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Old 10-30-2019, 01:58 PM   #81
98SaturnSL2Bett
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

So, I'm looking for more/other advice. Not sure if I should start a new thread or not (I'm deciding not to so the same people that have been helping me out see this) . . .

This'll be the first winter ever (and a Minnesota winter at that) that my 1998 Saturn SL2 will NOT be parked in a garage. I'm considering spending a couple hundred dollars to have my shop put an engine block heater in the engine for me. Do any of you have any experience with this? Recommendations to do it or not, etc.?


Thanks.

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Old 10-30-2019, 03:35 PM   #82
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

There's some good discussion on the different types of block heaters here:
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=238301

And send a pm to member laser3kw who is on that thread - said he has a line on a new, in box OEM Saturn block heater. That would be probably the best option and apparently very easy to install (couple of screws, IIRC)

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Old 10-30-2019, 07:20 PM   #83
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

While considering an engine block heater, did you go thru (in your mind) the expected everyday procedures of having an extension cord hanging or laying on the ground while connected to the bock heater? If snow over a few inches is expected, will the cord stay outside or hung up for access? And if you don't find a block heater, did you consider switching to a slightly different oil for very cold temps? Using 5w30 oil, it's supposedly good to -20F. If 0w20 or 0w30 oil is chosen, the '0' in oil viscosity blends is good to -30F. Theoretically and in practical use, many here have little to zero issues using any of the three oil blends to get thru very cold weather without a block heater. And consider where to park, at work or other place without access to an extension cord when the engine cools down. Some may say not to worry about an engine cooling down during a typical workday but that situation should be considered too - using a winter blend oil with or without a heater.

Perhaps members in your region will offer their personal opinions whether having a heater or not is an advantage. Switching to a 'winter' oil blend may be an inexpensive way for trouble free starting. Then as spring comes around, switch to the recommended oil blend or keep the winter blend until its time to change oil and filter.

The other winter issue might a battery problem. Good batteries will not fail in freezing temps for starting. The batteries in their last year of warranty are the ones to be concerned about as they might not have enough capacity for freezing winter starts where starters draw more power from a battery that's already somewhat compromised from freezing temps and old age.

Last edited by fdryer; 10-30-2019 at 07:29 PM..

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Old 10-30-2019, 08:23 PM   #84
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Quote:
Originally Posted by 98SaturnSL2Bett View Post
So, I'm looking for more/other advice. Not sure if I should start a new thread or not (I'm deciding not to so the same people that have been helping me out see this) . . .

This'll be the first winter ever (and a Minnesota winter at that) that my 1998 Saturn SL2 will NOT be parked in a garage. I'm considering spending a couple hundred dollars to have my shop put an engine block heater in the engine for me. Do any of you have any experience with this? Recommendations to do it or not, etc.?


Thanks.

I have a factory block heater in my 99 SL2, it definitely helps there is absolutely no question about it. I plug mine in about 3 to 4 hours before I plan on going out. Or on a timer if its first thing in the morning leaving for work kinda thing.... I am in the northern suburbs of Toronto, and although not super super cold, it has been known to get down to -25C on occasion.
Starts right up.. But the most important thing to me is having a fresh highest CCA battery you can find in there....

Jason

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Old 10-30-2019, 08:58 PM   #85
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

I was in MN most of my life with 4 Saturns. Use 0w-30 Full Syn oil.
Along with a strong, charged battery, that'll help a lot.

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Old 11-01-2019, 08:30 PM   #86
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Thank you all for your posts and suggestions. I don't have regular computer access right now, so I'm not able to reply promptly, but I've read them all and appreciate your help.

I'll plan to try to get in touch with the member with the block heater for sale as soon as I can. I think I will go ahead and get the engine block heater. It'll make me feel better about trusting that my car will start through the winter -- especially in the morning at home.

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Old 11-05-2019, 01:30 PM   #87
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Just a quick new note to let you all know that the car wouldn't start this morning. No incline anymore where I am, so can't blame it on that.

Took the bus to work today . . .

Not sure what to do about this car. I feel like it's something little that I'm missing that might not even cost that much money. It runs GREAT after it's started and for any other trips for the rest of a day.

Getting fed up with Betty.

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Old 11-05-2019, 01:41 PM   #88
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

As suggested earlier, its about time to look for some parasitic battery drain.

I haven't scrolled back to see exactly what you have done recently, but:
If alternator has been keeping the battery full, and IF battery was fully charged when car parked last night, then there is something draining it down below 12vdc.

Anyone here ever used one of those battery disconnect manual switches ??

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Old 11-05-2019, 03:04 PM   #89
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

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Originally Posted by 98SaturnSL2Bett View Post
Just a quick new note to let you all know that the car wouldn't start this morning. No incline anymore where I am, so can't blame it on that.........
Is this a dead starter no start no sounds issue or back to the starter cranks the engine but the engine won't fire up problem?

