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Old 02-13-2008, 09:16 AM   #1
kandjj
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Default cranks but no start

Hi, my 98SL2 (auto, 161K) cranks, but won't start. First happened during a cold snap a few weeks ago. Thinking it might be gas line freeze, I warmed it up in the garage over the weekend. It started fine, so I put in some HEET, filled up the tank, and drove it a few miles. Next morning was cold -- same problem, it cranked, but no start. Even though there have been multiple warm days since, it won't start at all now. I have 40psi at the Schrader valve and hear the whine of the pump.

Discovered I have a no spark condition. Continues to crank fine, but no spark from the plug wires to ground or between the coil towers. I have a functional 96SL2 (manual, 137K) sitting next to the 98 in my garage, so I have swapped a few parts out of desperation:CPS, DIS / coils, ignition switch, MAP. And with all the CPS posts here, I picked up a new CPS. No luck.

Resistance between the CPS 2-pin connector and the PCM is good; also checked between the PCM and the 5-pin DIS connector. Visually checked all fuses in both boxes. Still, no spark.

One interesting note from my OBDII scanner -- it reported ignition voltage at 12.3, but battery voltage was roughly double that at 24 volts (faulty scan?). I manually verified that it was 12 volts.

Ideas? Any other inputs the PCM uses to send the spark signal to the DIS? Seems like I read somewhere that I should expect the tach to move when cranking. Is there a better / more accurate test of the CPS / PCM? Could an auto-shutoff relay (immobilizer circuit) be responsible?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 02-13-2008, 09:37 AM   #2
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Default Re: cranks but no start

If you're really getting no spark, I'd say change the CPS. It's a relatively cheap part and it's not too hard to change. The usual test is to pull the wires off one of the coils and have someone crank it. You should see a regular arc between the posts. If you don't, it's usually the CPS.

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Old 02-13-2008, 09:56 AM   #3
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Default Re: cranks but no start

Just adding to what barnowl has already mentioned. If you are mechanically challenged (as I am), check out this link on how to check your CPS.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUMGFnK29B8

courtesy of richpin06.

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Old 02-13-2008, 11:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: cranks but no start

Great video. Thanks.

I've lurked through a number of the "no spark" posts and I've tried a few of these ideas already. Here's what I did:
My 98SL2 fails this test; however my 96SL2 is sparking fine, so I pulled the coil packs off the 96 and put it on the 98 (hope that swap is ok). The functioning 96SL2 coil packs do NOT spark on my 98SL2.

I tried the same with the CPS -- swapping the 96SL2 to the 98SL2. No luck. I even picked up a new CPS since they're reasonable. Still no spark on my 98SL2.

Since I've already checked continuity between the CPS and the PCM, I plan to put a meter on the CPS tonight...just to ensure that the PCM is getting the signal it needs.

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Old 02-13-2008, 11:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: cranks but no start

The cps resistance will be either 750 ohms or 1200 ohms. Be sure of the new one and record the findings as there are cases of a static test passing until heated up in boiling water, to simulate an engine coming up to operating temperature, where the resistance opens. An open cps is an intermittent faulty cps and not a normal one. The cps should be able to operate from extreme cold to over 200F. or whatever the engine block temperature is plus a fudge factor of 10-15% more. Heat, cold, and vibration should not upset an operating cps since it can be considered the electronic heart of the EFI system, without it there won't be any fuel pump running, ignition system, and injector pulses. The PCM needs the cps to run the three subsystems.

Using substitute parts is a good thing as long as they're compatible but you haven't tried the DIS module, where the two ignition coils plug into. It may be the problem. Perhaps a ground is broken, disabling both ignition coils from outputting in the DIS module. It may be worth measuring with your ohm meter while you're measuring the cps'.

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Old 02-13-2008, 03:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: cranks but no start

I did not see you mention if you had voltage at the pink wire of the ign module or not.Also the condition of the connector at the module is important.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pv6wqQAmXvc

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Old 02-14-2008, 12:30 AM   #7
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Default Re: cranks but no start

Oops...suppose I should write "DIS module / coil packs". I tried swapping the whole unit. Brushed off the ground plate under the DIS module. It was pretty clean when I put the DIS back on.

