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Old 12-17-2008, 07:55 AM   #1
smote
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Default 1998 saturn won't start

we have a 98 saturn SL2 with around 98K miles on it. The car has been rock solid up until yesterday morning. My son said he started the car, pulled it around to the side of the house and then turned it off to go inside. He said it ran rough. then when he went out to go to school it wouldn't start at all. I cranked on it a little last night. It will hit for a split second once in a while but won't start.
I replaced all the plugs with the OEM spec plugs and gapped them correctly about a month ago as we were getting the crank sensor error and I read on this forum to try this first. We still have the check engine light for that code. I guess the first thing I need to do tonight is make sure we're still getting spark. Any other ideas on where to start ?
I did notice that i can hear the fuel pump gurgle when I turn the key and it kicks off after a few seconds so I'm assuming it's okay.

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Old 12-17-2008, 08:03 AM   #2
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

just did a quick search for no start condition.

Looks like I need to check and clean the coil towers and the ICM connections. Also put some dielectric grease on the connections. If I replace the plug wires what brand should I get ?

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Old 12-17-2008, 08:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

Pull the #4 & #1 wires from the coil and have someone crank the engine. Check for spark between the towers. You can see a richpin video of this in the how to section (first sticky). If you have no spark and a crankshaft position sensor code, you need to change out the cps. Around $15 & 10-15 minutes.

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Old 12-17-2008, 08:29 AM   #4
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

I've always bought NGK plugs and wires directly from the dealer. You'll be paying upwards of $50-$60 for everything (Plugs and wires), but if you are just buying the wires, it would probably be a little less.


When you replaced the CPS, did you get the connection properly back in place? A loose connection could cause the car to run rough.

Other thoughts are leaning towards the condition/cleaning of the Ignition Coils.

Also, how old is Battery? How are the Battery Cables (Clean and void of Corrosion?), Alternator, Starter?

Another thought too would be the ECTS (Engine Coolant Temp Sensor)...how long have you owned this car? If this hasn't been replaced, you may consider that as well. The first type design was a plastic resin tip that eventually cracks and leads to rough running. The 2nd type is a Brass Tip.

Check the How-To Section.

I would see about replacing these items and then disconnect the Negative Battery Cable to reset the PCM.

...
Bryan

94 SL2 225K Miles
97 SW2 255K Miles

Garaged
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Never Forget
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Old 12-17-2008, 08:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheyne View Post
Pull the #4 & #1 wires from the coil and have someone crank the engine. Check for spark between the towers. You can see a richpin video of this in the how to section (first sticky). If you have no spark and a crankshaft position sensor code, you need to change out the cps. Around $15 & 10-15 minutes.
where's the CPS located ?
when cranking the engine the tack's not moving. would this also mean the CPS is bad?

Can I get it at autozone or NAPA ?

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Old 12-17-2008, 08:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

CPS is located above the starter on the back side of the engine block. I got one from Auto Zone for around $15 when I had the problem. There's a richpin video on replacing it, but I didn't remove the starter. I just reached over the starter to replace it, made it much easier. Make sure you seat it properly or you'll be pulling it again. The video is a good place to start before you do the change.

+1^^^ and change the ECTS if you have not done so. Check the connector for corrosion. Replace the connector if any is found.

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Old 12-17-2008, 08:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheyne View Post
CPS is located above the starter on the back side of the engine block. I got one from Auto Zone for around $15 when I had the problem. There's a richpin video on replacing it, but I didn't remove the starter. I just reached over the starter to replace it, made it much easier. Make sure you seat it properly or you'll be pulling it again. The video is a good place to start before you do the change.

+1^^^ and change the ECTS if you have not done so. Check the connector for corrosion. Replace the connector if any is found.

thanks for the quick reply
i just watched that video. It was just what I needed to find the location. I'll do the coil pack spark check first and then it's bad I'll swing by autozone and get the CPS and ECTS.

Where is the ECTS at ?

thanks for all the information everyone

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Old 12-17-2008, 08:52 AM   #8
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

On the driver's side of the engine block. Here's the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC0U53w_Htk

The oem part will come with sealant on the threads, the aftermarket will need to be installed with teflon tape the way richpin does in the video.

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Old 12-17-2008, 08:59 AM   #9
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

I just noticed that the richpin video is not up. Check the first and second sticky of the how to forum (the second one has pictures).

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Old 12-17-2008, 09:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheyne View Post
On the driver's side of the engine block. Here's the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC0U53w_Htk

The oem part will come with sealant on the threads, the aftermarket will need to be installed with teflon tape the way richpin does in the video.
Man, those videos are great. Really helpfull.

thanks again.

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Old 12-17-2008, 09:10 AM   #11
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

Forgot to mention on the ECTS, you want to seat it but don't overtighten.

After replacing the ECTS, check them temp gauge on the dash. If it is around 1/4 instead of 3/8, then replace your thermostat with an 87C or 195F. You'll see an increase in performance and mpg.

