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Old 08-16-2009, 06:39 PM   #1
Darren1970
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Idea Random so start!

Hello Saturn fans and techies!

We have a 2000 LW2 with 142XXX miles and it's been a fine car all these years. One major gripe: It won't start! Key is turned, and most of the time it will fire right up and you go on with your day. Randomly, however, the key is turned and you could grind on it untill the starter burns out and it will not start. Even stranger: if you wait about a half hour or so it will start right up and run fine!

It does this with hot/cold starts; after sitting for a week, or it will do this when you are running errands in town and you get a half hour delay to your day.

Any guesses out there?

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Old 08-16-2009, 08:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: Random so start!

1-Check for fuel; after turning the ignition to the ON/RUN position, listen for the faint hum/hiss of the fuel pump running for 2-3 seconds then locate the chromed fuel rail on the engine where the fuel test valve is located; remove the black cap, cover with a loose rag and depress the valve stem (same as the tire valve) expecting a healthy spray of fuel. A healthy spray means fuel and pressure are available to the injectors but a dribble means a fuel issue; fuel pump fuse, pump relay or wiring.

2-With no plug wires to check for spark, there's some difficulty to check the ignition system requiring a spark test. Plugs hidden and lack of wires requires another method to check for spark unless you're willing to remove half of the intake runners to remove the ignition coil pack and plugs to lay them out on the engine for a spark test. Check to be sure the main fuses are OK. You might have to have make a measurement to the crank position sensor (CPS), located next to the oil filter. It should be around 700-1500 ohms. An open reading with a multimeter means a faulty cps, replace it. An intermitten faulty cps may read appropriately but fail to work also. Replacing it is the next best option although a bit expensive.

The primary role of the cps is to provide the precise timing signal data whenever the engine rotates; it allows the ECM to operate otherwise your description of cranking till the battery or starter burns out fits a failed cps. The ECM runs the fuel pump, ignition system for spark, and pulses the injectors. No cps = no fuel pump operation, no ignition for spark , and no injector pulses, a DEAD engine. You can crank the engine all day but the engine will never fire up.

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Old 08-16-2009, 08:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: Random so start!

Fuel pumps sometimes fail to intermittent. The worn brushes and commutator have some random position that won't start the pump. I have also had one that died on the freeway, then the car would restart fine after a coast to the shoulder. But I think this one sounds more like it could be a flakey CPS.

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Old 08-19-2009, 10:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: Random so start!

I had the same problem. This is the 'Pass Key Housing' and costs about $250 for the entire job at a Saturn Dealer.

It was really annoying cause I would take some of my buddies out to lunch, and we would get out of the restaurant and try to start the car, and WHAMO!! no start. and we would be sitting there for 20 minutes in 90+ degree weather until the thing reset.

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