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Old 01-31-2019, 04:04 PM   #1
Silverblu02SL2
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2002 SL2
Default Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

I drove the car yesterday and it started first crank. About an hour ago I tried starting the car and it won't crank, not even a click from the starter solenoid. Radio and dash did light up so battery was not totally dead. I didn't leave any electrical items on afaik.

Checked battery voltage @ 12.4 V! That's almost fully discharged! Battery is on a charger now. I will take some alternator charge voltage and current measurements later if I am able to start it after the battery is charged up.

I do have a new code that just showed up yesterday P0410 secondary air injection system. Would that cause a no crank?

Car has the factory alarm system and radio with memory, those are the only 2 items I can think of that draws current with key off. Oh wait, I also have an OBD2 Bluetooth adapter plugged in overnight. It can't draw that much current, probably less than 10 milli-amp? I will measure the BT adapter current consumption later.

Per receipt from PO, new Interstate battery was installed 8/17.

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Old 01-31-2019, 05:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

On my planet, 12.4 is not discharged. Could be the weak Saturn starter. Try whacking it.

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Old 01-31-2019, 05:27 PM   #3
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

At 77F 12.4v battery is ~60% capacity and less if cold. Still should make a click or put out the rest of the lights when turned to crank, suspect the starter is due a DB Electric replacement.

Oil casually poured into either plastic cam cover can superstitiously run out the overflow at the back of the cover down onto the starter motor and eventually render it internally oil fouled. look right at the rear side of the oil cap recess and you will see the overflow depression. It works very well to put about 1/2 quart of oil down on the starter without ever leaving an obvious trace. Happens just about every time you add oil if you just stick the top of the container down into the opening.

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Old 01-31-2019, 06:19 PM   #4
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2002 SL2
Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
At 77F 12.4v battery is ~60% capacity and less if cold. Still should make a click or put out the rest of the lights when turned to crank, suspect the starter is due a DB Electric replacement.

Oil casually poured into either plastic cam cover can superstitiously run out the overflow at the back of the cover down onto the starter motor and eventually render it internally oil fouled. look right at the rear side of the oil cap recess and you will see the overflow depression. It works very well to put about 1/2 quart of oil down on the starter without ever leaving an obvious trace. Happens just about every time you add oil if you just stick the top of the container down into the opening.
It was 20 F. I did change oil yesterday. If oil did run out of the overflow and soaked the starter motor, wouldn't there be oil on the pristine concrete driveway. Driveway is nice and clean.

I will take a look tomorrow. Will also take the stater to battery wires off including grounds and wire brush them clean.

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Old 01-31-2019, 07:06 PM   #5
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Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

Oil ends up on that starter over time and eats the rubber seal that is supposed to keep water & oil out of it. The car is old enough there has been oil on that started and it will foul the brushes and commutator leading to a failure eventually. Nothing happens instantly, it takes a long time to see the results of oil on the brush gear.

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Old 01-31-2019, 07:11 PM   #6
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

There is only a single ground and that is the black wire attached to the top rear transmission mounting stud. Wire brushing those connectors is not a god idea. Use a clean scotch brite as metal brushes will cut through the coating on some of them leading to corrosion or contaminating them.

As previously mentioned you had sufficient battery capacity to make a click and battery cable failure under load kills all the power, the lights on the dash did not go off and the radio didn't lose its memory. The key to battery cable failure is memory loss.

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Old 01-31-2019, 07:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

Silverblu02SL2, unless you know how long this Interstate battery is warranted for, it's anyone's guess if its a two, three, four, five year battery. A safe bet if in doubt is load testing from your favorite auto store selling car batteries. They should have a battery load tester. If the battery is fine, cables, their connections are on the check list, including chassis and engine block ground. NYC dipped into single digits today and you're probably not alone with dead battery issues when temps drop below freezing. After checking the main power system, drive belt and starter are next on the check list.

