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dolphinsdeep 01-07-2014 06:22 PM

Sister Saturn

My sister has been in possession of a 1996 SL2 for some time. It's got power locks and power doors, pretty nice-looking car.
Unfortunately, we've had issues in the past with fixing this thing. Usually, I'm the car-fixing brother, but my only experience is with the family's once-vast array of Toyotas. I joined here because you guys have helped me fix past issues such as replacing radiators and the goofy anti-theft system when I was a lurker. Of course, now I had to join because I have a new set of questions I can't find the answer to via Google or here (or maybe I'm just not entering the right search terms?).
It was -14 out yesterday and her car did not start. It turned over a few times, didn't start. We thought we'd leave it in the garage, let it warm up a bit since our neighbor's cars had the same problem. Problem is, now the anti-theft system is going off. I tried to do the valet reset thing (turn the key to Run, press button in bottom left 1-5 times in 15 seconds). That didn't work either.
Now I think I've made the problem worse. After I got it to turn over once before giving up, the theft system reactivated. Not only that, but now one of the relays in the instrument panel junction block is making a horrible clicking sound. It's probably the door lock relay (I should've checked, but I'm really not in the mood for going out there yet), as the door locks were rapidly firing before when we got the car to turn over.
Any ideas? Lots of detail would be appreciated. She has to take this thing to college and I don't want it to break down on her there.

Modding_out 01-07-2014 07:51 PM

Re: Sister Saturn
I cant rly say much about the antitheft issue but i can tell you that rapidly firing door locks are usually a faulty door lock switch that is broken/wet/frozen or corroded

jimboman 01-08-2014 07:49 AM

Re: Sister Saturn
I can second what Modding Out has said about the door lock switches. It most likely is the driver's side switch if that's case. You can test the switches by popping them out of the door and disconnecting the switch to see if it quits cycling. I know there are a few threads about it on here, but you can basically pop it out with a flathead screwdriver. Hopefully it hasn't drained your battery.

As for not starting, maybe you're having cold weather issues? There is another active thread right now on the issue. I'm not sure about your anti-theft issues.

fetchitfido 01-08-2014 11:45 AM

Re: Sister Saturn
That valet button is the major hint that it's not factory & totally useless (1996 didn't get anti-theft anyway, only lock/unlock/open trunk). Pull the driver side center kick panel off and hope the alarm box is there making it easy to figure out what it is and then how to disable it from being able to disable the car.

The door locks chattering is probably one door lock switch or another, poke each one carefully (not fully) hopefully until the chattering stops, then you know which one to replace.

dolphinsdeep 01-08-2014 04:33 PM

Re: Sister Saturn
More info.
The fuel pump relay circuit is the one that's clicking. The door locks were restored by warming the car up, so we're keeping it heated in the garage.
As for the valet switch failing, why would that be? It worked last time for about a year and failed recently. We did find the alarm box, it's a Sidewinder. Could we just cut the whole thing out?
New note: Her car no longer turns over, just uselessly clicks in the engine block. Then the fuel pump circuit will start to click at about 2.5 or so clicks a second. I pulled it out and put it back in, it keeps clicking. Is this a starter issue? I see the other thread recommends a flooded start, but that alarm light is flashing constantly (7 times, then around a two-second break) and that worries me. The alarm noise isn't going off, though, mostly because that mechanism failed some time ago.

OldNuc 01-08-2014 04:51 PM

Re: Sister Saturn
This sounds like it might be a failure in the I/P panel internal circuitry. Is this something you want to try and fix or just replace the panel?

Look for aftermarket alarm as well as fetch suggested.

Is the radio loosing presets, does the dome lamp work, does the cigarette lighter heat up, does the chime work as it should?

dolphinsdeep 01-08-2014 05:17 PM

Re: Sister Saturn
Chimes don't work, but the dome light flickers on and off rapidly. Along with that, the radio is completely unpowered. The radio IS aftermarket and I've read that they're powered weirdly on Saturns. The removal of the alarm I'm currently looking into, it's apparently EVERYWHERE in the car.
The car no longer clicks at all, ruining the point of trying a flooded start, but there's a bunch of other clicking noises that sound like blinkers.
OldNuc, I would hope for replacement unless it's obscenely expensive. She doesn't have a terrible amount of money and I don't think I trust myself to fix the electrical issues if they're more complicated than screwing a few wires in.

OldNuc 01-08-2014 05:26 PM

Re: Sister Saturn
It is not going to start until that alarm is gone as a minimum. Once the alarm is gone the rest of the electrical system can be straightened out. The alarm is keeping the car from running. You will end up having to splice wires so be sure to solder and heat shrink any splices.

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