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Old 02-03-2011, 04:00 PM   #1
2NDSOUT
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1994 SL2
1997 SW2
Wrench 1997 SW2 won't start

1997 SW2 203K miles

A few years ago, I think it was Sept. 2008; shortly after I purchased the car...I replaced the starter with a brand new starter (NSA) from Rockauto. I purchased and installed in back in 2008.

Over the past week, the battery light has come on when the car starts up, but then the light will go out and the car runs perfectly fine. Over the past couple of days leading up to today, it has been increasingly harder to start the car. Today after my wife got home from taking our son to Pre-school, it took her 5 times to start the car. She got the car home and parked it in the driveway. She asked me to take a look at it when I got home.

I took readings with both my analog and digital multimeters, and the battery is reading 12 Volts, and 12.8 Volts (Analog and Digital readings.) I took a reading with the car running a week or so ago and the battery was reading 12 Volts, along with the Alternator putting out 13-14 Volts with the car running. Thru all of this the battery light would be on, but would then go off after a few minutes. The Alternator is 3 years old and was replaced in June 2008.

I replaced the Serp Belt recently; as there was the atypical Belt squeal when the car would be started up. Replacing the Serp Belt didn't fix that issue.... so I think I need a Belt Tensioner as well

I got into the car this afternoon, went to start it and the car will just make a metallic like sound and then do nothing. It's like a Crrrrrmmmmm. Dash lights are on, with no other issues, radio works, and dome light works as well.

I'm leaning towards the starter that I put in back in 2008 to be done and needing to be replaced. Rockauto told me that the manufacturer warranty on the NSA starter is 2 years... so I'm out there.

Replace the Starter? Thought and comments please. Will need to get this fixed on Saturday.

...
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 02-03-2011, 05:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

How old is the battery? You may want to get it load tested. It would be a good idea to get the charging system checked too, sometimes the s-series alternators drop half of the amperage output but still read correct voltage.

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Old 02-03-2011, 05:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

To be sure Bryan, whack the starter with a 2x4. if it runs, it's the starter.

Amazing how long S-series aftermarket parts last... NOT

...
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

I think you allowed this problem by not following through with a new belt tensioner. Although you haven't mentioned any belt squeal yet, its more likely that with a new starter and alternator installed and a new serp belt, this doesn't make a worn out belt tensioner work any better. Check belt tension with your fingers pressing down on the belt for an easy test. The battery light staying on a few minutes before turning off can hint at; loose/corroded battery cables, connections, battery issues, loose serp belt, belt tensioner, and alternator along with associated wiring and connections. Look at the overall picture as you know what's been replaced and what's not, as necessary for the electrical system to stay maintained properly.

...
*The CPS is the heart of the entire EFI system. No cps = dead EFI system*
*There's more to a/c than just a few cans of refrigerant*
*There's more to brakes than just replacing parts*

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Old 02-03-2011, 05:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

The Battery is 2 years old. It's a Blue/Red Duralast from Autozone. Dated October 2008.

FDryer, you may be onto something with the Belt Tensioner being bad...The Squeal is still occasionally there (at least when the car started).

I have a New Starter that I will be picking up for $100 at Smyth Auto on Saturday morning. The nice thing about this one is that it has a lifetime warranty on it; compared to the 2 year warranty that the NSA starter had.

I have a used Tensioner that seems to be in good shape... money is a bit tight right now, so I may put that used tensioner on (it still has some spring in it and it is from a 1998 SL2) as well as the new Starter.

History on the car:

Bought in June 2008
Replaced Serp Belt, Water Pump, and Alternator June 2008
New Spark Plugs and Wires in this time frame as well (Standard NGK, and regular wires)
Replaced Starter September 2008
Replaced Battery October 2008
Replaced Serp Belt January 2011

I've done other maintenance on the car since 2008 as well; but mostly has pertained to brake changes and oil changes.

...
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 02-03-2011, 06:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

I can add another way to check on the tensioner, indirectly. If you can charge the battery overnight so it will be fully charged and the starter spins up faster, this may indicate a slipping belt from a worn out tensioner not allowing the alternator to charge the battery while driving. A worn tensioner not allowing full engine torque to turn the serp belt won't let the alternator work to fully recharge the battery while supplying all the electrical needs of the car so the battery slowly becomes depleted and leads to slow starting, erratic starter behavior to no starting at all. A dead or partially discharged battery never fully recharged may be giving you all the hints but interpreted as you would suspect; battery, serp belt, alternator, cables, connections. Even monitoring voltages can be misleading since there is no way to monitor a slipping belt from a worn out tensioner except for the only noise from the squeal that quickly goes away.

Its a tough choice, choosing either another starter or springing for a new belt tensioner.

