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Old 10-06-2017, 10:50 PM   #21
fetchitfido
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Default Re: no start urgent

The clutch safety switch is at the bottom of the clutch pedal travel on the firewall. 2 giant purple wires (well, giant compared to the rest of the interior wiring) coming out of it...guessing they're 14awg. Unplug that and stuff a jumper wire in both terminals (from one to the other) to rule out the safety switch.

Push starting works like a more reliable small engine pull cord...works as many times as you can pull/push it. 1st gear will spin the engine faster, but you'll also have to get the car moving faster to overcome it's resistance to being turned, most people default to 1st gear but I'd probably do 3rd or 4th (no matter which gear, be quick about disengaging the clutch once it's running or it'll stall and all that pushing was for naught).

The fuel pressure drop issue makes it harder, how fast depends on the car.
Leaving the key in run just has it run 3-5 seconds, then it shuts off until the engine is actually running and you have to wait 2-3min before trying it again to have the PCM turn the pump on. A way around this is to pull the fuel pump relay and jump pins 30 and 87 in the fuse box socket.

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Old 10-06-2017, 11:06 PM   #22
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Default Re: no start urgent

I do first gear if I have the benefit of a hill. Otherwise second is good. Never had to pull any fuses or anything​ fancy.

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Old 10-06-2017, 11:14 PM   #23
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Default Re: no start urgent

I guess I should get the battery load tested?
I have had battery issues on my 2 other cars. As such, I have had the batteries 'tested' at the FLAPS. The (interstate) tester outputs the voltage and CCA value. Is that also doing a load test? The FLAPS clerks really don't seem to know. I thought shops say they check the charging/starting system, but the printout never shows that.
Is the harbor freight load tester worthwhile/accurate? It appears to test the starter, too?
Is a DIY load test feasible?

It's only happened to me once, but I did have a fairly new battery crap out on my saturn. The shop told me it was a bad cell, I don't recall if/how they diagnosed it. New battery did solve the issue, then.

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Old 10-06-2017, 11:58 PM   #24
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Default Re: no start urgent

The fuel pump/pressure should be no problem. The pump will turn on briefly at key-on, same as usual, and it will come back on as soon as the engine starts to rotate. The only difference in the cranking is that the wheels are turning the engine instead of the starter. However, you want to do the key-on just before trying the push start, not several minutes before, as the pressure may bleed down over a few minutes.

I recommend using 3rd, 4th for the starting. Using a lower gear should turn the engine faster, but you often lose that advantage due to tire skid in the lower gears.

As far as pushing by yourself and then jumping in, I find that is usually difficult on flat ground. With even a slight down-hill it becomes OK, and a slight up-hill makes it impossible for me.

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Old 10-07-2017, 07:57 AM   #25
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Default Re: no start urgent

When faced with a slight uphill, I push it uphill if I am able. Then I bump start it downhill. Works in reverse too.

Regarding a DIY battery load test: a simple one is to turn on the lights and see how bright they are. Or if you want to be more scientific, turn on everything and measure battery voltage. If your battery is hanging in there at 12V or more for a bit it is probably fine.

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Old 10-08-2017, 12:45 PM   #26
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Default Re: no start urgent

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetchitfido View Post
The clutch safety switch is at the bottom of the clutch pedal travel on the firewall. 2 giant purple wires (well, giant compared to the rest of the interior wiring) coming out of it...guessing they're 14awg. Unplug that and stuff a jumper wire in both terminals (from one to the other) to rule out the safety switch.

Push starting works like a more reliable small engine pull cord...works as many times as you can pull/push it. 1st gear will spin the engine faster, but you'll also have to get the car moving faster to overcome it's resistance to being turned, most people default to 1st gear but I'd probably do 3rd or 4th (no matter which gear, be quick about disengaging the clutch once it's running or it'll stall and all that pushing was for naught).
Still cannot get that connector off to try a jumper. (my wires are purple and yellow) I don't have a lot of spare wire laying around. Does a paper clip work?

