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Old 03-11-2012, 06:19 PM   #1
sc_coupe_girl
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Default random start issue

My '98 SC Coupe just started randomly starting when it was sitting in my driveway. No key in the ignition. It beeps like it does when you turn the key and then starts. If I press on the brake pedal, it kills the engine. Strangest thing I have ever experienced. I removed the ignition fuse to keep it from doing this. Any thoughts about what might cause this would be appreciated.

Thanks.

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Old 03-11-2012, 06:38 PM   #2
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1995 SL2
Default Re: random start issue

This is definitely new...

Do you have a remote starter installed in it, by any chance? Or perhaps the previous owner had one installed (and you may not even know about it)...?

How often does it start, and is there any sort of pattern to it (perhaps it's a very primitive system and it's picking up some other signal (neighbor's garage door opener or keyless entry, for example) and thinking it's the remote start signal)?

I don't suppose it's something so simple as a kid or pet playing with the remote?

If you cannot find out what's triggering it, or if it is completely random, I would disable and/or remove the remote start system. If you want to keep the remote start capability, you should look into getting a better system.

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Old 03-11-2012, 06:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: random start issue

Thanks for the welcome and response.

This is a basic model, it is an automatic transmission, but no auto door locks or remote starter. I was thinking it might be the ECM, but usually that causes the car NOT to start, not to randomly start. It was happening about ever 10 to 15 minutes. Nothing repeatable that I could find.

I was in an accident on Thursday where someone rear-ended me just some bumper damage it wasn't that hard of a hit. Maybe that knocked things around? I am stumped by this one.

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Old 03-11-2012, 06:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: random start issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by sc_coupe_girl View Post
Thanks for the welcome and response.

This is a basic model, it is an automatic transmission, but no auto door locks or remote starter. I was thinking it might be the ECM, but usually that causes the car NOT to start, not to randomly start. It was happening about ever 10 to 15 minutes. Nothing repeatable that I could find.

I was in an accident on Thursday where someone rear-ended me just some bumper damage it wasn't that hard of a hit. Maybe that knocked things around? I am stumped by this one.
Not that it really matters, but on Saturns, they call it a PCM (Powertrain Control Module). I assume that's what you're referring to? PCM failures are VERY rare, and even if the PCM failed in some bizarre fashion, it could enable the fuel and ignition, but couldn't make the starter motor go, to actually start the engine. Unless someone has done a pretty serious hack job on the car's electrical system, there is no explanation for why it would start itself. You would need a completely unheard of (and virtually impossible) failure on at least two different systems, at the same time. That doesn't seem very likely.

When did you get the car (how long have you had it)? Do you have the previous owner's contact information? It sounds like there was a remote starter installed in the past, and it malfunctioned and/or the remotes were lost, so they just ignored it, but left it installed (and didn't bother to tell you about it).

Are you saying it honks the horn when you start it normally? If so, that's not normal either, but could be a feature of some remote start devices.

A brake-switch shut-off is a classic safety feature of virtually all remote starters (so someone cannot steal the car without first inserting the key). Without a remote starter, there's also no reason that would make the car shut off. If you insert and turn the key to on before touching the brake pedal, does it still shut off?

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Old 03-12-2012, 08:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: random start issue

Pulling the fuse for the ignition and keeping it out for a while seems to have resolved the issue. I am still worried this will come back to haunt me in the future. I will have to get it checked out for a remote start.

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Old 03-12-2012, 08:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: random start issue

Sounds like an exorcism is in order. Almost too hard to be believed.

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Old 03-12-2012, 10:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: random start issue

None of the S-Series had auto locks, BTW. And it doesn't matter what model you have; if you have a remote start, it's aftermarket.

The PCM can't possibly start the engine. The starter circuit is separate from the PCM. There would have to be an incredible set of circumstances coinciding for the engine to start on its own with stock equipment and with the key out. This has haywire aftermarket remote start written all over it.

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