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Old 08-08-2011, 09:21 AM   #1
The Grey Elf
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Default 2001 Saturn SC1 starting problems

I have a 2001 Saturn SC1, single cam, 4-cyl. It has begun having starting issues. Last summer I had the entire damn ignition system replaced--the starter, ignition switch, starter relay, the works. Everything from the steering wheel down to the starter.

Several weeks ago it decided to not start again.

If the car sits for more than a few hours, say, overnight, I turn the switch and just get a click. The engine doesn't turn. I put a new battery in it, it was fine for about a week or two, then started doing the same thing. It's not a power drain, because I was just away for a week and had the battery disconnected the entire time. Got home, hooked the battery back up, and nothing. Just a click.

I guess it COULD be a starter issue, but that seems unlikely given that the starter in it is only a year old.

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn SC1 starting problems

Look closely at the two battery cable connections. If one of them (RED positive) is severely corroded, the corrosion may be also be hidden underneath the battery post from a previous battery side terminal crack leaching acid into the cable, eating away the copper wires. Once ruined, the cable may seem fine on the outside but can no longer carry the heavy currents needed to power the starter.

You should look at both cables for corrosion on all four ends to rule out corroded cables making poor electrical connections. The starter uses the most current and poor battery or cable connections show up, more so in the dead of winter when temps drop to freezing levels.
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:49 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn SC1 starting problems

Thanks; I'll take a look. It would be nice if that's the issue, as that's a cheap and easy fix.
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Old 08-08-2011, 10:27 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn SC1 starting problems

There appears to be a little corrosion on the + cable, but not much. Just a tiny bit...I'm not sure that's the issue.
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Old 08-08-2011, 10:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn SC1 starting problems

Appearances can be deceiving as you're only looking at the visible side and not the hidden view. That would mean disconnecting the negative cable (first) before disconnecting the RED positive cable from the battery and peeling back the heavy insulation to see underneath if the copper wires were eaten away. Some say to bend the cable right at the terminal and listen for crackling as powdery residue left from acid corrosion will make rub and make noise as the cable is flexed where clean wires won't make any noise. If in doubt replace.

The only other possibility may be alternator related. Standing battery voltage should be around 12.5v, engine idling around 13.3v+, above idling - 14.3v+. Either the alternator or loose/worn out belt drive can contribute to the new battery having less than a full charge.
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Old 08-08-2011, 10:59 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn SC1 starting problems

I scraped the corrosion off the + cable, re-attached, turned the key. Just a click. Let it sit in the "on" position for a few seconds, turned again, fired up. Corrosion issue?
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