I was able to push start, but it's a bit of a blur how I actually did it.
"Disengage the clutch once it's running" means press the clutch pedal to floor? Or let it out?

I think I will try to replace the starter myself. Other than the hidden bolt, it seems straighforward.
I will try to use the intake manifold stud (21006951) if my dealer has it. Any clues on the corresponding nut?

I'm actually not sure I can get the car on jack stands. Last time the hydraulic lift bent the metal at the lift point. Am I supposed to put a piece of wood on it first?
Otherwise, ramps should work, right?

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Old 10-08-2017, 12:55 PM   #27
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Default Re: no start urgent

I did my last saturn starter replacement on ramps, made it easy, though mine was automatic.
I can't find anywhere what the thread is on that stud, but, I have never had any issue just reusing the original bolt.
Guess, some of us have issues not being able to direct our hands where to insert that bolt back into its hole. It's really not hard to do.

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Old 10-08-2017, 01:07 PM   #28
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Default Re: no start urgent

Ramps work fine for the starter.
The official lift points are on the seam, correct? I've never used those weak bendy things (well, after the first few times finding out they're weak and bendy), I shove the jack in further to the rearmost cradle mount on that side and use the frame rail with the stand. Probably not how they were intended to be used but I've never bent one either. On the rear I jack up in the middle of the subframe and use the trailing arm mounts for stand points, also probably not correct but I've never run into an issue.

Clutch pedal on the floor = disengaged.

After one of Low Saturn's posts about using an intake manifold stud in place of the upper bolt on the starter I've not had an issue with it either. It's not so much finding the hole that's hard, it's holding the 5-10lb starter in place with one hand and trying to start the bolt with the other that's the issue, might be able to do the bottom bolt first so that holds the weight for you.

Last edited by fetchitfido; 10-08-2017 at 01:14 PM..

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Old 10-08-2017, 02:48 PM   #29
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Default Re: no start urgent

all the tips, so much appreciated.

I see the torque for the bolts is 27 ft lbs, but I'm guessing a torque wrench won't fit well here?

You can push the car up on ramps, correct? Ideally I will have another person helping me, of course.

Is anywhere on the cradle OK to put a lift? (not that there's a lot of choices, I guess)

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Old 10-08-2017, 03:20 PM   #30
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Default Re: no start urgent

Do the headlights or instrument cluster light work??? ( not specified)

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Old 10-08-2017, 03:21 PM   #31
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Default Re: no start urgent

I also have a manual. Ramps are good! Unhook the battery first of course, starting with the negative terminal. Remove the purple wire. Take off the hidden bolt first, and put it on last. That way the visible bolt holds it in place while you find it. A 3/8" drive ratchet with an extension is the key tool for removing the hidden bolt. Not too hard.

Edit: you can easily use a torque wrench. Pushing on ramps may be possible. I would use the friend to help bump start, the drive it onto the ramps.

Anywhere on the cradle is strong enough. I prefer to jack inside the "cup" where the cradle mount bolt lives. That is very secure, the jack can't slip.

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Old 10-08-2017, 03:24 PM   #32
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Default Re: no start urgent

