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Old 08-13-2013, 04:25 PM   #1
anglo
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2001 L-Series 2.2L Wagon
Default Problem Starting Saturn LS1 – Please help

Hello Everyone, I am new here and need help in fixing my 2000 Saturn LS1 2.2 automatic car that does not want to start now. I will list the history for the progress of the symptoms:
- Two months ago it did not start, and I only heard a click. After about 5 tries it started and worked fine for few days, then I did not want to start from the first time again, and so on.

- Two weeks ago, it refused to start at all by itself, only I heard the clicking. I boosted it from a friend’s car, and it worked fine for few days, then it needed another boost, then worked fine for few days, and so on.

- Now, it does not start even by boosting, but I still hear the click and the gas injection when i try to start. All lights are good, dashboard lights are normal, and radio and center lock are working

The battery is brand new, with 12.65 volts. I think the alternator works fine as it was charging about 14.6 volts last week. The battery connections are good and clean. I did not inspect the starter solenoid/motor or relay or their connections.

I need help in diagnosing. Please provide some info about the locations of pieces as I am not familiar with the locations and names of the pieces. Pics or scans from a manual will be great.
Thank a lot, Highly appreciate your help.

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Old 08-13-2013, 05:20 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Problem Starting Saturn LS1 – Please help

Great troubleshooting and posting results with as much info helps. Mileage? With a no-start issue, the main parts to a dead no start issue (only a loud click heard) and knowing the fuel pump is working narrows down the problems to either a power or starter issue. For power, the battery, battery cables, and their connections are the main parts to be checked before moving on to a worn out starter. As long as the main electrical system is in good working order (do not assume anything) then the most likely problem is a worn out starter (if original).

Starters have a limited life determined by some factors; frequency of starts, mileage between starts, many short trips in town or long highway drives accumulating many miles. Starters can wear out in as little as 50k miles or finally cave in after 250k+ miles. The wear items for starters are the two brushes and the starter solenoid. Hearing a click usually means worn out brushes as the starter solenoid slaps the starter gear into place and either the large electrical contacts or brushes are worn out. Repairable only by having advanced skills otherwise replacing one is the easier route. Starters are on the bottom of the engine, either by the radiator or firewall side.

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Old 08-13-2013, 05:40 PM   #3
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2000 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: Problem Starting Saturn LS1 – Please help

Happily, the starter is on the radiator side of the engine - much easier to access than if it were on the other side.

While I have yet to replace my original starter, it does give me pause to wonder when it will finally give out. For now, it continues to work normally as it always has.

...
215,000 miles-it keeps on rolling!
The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't. grows bigger, no end in sight-the founders roll over in their graves.

Last edited by pierrot; 08-13-2013 at 05:42 PM.. Reason: add information

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Old 08-13-2013, 06:35 PM   #4
anglo
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Default Re: Problem Starting Saturn LS1 – Please help

Thanks fdryer and pierrot for your responses. my car has 100k miles.

I tried to locate the starter by following the red wire from the battery few minutes ago, and it is located at the radiator side. Not easy to reach from top or bottom though.

My car actually started smoothly from the first time after I tried to follow the red wire . Probably the connection at the solenoid is not good, and I just moved the wires a little bit to make a connection.

My question now:
should I replace or clean the cable?
is there any easy way to clean it? like pouring something from the top to flush it.

It is so tight from the top, how can I unscrew the cable if I want to? is there any special manual/maintenance steps and tools needed for my car model?

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Old 08-13-2013, 07:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: Problem Starting Saturn LS1 – Please help

Well, the starter suddenly working right after 'laying of hands' on anything may be simple coincidence. To be sure loose power cables aren't the issue, you'll have to disconnect the battery negative cable first. Welding occurs if anyone foolishly checks and uses any metal tools on any part of a HOT starting circuit with the RED battery cable connected to the starter and alternator. With battery negative disconnected, you can wrench anywhere on any wiring without worrying about sudden welding/arcing surprises. When done wrenching, the negative cable is connected last before trying the starter.

Starters located along the bottom of the engine implies removal from under the car. Unless you can re-invent the wheel, removal is from under the car. There is always a chance that someone has found a novel way to do things but usually not with main parts done since the automobile was invented.

Be forewarned - not troubleshooting a possible worn out starter may leave you stranded somewhere you don't want to be, without tools or help.

If you need step-by-step instructions, pm an email address.

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Old 08-14-2013, 12:28 PM   #6
anglo
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Default Re: Problem Starting Saturn LS1 – Please help

Thanks fdryer. I pm my email address.

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Old 08-14-2013, 02:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: Problem Starting Saturn LS1 – Please help

fdryer: i got your email and message. Thanks a lot for your help. Highly appreciated.

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