. I can hear the fue pump start up too. I cleaned the throttle body and the sensor with the spring the were really gumed up but that did not help. Mabey fuel filter? or bad Injectors?
  • 442dude442dude Posts: 373
    Its a common problem on the S-series...check the ECTS (engine coolant temperature sensor) - Located on the right side of the engine as you look at it from the front, on the block just below the head...easy fix, should cost you about $ 25.00 and take about 15 minutes...They redesigned them after 1995 because of the frequent failures. Make sure the new one you buy has a brass, not plastic tip. Also check the connector, if its corroded you may need to replace it as well.
  • dan138dan138 Posts: 1
    could this be the same solution for my problem? my 2002 SC2 will start but after a few seconds the idling will be 0. After starting again for a few times and put a little bit of will be ok...I really need help here.
  • 442dude442dude Posts: 373
    HI Dan...sorry I didn't see this sooner...hope you've resolved the problem by now...

    The ECTS on these cars has been blamed for it your problem...I'm not sure.

    Is your check engine light on? Or has it come on recently?
  • paul03paul03 Posts: 4
    I replaced the ects today when I did an oil change it did not solve the problem you still have to press the gas to the floor and it has an erratic idle. Any ideas ?
  • 442dude442dude Posts: 373
    Did you check the connector for corrosion? The connectors get messed up from the coolant leaking can tell if its messed up by the green color on the contacts of the connector.

    Are you saying that you have to floor it to start it or to keep it running? Your throttle body might need to be cleaned, they're known to get funky from all of the oil mist flying around in the PCV system...just a thought...but first:

    Is your check engine light on?
  • lavey84lavey84 Posts: 1
    I noticed a few weeks ago after I filled up my gas tank that my car wouldn't start. I recently got a tune-up and the car ran fine but then the next day I drove to work, went out to lunch and when it was time to go home the car wouldn't start. I tried to start the car again and the car started and I let the car idle for 30 minutes, when I put the car in gear it shut off again. I ended up getting the car towed back to the dealership and they told me that they couldn't find anything wrong. They said that it might have been the gas. I put a fuel injection treatment in the car and it worked fine. I thought the problem was fixed but once again I filled the car up and had the same problem. I can't even turn the air on, because when I turn the air on the car has a problem starting. I thought about getting a fuel injection treatment, because the only time that the car seems to work is when I put a fuel injection treatment in it.

    Any suggestions? :confuse:
  • paul03paul03 Posts: 4
    Yea I cleaned the throttle body It was covered in oil or carbon and I saw no sign of corrosion on the wire or contacts and you have to push the pedle to the floor to start sometimes you have to start it twice. No the check engine light is not on. I am good with cars too I just pulled the motor and tranny out of my 03 civic si and fixed many problems not going into detail and put it back in and ran fine the first time I started it been good for 4000k now. These saturns are starting to piss me off.
  • 442dude442dude Posts: 373
    Remove and check the EGR valve...they tend to get filled with carbon and the pintle will stop moving. You can clean it and put it back in, use carb cleaner or any cleaner of your choice, just make sure that the pintle moves freely...if they're carboned up you won't always get a check engine light even though there's a problem.
  • ortegsaortegsa Posts: 2
    My 1998 Saturn SL quit starting in the morning. The starter cranks over fine but it will not start, I can hear the fuel pump whirring away too.. If I roll out of my driveway and pop the clutch, it catches and starts right up and will continue to work and start fine all day. Just after it sits overnight it will not start. The best part is that it does not do it every night just intermittent. It does not seem to care if it is hot or cold rained or didn't at night.