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melissa_M View Post
I guess I should get the battery load tested? ........I have had the batteries 'tested' at the FLAPS. The (interstate) tester outputs the voltage and CCA value. Is that also doing a load test? The FLAPS clerks really don't seem to know. I thought shops say they check the charging/starting system, but the printout never shows that.
Is the harbor freight load tester worthwhile/accurate? It appears to test the starter, too?
Is a DIY load test feasible?.......
The auto store clerks not interested in knowing what a battery load test does makes them dimwits and difficult for everyone wanting to know. Older load testers use toaster elements (nichrome wire) that glow as battery current flows thru with a voltmeter monitoring voltage. The handheld metal cage has Swiss cheese holes for ventilation. A certain amount of time is used (a minute or less) and voltage is checked. If battery voltage drops below 10 volts, the battery may be discharged from not charging correctly or dead. Most electronic battery load testers are automatic - connect to battery, press ON TO TEST, and it does the same as the older testers to load the battery for about a minute and display either an electronic message or voltage in a green/yellow/red scale. Most store testers for batteries are designed this way, to load a battery by drawing high current for 15, 30, 45 or 60 seconds - drawing anywhere from 50 amps or more. The load forces the battery to discharge and after the test a voltage shows a value to determine state of health. Some familiarity with using load testers is needed but by and large they're meant to help determine whether or not a battery needs recharging or on its last legs. Most auto stores aren't interested in selling batteries based on lies and use these load testers to help customers with decisions. The same can be said for alternator tests whether bringing one into a store for bench testing or using another tester on the car connected to the battery. At home testing is a little technical but simpler.

All 12 volt batteries on standby, engine off, are supposed to show around 12.5 volts. If a drive belt is loose, tensioner worn or alternator begins to fail, the battery will not charge. As soon as the engine's started the alternator takes over immediately to supply the car all the electrical power it needs while recharging the battery. Voltages should be between 13.3v to 14.9v with most around 14.5v at the battery. These two voltages are for home testing battery and alternator. If the battery cannot show 12v, its either dying and near its end of life in its warranty or the alternator isn't charging it. A really dead battery will show around 10 volts. Store tests can reveal a dead cell where each cell outputs 2 volts (x 6 = 12v +). It's not worth buying a Harbor Freight battery load tester for occasional use unless you own a fleet of vehicles and have a hard time checking on which batteries need recharging from sitting weeks at a time. Store tests fill the need for 99% of car owners. The one percent either know and/or use a multimeter to measure battery/alternator voltages to determine electrical system problems.

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Old 10-08-2017, 04:27 PM   #33
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Default Re: no start urgent

it's the possiblity of a bad cell in the battery I was wanting to be able to check. I did have a bad cell on another battery (supposedly).
So the HF tester would not do that?

If the battery has a bad cell, does that also prevent a bump start?

Lights on instrument panel are good, did not check the headlights.
Initially my battery read 12.4V and then I charged it because it was easy to do as a first step. I did actually take it off the charger before it signalled complete, but the voltage was 12.9 at that point.

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Old 10-08-2017, 05:03 PM   #34
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Default Re: no start urgent

If you had 12.9 after taking off the charger, battery should be good in ALL cells.
Battery good or bad should not make any difference IF you are push/bump starting the car.
With the bump start, you are skipping the starter, which we suspect is the real cause of the original NO START issue.

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Old 10-08-2017, 05:31 PM   #35
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Default Re: no start urgent

^ What he said. 12.9 volts it's great. A surface charge may show higher than 12.5v. Turn on headlights and measure voltage - a few amps are drawn and should not drop voltage below 12 volts. A dead cell will drop 2v with battery voltage showing around 10 volts. If you buy a Harbor Freight battery load tester, it may not show a dead cell as it requires familiarity with how it works and previous experience issuing one.

Push starting even with a battery that won't power a starter can still provide power to run the EFI system. And as presumed, it's most likely a faulty starter problem.

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Old 10-08-2017, 05:34 PM   #36
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Default Re: no start urgent

You do have to have a battery good enough to power the PCM, injectors, ignition, and fuel pump; no matter how the engine is cranked. The battery condition can't be completely ignored.

There is lots of guessing going on here as to whether the problem is: the battery, cables, starter, or starting circuit. A few simple voltage readings down at the starter (more than just one at the PPL wire may be needed), can determine exactly where the problem is.

