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Old 08-04-2014, 07:36 PM   #1
jbwinters
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Default 2001 Saturn L100 Starts then immediately dies - Have a temp fix,would love a real one

I'll go into the details of the last 8 weeks of problems that may have built to my current situation after going over what is happening now on the off chance it helps with figuring out what I need to do.

Currently, when I start my car, maybe a second after it starts, it dies. Security light flashes. This started happening every time I tried to start my car about a week ago, and I would have to unhook my battery for a second or two and then hook it back up and it would start again. As of yesterday I had to unhook my battery, then try to start my car with the battery unhooked, and then it would start again. I'm assuming based on my minimal research that this is because of my car's computer/security, but I haven't had a professional look at it because for another month or so I'm gonna be living paycheck to paycheck and have to make this car work (if I can) with as little cost as possible.

(brief history of the last 2 months)
Roughly 2 months ago my cd player was stolen out of my car, there were no wires cut, but I have not since replaced my cd player.

About six weeks ago I went to start my car and it would not shift out of park (i couldn't press the button in to shift). After the tow truck showed up (AAA...luckily) he showed me how to get to a manual switch under my shifter that would free the shifter and let me drive. The next day I got a tuneup and two no tires and my car, for the first time (and only time for about a month) started and immediately died. The same tow driver happened to be at the repair shop and showed me how unhooked my battery would "reset my computer". The problem didn't come back, and this also fixed my shifter not shifting problem.

Periodically my car does this thing where several of the lights on my dash flash (security, brights, airbag come to mind) and my gas and engine temp gauge drop to 0 and then go back to where they were originally. Also sometimes my "ABS" light comes on, and when this happens my air conditioning quits working, but if I unhook my battery and rehook it back up the light goes out and my AC works find.

If any of you can point me in the right direction of a fix that may work for me I would be forever grateful. Currently I have a 50 mile commute to work...and this Saturn has been amazing for me for the last 5 years, but I've only needed it for city driving and the occasional 180 mile drive to see family. Thanks so much

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Old 08-04-2014, 08:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L100 Starts then immediately dies - Have a temp fix,would love a real

This sounds like an issue with the BCM to me. A good start would be to check any BCM-related fuses and make sure none are blown.

Then perform the Passlock relearn procedure as outlined here.

Messing with the existing wiring or adding switches to bypass the car's built-in safegards is not a good idea and does nothing to fix the real problem.

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Old 08-05-2014, 09:10 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L100 Starts then immediately dies - Have a temp fix,would love a real

Thanks, trying those now. Was going to do the passlock reset first, but it will sit for 10-15 minutes without the security light ever going off. I found a youtube video that shows exactly what is happening to my car, but I can't post links yet because I'm new but the video is called "2002 SATURN L100 BCM". Someone suggests the passlock reset in his comments too.

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Old 08-05-2014, 09:19 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L100 Starts then immediately dies - Have a temp fix,would love a real

Checked the 3 BCM fuses, they were all fine.

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Old 08-05-2014, 09:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L100 Starts then immediately dies - Have a temp fix,would love a real

Ok, so I've tried several times to do a passlock relearn, and each time I've waited about 15 minutes (I think once ~25 minutes) for the security light to stop blinking, and it never did. Maybe I'm doing it incorrectly, but I will start the car and once it dies immediately several lights on the dash are on, including a flashing security light (this is the only one that flashes). No matter how long I wait it does not stop flashing. I've tried just turning it to start and not letting the engine get started, but then the security light doesn't come on in the first place. Is this technique something that only works when the car fails to start at all? Thanks again for your help. Looks like I may have to rely on my battery unhook method working for a few more weeks before I can afford a costly bcm repair or a new car.

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Old 08-05-2014, 11:38 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L100 Starts then immediately dies - Have a temp fix,would love a real

As ruley73 pointed out, this appears to be a body control module (BCM) fault and the worse case scenario is it activating Passlock, interfering with engine starting/running. When security flashes during starting, Passlock is active and disables injector operation. Trying and failing Passlock relearn also points to bcm failure. There are two choices left; GM replacement with a new bcm programmed with your remotes and mileage or finding used bcm's on ebay and performing the same 30 minute relearn procedure. Most here are successful with used bcm's and car less about mileage or remote use. Mileage from the donor car remains embedded within bcm's and cannot be changed but remotes will need to be programmed by GM. A third alternative with very limited success is sending your bcm to aftermarket repair sites that claim to repair bcm's. You can search Saturnfans threads about all three situations.

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Old 08-05-2014, 12:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L100 Starts then immediately dies - Have a temp fix,would love a real

Thanks for the help, I'll check out the other threads!

I really appreciate all the help everyone has given me. I get paid Friday and could afford to buy a new one as long as I can do the installation myself.

Last edited by jbwinters; 08-05-2014 at 12:21 PM..

