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Old 12-18-2008, 11:43 AM   #1
The Beast
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Default Cold weather = No start?

first off, glad to see a good board dedicated to Saturns, not too many out there. I have read a few postings, and I see there is some excellent tech knowledge here! With that said, I have a couple tech questions for the masters out there:

1998 SL2 DOHC, 5 speed, 120k miles.

My problem is, when there is an extreme temperature change from warm to cold, or colder to way colder, the car won't start. Battery is good, it will crank over fine. Did the whole prime the system by letting it stay on for a min before attempting to start. It will crank and crank and crank, no start. When it has done this in the past (a few occasions, seems to happen once a year, but more frequently now), I basically just would try to start it and then let it sit for a bit, and then it would eventually start.

Well, this time, it wont start at all. Just cranks and that is it, wont actually fire over.

Oil level good, spark plugs good, wires are good, ECTS was replaced a year ago, gets air (I know for certain since I took the air intake hose off to the TB to make sure there was no restriction), car has gas in it. After reading a bit on here, I will take two of the wires off on the coil pack and see if I have spark (I assume two right next to each other? Was really trying to get a definitive answer on that one during my searches), I did take out the far left plug and hook a screwdrive up to the wire and grounded to the block, but I didnt see spark, of course it might have been my method versus the proper way.

I find it hard to believe the ignition/coil pack went bad, generally those things are pretty solid, but I dont know, just seems like Im not getting spark to fire off. What else could cause the pack to not provide spark? Battery is good, nice and strong. As Im looking for easy fixes currently, I dont really want to start testing things like 12VDC to the coil pack, but will if I have to. Do these things go bad? Is there a good test to make sure the coil/ign pack is bad/good?

I hear the fuel pump kicking on, so Im not worried about that.

I also read that the CPS in cold weather would give issues as well, which would explain the weird not starting problem only very intermittently. Is this a hard sensor to get to? Where is it located? Expensive?

I also read about the ignition inside the steering column having problems with the cold weather as well? Does this apply to the 1998 year? It would make sense, especially with the cold snaps we have been having lately. I only read during my searches this happening on an 03 model, so Im not so sure my older car it would apply, still havent found that smoking gun to say yes yet.

Im pretty mechanically inclined, I just never really worked on these GM motors much, I usually work on my toyota 22r series engines, and the Dodge 318/360's, Ford 4.6's, etc. Im not afraid to get my hands dirty when fixing stuff if I need to test some stuff out on the Saturn engine. I try to stay away from dealerships whenever possible.

I've always loved how reliable this car has been, but now it needs maintenance, and being unfamiliar with the 1.9l, Im just looking for the right direction to go in. Thanks in advance for the assistance!

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Old 12-18-2008, 11:54 AM   #2
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Default Re: Cold weather = No start?

Saturn Crankshaft Position Sensor Location
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKb_TTQo0J4


Saturn Crankshaft Position Sensor(car not starting)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUMGFnK29B8

Saturn Crankshaft Position Sensor(car not starting)2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pv6wqQAmXvc

Engine:
Troubleshooting:Engine Rotates But Will Not Start
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fv3z6Jjbs1w


A CPS on www.rockauto.com (a reputable source) has them from 15 to 20 bucks. This is not a hard repair, its not in the nicest place, but should not take long to do. I would investigate more about it. My opinion, based on just the simple things you said, and knowing the common problems on the, I would say yes CPS, but there is a possibility of it being something else. So that's why I provided the last video, never seen it can't tell you whats on it but good luck

...
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Last edited by OnDaGround; 12-18-2008 at 12:00 PM..

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Old 12-18-2008, 11:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: Cold weather = No start?

Thank you! I will have to wait til I get home from work to view them (damn filters...), so hopefully its gonna help solve my problems. I saw the other posting by Smote, so Im paying attention to that post as well.

...
1998 Saturn SL2 5 Speed
2000 Ram 4x4 with some mods
2003 Ram Cummins 4x4 5 Speed tow rig
1981 Toyota rockcrawler
1996 Mustang GT with some mods

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Old 12-18-2008, 12:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Cold weather = No start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Beast View Post
Thank you! I will have to wait til I get home from work to view them (damn filters...).
ahahaha lol.... I got the same damn problem, that's why I have only seen one of rich pins videos. I do not know what's on these, but its rich, so you're in good hands.... lol who the hell is smote?

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Old 12-18-2008, 01:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: Cold weather = No start?

The Beast:
Before you go through all of the grief of ripping out parts and replacing them you want to replace the ECTS if it has not been done and also, carefully inspect the connector for any sign of antifreeze or corrosion.

Before deciding that you need a new CPS pull the wires off of the left hand coil and have someone crank the engine while you look for spark. If there is no spark then you will have to replace the CPS.