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Old 10-08-2017, 06:14 PM   #37
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Default Re: no start urgent

^ Melissa said "Update: I was able to push start the car and get it closer to my house." This was after she said she was headed back with the battery at 12.9v.
So, presumably when battery was re-tightened at that time it leaves wiring through ignition and down to starter. If she would leave headlights on and try starting she could see if the lights dimmed or not with the starter load.

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Old 10-08-2017, 08:59 PM   #38
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Default Re: no start urgent

Sorry, I might have taken things a bit 'off topic' . I was trying to understand how things work, in general, in addition to my specific questions about troubleshooting this issue.

I am going to replace the starter.
I planned to do the testing on the purple wire, but don't quite understand it fully.
My new plan is to put the new starter in and see if it runs. Then work backwards if needed. Not ideal, but seems easier and perhaps safer.

summary:
I started with a short drive.
Car would not restart.
I removed, charged and replaced the battery.
Hit the starter to try to get it going.
Push started the car and got it back close to my house.
Let it sit there for a day.
Today I decided to go ahead and push start it and get it onto some ramps.

New problems/questions:
I ran the engine for about 2 minutes, getting it onto the ramps. At this point, my helper said there was smoke coming out of front/drivers side. By the time I got out there, no more smoke, but you could smell the burn. Can't really describe it, best guess is rubber. Let it run for another minute and no more smoke.
Of course I did a thorough inspection from top and bottom and could not see anything. Will take another look at the wiring. It looked OK around the manifold, where I was jamming the broom handle down (somewhat blindly) to hit the starter.
Was kind of hoping it was battery acid that somehow spilled out of my sealed battery, but I would expect more sulfur smell out of that. I did recently add some oil (and I might be slightly overfull now), but it didn't seem like and oil smell, plus I don't think I spilled any.

Also took a quick look at the hidden bolt on the starter to make sure my wrench would fit. Didn't think to disconnect the battery first, so I did get a small spark as I pulled the wrench out of the area.

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Old 10-08-2017, 09:35 PM   #39
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Default Re: no start urgent

Most ramps are fairly short, did you slip the clutch quite a bit to ease the car up slowly onto the ramps? That might account for the smell/smoke.

The first voltage test at the starter is to clip one meter lead onto the starter housing and clip the other to the large starter terminal that has the battery cable on it. That big terminal should have battery voltage (roughly 12V) all the time, even when cranking. If that big terminal does not have constant battery voltage, then don't bother taking out the starter, it isn't the problem.

Second test is to leave the one meter lead on the starter housing and put the other lead on the small "PPL wire" starter terminal. That small terminal should have 0V when not trying to crank, and battery voltage when trying to crank. If you don't get battery voltage (again, roughly 12V) when trying to crank, then don't bother taking out the starter, it isn't the problem.

Third test, if it passes the above two, is to leave the one meter lead still attached to the starter housing and connect the other lead to the battery negative terminal. That should be at nearly OV at all times, cranking or other wise. If the voltage rises much (more than a volt or so) then... the starter isn't the problem.

If everything passes the above three tests, i.e. you have steady power to the starter, the PPL wire is getting energized during cranking attempts, and the starter ground path is OK... then the starter is bad, go for it. Those three voltage tests should take less than a minute if you have a helper to turn the key, don't have to make extensions for you meter leads, and can assure you the starter is-or-isn't bad.

If one of the above test does fail, then we discuss further trouble-shooting, but focused in the right area.

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Old 10-08-2017, 09:36 PM   #40
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Default Re: no start urgent

Never mess around down there without disconnecting the battery! I am sure it is fine but shorting the big cable to ground can be a real hazard.

When you turn the key, 12 volts appears on the purple wire. This energizes the starter solenoid which allows the big current to flow through the starter to crank the motor. To prove it is working, disconnect the purple wire. Clip it to one end of a meter. The other end goes to ground. So, if everything​ between the key and purple wire (including the clutch switch) works, you will see 12 volts on the purple wire when you turn the key.

Personally I would not check the purple wire unless the new starter didn't work. It is usually the starter.

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