Yes, I have 12 volts on the pink wire.

Thanks for the helpful CPS video. I didn't have that spare CPS connector with loose ends (I need one of those), so I'm hoping I got my clips on securely. The resistance value was right on: 700 ohms.

However, the AC voltage from the CPS during cranking could be a problem: 0.05-0.06 on the 2V AC setting. I'm not an expert with meters, but that seems way lower than the minimum 200 millivolts. Did I read that right? I'll try the other known good CPS if anyone thinks that would help.

Big question: given that I've tried two separate crank sensors (one known to be working on my 96SL2 and one brand new), I'd like to think that I don't have two bad sensors -- what could cause the low voltage? Something wrong inside the crankcase? I'm overdue for an oil change...could old oil actually cause this? Or something else?

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Old 02-14-2008, 04:23 AM   #8
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Default Re: cranks but no start

Check the PCM B and PCM I fuses.

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Old 02-14-2008, 10:35 AM   #9
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Default Re: cranks but no start

Zero resistance on both PCM B and PCM I.

Still confused as to why my CPS is reporting inadequate voltage. According to richpin's video, it should generate over 200 millivolts. Mine is mostly at 50-60 and spikes to 90 millivolts maybe once while cranking.

The battery has been cranking fine, but just in case, I set it to trickle charge (2A) all day.

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Old 02-14-2008, 11:33 AM   #10
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Default Re: cranks but no start

Not being familiar with the S-series, does yours have any ignition interrupt circuit similar to Passlock anti-theft, preventing starting? I thought there was a relay in the steering column for a starter interrupt, being a rudimentary starter disable device. Possibly the same relay is used to ground the ignition circuit?

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Old 02-14-2008, 05:04 PM   #11
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Default Re: cranks but no start

The dealer thinks the 98SL2 does not have passlock / antitheft. However, when I switched the ignition switches between the 98 and the 96, I noticed the 98 has a black plastic casing attached to the lower portion of the lock cylinder housing. I'll check my owners manual tonight. Perhaps this is grounding out the ignition like you said.

Regarding the DIS 5-pin connector, I checked continuity on the three going to the PCM (ORN406,WHT423, and BRN/WHT633), the ground (BLK/WHT451), and the 12V (PNK1039). All is good.

I'm hearing "no worries" on the CPS low voltage. Boy, if I could increase the volt output on that CPS *artificially / temporarily*, it would be interesting to see if the engine would catch. I'll verify the output on my 96 as a doublecheck.

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Old 02-15-2008, 02:35 AM   #12
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Default Re: cranks but no start

Ouch...figured it out. The enemy is me.

Started thinking about how the CPS works and I noticed I could manually generate a higher voltage by waving a magnet in front of the CPS tip rapidly. And the closer the magnet, the higher the voltage.

I didn't have the CPS torqued down enough. A couple more turns and it was generating 500mV. The car started up immediately. I had no idea it was so sensitive to a millimeter or so. Praise God! And thanks for the posts...they got me thinking.

The only mystery is why the CPS bolt has loosened so much over time. My engine has had a shake for the past 2 years or so -- perhaps the motor mounts?

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Old 02-15-2008, 05:50 AM   #13
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Default Re: cranks but no start

Search around here for engine mounts and testing for worn out ones, pictures too. Always pay attention to the work, even something as simple as tightening down one bolt that caused you some grief with the cps.

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Old 02-15-2008, 06:31 AM   #14
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Default Re: cranks but no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by kandjj View Post
The only mystery is why the CPS bolt has loosened so much over time. My engine has had a shake for the past 2 years or so -- perhaps the motor mounts?
Glad you got the CPS fixed. The upper mount on the passenger side is usually the problem. Replace that with an OEM mount and it'll feel like a new car.

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