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Old 09-14-2016, 05:57 AM   #1
05Saturn l300
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Default 2005 L300 crank but no start

Hey guys I have a 05 Saturn l300, recently it will crank over strong and takes a long time to fire, like 10 10 second tries. As soon as it fires it's good until it sits for more than 6 hours. The only code it reads is p0421. Which it has for 2 years. I replaced the coolant temp sensor and fuel filter and it still starts hard for the first start of the day. Any ideas? Thanks

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Old 09-14-2016, 06:18 AM   #2
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Default Re: 2005 L300 crank but no start

How many miles are on it? Plugs are due at 100k...I would also run seafoam and some good fuel system cleaner thru it.

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Old 09-14-2016, 06:49 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2005 L300 crank but no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by soulsurvives View Post
How many miles are on it? Plugs are due at 100k...I would also run seafoam and some good fuel system cleaner thru it.
120k it just rolled, I have not done plugs yet. Will it start hard but then run smooth??

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Old 09-14-2016, 11:02 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2005 L300 crank but no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by 05Saturn l300 View Post
120k it just rolled, I have not done plugs yet. Will it start hard but then run smooth??
Worn plugs will result in hard starting. Whether or not the engine would be smooth running I cannot say for certain, but it is possible. In either case it's likely to result in poorer burning of fuel.

From the 2000 Saturn L81 FSM
"P0421 or P0422: WARM UP CATALYST LOW EFFICIENCY BANK 1

The catalyst is used to control emission content. Although the catalyst is active as soon as exhaust gas is passed through it, this diagnostic will not run until the front and rear oxygen sensors are both in closed loop. The oxygen storing capability of the catalyst is monitored by viewing the rear oxygen sensor's response to an oscillating air-fuel ratio. The ECM computes how a near-failure catalyst would cause a rear oxygen sensor to react to an oscillating air-fuel ratio. These values are compared with the actual rear oxygen sensor response. If the actual response is similar to the near failure catalyst computed values, this code will set.

DTC PARAMETERS

DTC P0421 and P0422 will set when:
- Closed loop is enabled
- Engine speed is between 1400 and 2000 rpm
- Engine load is between 20% and 45%
- Catalyst temperature greater than 350 degrees C (662 degrees F)
- No front or rear oxygen sensor, misfire, MAF, TP, purge solenoids codes set

DIAGNOSTIC AIDS

Once set, this code should remain active. Under certain driving conditions the catalyst monitor test may pass. This condition may occur if driving the vehicle at highway speeds (high air flow), but if this code is set and there are no exhaust leaks, the converter should be replaced. If a misfire code is detected, the catalyst monitor test will not run. Be sure to correct a misfire condition before replacing the converter.

Possible causes:
- Exhaust system leak between front and rear sensors, or rear sensor leaking.
- Catalyst deteriorated due to excessive time operating vehicle with a damaging misfire.
- Contamination of converter due to incorrect sealant, fuel or fuel additive."

It would be wise to replace the spark plugs as you're already aware that they've gone beyond the factory recommended replacement interval. I suspect, however, that their replacement will not correct this issue (I'd be happy to be wrong!). Nevertheless, the only way to know if any benefit is derived is to replace them before attempting to correct this DTC.

...
276,000 miles-it keeps on rolling!
The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

Last edited by pierrot; 09-14-2016 at 11:10 AM..

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Old 09-14-2016, 11:52 AM   #5
05Saturn l300
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Default Re: 2005 L300 crank but no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrot View Post
Worn plugs will result in hard starting. Whether or not the engine would be smooth running I cannot say for certain, but it is possible. In either case it's likely to result in poorer burning of fuel.

From the 2000 Saturn L81 FSM
"P0421 or P0422: WARM UP CATALYST LOW EFFICIENCY BANK 1

The catalyst is used to control emission content. Although the catalyst is active as soon as exhaust gas is passed through it, this diagnostic will not run until the front and rear oxygen sensors are both in closed loop. The oxygen storing capability of the catalyst is monitored by viewing the rear oxygen sensor's response to an oscillating air-fuel ratio. The ECM computes how a near-failure catalyst would cause a rear oxygen sensor to react to an oscillating air-fuel ratio. These values are compared with the actual rear oxygen sensor response. If the actual response is similar to the near failure catalyst computed values, this code will set.

