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Old 10-16-2019, 12:50 PM   #1
98SaturnSL2Bett
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Dizzy 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Has 140K miles. I'm the original owner. The car's been well taken care of.

This is the first time in it's life it has been parked outside instead of a garage and the first time it's been parked on an incline overnight. Previous to this summer (4 1/2 months), it was always parked flat.

We changed spark plugs and changed original spark plug wires for the first time. My shop was able to repeatedly start it there after wiping off the "wet" new plugs. Mechanic said they were wet with fuel after us trying to start it at home (had to tow it there last week). It started fine for them at the shop last week after charging the battery overnight (new battery from January 2019) and drying the wet plugs. Started dozens of times for them.

I took it home last Thursday happy to have my car back. Was able to run errands. Car would not start for me for work late morning the next day Friday and hasn't started since (parked nose-up on the driveway incline). I'm getting ready to tow it to the shop again tomorrow if I have to. Hoping maybe once I get it flat in the street that it will start for me so I can avoid the $130 to have it towed the 15 miles to my shop again.

Any suggestions or help out there for me?????

P.S. It had a half a tank of fuel before it was brought to the shop and it now has a full tank. Had been getting really good gas mileage with it this summer. Dad checked the ohms for the crank shaft position sensor and some other things and they all tested out fine. Not throwing any codes for the sensor to pick up. Dad says the fuel pressure is good. He thinks it's not sparking or not getting the spark to be able to start. Both Dad and the shop agree that the next thing to try is a new coil. Hope that part and labor/repair isn't too expensive but at this point I don't care I just want my car reliably working again.

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Old 10-16-2019, 01:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Coils are cheap and easy.
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...&postcount=213

If there is no spark, I'd suspect the crank position sensor before the coils. Dying coils show up as a misfire.

The incline should have no effect.

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Old 10-16-2019, 01:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Thank you for the quick response and advice.

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Old 10-16-2019, 01:30 PM   #4
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Post Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Has the ECTS[electronic control temp sensor] been replaced with brass version and connector checked for corrosion? If plugs were wet with fuel, hold gas to the floor when starting to shut off injectors.

1995 SL1 236,300 2005>2018
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CHECK YOUR OIL!!

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Old 10-16-2019, 01:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Thanks for the reply. Will check on the ECTS. I don't ever remember paying for that kind of repair, so I'm guessing no.

We have been starting it with the accelerator to the floor; doesn't seem to help.

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Old 10-16-2019, 02:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

What does "good" mean for fuel pressure; was it checked with a gauge (post readings)? Any other kind of test for FP is inconclusive. (The exception is if there is no fuel pressure, don't need a gauge to know that isn't right!)

Before throwing any parts at it, except the ECT sensor, try a quick blast of starting-fluid. If it fires like that, you can be pretty confident the CKP sensor and all ignition parts at OK.

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Old 10-16-2019, 02:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

We have tried the starting fluid thing. It backfired several times (and my Dad was sitting there on Oxygen doing it). Which didn't make me very happy. Fixing the car ourselves isn't worth blowing him (or us to smithereens).

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Old 10-16-2019, 02:43 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

I believe Dad checked the fuel pressure with a gauge but I don't know the readings off the top of my head. Can get those tonight maybe for you.

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Old 10-16-2019, 04:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Backfired out the intake? Let's go back to the beginning and check compression.

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Old 10-16-2019, 04:42 PM   #10
Waiex191
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Definitely check the ECTS and connector if you don't know it's status. That won't cause no spark though.

...
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'99 SL2, 5SP bought new
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018

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Old 10-16-2019, 07:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

How does the car behave when trying to start it... normal, but with no start, or does it cough and sputter and kind of almost start and kickback/backfire?

...
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Old 10-16-2019, 07:22 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Thank you everyone for your responses and suggestions. I'm sharing them with my Dad, who tries to work on as much as he can at home, and my mechanic, who I hope to bring the car to tomorrow. I'll be sure to let you know any good or bad news we find as we keep trying to get the car to start.

I truly appreciate the time and effort you've taken to try to help me with my problem. My sincere thanks to you!

P.S. My (now ex) boyfriend posted this (www . saturnfans . com/forums/showthread.php?t=202581) about 5 years ago because this site was a great help to us back then. After all of this time with my precious car -- it's outlasted one husband and one very long-term boyfriend -- I really, really hope I can fix her up again now so that her and I can just keep on truckin'.

