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Old 11-28-2009, 08:30 AM   #1
dsnider420
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1996 SL2
Default 96 SL2 won't start

I had some problems with the starter in my SL2 about 2 weeks ago. Well, the old lady and I went out yesterday morning to go shopping and I was not able to the get the car to start. So I did my usual 'coast it down the drive way and dump the clutch' ...nothing. I tried again...nothing. The motor would roll but just wouldn't catch. After about an hour and a half of pushing my car back and forth, up and down my drive way, I decided to go out and pick up a new starter. I had my dad run me out to pickup city. I bought a used starter off a 97 SL2 for $45. I headed back to my house and proceeded to pull the old starter and replace with the not-as-old starter (lol). After getting all the wiring hooked back up and putting the battery terminals back in place, I tried to start the car again. The motor would turn, but no combustion. I thought that the battery may just be low, so I charged it. It only took about 25 minutes to finish. Still nothing. I retraced all of my steps to make sure that I hadn't knocked off a vacuum line or wiring harness somewhere. I was not able to find anything. I pulled out all the spark plugs grounded them out on the body. All four plugs have strong spark. I can smell the fuel in the combustion chambers when the key is turned. I am completely lost. I have no idea what else to even check. Could it be that the engine is not getting enough fuel? Is there something wrong with the injectors, the fuel filter clogged...? If anyone has any ideas, please let me know. I'm lost.

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Old 11-28-2009, 08:53 AM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 96 SL2 won't start

Spark and fuel should have resulted in engine firing unless the cylinders are flooded. Are the plugs wet, soaked from possibly too much fuel? When the engine was cranked over without the plugs was fuel being blown out the cylinders? To sum it all up, have you ever replaced the original engine coolant temperature sensor (ECTS)? The originals failed by cracking and causing the engine pcm to run with a rich mixture all the time, sometimes flooding during starts. A quick solution to flooding is holding the throttle wide open (shutting off the injectors) for another start. This can help to verify a failed coolant sensor. Another way is to check the profile against pictures in the How-to library. Faulty ones are square shouldered, the brass replacement is round shouldered. These are two-wire sensors. You have two similar ones; the one above and near the egr valve is the single wire one for the temperature gauge, the ects is below it - that's the two-wire one to replace if it was never replaced. The only other reason for this engine not firing up would be lost compression.

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Old 11-28-2009, 09:03 AM   #3
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1996 SL2
Default Re: 96 SL2 won't start

Well, I be more inclined to believe lost compression than the ECTS. I am not sure if it has even been replaced or not, but the engine just doesn't feel right. I 'll take a look at it later to make sure. I though it might have been flooded as well. When I tried to turn it over with the plugs out, there was nothing being blown out of the engine. I tried holding the throttle open when I was messing around with it last night. The engine will roll over a few times then a very light "chug" and then roll a few more times. It just repeats this. It doesn't get any closer to starting. I decided last night to leave the plugs out so that any excess fuel might have a chance to evaporate. I am going down now to put the plugs back in and see what happens.

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Old 11-28-2009, 09:38 AM   #4
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1996 SL2
Default Re: 96 SL2 won't start

I went down and put all the plugs back in and tried it again. I am still getting nothing. I will check the ECTS next...

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Old 11-28-2009, 09:58 AM   #5
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1996 SL2
Default Re: 96 SL2 won't start

About the plugs. I originally thought that the plugs were soaked after pulling the first one. When I pulled the other 3, I noticed that the others were not. I realized that the seal for the valve pan cover, around the inside of the spark plug port, was leaking a little oil and collecting around the base of the plug wire. Whe I pulled the wire and the plug out, the plug got wet. The other 3 plugs were not wet, though...

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Old 11-28-2009, 01:41 PM   #6
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1996 SL2
Default Re: 96 SL2 won't start

OK. So I pulled the ECTS. It was the old style sensor. It had a very tiny crack in the probe. I went to autozone and picked up the replacement for 9.99. They only had large tubes of thread lock so the guy suggested that I just use plumber's tape (teflon tape) on the threads to help hold everything in place. After taping up the threads and replacing the new sensor I tried to start it again. It was still doing the same thing. So I decided to try the "flood fix" that fdryer suggested. I held the gas pedal to the floor, stepped on the clutch and proceeded to turn the key. It started to act like it might start. So I let go of the gas and tried again. It started to stumble a little so I feathered the accelerator while it was cranking. The motor finally fired off. After it spit, stumbled, popped, and smoked like crazy for 2 or three minutes the idle finally evened out. I ran it down the road and back and noticed that the 'service (wrench)' light was on. I went back to the auto parts store and had them hook up an OBD2 reader and pulled a trouble code for a heated O2 sensor malfunction. Other than that, replacing the engine coolant temperature sensor seemed to be the fix that I was looking for. Hopefully someone else may be able to use this information for their own benefit. Many props to fdryer!!!

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Old 11-29-2009, 08:42 PM   #7
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1997 SL2
Default Re: 96 SL2 won't start

...are you sure the service wrench came on? Normally you'd have to go to the dealer or garage to get those codes read..

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Old 11-30-2009, 02:32 AM   #8
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1996 SW2
Default Re: 96 SL2 won't start

Turn the key to RUN (NOT to START) and see if the SES light goes on. I'll bet it doesn't.

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