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Old 01-17-2012, 05:45 PM   #1
Kitt92
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Dizzy 96 Saturn SL1 No Start

I have a 96 Saturn SL1. I left work and stopped at the store. It started fine. I went to a friends house and when i came back out about 15 minutes later, the car wouldn't start. I tried having my friend jump the car and it still wouldn't start. He said it was the starter. So i bought a new one and he put it on the car. It still doen't start. All the lights work and everything seems to work like it should except the car won't start. it sounds like the batteryis dead. It makes no sound, when i try to turn it over. The only sound i can hear is the fuel pump kicking on and a click. The battery is a couple years old and we tested it and it says its good. We also changed the starter relay, and check the battery terminals which we fine. We dont know what else it may be. I just see this getting expensive trying different things and it not being what is wrong with the car. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 01-17-2012, 06:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: 96 Saturn SL1 No Start

Stop throwing parts at it and TEST. You need to check the voltage along the low-current circuit, while holding the key in START. Check at the solenoid on the starter. If no voltage there, then work upstream. Check at the relay (so you replaced the relay hidden under the dash top?). From there, it depends. Automatic or manual transmission? Does the car have RKE? If it's a manual, have you tried push-starting it?

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Old 01-17-2012, 06:47 PM   #3
Kitt92
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Default Re: 96 Saturn SL1 No Start

That is why i came on here asking for help. I don't want to keep throwing parts at it. While i don't know much about cars, i think the solenoid on the starter would be good. It was a brand new starter and its all one unit. Could i of gotten a bad one even though its new? I will still check the voltage on it anyway. Yes i changed the relay under the dash. No it doesn't have RKE, and its an automatic.

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Old 01-17-2012, 06:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: 96 Saturn SL1 No Start

The voltage test at the solenoid is not to test the solenoid. It's to test the wiring circuit down to it.

The other component in the circuit with an automatic is the neutral safety switch. One poor-man's test - try starting it in Neutral. Also try (tricky two-hand operation) holding the key in START while moving the shifter from Neutral toward Reverse and toward Drive. Occasionally the switch will get out of adjustment (not aligned with the shifter).

The other major component to check is the connection of the main battery cable at the battery. Make sure both cables are tight on the battery; look for corrosion of the wires near the terminals.

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Old 01-27-2012, 05:34 PM   #5
mbr
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Default Re: 96 Saturn SL1 No Start

I have a very similar problem.
The car (5-speed manual) would start cold but not warm. Classic starter symptom, right? Tested the purple wire at the starter, full voltage. Changed the starter, same problem. Battery is good. Tested battery voltage while the key is in the start position. No drop in voltage at all. Jumped the terminals of the clutch safety switch, no diff.
I had a friend hold the key in the start position while I listened for a clicking. It didn't seem to come from where the starter relay is, but seemed to come from the fuel pump relay in the fuse panel. I pushed in on the relay and it started right up.
Does this mean the relay is bad? Would that prevent the starter motor from even turning? Maybe the ground for the fuse panel even though all the other electrics work fine?
I'm stumped.

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Old 01-27-2012, 06:07 PM   #6
mbr
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Default Re: 96 Saturn SL1 No Start

I should add, when I tested the purple wire at the solenoid, the car was in a cold/will start condition. Probably why it showed full voltage. I guess I should have tested it when it was in warm/no start.
Also when it won't start, I can bump start it and it will run fine.
Does the fuel pump relay play a part only in the starting circuit? Will the car run fine once it's started even with a bad fuel pump relay?

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Old 01-27-2012, 06:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: 96 Saturn SL1 No Start

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbr View Post
I should add, when I tested the purple wire at the solenoid, the car was in a cold/will start condition. Probably why it showed full voltage. I guess I should have tested it when it was in warm/no start.
Actually, if it's the typical hot-starter-fail issue, the purple wire at the solenoid still shows voltage with the key in START. That's the proof, in fact; there's voltage to the solenoid, but the starter doesn't run. The catch is, by the time you get under there with a meter, and esp. if you take the time to remove the purple wire to avoid it accidentally tripping the starter, the thing has cooled down and the warm/no-start condition has passed. It's sorta like waiting 'til it stops raining in order to go up on the roof to find the leak....

Quote:
Also when it won't start, I can bump start it and it will run fine.
Does the fuel pump relay play a part only in the starting circuit? Will the car run fine once it's started even with a bad fuel pump relay?
No, the fuel pump circuit is independent of the starter circuit. And no, the engine will not run with a bad fuel pump relay. If the engine runs with a push-start, the fuel pump circuit is good. The fact that it was out a bit was probably a coincidence. The starter relay on your '98 (not relevant to the OP) is under the dash top; are you sure the click you heard was not coming from there?

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Old 01-27-2012, 06:27 PM   #8
mbr
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Default Re: 96 Saturn SL1 No Start

Pretty sure it was the pump relay. I put my ear right next to it and could also feel it clicking. I don't think it was out. When I pushed on it, the whole fuse panel flexed a little and it started immediately.

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