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Old 03-22-2012, 05:58 PM   #15
adventureoflink
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1997 SL2
Default Re: New or Returning S-Series owners' checklist Version 3.0

General starting troubleshooting (unless it's the dies while warm then crank no-start problem as mentioned before).

I'm putting this in here as a note in the next update, feel free to pick this one apart until then..

Keep in mind that for an engine to run, you need air, fuel, spark, compression, and the proper gear in the transmission (which is why when in a manual you let off the clutch with the transmission in gear but give no throttle the engine stalls, or you could be going 35mph or so in an automatic but hit the brakes REALLY hard and the engine stalls).

No crank-no start troubleshooting: If the starter won't crank over or keeps clicking, first thing to do is watch over your dash lights, inside lights, etc. If they cut out (or if the gauges get all wacky), then start with the battery and terminals. Make sure they are all clean and free of corrosion as well as tightened down.

Next, make sure the clutch is pushed in (manual) or the shift is in P or N (automatic), disconnect the S terminal wire (purple wire, on a small 10mm nut) on the starter, and have a buddy turn the key to START while you hook it to a voltmeter (put the red probe on the S terminal and black to ground) and you should get battery voltage. If not, then suspect a faulty safety switch (park/neutral for automatic; clutch for neutral), if not the wire. If an automatic, you may wish to try starting in each position to see where it cranks.

If the engine is warm (at least 160 degrees F or 1/4 line equivalent or more) when it no cranks, then suspect the starter heat stroke. Whacking the starter with a 2x4 or steel bar also confirms a bad starter, regardless. Keep in mind that you will only get a few more good starts by doing this.

If it's still a no crank/no start, remove the belt and spark plugs/wires. Turn the crank pulley with a breaker bar and the appropriate size/drive socket, CLOCKWISE. If it's easy to turn over, then further diagnosis may be required (however just in case, you could try turning each belt driven pulley by hand to see which one is binding). Otherwise, if it's tough to turn or won't turn at all, suspect bent/broken valves if not a siezed engine. You will need a new/rebuilt engine at this point.

If it's a crank/no start, then check for a loss/lack of proper air, fuel, spark, and/or compression.

Air: has your throttle body been cleaned? Is your IAC valve going bad? When was the last time you replaced your air filter? Do you have any exhaust restrictions (EGR failing and cataclyctic converter failed most common)?

Fuel: Turn your radio all the way down and put the car in RUN. you should hear the fuel pump hum for about two seconds. if not, start by checking the fuel pump relay by swapping it with an option relay (rear window defogger, blower, A/C, etc). if it works then replace the relay. Otherwise, you'll have to disconnect the fuel pump and check for electricity. If you get electricity at the connector, then the pump is suspect. Don't forget to also replace the fuel filter after replacing the pump.

If the pump works, then check for fuel at the schrader valve. a quick Q/A test would be to take a rag and press the valve with the key in RUN, expecting a healthy spray of fuel. If you want to be technical, it should be 51 PSI, key in RUN; 45 PSI key OFF. This can be verified with a pressure gauge.

Remember, for 1998-2002 the pressure regulator is integrated into the fuel filter, so be sure to use the OEM, WIX, or NAPA one.

Quick note: in the '97 model year there was a birth defect in the fuel pumps, which would delay starting, resulting in more wear on the starter. To correct this, let the car sit in RUN for about five seconds (or when the dings go away), and try cranking. This is due to the check valve being bad.

Spark: It's been covered in a light degree in the CPS point, but to review, remove the spark plug wires at the coils (noting firing order) and have a friend crank the engine with the fuel disabled (pull the fuel pump relay or fuse). You should see spark jump across the towers. If there's no spark, inspect your coil packs/ignition module for corrosion or damage and clean/replace as necessary. If this is a CPS replacement, make sure it's fully seated in the hole and tightened.

Compression was already fully covered in an early point (#22), no need to go over it again, however unless you're getting misfires or misfire codes on a specific cylinder(s) I personally wouldn't worry about it too much.

...
97 SL2
DOB: 3/19/97
Date Obtained: 5/30/07
Status: Alive, 1/2 exhaust

2004 Merc G.Marquis GS
DOB: 2/4/04
Date Obtained: 7/6/12
Status: Alive, no heat

Last edited by adventureoflink; 03-22-2012 at 06:11 PM..

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