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Old 10-16-2019, 07:30 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Quote:
Originally Posted by 454cid View Post
How does the car behave when trying to start it... normal, but with no start, or does it cough and sputter and kind of almost start and kickback/backfire?
The car behaves normal, but with no start.

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Old 10-16-2019, 10:07 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Quote:
Originally Posted by 98SaturnSL2Bett View Post
Has 140K miles. I'm the original owner. The car's been well taken care of.

This is the first time in it's life it has been parked outside instead of a garage and the first time it's been parked on an incline overnight. Previous to this summer (4 1/2 months), it was always parked flat.

We changed spark plugs and changed original spark plug wires for the first time. My shop was able to repeatedly start it there after wiping off the "wet" new plugs. Mechanic said they were wet with fuel after us trying to start it at home (had to tow it there last week). It started fine for them at the shop last week after charging the battery overnight (new battery from January 2019) and drying the wet plugs. Started dozens of times for them.

I took it home last Thursday happy to have my car back. Was able to run errands. Car would not start for me for work late morning the next day Friday and hasn't started since (parked nose-up on the driveway incline). I'm getting ready to tow it to the shop again tomorrow if I have to. Hoping maybe once I get it flat in the street that it will start for me so I can avoid the $130 to have it towed the 15 miles to my shop again.

Any suggestions or help out there for me?????

P.S. It had a half a tank of fuel before it was brought to the shop and it now has a full tank. Had been getting really good gas mileage with it this summer. Dad checked the ohms for the crank shaft position sensor and some other things and they all tested out fine. Not throwing any codes for the sensor to pick up. Dad says the fuel pressure is good. He thinks it's not sparking or not getting the spark to be able to start. Both Dad and the shop agree that the next thing to try is a new coil. Hope that part and labor/repair isn't too expensive but at this point I don't care I just want my car reliably working again.
Dad may be wrong on the fuel pressure.
I'm suspecting the fuel pump is about shot.
Also, what are you doing Friday night?

...
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Old 10-16-2019, 10:10 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Thanks for your thoughts on this. I appreciate your different perspective and will take it into consideration. Will let you know how it turns out.

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Old 10-17-2019, 01:05 AM   #16
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Quote:
Originally Posted by 98SaturnSL2Bett View Post
After all of this time with my precious car -- it's outlasted one husband and one very long-term boyfriend -- I really, really hope I can fix her up again now so that her and I can just keep on truckin'.
Saturn SLs have been known to outlast many long-term boyfriends as long as you keep 'em topped up with oil-- the Saturn, not the boyfriend.

Boyfriends are one-time use, torque-to-yield items.

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Old 10-17-2019, 03:02 AM   #17
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Thanks for the chuckle. I needed it

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Old 10-17-2019, 09:46 AM   #18
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

If it backfired with starting fluid, you most likely have spark - I would double check on the fuel pressure - should be seeing 45-51 PSI

Do you know how many miles since the fuel filter was last changed? The '98 and up have an integrated filter/pressure regulator. Owner's manual says change at 100k miles but most people get further than that with the original filter. I have 150k on my filter now but other have had issues with fewer miles. There is a specific (Wix 33731) filter that works best - parts books will often list another filter (Purolator) that fits but has the wrong pressure. GK Industries Part number: GF1846 is about 1 psi off but should work. -

Quote:
We have been starting it with the accelerator to the floor
Just to clarify/confirm - you hold the gas pedal all the way to the floor, then turn the key while keeping the gas pedal on the floor? (no pumping the pedal, as that is leftover from the carburetor days)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goggles Pisano View Post
Saturn SLs have been known to outlast many long-term boyfriends as long as you keep 'em topped up with oil-- the Saturn, not the boyfriend.
You can oil up the boyfriends, too, but don't use motor oil

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Old 10-17-2019, 12:36 PM   #19
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

Backfiring into the intake is unusual, with-or-without starting fluid. It kind of hints of a valve sealing or timing problem. I would still like to see compression readings.

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Old 10-17-2019, 01:51 PM   #20
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Default Re: 1998 Saturn SL2 won't start when parked on driveway incline

I should have read the entire thread before posting. Wet plugs indicate fuel, and the link shows fuel filter replaced about 5 years ago

I'd still want to know the brand/make of the fuel filter, though. Been a few, "worked ok for a while" off brand filters.

...
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