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Old 08-05-2014, 01:04 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L100 Starts then immediately dies - Have a temp fix,would love a real

Whether you know it or not, GM will not allow anyone to plug in a new bcm, period. Google electrostatic discharge and mishandling by anyone not familiar with destroying expensive electronics and you can understand GM's stance. Either pay GM to remove, replace and program a new bcm to your car or arrange other ways to replace a damaged bcm without GM. These are not plug n' play devices like home computer parts unless you fully accept the liability issues surrounding static damage occurring at any time during removal/replacment procedures. Never mind what you may read about GM tossing electronics around - the car is still in their service bay when procedures are done and any mistakes they make are on their dime. Legally, if this were to be allowed, GM programming a blank bcm with your car specs would deny any warranty once this bcm leaves their hands and gives it you. There are no licensing procedures surrounding safe handling of electronics so its in GM's best interests to deny any warranty. Once you take responsibility for a newly programmed bcm, you take responsibility if static destroys it. Claims of a faulty bcm arise with GM's word against yours, in a worse case scenario. By standing on policy to control liability, its in everyone's best interest that GM controls removal/replacement/programming of ecm's, pcm's, tcm's, and bcm's to eliminate any liability issues. Once installed in a vehicle and operating, a standard GM warranty is included - no muss no fuss. Just because anyone can remove and replace electronics doesn't eliminate the liability issue of where fault lies. While expensive, the price includes the warranty against failure in a reasonable period of time. What you and I do outside of car warranties is of no concern to GM or any car manufacturer. Realistically, if I were an electronics supplier, I would insist on someone formally trained in electrostatic handling procedures and in mainstream repairs with repeatable results, meaning a dealer or designated third party repair shop capable of advanced electronics repairs. This is comparable to a/c compressor distributors insisting on repair shops replacing driers when using a new compressor to ensure against false warranty claims from repairs not adhering to rules and damaging a perfectly new compressor fouled with contamination that was easily avoided by replacing the receiver/drier. Several hundred dollars for a new compressor that fails from contamination by untrained people attempting short cuts is frowned on. By raising the bar a little, better repairs are made with fewer mistakes. BCM's are not cheap.

What's described is only about new blank modules requiring programming. Used modules from salvage have no warranty other than "if it fails, you get another one or your money back".

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Old 08-05-2014, 06:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L100 Starts then immediately dies - Have a temp fix,would love a real

So the risks of installing a salvaged/used BCM are smaller? Would I have to do any programming on it other than passlock relearning if I don't care about accurate engine mileage?

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Old 05-09-2017, 08:05 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L100 Starts then immediately dies - Have a temp fix,would love a real

Hi, I'm having almost the same issue. I have a 2002 L100 2.2 with 40k (or atleast that's what the odometer says). The BCM in it now could very well have been replaced once before we bought it.

We were out driving it one day and it just lost power. I drove it home and had to rapidly and lightly tap the gas pedal to keep it running, and once up to speed I was able to keep it going by barely keeping my foot on the gas. I barely had enough power to get home. It stalled a few times on the last hill. I had to restart it afew times to get it home, but now that it's in the driveway it won't run anymore.

The car starts right up, goes to about 1200 RPM's for 3-4 seconds, then cuts off like a switch. Sounds like it's almost starving for air. I have no security light on, and no codes coming up. There is spark and plenty of gas pressure.

I have many extra sensors from the j/y and have swapped them out with several different ones to check and see if that made a difference. I replaced the Throttle Position Sensor, Idle Air Control Valve, Intake Air Temp Sensor, Coil Pack, and ICM. I checked all the fuses, the air filter, plugs, and I'm just out of ideas other than the BCM.

If I go to the j/y and pick up a BCM, does it have to be the same exact model? Or can I pick one from an L200 or LW so long as it's the same year?

This site has been VERY helpful so far with everything else I've done. I hope I can get our car running again. We love our car.

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Old 05-09-2017, 08:21 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L100 Starts then immediately dies - Have a temp fix,would love a real

Welcome to SaturnFans, BConrad74! Before condemning the BCM or some other electrical component, can you provide us with the maintenance history of this car as best as you know it to be? I'd like to know how old the fuel filter is. Could it not be that the engine is starving for fuel due to a clogged filter? Whatever the case, more information is needed to assist in diagnosing this particular problem.

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Old 05-09-2017, 08:42 PM   #12
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L100 Starts then immediately dies - Have a temp fix,would love a real

BConrad74, before presuming this is a bcm issue (not likely), suggestions given can help if more info is provided. While I don't assume or presume anything given, you're remarks that spark and fuel are available are troubling. Did you remove spark plugs and setup for a spark test? Did you see or smell fuel on plugs after several failed starting attempts? Depressed the fuel test valve to check for fuel and pressure as fuel sprays out with ignition on? This doesn't check for injector operation as they're fused with one injector fuse. Checked for blown fuses?

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