  • tdapsrtdapsr Posts: 1
    Intermit. starting problem. won't crank. I get i click at the starter solinoid then the dash lights dim or go out completely. nothing else electrical works. Headlights, blower fan, radio etc... I can't get a voltage reading from the battery cable bolts at the battery terminals. After disconnecting the neg. battery cable I connect a test light to the neg. battery terminal and neg. battery cable and get a pulsating draw. Also i get multiple clicking noises from behind the glove box area. When i disconnect the positive cable from the battery, then reconnect both I hear the power door locks reset and then all electrical stuff works. Sometimes it will start and sometimes it won't. I'm on my 3rd napa starter now. I just put in a new ignition switch and the battery load tested good. Good hydrometer readings and voltage readings from the battery too. I thought the alarm module might be bad as it has an ignition cut off built in to it so I pulled bothe fuses out of it but it still does the same thing. Cables are in good shape. Not corroded etc...Good tight connections. anyone have a clue?
  • mine 98 did the same thing the other day. I let it sit for a couple hours and started right up. Today was a differnt story!!!!!! short run over to a friends house , ran fine . went to go run errand and .. nothing . let sit couple hours, nothing. couple more hours same thing, got any ideas?
  • 442dude442dude Posts: 373
    Sounds like the starter is going bad...Take it out and take it to auto zone, they'll check it for you for free.
  • Hello All,
    I have a '95 Saturn SL with 74,000 miles. I purchased it from the original owner about 3 weeks ago. When I got it, it ran very well.

    In the last two days, I have noticed it jerks very lightly on occasion. Today, while driving, it turned off. It jerked a few times as I was driving. It felt like it was running out of gas. I checked the gauge and it read that I had a 1/4 tank of gas left. I assumed the gauge was not accurate. After letting it sit for about 25 minutes as I waited for the wife to bring me some gas, I poured the gas in and it started right up. As I drove to the gas station, it jerked a few times. I filled up the tank and when I tried starting it, it did not immediately start. I had to crank it a few times. After it started, it was fine except for the occasional jerk. About 1.5 hours later, I drive it about 1.5 miles and it turned off again. I let it sit for about 25 minutes and it started again. (I am trying to get home) I got as far a 5 miles and it turned off again. I waited another 20 minutes and it started and got me about 5-6 miles this time. Still 8 miles from home and nothing but farmland between me and home, I called the wife to help. I let it sit for about 25 minutes and it would not start and we ended up pushing it about 2 miles with out other vehicle and I tried it again. It started and got me 3 miles and cut off again.

    I though it was the fuel pump. I didn't listen for it until at the very end. I did however hear it running. Upon arriving home, I was going to order a fuel pump and after thinking it over, I am not sure if it's bad. I decided to wait and check it again in the morning.

    Does anyone know, if it's not the fuel pump, what else can it be?

    Tanks in advance.

  • Just happened to see your post. I had the same problem with mine and it turned out to be what is called a BTSI switch. (Pronounced bitsy). It is a brake, transmission interruptor switch. It is a common failure on Saturns. Hope this helps you or anyone else.
  • dbradleywright,
    Thanks for the info. As I was checking the net for more info on the BTSI switch, I came upon a page stating that the BTSI switch is original equipment on the Saturn SL1 and SL2 with auto transmission. Being that I own a 1995 SL with manual trans, it wouldn't apply to me.

    I do have another question if anyone can answer it...

    I tried reading the codes on the car by jumping the A-B terminals and reading the check engine light flashed. I got a code 12 which means "PCM self-diagnostic test is OK."

    Would me buying a GM code reader provide any other info on my problem or will a code reader give the same info as i got by counting the number of lights flashed???

  • I have a 97 Saturn SL, thats having start problems. It will start fine first thing in the morning and runs fine once started but if I go somewhere and then have it sit in a parking lot or driveway for about fifteen or twenty minutes, it wont start, and I have to wait about half an hour before it will start up again. If I drive it to a gas station or a store and am only gone for five minutes, it will start right back up. Any suggestions on what could be wrong with it? It never happens when the mechanic has it, which makes it a mystery to him,
  • I think my starting problem is a thing of the past.

    Prior to day, I could not drive the car more them a few milesefore it cut off. I'd wait a half hour and it would run again for another few miles and then cut off again.. After changing the coils and computer earlier in the week, no change. I would allow it to run oin the driveway and it would cut off after about 15 minutes.

    I ordered a CPS yesterday morning and picked it up today. With no jack or stands to lift the car to get underneath her, I Installed the CPS though the top without removing the starter. Took about 15 minutes. After installing the CPS, I backed her out of the garage into the driveway. (fumes) let it sit and 45 minutes later, it was still running. Took her for an hour long spin and never had a problem.

    Glad to be back on two wheels again.

Sign In or Register to comment.