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Old 12-18-2008, 01:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: Cold weather = No start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OnDaGround View Post
lol who the hell is smote?
That would be me.

I'm having a not start issue with our 1998 saturn and have been asking alot of questions on here the last couple of days.

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Old 12-18-2008, 02:14 PM   #7
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Default Re: Cold weather = No start?

I actually saw your post after I had finished typing mine, so I felt kinda dumb starting a new thread...

It sounds like you and I have the same problem though, so hoepfully any info generated from this and your post will help us.

So no spark = cps....interesting...

And yes, I replaced the factory ECTS, as it had cracked on me. Car ran for a year, dang fan didnt work to cool the car off. Replaced it, and it was fixed.

Now, I had heard there are two temp sensors? An air temp sensor as well that may go bad?

...
1998 Saturn SL2 5 Speed
2000 Ram 4x4 with some mods
2003 Ram Cummins 4x4 5 Speed tow rig
1981 Toyota rockcrawler
1996 Mustang GT with some mods

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Old 12-18-2008, 02:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Cold weather = No start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Beast View Post
I actually saw your post after I had finished typing mine, so I felt kinda dumb starting a new thread...

It sounds like you and I have the same problem though, so hoepfully any info generated from this and your post will help us.

So no spark = cps....interesting...

And yes, I replaced the factory ECTS, as it had cracked on me. Car ran for a year, dang fan didnt work to cool the car off. Replaced it, and it was fixed.

Now, I had heard there are two temp sensors? An air temp sensor as well that may go bad?
The IAT sensor is located in the lower front of the filter air box. Its also a resin tipped sensor and you can replace it with a brass one. Its the same as the ECTS sensor so just buy one of those.

There are several things that will cause a cold start issue. If you have spark at the coil then the next step after the ECTS is nice new plugs and wires. The plugs should be NGK and the wires any mid priced direct fit wire set. They also do not last forever. You can buy the NGK plugs at Advanced Automotive, the dealer, or the Japanese motorcycle shop. Advanced will be cheapest. Some enlightened NAPA stores also have them.

So, its plugs, gap at .040, wires and ECTS. DO NOT PUT ANY BOSCH PLUG IN THE engine. If you have to the AC copper will work.
NGK plug numbers
BKR4ESA-11 = SOHC
BKR5ESA-11 = DOHC

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Old 12-18-2008, 02:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cold weather = No start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smote View Post
That would be me.

I'm having a not start issue with our 1998 saturn and have been asking alot of questions on here the last couple of days.
eLLO smote...

...
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Old 12-30-2008, 08:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cold weather = No start?

Just to let everyone know, it was the CPS that caused the problem. The vids above work like a champ, and I replaced it in about 5 minutes. Fired right up. Of course, no I have to stave off the massive valve cover oil leak I discovered that covered the whole rear of the engine....

...
1998 Saturn SL2 5 Speed
2000 Ram 4x4 with some mods
2003 Ram Cummins 4x4 5 Speed tow rig
1981 Toyota rockcrawler
1996 Mustang GT with some mods

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Old 12-30-2008, 09:07 PM   #11
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Default Re: Cold weather = No start?

DOHC gasket is very easy to change. The hardest part is cleaning the surfaces to put it back together. Make sure you use a torque wrench and put two dabs of RTV where the top of the timing chain cover meets the top of the block. 89 IN-LBS is the torque spec for the bolts. Torque gradually from the center and work your way out. The Haynes manual for the Saturn is pretty good.

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Old 12-30-2008, 11:00 PM   #12
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Default Re: Cold weather = No start?

The 98in-lb is a max value, 75 to 80 will work and is much less likely to strip out a bolt hole or break a bolt. The gasket and head have to be oil free or it will leak. Use acetone to clean both. Fix the leak and your oil consumption will be cut in half or better.

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Old 12-31-2008, 12:22 PM   #13
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Default Re: Cold weather = No start?

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The 98in-lb is a max value, 75 to 80 will work and is much less likely to strip out a bolt hole or break a bolt.
89 IN-LBS Yes?

My torque wrench sets nice at 85 so that is typically what I use.

I use brake cleaner to clean the surfaces. Make sure they are completely free of oil. Don't forget the surfaces where the gasket is for the plug wires. Squeaky clean makes a good seal.

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Old 12-31-2008, 02:33 PM   #14
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Default Re: Cold weather = No start?

The usual torque wrench is only 25% accurate and yield on that bolt is 144in-lb. Once the washer/spacer is tight against the head further tightening serves only the purpose of preventing loosening over time. They are pulled down at about 60in-lb. And if you do not remove all of the oil and dead RTV from the hole and bolt the torque value has no meaning anyway.

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