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Old 12-02-2007, 03:24 AM   #1
CDN93SC1
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Default 1994 SW1 no start

I bought a 94 SW1 that the previous owner says will not start, he had it at a "mechanic" that decided that the "timing belt" went (the sarcasm is gonna get worse).

He got a quote from the mechanic that the repair is $800 worth of labour and $100 worth of parts and then the oil change and other fluid change. I talked to the "mechanic" that looked at it as the car was still at his shop and he was trying to tell me that the Saturn SOHC was a non interference head that ran a timing belt and not a chain and that there was almost no chance of valve damage. I asked him how he figured that the timing "belt" was gone and his response was "I have been fixing cars for 15 years, I know when a timing "belt" has let go"

Now my question is if the timing chain has slipped a cog, how can I check to see if it is out. I have read in the forums and I can take the valve cover off and crank the motor over to see if it gone, but what could give you a no start that may look like the timing chain has let go??

I am probably grasping at straws and it has gone, but I want to make sure I review all other avenues before I tear out the motor based on the words of a mechanic that seemed to know about as much about cars as my wife.
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Old 12-02-2007, 04:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

By no start do you mean absolute silence when the ignition key is turned to the START position or that the starter turns the engine but the engine never fires up? An absolute no start/silence may be from a poor/old battery, battery cables loose/corroded, the original starter finally wore out, a worn out ignition switch, or loose wiring in the starting circuit.

A starter turning over the engine but never firing up may be the cps being faulty. The engine turning over wouldn't mean the timing chain jumped. 4-cylinder engines use timing chains. The 3.0L V6 uses timing belts.

Pull the plugs off and rotate the engine by hand; if you suddenly stop and meet with resistance, back off a few degrees and rotate again until either the engine turns through or stops in the same place. Now you know whether there's anything mechanically wrong with timing or not before removing the timing cover. Look at the plugs for comparison against a chart for other than normal deposits to gauge fuel burning along with oil use. While the plugs are off remove the coil wires and crank the engine over with the starter to observe for sparking across the coil towers; sparking indicates that the ignition system is working but if no sparks occur then the crank position sensor (CPS) failed.

The cps allows the fuel pump to run, the ignition system to spark, and the injectors to pulse. No cps = no fuel pump, no ignition/spark, and no injector pulses. The cps feeds a continuos datastream to the PCM as long as the engine rotates.

There's the fuel pump circuit to check also.
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Old 12-02-2007, 04:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

I just got the battery fully charged and went out to fire it up the first time and when you turn the key the starter sounds like it sounds like it catches for a second and then you just hear the starter spin like it is not engaging.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:15 AM   #4
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

The gear on starter that engages the flywheel/flexplate is called the starter drive or bendix. It's designed to turn one way and freewheel the other. That way when the engine starts it won't spin the starter too fast. That one-way mechanism can go and allow the gear to freewheel both ways. It's very common for them to hold for a brief period and then let go as you are describing. In the old days most parts stores could sell you the starter drive separately. Nowadays you have to replace the starter. BTW if you take it in to be tested, it'll pass unless they try holding the gear while it's running. They usually don't do that.

You do know not to let that mechanic anywhere near the car right?
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Old 12-02-2007, 10:26 AM   #5
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

FDRYER and BARNOWL thank you for giving excellent info,and its not even my car!If I wore a hat I would take it off.People like you should be commended
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Old 12-02-2007, 03:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

I definitely do not want a mechanic near this car, I will check the engine first, I have heard that getting the starter out of these cars is a true pain in the *****
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Old 12-02-2007, 04:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

The starter is in a tight place, but not really a terrible job once you get the right socket and extension wiggled in there to the top bolt. The junkyard ones are relatively cheap at ~$20, so hopefully the engine checks out fine and that turns out to be the only problem.
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Old 12-02-2007, 06:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

I was surprised when I did a starter. It really wasn't too bad even though you have to do that top bolt blind. Don't forget to disconnect the negative battery terminal. Otherwise, you get a really scarey light show.
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Old 12-02-2007, 11:07 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

Well I pulled the plugs and they were pretty soaked in raw fule (no real surprise) and cranked the engine with absolutely no resistance (cranked it over by hand in both directions for 3-4 minutes).

I pulled the valve cover after that and cranked it over again and the timing chain turned with every crank, and to make extra sure I grabbed the timing chain and pulled on it and there is absolutely minimal play!!