...
*The CPS is the heart of the entire EFI system. No cps = dead EFI system*
*There's more to a/c than just a few cans of refrigerant*
*There's more to brakes than just replacing parts*

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Old 02-03-2011, 06:21 PM   #7
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1996 SW2
Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Its a tough choice, choosing either another starter or springing for a new belt tensioner.
Not really. Reported voltage with the engine running is too low. The belt was squeaking before, and the new one is still squeaking occasionally. This all points to a weak tensioner. That should be done first.

But indeed, slow-charging the battery would make for a conclusive test.

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Old 02-03-2011, 07:29 PM   #8
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1993 SL2
Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

X2 on belt tensioner. I would say put the free used one on and give er! Its not like they are hard to change, just go through wheel well. Free parts are the best and most often work for years . Kinda sounds like to me the belt is slipping on alternator and it really never gets spinning to speed with half loose belt.. Those tensioners ***** the bed often. ..

...
My current collection: 91SL2, 92SC2, 93SL2, 94SL2, 94SW2, 95SL2, 97SW2(FOR SALE), 98SL1, 91SL2 and growing.

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Old 02-03-2011, 08:16 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

In between reading replies on here; I had put a call into my friend mechanic. He mentioned to me that the alternator is probably getting fried on the diodes because it can't keep up with the belt tensioner being bad. He mentioned to me too, as FDryer pointed out that I may be getting false readings from the electrical system with the Belt Tensioner and possibly Alternator being bad.

So.. I have now decided I will replace the Belt Tensioner with the used one that I have in the garage, and my friend mechanic is going to get me a decent used Alternator for $30 that he just pulled from another Saturn that he parted out.

Otherwise, if I have to go with a new Alternator, then I'm looking at $95 for a new one (with tax).

At this point I would prefer that this repair be the belt tensioner and Alternator rather then the Starter. Done a few starter changes, and just not fun to change those out.

I unfortunately don't have a battery charger... I have a Black & Decker Powermate 400, but that is mainly to jumpstart a car. May have to spring for an inexpensive Battery Charger from Harbor Freight if they have any on sale...

I'll post here over the weekend and let you know how the fix goes.

...
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 02-03-2011, 09:24 PM   #10
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1996 SW2
Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

After you replace the tensioner, why not just swap a battery in from one of your other cars?

With as many cars as you have, a slow/fast battery charger should be on your (very) short list. I bought a Schumacher (reputable brand with long history) with three rates (2A slow, 6A "fast", 60[?]A "jump"), automatic stop, for less than $50. Pays for itself when it saves one battery.

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Old 02-04-2011, 06:41 AM   #11
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Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
After you replace the tensioner, why not just swap a battery in from one of your other cars?

With as many cars as you have, a slow/fast battery charger should be on your (very) short list. I bought a Schumacher (reputable brand with long history) with three rates (2A slow, 6A "fast", 60[?]A "jump"), automatic stop, for less than $50. Pays for itself when it saves one battery.
Well, I would do that; but the Battery in my 94 SC1 has been sitting since 2008. I've had to jumpstart that car to get it to run periodically. I could try the battery from my 94 HCE, but I don't know if that would work or not- mainly for the the fact that that car is in the garage and I need to start working on it.

...
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 02-04-2011, 07:43 AM   #12
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1996 SW2
Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
Well, I would do that; but the Battery in my 94 SC1 has been sitting since 2008. I've had to jumpstart that car to get it to run periodically. I could try the battery from my 94 HCE, but I don't know if that would work or not- mainly for the the fact that that car is in the garage and I need to start working on it.
This is exactly why you should have a trickle or slow charger. With a car that sits for long periods, it's much better to slow charge the battery before starting it than to jump-start it and charge it with the alternator.

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Old 02-07-2011, 06:39 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

Didn't get it fixed over the weekend. I was fighting some days last week with a fever and generally feeling yuck. I don't get sick often, but Flu-A and Pneumonia claimed me. Went to the doc today and I'm out of commission until Thursday. So the car repair will have to wait until the upcoming weekend.

...
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 02-13-2011, 06:10 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

Finally had a good day to get out to try to work on the car to get the belt tensioner out.



I can't get the F'in top 10MM Bolt out for the Belt Tensioner. I used a 6 Point Head 10MM, tried to use Bolt Outs... I can't get the top Tensioner bolt out to save my life. Am I going to have to chisel the damn thing out????

I worked on that thing for a good 2+ hours today with no luck. I NEED to get this car fixed again...aside from having to take it to a shop to pay them to get the top bolt out....

Saturn community; I am at my wits end, my wife needs her car.. what can I do to get the top bolt out, now that the top bolt is chewed up...

