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Old 07-10-2016, 11:30 PM   #1
randy_s
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Default Saturn L200 electrical issue (dash, rear lights)

I posted earlier this year on another forum about a Saturn and whether it was worth keeping.

We still retain this inherited car but it's really decision time as to whether my sister should keep it or we should try to sell it. I've learned a bit more, and need to figure out what, if anything, can be done.

The car is a 2002 Saturn L200, 70k miles, great shape other than the following issues:

- Needs a new battery and maybe a headlamp (easy)
- Needs brakes of some sort
- Has this weird electrical issue (main problem--see below).

The electrical problem is that when you turn the car on, the dash is out, and the rear red running lights are out. For this reason, it can't be driven at night. Also, the fuel gauge is permanently on Full, whether it is full or not. So, the car isn't a usable vehicle in this state, though our late mother drove it that way for a year or more. We thought maybe it was the BCM, but were recently told something else...

A BCM had been replaced previously with a used one, I think. The dealership's old notes said they suspected the problem was actually in the aftermarket alarm/remote starter system. They suggested that if that were disconnected, maybe that would fix the issue. So recently I got to the car and removed it. The car still started, but the problem persisted (no red lights in back). I tried this in broad daylight, though, so not sure if I should have tried at night (will these lights and dash come on in the day?). I pulled the box of the aftermarket remote starter/alarm out, but did not do anything special with the wires that had been plugged into it. As I said, the car still started fine (though I did not try to drive it).

So, the questions are:

- Did I "finish the job" in pulling the remote starter/alarm out? Or did I have to re-hook-up the wires somehow?
- Would doing this in broad daylight prevent seeing whether this fixed it? (I don't know if the dash and rear red lights should come on during the day)
- If this hasn't fixed anything, is there a way to bypass this issue and somehow just hook the dash and red lights in back up to electrical? Just sort of jerry-rig it to work regardless if the BCM or whatever is not working right?

To look at it is going to cost hundreds, and it may be foolish at this point without a better understanding of the possibilities, so that's why I'm asking.

If my sister doesn't buy it, I wonder if anyone would buy it at a discount who might be handier with this sort of thing.

Thanks.

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Old 07-11-2016, 12:11 AM   #2
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2000 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: Saturn L200 electrical issue (dash, rear lights)

Quote:
Originally Posted by randy_s View Post


The electrical problem is that when you turn the car on, the dash is out, and the rear red running lights are out. For this reason, it can't be driven at night. Also, the fuel gauge is permanently on Full, whether it is full or not. So, the car isn't a usable vehicle in this state, though our late mother drove it that way for a year or more. We thought maybe it was the BCM, but were recently told something else...

A BCM had been replaced previously with a used one, I think. The dealership's old notes said they suspected the problem was actually in the aftermarket alarm/remote starter system. They suggested that if that were disconnected, maybe that would fix the issue. So recently I got to the car and removed it. The car still started, but the problem persisted (no red lights in back). I tried this in broad daylight, though, so not sure if I should have tried at night (will these lights and dash come on in the day?). I pulled the box of the aftermarket remote starter/alarm out, but did not do anything special with the wires that had been plugged into it. As I said, the car still started fine (though I did not try to drive it).

So, the questions are:

- Did I "finish the job" in pulling the remote starter/alarm out? Or did I have to re-hook-up the wires somehow?
- Would doing this in broad daylight prevent seeing whether this fixed it? (I don't know if the dash and rear red lights should come on during the day)
The dash does not light up unless the headlight switch is on. You should be able to read the odometer at any time unless that bulb is burned out. When you are about to start the car and after it is running, do you briefly see some very small items illuminated around the instrument cluster, the warning lamps, and then shortly disappear? If you don't know what these are then read the L Series Owners Handbook which should be with the car.

There are several bulbs which are at the back of the dash console and will, of course, burn out over time. There are four which directly illuminate it.

The only exterior lamps illuminated during the day are the Daytime Running Lights (DRLs). The running lights (rear) are only on when the headlight switch is turned on at either the parking lamp or headlight position. Just curious: do your brake lights work, center high-mount and left and right sides?

I can't know if you finished the job with regard to the aftermarket starter/alarm. With regard to dealing with the lighting problem during the day I have to ask, was the headlight switch turned on?

...
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