It looks like I am doing the starter on this car and trying that, looks all good for a car I spent $200 to buy (and I have another parts car in the driveway)
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Old 12-03-2007, 01:18 AM   #10
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

As B-O posted, it seems that you have that rare starter with a blown Bendix gear assembly, one-way gear in plain language. After you remove the starter try turning the gear in both directions; virtually every starter will only allow the gear to spin in one direction and not the opposite way, even worn out starters. If you can turn the gear in both directions that starter is toast. Unless you're familiar with rebuilding its probably better to replace it.

Leave the plugs out for now; when you replace the starter just spin the engine for a few seconds to blow out any more fuel. Now put the plugs back in and hopefully enjoy your discount ride.

BTW, while the car's still down, look in the How-to Tips library's first two posts covering the infamous engine coolant temperature sensor (ECTS) failures and the two-wire connector that corrodes from the coolant leak.
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Old 12-03-2007, 01:30 AM   #11
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

I jacked up the car tonight to get ready for tomorrow to yank the old starter and noticed a pretty good dent in the oil pan, I am really torn if I should lift the engine up and swap the pan or not, it is out of commission right now and I do have other transportation and Saturn's love there oil and any reason to hold less doesn't seem to be a good idea.

I am wondering if I can be "frugal" and bang the pan flat and re-install it, or should I get a new pan?
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Old 12-03-2007, 01:43 AM   #12
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

If this engine doesn't start once you get the engine to crank over, and you've seen spark across the coil towers, the next step would be a compression test.
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Old 12-03-2007, 02:01 AM   #13
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by CDN93SC1 View Post
I jacked up the car tonight to get ready for tomorrow to yank the old starter and noticed a pretty good dent in the oil pan, I am really torn if I should lift the engine up and swap the pan or not, it is out of commission right now and I do have other transportation and Saturn's love there oil and any reason to hold less doesn't seem to be a good idea.

I am wondering if I can be "frugal" and bang the pan flat and re-install it, or should I get a new pan?
Unless the pan is really crushed, you're not going to change the oil volume by more than 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Unless it's got a crease, which could lead to a split or rust through, I'd leave it be until you need to pull the engine, if ever. It may be just me but R&R of the oil pan is one of my least favorite things about S series engines.

Cheers, V
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Old 12-03-2007, 11:00 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

I am going to pull the starter tonight and it is -19C and I want to know if the bolts are the same size and what size are they??

I am going for speed here as it is damn cold outside!!
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Old 12-03-2007, 11:23 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

I believe you will need a 8MM socket and 10MM wrench to remove the wires and a 13MM wrench and extension for the two bolts.
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Old 12-03-2007, 11:50 PM   #16
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

it is out, took about 15 minutes to get out (I love my air compressor!!) it was a 13MM to take the main wire and the two bolts out and a 10MM to take the small wire off.

OFf to get a new starter tomorrow, the bendix slides al the way to engage and spins both ways very freely, it is definitely toast, my concern is what made the bendix snap??
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Old 12-04-2007, 12:02 AM   #17
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

Well, at least you had the right tools, and maybe and extra...I have no idea what would cause it to fail, I'm obviously better at asking questions, NOT answering them.
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Old 12-04-2007, 12:12 AM   #18
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

Its more difficult to explain unless you have an exploded diagram of a one-way bearing. Google Bendix drive or one-way bearing and there should be plenty of drawings with a text explanation. Failures are few and not worth worrying about as they are reliable - they're the main bearing in every helicopter and operates exactly the same way. In a heli the engine torque continues against the one-way bearing, turning the helicopter rotors but when the engine dies the rotor freewheels or continues to rotate w/o the engine driveshaft slowing the blades. The pilot begins an autorotation trading altitude for rotor speed, keeping the helicopter blades spinning due to the freewheeling effect of the one-way bearing, allowing a safe landing with a dead engine.
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Old 12-04-2007, 07:26 AM   #19
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by CDN93SC1 View Post
OFf to get a new starter tomorrow, the bendix slides al the way to engage and spins both ways very freely, it is definitely toast, my concern is what made the bendix snap??
Don't be concerned, it's not an indication of another problem. As fdryer said, it's a rare problem now. Us oldsters remember when it wasn't so rare which is probably why back in the day, you could buy that part separately.
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Old 12-06-2007, 11:25 AM   #20
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Default Re: 1994 SW1 no start

Well the car fired right up, the starter wasn't very difficult to change, I have changed worse, the total swap time was less than 30 minutes.

Now time to fix the other issues:

1. passive seatbelt track jam (I should swap it to the manual belts, but I need to get this thing on the road first and drive it for a while, and it is jammed halfway)

2. Windshield wipers are non-functioning. (the motor activates but the arms aren't attached to the motor, they move independent with minimal effort)
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