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Old 10-05-2007, 12:41 PM   #1
Steegs
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Default Stalling / Starting Problem

I have a 96 Saturn SL2 with 122k that has been great for me up until a couple weeks ago. While driving, the engine sputtered and then stalled. I tried starting it right away but the engine never turned over. I called AAA for a tow and waited for 15 mins before trying to start the car again Ė it started without a problem. The check engine light never came on and the lights/gauges never went out.

The car was fine for the next couple of weeks until it didnít start after I drove it to the market. I put the car in neutral, pushed it a bit, then got in the car and tried to start it. It worked and I drove off without a problem. The car started fine for the next two days, but failed to start again after I drive it to a friendís house. I again put it in neutral, pushed it a bit, and the car started just fine.

After I got the car back home both times, I turned it off and tried starting it again. It always started just fine.

When I try to start the car it sounds like it wants to start but has no gas. In other words, it sounds like it always has while starting, it just never turns over.

Come to think of it, when the car stalled out I was in the middle of the road on a hill. I believe after I initially tried starting the car again, I put it in neutral and tried to roll backwards off the road. After I was off the road, I tired starting it again and thatís when it started like normal.

Is this sticking it in neutral and rolling the tires a bit helping or is it just a coincidence?

Any suggestions / diagnostic tests would be appreciated.

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Old 10-05-2007, 02:24 PM   #2
rc1488
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Default Re: Stalling / Starting Problem

you have a very interesting problem there. i wish i could help but i honestly dont know. barnowl or low saturn might have some ideas. sorry!

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Old 10-05-2007, 02:57 PM   #3
yazhere
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Default Re: Stalling / Starting Problem

Sounds like your crank position sensor is on the way out. Posts indicate that it starts acting up when exposed to heat. When cooled down, it works. When the CPS is at fault, you will have not spark at the ignition coils. When the car will not start, pull spark wires off the coils and see if there is spark. No spark, replace the CPS.

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Old 10-05-2007, 04:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: Stalling / Starting Problem

As an unfamiliar newbie (Welcome BTW!) we here like to describe starting and engine firing up terms in a specific way to lessen the chances of confusion. If you mean "the starter can crank over the engine but the engine won't fire up" means several things took place but the last; the starter can turn, the engine can turn over but the engine won't fire up. There can also be a description such as the engine won't start being interpreted as either the starter doesn't work or the engine won't turn (as in seized). There are many incorrect descriptions being used and yours isn't the first and won't be the last, just thought you'd like to know as well as everyone else reading the threads in hopes of clarifying first time descriptions. Probably won't overall but its out there.

As to interpretation I'm going with yazhere unless you are describing a starter problem. It all depends on the best description possible otherwise !

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Old 10-05-2007, 05:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: Stalling / Starting Problem

Apologies about the terminology - I thought I didn't have it right as I was pulling buzzwords out my buttocks.

I Believe the starter can turn, the engine can turn, but the engine won't fire up.

The car started up no problems while cold. I had to drive it around to get warm, then let it sit off for 5 minutes before it would have problems starting. If I tried to start it before the 5 minutes, it would start with no problem. (Just thought that was strange and someone might find that useful when trying to diagnose cold vs hot).

Taking off the spark plug wires at the ignition coils when it wouldn't start did not produce a spark while turning the key.

I replaced the CPS a couple years ago when a check engine light said it was bad (although I never experienced and symptoms). I don't know how long they last (warranty is a year from auto-zone), so I'll clean out the hole it goes in when I replace the sensor in case some gunk is fouling up the connection (unless it's an electro-magnetic sensor in which case I don't think it would matter).

Thanks for the quick responses. Ill post the results tomorrow - or Sunday - or when I get them.

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Old 10-05-2007, 05:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: Stalling / Starting Problem

Buzzwords/buttocks!? Leave that to the senior members! Uh, maybe not. Anyway it looks like you have another failed cps although it is unusual for a replacement to fail. CPS' always outputs hot or cold and the lack of sparks when hot is good enough to write this one off as faulty. Oh well, stranger things have occurred.

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Old 10-06-2007, 04:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: Stalling / Starting Problem

You guys were right on. Replaced the CPS and things are running just fine. The old CPS smelled of gasoline. Is that normal?

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Old 10-06-2007, 09:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: Stalling / Starting Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steegs View Post
The old CPS smelled of gasoline. Is that normal?
No. It should smell of oil, since it goes into an oil bath in the block. So what that means is that your _oil_ has gasoline in it. Makes sense, since you were probably cranking the key a lot, unburned fuel washed around in the chambers and eventually leaked down into the oil. This is a Bad Thing, in that gasoline dilutes oil. Dang, one of us shoulda been more on the ball, generally reminding you that after a sitch like this you should change the oil. Well, now you know. Good thing you sniffed that old part.

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Old 10-07-2007, 08:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: Stalling / Starting Problem

Thanks for catching that madpogue - ill change it today.

Thanks for all the help, its much appreciated.

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Old 10-08-2007, 07:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: Stalling / Starting Problem

hi everyone. i too am having this problem on our 2001 sl1. the only thing really different is that the dash lights all flash a few times right before it stalls and the rpm gauge will go back and forth irradically. would or could this happen if the CPS was bad? again, i am having the same starting and stalling problems, will be driving and it sputters to a halt. it then wont start for awhile then maybe 20 minutes later it will start up and run fine for a few days. any help would be appreciated

Last edited by jsgst8; 10-08-2007 at 07:13 PM.. Reason: forgot something

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