I've watched Richpin's video, and I have used the 14MM wrench to move the tensioner piece out of the way to gain more access to the top bolt. I've removed the top motor mount and hoisted the engine up from underneath the oil pan to gain more clearance....

The bottom bolt came out without any issues.



HELP!!!

...
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 02-13-2011, 07:00 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

I'm sorry to hear about the troubles, Bryan. Those bolts can be a pain.

I would suggest trying from inside the wheel well. Remove the splash guard and this time lower the engine. I can't remember if you can access the top bolt this way, but it might be worth a try.

Remember to keep the socket square and straight on the bolt head as you try and turn it. If you have a cheap socket, throw it away and get a craftsman or better. If you have air tools, try using your air ratchet on it, since slow, even pressure sometimes strips bolts, while the hammering action breaks them loose.

There have been many before you who have suffered with this bolt!

good luck,
shawn

edit:
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=154086

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Old 02-13-2011, 08:18 PM   #16
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Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

After reading some of the additional thread pieces, Shawn; I'm not having an issue with the 14MM Bolt... it's the top 10MM bolt and I have Craftsman sockets as well as Craftsman Bolt out sets.

How does one get the engine lowered enough to go through the wheel well... do I remove the lower dogbone mount? Ugh....

I have removed the lower splash guards, should I remove the entire upper splash guard as well to try to go through the wheel well to remove the upper tensioner bolt?

I have a sawzall... should I just try to see if I can cut the top tensioner bolt out? I don't think there is enough room in there to get a blade, let alone a sawzall....

...
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 02-13-2011, 08:54 PM   #17
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Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

You can take the pulley off of the tensioner to get a better shot at it. Just turn the center bolt counter clockwise. The torque spec is 20 ft-lb when you put it back.

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Old 02-13-2011, 09:26 PM   #18
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Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
How does one get the engine lowered enough to go through the wheel well... do I remove the lower dogbone mount? Ugh....



I have a sawzall... should I just try to see if I can cut the top tensioner bolt out? I don't think there is enough room in there to get a blade, let alone a sawzall....
Yea, I was talking about the 10mm bolt. The guy in that thread was having trouble with the lower, which is why I can't remember if you can in fact access the top 10mm through the wheel well.

If it's not too rounded, I would try getting a better angle at it. If the wheel well doesn't work, Nuc's idea is a good start.

Also, someone mentioned before that the craftsman bolt out kit doesn't have a socket that fits the 10mm, but that the harbor freight bolt out kit does.

I would keep working on the bolt before I tried cutting anything!

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Old 02-13-2011, 09:46 PM   #19
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1996 SW2
Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

I had the exact same issue, but (dig-dig-dig) with the lower. So the wheel well offered lots of room. Guess you got the even shorter straw....

Don't have much experience with the various flavors of extractor sockets, but since the very nature of their use is "exceptional" circumstances like this, and no two such cases are alike, I'm guessing it's case-by-case; some work better in some cases, and others in others. For me, the Craftsman one didn't work for cr@p, and I happened to get it out with the Harbor Freight (Pittsburgh) version. For you, it could be either one, or maybe the Irwin. At this point, try whatever you can (yeah, removing the pulley will buy you some room), and save your receipts of all the tools you buy. I was able to actually return the Craftsman for a refund (not a replacement), because you could see the "jaws" of the socket getting eaten up.

I wonder if OldNuc's idea of a light whack on the bolt head, to sorta "perturb" the metallurgical mojo that has occurred between the hard steel bolt and the aluminum threads, would be in order.

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Old 02-15-2011, 07:15 PM   #20
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Default Re: 1997 SW2 won't start

UPDATE:

So after struggling with trying to get the damn top bolt tensioner bolt out...before I stopped working on the car on Sunday night; I sprayed the top bolt down with PB Blaster, and shut the hood. Sunday night I also went and bought a desperately needed 1/2 inch socket breaker bar and a new set of Chisels...fearing that I would have to chisel the top bolt out.

Tonight; I went and started to work on the car. I now know that the Belt Tensioner is definately to blame for this entire mess... when I went to pull back on the actual tensioner, I heard the spring inside the casing gave away. Tensioner is completely shot. So I hike up the engine from under the oil pan as high as I can get it. I tried a few chisels... No luck. Grabbed my bolt out set. Put #4 on the rounded bolt, but the bolt out into a socket attached to the 1/2 inch socket breaker bar and then I started to see the bolt turning! THANK GAWD!!!!

Needless to say, I had the top bolt out in about 10 minutes. Now.... I have to get some replacement 10MM bolts...the top one is chewed up and I would rather not put it back into the engine. Trips to Autozone, O'Reilly's, Advance and Smyth Automotive proved to be unsuccessful in finding replacement 10MM bolts.... So if anyone has any extra 10MM bolts...

...
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

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

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