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Old 01-06-2009, 07:39 PM   #1
shadowfax17
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Dizzy 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

I recently bought a 1998 saturn SL1 from my boyfriends parents and it is a great car i love it!!! It has almost 149k on it. Ever since i bought it, it randomly decides not to start up right away. Usually if i turn the key on for a second and then start it, that works. Once it wouldn't start and we jumped it and it turned over and started, another time it wouldn't start but we jump started it and it still took a few tries. It sounds like it is not turning over but it is trying to. I thought maybe the fuel pump is going out because when i finally do get it started the front end vibrates like it is running out of gas. I had a little trouble getting it started this morning but not a whole lot i only had to try twice. After that i did notice that it made a squeaking noise, i figured it was a belt or something because it stopped after a while. It has been doing it more and more often. I started it right up after school today and then parked it at my friends house for an hour and then tried to start it again and it took me a good 10 minutes to finally get it. When i got home i turned off the ignition and started it again to try and show my dad what it sounded like when it was having trouble starting but it started right up 3 times in a row. He thinks it is something to do with the battery connection. Any ideas?????

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Old 01-06-2009, 08:21 PM   #2
alejohome
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

Hey there! Welcome to the forum. Reading your post brought to my mind that I had a similar issue with my saturn SL1 97 130k. My problem was similar sometimes it would start, sometimes it would not. However, I never had any squealing sounds. It would start a little rough at times. I learned from the forum that it is better to turn the key to acc or the little part it stops at before starting and leave it there for a few seconds. In the meantime, put on your seatbelt and then turn it all the way to start. It appears that this procedure lets the gas pump activate itself before you can start the car. It is sort of a trick. It is a habit you have to get used to...

I realized that my car used to do that specially during the summer, but during the winter it starts better. I believe it has sth to do with the ECTS, but I havne't checked on that yet.

I also replaced the spark plugs and wires and the actually improved the situation. At this point, I can't tell if it was the weather the one factor that helped to imporve the problem or the changing of the spark plugs and wires...

Try this procedure and see what happens... if it doesn't work, don't worry, people in this forum are gurus!

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Old 01-06-2009, 08:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

Thank you for the welcome! Yeah i think that i do need to replace my spark plugs and wires even if that isn't the main problem. Does anybody else have any suggestions???

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Old 01-06-2009, 08:46 PM   #4
Melissa_M
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

Has the ECTS been replaced?

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Old 01-06-2009, 08:55 PM   #5
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

Replace the plugs and wires. Use nothing but NGK plugs BKR4ESA-11 and a good direct fit mid priced wire. Not BOSCH wires.

Replace the ECTS.

Check the oil until you know how much it uses.

Check the battery cables for corrosion and go to an autoparts store and ask them to check the battery and alternator, its free.

For information on how to change the ECTS and the other maintenance tasks go to the How-To Library by taking the forum jump at the bottom of this page and select it. The first post in the Library is the index and links to the richpin DIY videos. The next 2 posts deal with the ECTS replacement. The ECTS could also be your hard start problem, and its cheap. You can buy one at the part store that checks the battery and alternator. It is a $10.00 part. Advance Auto Parts and O'Reilly Autoparts carries the NGK plugs

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Old 01-06-2009, 11:08 PM   #6
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

Why not Bosch wires? The reason I ask is that I recently replaced mine with Bosch and have suspected a problem with them?

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Old 01-06-2009, 11:35 PM   #7
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

One of the other posters here pointed out that they tend to be problematical. I just added them to my No Bosch list, along with universal O2 sensors and plugs. Their fuel injectors work fine though. All of these fiberglass carbon wires tend to get cranky if they get plugged unplugged repeatedly.

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Old 01-07-2009, 11:18 AM   #8
scottyboost
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

Have the battery tested.

...
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Old 01-07-2009, 08:15 PM   #9
shadowfax17
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

Thank you for all the replies. My dad cleaned a corroded wire that was attached to the battery and it has been starting really well, so i think that was the problem, but i will keep everything else in mind just in case it starts doing it again. Thanks again for being so helpful.

