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Old 03-12-2005, 06:12 PM   #1
Imprezatron
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Dizzy Save my Saturn

Hey,

I have a 96 Saturn SL1. I have recently replaced plugs, wires, air-filter. Occasionally, and more frequently, after 20 plus minute trips the car will not restart for a couple of hours. Once started the car runs well. I will be replacing the the ects next week along with having the codes read. Is it possible that when replacing the wires the firing order was mixed up?
Any insights would be appreciated
THanks

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Old 03-12-2005, 08:09 PM   #2
adams80
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Default Re: Save my Saturn

Quote:
Is it possible that when replacing the wires the firing order was mixed up?
Sure, I've done that before. So check your firing order, I think it should be 4-1-2-3 in all S-series.

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Old 03-12-2005, 09:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Save my Saturn

If your plug wires were, indeed, mixed up, wouldn't you be having a continual problem? It would seem rather strange for the car to "run well." I'd think it would be bucking like a horse.

Can you give a few more symptoms of what's happening when the car won't start? When you turn the key, are you getting any kind of response? Is it cranking but just not turning over? With your interior fan and radio off, can you hear the fuel pump kick on when you turn the key forward but not to the starting position? Have your lights been dimming at all? Any strange noises under the hood? How many miles on the car? Auto or Manual?

It's either an electrical issue or a fuel supply issue. You're either getting gas but no spark, or spark but no gas. (Or both.) Could be any of several sensors--including, perhaps, the ECTS you mentioned. Some additional info may help with the diagnosis.

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Old 03-12-2005, 10:14 PM   #4
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I agree 100 percent with Jambra - if you had messed up the firing order, the car would run very poorly, (especially as it's a four banger - mix up two wires and you're only running on two cylinders). I'm curious - does the motor turn over when you turn the key and just not start? Or does it not even want to turn over for a couple of hours? The reason I ask is that years ago, I had an old Plymouth. It would crank and run even in the coldest weather, (I loved that car). But, if you ran it for a couple of hours on a long trip and then stopped to eat, pee, or get gas, It wouldn't even turn over for a couple of hours. One trip I drove a straight 30 hours, not even shutting it off when I got gas so that I wouldn't get stranded. An old timer told me my pistons were "varnished." We filled the motor with Kerosene and let it sit for a couple of days, (refilling every day as the Kerosene would leak past the rings). Changed the oil, blew what was left of the Kerosene out the plug holes, and it ran like a champ. Then I got married and my wife wrecked that car - she never did like the relationship I had with that Plymouth .

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Old 03-12-2005, 11:26 PM   #5
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Default Re: Save my Saturn

Could be the ignition module. Sounds like it's bad. I think there's a ceramic piece/layer in there and once it gets hot, and you shut off the car, it has to cool down before the car will start again. Go to ABOUT.COM and type in ignition module and see if it resembles your problem. I don't know if the module on a Saturn is inside or outside the distributor. Anyone????

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Old 03-13-2005, 12:02 AM   #6
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Ignition models are rock solid according to ssicarman. I'd take that as bible and replace that ects sensor. When it is bad the signals it sends to the PCM are all out of whack. The PCM, based on the bad input, can think the engine is at full operating temp when it is stone cold. So instead of getting a richer mixture to start your cold engine, you aren't getting squat.
If the wires were crossed significantly you wouldn't be going anywhere as pointed out before.
Get your codes read. Replace your ects. Clear the codes and see what happens.

Let us know how it turns out.

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Old 03-13-2005, 12:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceQueen
Could be the ignition module. Sounds like it's bad. I think there's a ceramic piece/layer in there and once it gets hot, and you shut off the car, it has to cool down before the car will start again. Go to ABOUT.COM and type in ignition module and see if it resembles your problem. I don't know if the module on a Saturn is inside or outside the distributor. Anyone????
The ignition module, with two replacable coils, is on the front of the block between the oil dipstick and transmission dipstick on my Saturn. There is a problem with corrosion were it mounts to the engine block becoming corroded. That is what happened in my case. It threw a code. The techs at the dealership told me how to clean it, saving $110. I have not heard of the issue of the ingnition module needing to cool down before the engine will start. I have heard of starters not working when hot if they are going out. So I am curious, when you say the car will not start, are you saying it will not turn over, or does it sound like it is not firing?

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Old 03-13-2005, 12:12 AM   #8
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Default Re: Save my Saturn

Forgot to mention that IceQueen obviously nows about GM's. Your year saturn has DIS (distributorless ignition system). The ignition module does have some ground related issues that only require cleaning up the mounting bolts and plate.