The drive belt should be tight - fingers depressing the belt shouldn't deflect it note than an inch. A slipping belt from a worn out belt tensioner is expected after so many years. If belt tension is fine, the starter may be suspect. The easiest way to test a starter on the car; crawl under, leave ignition OFF, short the battery terminal on the starter solenoid to the small purple wire on the same solenoid. This bypasses the entire starting circuit and uses battery power to power the starter solenoid, you should see and hear the starter power up and crank the engine. A screwdriver, 10 gauge wire or remote starter switch with clips all serve the same purpose to provide 12v to the solenoid. Banging the starter with a piece of 2x4 lumber or heavy rubber mallet may 'realign' worn starter brushes for another start or more, indicating a worn out starter. If worn out, dbelectrcal starters is recommended for low cost and good reliability.

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Old 01-31-2019, 09:03 PM   #8
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Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

Battery charged for about 4 hours and solenoid just clicks, but still no crank. I'll see what the issues are tomorrow.

What's normal life expectancy of the factory starter if it is not oil soaked? This car has 62K orig mies and afaik starts first crank when it does start. Is the factory starter a weak design inherently? What's this DB Electric starter? What's different and what's better about it?

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Old 01-31-2019, 09:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

My original starter went about 150,000 miles. Since then I've replaced it numerous times. Good things about DB Electric: 1) it is cheap so if it doesn't last it is less money wasted and 2) they seem to last better from SaturnFans feedback.

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Old 01-31-2019, 09:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverblu02SL2 View Post
Battery charged for about 4 hours and solenoid just clicks, but still no crank. I'll see what the issues are tomorrow.

What's normal life expectancy of the factory starter if it is not oil soaked? This car has 62K orig mies and afaik starts first crank when it does start. Is the factory starter a weak design inherently? What's this DB Electric starter? What's different and what's better about it?
If the solenoid clicks then the starter should whirrr and if it does not then replace it as the brushes are done. Cables are functioning if the solenoid actuates.

Starter lifetime is counted in starts not miles or years so if that is a low mileage car that was always used for short trips your starter life is believable. DB Electric is a low cost new starter that you can have for about 1/2 of the parts store price. https://www.dbelectrical.com/ They are also on eBay and the OEM Saturn starter is god design and not junk. Pay the extra for fast shipping. https://www.dbelectrical.com/product...02-satrun.html They cost 38.40 + fast shipping or free slow shipping.

Last edited by OldNuc; 01-31-2019 at 09:42 PM..

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Old 01-31-2019, 09:51 PM   #11
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Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

Silverblu02SL2, examine the starter solenoid terminals, there's one short braided wire that goes into the starter - this is an uninsulated wire from the starter solenoid internal contact supplying battery power to the starter motor. Its surrounded by a rubber grommet to keep it from shorting to the starter case/ground. If this braid is severely corroded, eaten away from weathering, the starter can't be repaired unless you're familiar with rebuilding starters. Look up images of your starter from rockauto, AutoZone, whatever. A rear view of starters are usually the same; outer terminal is battery positive with a smaller wire suppying 12v to the alternator, the single center terminal for the purple wire from the ignition switch START terminal (S), and an inner terminal for the braided wire feeding battery power from solenoid contact to starter motor. One member did post an image of his starter - the braid was severely corroded and wouldn't run.

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Old 01-31-2019, 10:14 PM   #12
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Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

I am going to do some diagnosis before buying a new starter. Just can't believe this starter is shot at 62K miles. I have rebuilt Bosch starters before in the Mercedes so not afraid to tear into this one and clean it up if necessary.

fdryer, do you know which fuse the OBD II port is on? I want to measure my Bluetooth OBD II adapter's current consumption. The easiest spot to do that is the fuse. I can find the fuse by pulling them one by one. It'll save me some time if you can tell me which fuse.

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Old 01-31-2019, 10:24 PM   #13
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2002 SL2
Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
If the solenoid clicks then the starter should whirrr and if it does not then replace it as the brushes are done. Cables are functioning if the solenoid actuates.