Last edited by Cheyne; 12-17-2008 at 09:21 AM..

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Old 12-17-2008, 08:11 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

I pulled the two wires off of the coil and had my son crank the car over. Had plenty of spark between the two terminals. I went ahead and replaced the CPS and the ECTS anyway. The coolant sensor was cracked.
We then pulled all the plugs. The were wet with fuel. They all have good spark while cranking the engine over. Put the plugs back in, then cleaned the coil towers. They looked good but I cleaned them anyway.
The car still won't start. It will hit just a little about every 2 seconds but won't start. The battery is kind of dragging, don't know if that would affect it or not. I put some booster cables on it and cranked it but had the same results even thou it did crank faster.
Any other ideas ?
I

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Old 12-17-2008, 08:41 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

Have you tried cranking it with WOT? Crank while holding the gas pedal down to shut off the injectors and open the throttle body.

Since you said that it cranked faster while trying to jump it: How old is the battery? Have you checked for corrosion at the terminals and battery cables?

You checked for spark at the towers. How old are the plug wires and have you checked their resistance?

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Old 12-17-2008, 09:00 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

WOT= Wide Open Thottle...Foot pushed all the way in on the gas pedal.

I second what I metioned before regarding the battery, alternator, starter...

Also what is the gap on your plugs? They should be .040

If you have a Voltmeter, check the Battery. It should read 12V while sitting in your garage, driveway, etc.

I would suggest even taking the battery out and getting it tested.

If you are able to get the car started, the Voltage for an in the car test for Alternator with lights on and heater on, should be between 13-14 Volts.

Also...have you given this a try?

Is the car an auto or manual?

If an Auto: Try putting the car in NEUTRAL, with foot on the brake, and try starting it. If it DOESN'T start...the Neutral Safety Switch could be bad.

If a Manual: Check to make sure the Clutch pedal is all the way in, The Clutch Safety Switch could possibly not be making a full contact (below the Clutch Pedal itself.) Also make sure you don't accidently have the car in gear.

...
Bryan

94 SL2 225K Miles
97 SW2 255K Miles

Garaged
94 SL2 HCE, "Pearl"

Never Forget
94 SC1 340,501 Miles
Original Engine/Auto Trans
02/97-10/08
Gone 03/12


92 SL1
05 VUE
91 SC

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Old 12-17-2008, 09:28 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
Also...have you given this a try?

Is the car an auto or manual?

If an Auto: Try putting the car in NEUTRAL, with foot on the brake, and try starting it. If it DOESN'T start...the Neutral Safety Switch could be bad.

If a Manual: Check to make sure the Clutch pedal is all the way in, The Clutch Safety Switch could possibly not be making a full contact (below the Clutch Pedal itself.) Also make sure you don't accidently have the car in gear.
Car wont turn over if the above doesnt work. Not the issue.

Factory gap is .040.

+1 on the WOT. Your engine is now flooded bc of the of the cracked ECTS. REmove the plugs again. Crank the engine over to get rid of the access fuel. Clean the plugs that are soaked in gas and replace them back into the engine. Start the car

Starting the car again at WOT shuts off the injectors and helps restore the air/fuel ratio. Since you removed the plugs and cranked the engine over, you may not even need to hold the pedal at WOT.

The battery will start to drain now, but doesnt seem like the issue. If you have a charger, put it to use so your battery doesnt die.

...
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Old 12-18-2008, 05:16 AM   #16
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

Quote:
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Have you tried cranking it with WOT? Crank while holding the gas pedal down to shut off the injectors and open the throttle body.

Since you said that it cranked faster while trying to jump it: How old is the battery? Have you checked for corrosion at the terminals and battery cables?

You checked for spark at the towers. How old are the plug wires and have you checked their resistance?

what should the resistance be across the plug wires ? I do have an Ohm meter that I can use to check them.

Once I've done that I'll pull the plug, dry them out real good, crank the engine over without the plugs then reinstall them and see if it will start.

Autozone has bosch plug wires. Are those okay to use ?

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Old 12-18-2008, 08:28 AM   #17
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

Resistance should be 4000-7000. The Bosch wires should do fine.

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Old 12-18-2008, 11:20 AM   #18
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

BOSCH wires are OK, but their plugs and universal O2 sensors are not.

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Old 12-18-2008, 11:22 AM   #19
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

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Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
BOSCH wires are OK, but their plugs and universal O2 sensors are not.
i was looking at the Bosch wire set on the autozone website. but it shows that they are not available in stores.

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Old 12-18-2008, 12:14 PM   #20
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Default Re: 1998 saturn won't start

I got the Bosch from the local A/Z. You may just want to call to see what they have.

Have you tried cranking with WOT?

You may also benefit from pulling the coils/icm and checking for corrosion. Just be careful with the bolts. It's good preventative maintenance anyway.

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