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Old 01-07-2009, 08:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

A corroded battery connection will do just exactly what you experienced. It should now be fixed. Check the oil often until you know the consumption rate, these cars tend to use oil.

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Old 01-07-2009, 08:29 PM   #11
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfax17 View Post
When i got home i turned off the ignition and started it again to try and show my dad what it sounded like when it was having trouble starting but it started right up 3 times in a row. He thinks it is something to do with the battery connection.
Father knows best.

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Old 01-08-2009, 08:19 AM   #12
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

what is a ects

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Old 01-08-2009, 10:08 AM   #13
paulo
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

ects- electronic coolant temperature sensor?

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Old 01-08-2009, 11:46 AM   #14
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulo View Post
ects- [strike]electronic[/strike] ENGINE coolant temperature sensor?
Fixed.

Visit our How-To Library, and note the "sticky" threads near the top of the forum. Two of them discuss the ECTS, why the OEM fails, why the replacement is (usually) a one-off lifetime fix, why it causes so many problems, and how easy it is to DIY.

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Old 01-08-2009, 12:05 PM   #15
Melissa_M
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post

Visit our How-To Library, and note the "sticky" threads near the top of the forum. Two of them discuss the ECTS, why the OEM fails, why the replacement is (usually) a one-off lifetime fix, why it causes so many problems, and how easy it is to DIY.
Yes, please read up on the ECTS.
There is a photo somewhere that shows the old vs. the replacement ECTS in the engine block. So you can just look at yours to know if it has already been replaced.

Better to replace yours before it cracks and ruins the electrical connector, too.

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Old 01-20-2009, 09:39 PM   #16
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

Hi i'm back again. My car has been running fine ever since he fixed the corroded wire except for today. I went to go pick my brother up from his tutoring class, keep in mind that i went to a friends house after school and my car sat there for about 45 minutes or less. Well i walked out to start my car and i could not get it to start. Usually i can get it to start...eventually, but not this time. We called a saturn guy and he said something about a temperature switch, he told us to put the pedal to the floor and just keep turning the key until it started, that didn't work. I had to leave my car at my friends house. Needless to say i'm really sad about this i actually started crying from frustration. The engine is turning over, my dad says the engine isn't getting any spark. The engine is getting flooded i think could this be caused by the ECTS?????????????????????

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Old 01-20-2009, 09:46 PM   #17
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

Replace the ECTS and check the connector for corrosion. If any corrosion (green muck) is found, then the connector will need to be replaced also.

To check for spark, remove the #4 & #1 wires from the coil. Crank the car while someone checks for spark between the coil towers.

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Old 01-20-2009, 11:07 PM   #18
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfax17 View Post
... The engine is turning over, my dad says the engine isn't getting any spark. The engine is getting flooded i think could this be caused by the ECTS?
Calm down as you have many issues from this car that are being addressed and fixed, as suggested by members. You are among some of the very best talented and experienced members with a wealth of information to share. Its not easy to have many issues to address and most have been fixed so far. Eliminating each problem just exposes the next one until the last one is fixed and then there'll be light at the end of the tunnel. There doesn't seem to any acknowledgement from you that the ects was replaced yet. Not doing so will aggravate problems in the end. Its a 5-minute replacement and costs very little.

The ECTS failure will cause flooding sometimes and add to the problems, complicating troubleshooting. According to your last post, if your Dad is right, saying no spark can be seen (from testing), replace the crank position sensor (CPS). Its located behind and above the starter, mounted with one 10mm bolt. Buy it from any auto store stocking it before going to Saturn.

Search the threads about cps problems for explanations on its two different failure modes.

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Old 01-21-2009, 07:11 PM   #19
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

yeah he tested it for spark and there is none. it has been doing this rough starting thing for a while and then it smells like gas is it possible that both my crank shaft sensor thing and the ects are both out?? My dad thinks that it is the crank sensor, but it wont be home until tomorrow so he can jack it up and work on it. the ects would be causing the flooding and gas and then the crank sensor going out would cause it not to start right?

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Old 01-21-2009, 07:19 PM   #20
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Default Re: 98 Saturn won't start every once in a while HELP

^^^That sounds right to me. CPS=No start and ECTS=Flood.

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