Starter lifetime is counted in starts not miles or years so if that is a low mileage car that was always used for short trips your starter life is believable. DB Electric is a low cost new starter that you can have for about 1/2 of the parts store price. https://www.dbelectrical.com/ They are also on eBay and the OEM Saturn starter is god design and not junk. Pay the extra for fast shipping. https://www.dbelectrical.com/product...02-satrun.html They cost 38.40 + fast shipping or free slow shipping.
Yes, counted in starts and also how many revolutions per start. If it takes excessive cranking the starter is going to wear out faster.

I can think of a few reasons why the solenoid clicks but starter don't whirl. The click was a mild click, not a loud authoritative one. It could be due to the solenoid not getting full current and not enough pull to engage the contacts to supply power to spin the motor. Could be grime or oil in the solenoid solidifying due the extreme cold when this happened hanging the solenoid up.

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Old 01-31-2019, 10:55 PM   #14
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Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverblu02SL2 View Post
I am going to do some diagnosis before buying a new starter. Just can't believe this starter is shot at 62K miles. I have rebuilt Bosch starters before in the Mercedes so not afraid to tear into this one and clean it up if necessary.

fdryer, do you know which fuse the OBD II port is on? I want to measure my Bluetooth OBD II adapter's current consumption. The easiest spot to do that is the fuse. I can find the fuse by pulling them one by one. It'll save me some time if you can tell me which fuse.
The car may have been a garage queen, seldom used with very low mileage. The braided wire on starters is all copper, tin coated(?) so road salts can eat away copper while soaked. Add years and the braid rots away. Not often but at least one member put up a snapshot. If you're comfortable with starter repairs and have alternate transportation, by all means, disassemble it and check over everything. They're simple in design and can be repaired but not for the average diyer.

The Data Link Connector (DLC)/OBD II port, pin 16 is 12v power, shared with the bcm from the 10 amp Body fuse. The 10A Body fuse is in the instrument panel fuse box.
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Old 01-31-2019, 11:08 PM   #15
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

A complete set of rebuild parts cost more than the DB Electric starter. Solenoid full of oil is remotely possible and contact failure due to low temp is also possible. If it clicked then it worked.

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Old 01-31-2019, 11:10 PM   #16
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Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

It is not a Bosch starter. Its French.

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Old 01-31-2019, 11:27 PM   #17
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Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

Thanks for the fuse info fdryer. I do have another car, my daily driver, a dependable diesel with no computers. I have an electronics background. Electrical stuff don't scare me, if I have diagrams.

If oil was dripping on the starter, I am not expecting the copper braid to be corroded. I think it just needs to be taken apart, cleaned/ lubed and put back together. At 62k, I am not expecting the brushes or the bronze bearing / bushings to be worn to the point they need replacing. I shall see.

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Old 01-31-2019, 11:28 PM   #18
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Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
It is not a Bosch starter. Its French.
Do the French make starters that different than the Germans?

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Old 02-01-2019, 12:20 AM   #19
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Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

If I'm not mistaken, Valeo was the the supplier for the S-series starters. Google videos on one for some background. Someone here may have linked a video on disassembly to view the innards.

It will be interesting when, if you find the reason for your starter's early demise. Rotted braid, dirty contacts inside the starter solenoid, damaged brushes, faulty solenoid coil?

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Old 02-01-2019, 01:32 AM   #20
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Default Re: Engine won't crank, 2002 SL2

Hmm, I'll give it a try...

It's not that it is impossible to repair these starters, but they aren't constructed to do that easily. The motor and solenoid cases are often crimped such that they have to be cut/bent loose. Going back together can be quite a challenge. Electrical terminals are soldered/welded. Those big contact bolts in the solenoid that you used to be able to turn 180 deg. for a whole new lifetime? The "new" side that you want to use is where wiring is welded to now. My most recent failure wasn't electrical at all, it was a bad sprag-clutch in the drive gear. There was a (thick) swaged/crimped lock ring holding that in. Where do I get that ring or the clutch/gear assembly? How do I swage a new ring back on properly? You may be willing to clean up the commutator, but if an armature winding is bad, are you going to get into rewinding it?

All that above (and more) can be done, but is hardly worth it when the dbelectrical starters are so cheap and many of us have had good luck with them. When I ordered I did not pay for "fast delivery" and still got in 2 days

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