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Old 11-05-2019, 04:42 PM   #90
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

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Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Is this a dead starter no start no sounds issue or back to the starter cranks the engine but the engine won't fire up problem?
The second one. The starter cranks the engine, it sounds close, but the engine won't fire up.

Last edited by 98SaturnSL2Bett; 11-05-2019 at 04:52 PM..

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Old 11-05-2019, 05:15 PM   #91
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Crank no start goes back to the beginning, again. As usual, two things stand out - fuel and or spark. Fuel pressure, injectors, spark. Something is intermittent. Testing would be appropriate right now.

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Old 11-06-2019, 02:00 PM   #92
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

So, just to make things more interesting . . . the car started just fine on the first try this morning. No one did anything to it since I tried to start it yesterday morning and failed.

I'm thinking this points to it NOT being battery or electrical related at all since I didn't charge it since yesterday or anything. It just sat there (in the cold, outside -- it's unseasonably cold in Minnesota now; about 20 degrees below normal for early November).

Any ideas? Fuel related for sure???

I'm going to try taking it to a different mechanic when I have time to deal with it. Anyone know of any mechanics in the Twin Cities/Minneapolis/St. Paul area of Minnesota that specialize or have decent experience dealing with Saturns? I feel like this is a quirky, Saturn-specific issue.

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Old 11-06-2019, 02:19 PM   #93
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

When you had the "crank but no fire" episode yesterday, did you try starting-fluid? That is a quick/cheap/easy/one-person test that can not only confirm that it is a fueling problem, but get you going for the rest of the day.

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Old 11-06-2019, 02:46 PM   #94
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

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When you had the "crank but no fire" episode yesterday, did you try starting-fluid? That is a quick/cheap/easy/one-person test that can not only confirm that it is a fueling problem, but get you going for the rest of the day.
No. But I did add a bottle of fuel system cleaner for high-mileage vehicles (more than 75,000 miles) in the full tank of gas immediately before I tried to start it today. I don't think it really had any time to do anything as I got in the car right after emptying the bottle in the tank. This is the 2nd bottle of it I've used. Dumped the first one in when my cousin and I were working on it about 10/17/19.

P.S. Also, not sure if I mentioned, but the neighbor guy highly recommends BP gas for their additives. So, I've put in two 1/4 tanks of BP gas in the last week.

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Old 11-07-2019, 12:42 AM   #95
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

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Originally Posted by 98SaturnSL2Bett View Post
So, just to make things more interesting . . . the car started just fine on the first try this morning. No one did anything to it since I tried to start it yesterday morning and failed......It just sat there (in the cold, outside -- it's unseasonably cold in Minnesota now; about 20 degrees below normal for early November)......I'm going to try taking it to a different mechanic when I have time to deal with it. Anyone know of any mechanics.....that specialize or have decent experience dealing with Saturns? I feel like this is a quirky, Saturn-specific issue.
1-Try disconnecting the engine coolant sensor or have your dad or mechanic do it. If the connector terminals are corroded, this interferes with low voltage signals sent to the pcm. The majority of coolant sensor symptoms are excessive fuel being injected during startup from either the original faulty sensor and/or the connections becoming corroded from the coolant leaking out and corroding the female connections. Both create a false condition of the pcm sensing a sub freezing cold engine. False signals forces the pcm to inject more fuel than needed, sometimes flooding the engine during startups. If startup occurs, the errant signals still forces the pcm to continually run the engine with extra fuel. Replacing the sensor corrects the sensor fault but if the two wire female connector shows greenish corrosion, the tiny terminals may be corroded beyond repair and require replacement. The signals sent from the sensor are below 5v.

2-Ignore any suggestions of fuel additives or buying top tier gasoline. I but whatever fuel is lower priced. This means all my fuel in my car has been mixed from no name to brand name with zero improvement over the years. As long as the fuel filter works to capture crap from fueling operations, the majority of fuel is fine despite the latest formulations of using top tier fuel for better overall engine performance. With so many variables of engines, EFI systems, and fuel, no one has documentation from a third party lab to prove one or several name brand fuel is any better than no name brands. Just use fuel you feel is fine and save money. This random intermittent problem isn't going to be cured with top tier fuel or fuel additives.

3-In general, all EFI engines operate exactly the same way. High pressure fuel is electronically injected with electronically controlled spark to ignite the air/fuel mixture in engines. The mechanical parts of engines synchronize how air is ingested along with fuel, compressed and ignited at the appropriate time. If a mechanic doesn't have the basic knowledge of electronics, engine mechanics, electronic fuel injection fundamentals along with engine computers then these so called mechanics aren't mechanics at all. Good and better mechanics must have knowledge and practical experience to survive dealer or repair shop environments. EFI systems are built on the basics of how engines run before EFI systems were invented.

In theory, good mechanics are capable of applying basic knowledge of engines and EFI systems to any vehicle. Those that can't do this are not as open minded or knowledgeable as needed to work in the auto repair business.