DTC PARAMETERS

DTC P0421 and P0422 will set when:
- Closed loop is enabled
- Engine speed is between 1400 and 2000 rpm
- Engine load is between 20% and 45%
- Catalyst temperature greater than 350 degrees C (662 degrees F)
- No front or rear oxygen sensor, misfire, MAF, TP, purge solenoids codes set

DIAGNOSTIC AIDS

Once set, this code should remain active. Under certain driving conditions the catalyst monitor test may pass. This condition may occur if driving the vehicle at highway speeds (high air flow), but if this code is set and there are no exhaust leaks, the converter should be replaced. If a misfire code is detected, the catalyst monitor test will not run. Be sure to correct a misfire condition before replacing the converter.

Possible causes:
- Exhaust system leak between front and rear sensors, or rear sensor leaking.
- Catalyst deteriorated due to excessive time operating vehicle with a damaging misfire.
- Contamination of converter due to incorrect sealant, fuel or fuel additive."

It would be wise to replace the spark plugs as you're already aware that they've gone beyond the factory recommended replacement interval. I suspect, however, that their replacement will not correct this issue (I'd be happy to be wrong!). Nevertheless, the only way to know if any benefit is derived is to replace them before attempting to correct this DTC.

Ok thank you plugs are going in tonight, if that doesn't correct it I guess I'll be throwing a new O2 sensor or 2 at it.

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Old 09-14-2016, 01:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2005 L300 crank but no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by 05Saturn l300 View Post
......I guess I'll be throwing a new O2 sensor or 2 at it.
I think that replacing an O2 sensor presently is an unwarranted course of action. The DTC PARAMETERS states, in part, that the

"DTC P0421 and P0422 will set when:
- No front or rear oxygen sensor, misfire, MAF, TP, purge solenoids codes set

fdryer's advice to clean the MAF sensor is sound. If there is no improvement then, based upon the FSM information, I would look to an exhaust leak or failed catalytic converter. You said that this code has been present for two years. What would you estimate the mileage to have been when the DTC was set?

An unrelated question came to mind with your car since the spark plugs are very late in being replaced. Has the timing belt been replaced? That should've been replaced at 100K miles as well.

...
276,000 miles-it keeps on rolling!
The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

Last edited by pierrot; 09-14-2016 at 01:51 PM..

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Old 09-14-2016, 11:55 AM   #7
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Default Re: 2005 L300 crank but no start

While spark plugs may be fine, due to ideal use of platinum electrodes for long term reliability, it's just wise to replace them. They're probably not worn but the number of heat cycles may degrade them and a reason to replace them every 100k miles. The same goes for fuel filter replacement. With difficulty in startups, this problem can be either ignition or fuel related. One way to monitor one of these two would be using a fuel pressure gauge connected to the fuel rail test port. Autozone may have pressure gauges to loan. Expect 40-55 psi when ignition is turned on without starting and remain in range with engine running. Fuel filter replacement is recommended every 100k miles.

The mystery P0421 code may or may not contribute to hard starting. A partially blocked pre-cat, between engine and firewall, may trigger the error code. While blocking half the exhaust system shouldn't affect engine starting, anything is possible in real world operating conditions. The difficulty in determining a damaged pre-cat requires removal for examination or connecting a pressure gauge to the front O2 port on each side to measure exhaust pressures - not something anyone wants to do.

One thing not discussed and brought up - is there a possibility of the maf sensor causing this problem? Removing it and spraying it with maf sensor cleaner may help.

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Old 09-14-2016, 12:06 PM   #8
05Saturn l300
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Default Re: 2005 L300 crank but no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
While spark plugs may be fine, due to ideal use of platinum electrodes for long term reliability, it's just wise to replace them. They're probably not worn but the number of heat cycles may degrade them and a reason to replace them every 100k miles. The same goes for fuel filter replacement. With difficulty in startups, this problem can be either ignition or fuel related. One way to monitor one of these two would be using a fuel pressure gauge connected to the fuel rail test port. Autozone may have pressure gauges to loan. Expect 40-55 psi when ignition is turned on without starting and remain in range with engine running. Fuel filter replacement is recommended every 100k miles.

The mystery P0421 code may or may not contribute to hard starting. A partially blocked pre-cat, between engine and firewall, may trigger the error code. While blocking half the exhaust system shouldn't affect engine starting, anything is possible in real world operating conditions. The difficulty in determining a damaged pre-cat requires removal for examination or connecting a pressure gauge to the front O2 port on each side to measure exhaust pressures - not something anyone wants to do.

One thing not discussed and brought up - is there a possibility of the maf sensor causing this problem? Removing it and spraying it with maf sensor cleaner may help.

Ok, thank you! I will clean that also. I'll post my results

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