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Old 12-18-2008, 12:43 PM   #1
The Beast
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Default Cold weather = No start?

first off, glad to see a good board dedicated to Saturns, not too many out there. I have read a few postings, and I see there is some excellent tech knowledge here! With that said, I have a couple tech questions for the masters out there:

1998 SL2 DOHC, 5 speed, 120k miles.

My problem is, when there is an extreme temperature change from warm to cold, or colder to way colder, the car won't start. Battery is good, it will crank over fine. Did the whole prime the system by letting it stay on for a min before attempting to start. It will crank and crank and crank, no start. When it has done this in the past (a few occasions, seems to happen once a year, but more frequently now), I basically just would try to start it and then let it sit for a bit, and then it would eventually start.

Well, this time, it wont start at all. Just cranks and that is it, wont actually fire over.

Oil level good, spark plugs good, wires are good, ECTS was replaced a year ago, gets air (I know for certain since I took the air intake hose off to the TB to make sure there was no restriction), car has gas in it. After reading a bit on here, I will take two of the wires off on the coil pack and see if I have spark (I assume two right next to each other? Was really trying to get a definitive answer on that one during my searches), I did take out the far left plug and hook a screwdrive up to the wire and grounded to the block, but I didnt see spark, of course it might have been my method versus the proper way.

I find it hard to believe the ignition/coil pack went bad, generally those things are pretty solid, but I dont know, just seems like Im not getting spark to fire off. What else could cause the pack to not provide spark? Battery is good, nice and strong. As Im looking for easy fixes currently, I dont really want to start testing things like 12VDC to the coil pack, but will if I have to. Do these things go bad? Is there a good test to make sure the coil/ign pack is bad/good?

I hear the fuel pump kicking on, so Im not worried about that.

I also read that the CPS in cold weather would give issues as well, which would explain the weird not starting problem only very intermittently. Is this a hard sensor to get to? Where is it located? Expensive?

I also read about the ignition inside the steering column having problems with the cold weather as well? Does this apply to the 1998 year? It would make sense, especially with the cold snaps we have been having lately. I only read during my searches this happening on an 03 model, so Im not so sure my older car it would apply, still havent found that smoking gun to say yes yet.

Im pretty mechanically inclined, I just never really worked on these GM motors much, I usually work on my toyota 22r series engines, and the Dodge 318/360's, Ford 4.6's, etc. Im not afraid to get my hands dirty when fixing stuff if I need to test some stuff out on the Saturn engine. I try to stay away from dealerships whenever possible.

I've always loved how reliable this car has been, but now it needs maintenance, and being unfamiliar with the 1.9l, Im just looking for the right direction to go in. Thanks in advance for the assistance!


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