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Old 11-07-2019, 07:54 AM   #96
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Sorry, I didn't have time to look through all of the previous posts, but maybe my experience with a similar issue might help. I was having the same problem, except not necessarily on an incline. When I tried to start my '99 SL2, it would turn for a long time (5-8 seconds) and sometimes start, and sometimes not. If not, I'd turn the key off, then try again. It always started on the second go 'round. I changed the fuel filter/regulator and the problem resolved. Just my theory; the fuel pressure regulator was slowing the fuel to drain all the way back to the tank, thus the fuel pump had to push fuel all the way from the tank to the fuel rail every start attempt. Have you entertained changing the pressure regulator? Perhaps try parking downhill and see if you have the same starting problem?

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Old 11-07-2019, 08:29 AM   #97
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

EDIT: So, I just made it through the 5 pages and it seems as thought you have tried these fixes. I also see that you're getting solid advice from the folks on this forum. There's something about Saturn owners, like we all have a vested interest in getting your car started. What we know is that fuel, spark, and compression gives us ignition. What is definitive is.....you have an intermittent problem. You've got to be systematic in determining which of those 3 components (hopefully not a combination of) is not working consistently. Exactly how? We're working on it...

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Old 11-07-2019, 10:46 AM   #98
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

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......... Just my theory; the fuel pressure regulator was slowing the fuel to drain all the way back to the tank, thus the fuel pump had to push fuel all the way from the tank to the fuel rail every start attempt........
Saturn EFI systems relies on approximately 40 psi of fuel pressure using small diameter fuel lines, pressure regulator and fuel check valve. On one side of this pressurized fuel line are the injectors holding back fuel. On the other end of the fuel line is the fuel pump with a built in check valve. Near or on the fuel rail distribution is the pressure regulator. Some models with excess pressure bleeds off fuel to a return line back to the tank. Other models have a returnless regulator. The check valve on the fuel pump prevents fuel from flowing backwards, back into the fuel tank. Even if the check valve (one way flow) failed, fuel doesn't drain back as this suggests the fuel line has a leak somewhere where air can replace fuel as it drains back. EFI systems relies in pressurized fuel for instantaneous startups and regulated whether in hot and humid areas or sub freezing cold. When measuring fuel pressure with a fuel pressure gauge, instantaneous pressure is noted at ignition on time as well as whether or not the pump check valve is performing. Loss of pressure can have a major effect on engine running so pressures are regulated as this affects emissions if fluctuating pressures are allowed. Once pressurized, ignition on engine off, pressure remains for several minutes to verify the fuel line, injectors and check valve aren't leaking. Bleed off of pressure indicates a leak.

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Old 11-07-2019, 11:53 AM   #99
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Your “no start on incline”, start after two key cycles and now “almost starts” really makes me suspicious of fuel delivery. If this was my saturn I would install a fuel pressure gauge with a long enough hose to reach the windshield so I could tape it there or place it under a wiper.
If pressure is above 40 after ONE key cycle then fuel is not the current problem. If you need two or more key cycles to reach 40, i would suspect fuel problem.
If you have 40 and still no-start you need to look elsewhere.
If it starts I would then drive and look for inclines on rolling back roads and drive in a lower gear and watch the pressure.
Watch the pressure when you turn key to on “once” after car sits overnight. Keep the gauge there until a no-start occurs and If the pressure never drops below 40 during your “test” you know the pump is fine. If it does drop then you need to confirm the following;
1) there is no “debris” in the tank (you would be surprised what I have found in some tanks that moves around and sometimes restricts pump inlet sock)
2) filter is not plugged and lastly...
you may just have to change the pump.

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Old 11-08-2019, 05:33 PM   #100
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

At this point of game of intermitting no starts can be completely frustrating and expensive. Nothing is worst than throughing parts at the car. I believe, just like most forum members
, it seems like a fuel issue. The first thing I would do turn key on to on position. Listen for the fuel pump ( it will hum for approximately 3 to 4 seconds followed by a click sound)
The click sound is the relay. Now if you can not hear the humming sound, get another person too open the gas cap of the fuel(gas) tank. Put there ear next to the area (gas cap/ goose neck) by the fuel door. Than repeat the turn key on to on position. This is the best way to hear the fuel pump is turn on without going under the vehicle. If you do not hear no humming or a click. It MAYBE a fuel pump relay. I only seen this once on a Saturn SL2, very uncommon.
Fuel pressure gauge is the best check for the fuel system.
KOEO (Key on the on position and the engine off / Key on engine off ) should be between 40 - 50 psi.
The fuel pump relay is located passenger side fuse panel box, center console, by your left foot if you were sitting in the passenger front seat. Remove the fuse box cover/panel and look at the fuse and relay diagram and find the location where the fuel pump relay is. If your hearing is not the best, put your finger on the relay, then turn the ignition key to the on position. You should feel a click if the relay is working properly.
This is a simple test that your father can help you with. Knowledge is power !
Good luck!

BERNIE

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