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Old 03-13-2005, 01:18 AM   #9
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I can appreciate IceQueen trying to be helpful. I have done my share of that to find out how different makes and or even the same model vary from year to year. That is the beauty of this forum. A lot of Saturn specific info has been posted. After a while, it is sinking in (thank God). I am curious to see how this turns out. My recently replaced ECTS was cracking. It seems it is not a matter of if, but when, the original design ECTS will fail on these cars.

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Old 03-13-2005, 01:45 AM   #10
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Default Re: Save my Saturn

Do a fuel pump leakdown test. I would bet the farm your fuel pump isn't holding pressure and needs to be replaced. Seen a lot of that on '96's.

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Old 03-13-2005, 10:40 PM   #11
Chris101
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Default Re: Save my Saturn

Imprezatron, I had that exact problem when my ECT went bad. It didn't take hours for me, it was maybe a half hour to an hour.

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Old 03-14-2005, 01:03 PM   #12
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Default Re: Save my Saturn

Hey,

Thanks so much for all the responses. Just out of curiosity i intentionally mixed up the firing order and the car didn't run any differently. No hesitation, no backfiring, it ran fine for a 10 minute test trip. I'm having the codes read today at noon so Ill have a little more to go on. Regarding the firing order, which side do you count No. 1 cylinder from? the serpentine? Just wan't to be sure

SaturnTech: Is there a place on this site that describes how the leakdown test is done? Or another website possibly?

Tiger: The car turns over well and will stumble a little, but it really doesn't seem like its firing well.

The car is an automatic with 175,000 on the clock. Again, all these problems are occuring after a minimum of a 30 minute trip.
Thanks Dave

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Old 03-14-2005, 01:50 PM   #13
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Default Re: Save my Saturn

Any SES codes? SES light? My guess check ECTS!

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Old 03-14-2005, 05:40 PM   #14
Chris101
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Default Re: Save my Saturn

Quote:
The car turns over well and will stumble a little, but it really doesn't seem like its firing well.
Once again, this was the same problem I was having before I had to change my ECTS. I would have to let it sit for, at the most an hour, and when I came out to start it, I would have to put the throttle down about 1/2 so it would start after it spuddered. It's only a $15- $20 part, and is quite easy to install. I would start with that.

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Old 03-14-2005, 06:03 PM   #15
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Default Re: Save my Saturn

To perform the leakdown test you hook up a fuel pressure gauge, turn the key to the RUN position (fuel pressure goes up to start the car) and then turn the kay back off. Wait approx. 15 mins. the fuel pressure should stay the same, if it's dropping, you have yourself a bum fuel pump.

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Old 03-14-2005, 06:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
Thanks so much for all the responses. Just out of curiosity i intentionally mixed up the firing order and the car didn't run any differently. No hesitation, no backfiring, it ran fine for a 10 minute test trip.
In regards to the firing order, when a coil fires, it fires both cylinders.However only 1 cylinder is on the compession stroke. The other is on the exhaust stroke. Switching those 2 wires would have no effect.
Good hunting.

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Old 03-14-2005, 06:51 PM   #17
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Rot row.

Last edited by peppermrj; 03-14-2005 at 06:54 PM.. Reason: double post

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Old 03-22-2005, 12:08 AM   #18
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Happy Re: Save my Saturn

Hi, and thanks to everyone who submitted any advice, it helped alot. Along with everything I already mentioned, I replaced the ects with the brass one from the dealer. The old one was indeed split. I put the new one in and the problems persisted. Turns out the harness going to the sensor was heat corroded and had to be changed. Since that was done the car has run beautifully. Drove it 600 kms to go skiing this past weekend and had no problems. The excellent fuel mileage has returned as well. Viva little Saturn!

Thanks again.
Dave

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Old 03-22-2005, 09:27 AM   #19
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Default Re: Save my Saturn

Imprezatron, glad you got the problem solved. Congratulations!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imprezatron
Regarding the firing order, which side do you count No. 1 cylinder from? the serpentine? Just wan't to be sure
For future reference, the #1 cylinder is at the front of the engine, which is on the passenger's side of the engine bay, where the serpentine belt runs, on front wheel drive vehicles. (FWD vehicles have transversely mounted engines, running side-to-side, parallel with the drive axles, versus rear wheel drive vehicles, which are mounted front-to-back, perpendicular to the drive axles.) So the cylinder numbers (& firing order) are counted from the passenger's side of the engine bay on S-Series cars.

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