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Old 08-13-2015, 09:41 PM   #1
randyfarber
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Default 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

Vehicle isn't starting. Getting a click, but just one. Starter was removed and taken in for a rebuild, but the reputable company took starter apart and said absolutely nothing wrong. After the nightmare removal process (unlike 4 cylinder version I had, where it took 15 minutes to remove/replace starter), where I am going to have even more trouble re-installing, I am drawing a blank.

Car is automatic with 145,000 on it. There is no security system, at least not that we know of, bought it used 3 months ago. Can't imagine engine being seized up, as we drove it home, and have driven it consistently, up until 6 hours before the start of this issue, with no problems, no overheating, good oil levels, etc. Cables have been thorough cleaned and checked, and are good, including ground to the fenderwall, which is about a foot long coming right from battery connection. If there is another one, I damned sure can't find it, or even where it might be.. Battery is good too. Car won't do anything different with a jump, than without, or without being attached to the battery, and getting a jump with good cables, directly to the cable ends. All fuses are good, except for a cooling fan 30 amp one. All lights seem fine, although when first turning key, they blink for a few seconds, before going to normal "on" displays. Should note, have had some issues with gas guage not working, but mechanic says it's an issue at the tank, that's just hard to get at.

Car will not shift out of park and ignition switch doesn't have an accessory option.. I disconnected neutral safety switch, and still won't shift out of park.. Because I'm getting a click to solenoid, I'm assuming neutral safety switch is working fine.

Is there a starter relay on this version? Can't find any info on there being one. Am wondering about there being a brake "switch", because this one requires the brake to be depressed to shift.

Any ideas, anyone? I am beyond pissed off, and don't even want to put the starter back in, until I can figure something out, as it might take a full day to do it. Any videos I've seen evidently have removed the exhaust manifold, but the possibility of having broken off manifold bolts, prevented that option for me.

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Old 08-13-2015, 10:18 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

This sounds like a Security problems related to the BCM and my previous Saturn LS2 had security system. Once it was reprogrammed with new key fobs the Security locks worked. So what you need to do is take your key fobs and Saturn to a GM dealer and have them check to make sure your BCM is in working order by reprogramming it or testing it to see it still responds.

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Old 08-13-2015, 10:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

I don't have FOB's. My Saturn keys are different though. One has a dot below the black plastic, the spare, has none. Not sure if it had one before, but we've never been informed of one. Remember, this is a 2000 LS2. What year was yours? Is there a way to determine if it even has this system?

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Old 08-13-2015, 11:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

All Saturns from model year 2000+ use GM's remote keyless entry for dual purposes; lock/unlock doors and enable/disable Passlock or Passkey. Yours uses Passlock to disable injector operation when a theft attempt is made without using a key. Starting is not disabled whether Passlock is enabled or disabled. There are two things to check for; the 12v START signal when the ignition switch is held in the START position on the small purple wire at the starter connections and main battery grounds (chassis and engine block). As shown in the starting diagram, the START signal is fed to the small purple wire on the starter solenoid that powers the starter solenoid. The solenoid closes a large set of electrical contacts feeding battery power to the starter motor. Have someone turn the ignition switch to the START position while you measure the purple wire for 12 volts. 12 volts on this wire means the starting circuit is fine. No 12 volts means something is preventing this voltage from being passed from ignition switch to the purple wire. If one of the two main ground wires aren't connecting battery to engine ground, the starter cannot run since the starter is grounded thru the engine block.
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File Type: jpg grounds.jpg (151.0 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg starting circuit.jpg (129.1 KB, 8 views)

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Old 08-14-2015, 07:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

Would either of these issues prevent me from shifting the car out of park? Nothing I can do, can make it shift, unless it just won't let me until it's running, or that circuit is at least completed.

If no 12 volt to purple starter wire, which would likely be the best way to start?? Just following back the wires via the diagram???

There are two large ground wires, coming from battery. The one that is grounded to the firewall, I can def see is good, and has no corrosion either end, although finding the other end, might require me to tear all the harness covers off, cuz there is like no room to work on this think.

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Old 08-14-2015, 07:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

also.... do the numbers on the wiring diagram have any certain meaning, so I can try and figure out which are which?

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Old 08-14-2015, 09:44 AM   #7
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

The brake/transmission interlock switch prevents moving the shift lever unless the ign key is in the ACCessary (engine off) position, the first detent from OFF. This lets you move the shift lever into any position. In the ON position, the brake pedal must be pressed to release the BTSI tab in the shift console. When this solenoid is faulty you can remove the shift boot to view the white plastic tab and solenoid assembly. Using a small tool, push the tab to release the park lock and move the shift lever into Neutral position. Park and Neutral are the only positions that allows the starting circuit to send the START signal to the starter solenoid.

Engine ground is usually a black wire connected directly to the engine block. It's either in plain view or hiding just out of view but should be easily seen as the lone wire to ensure battery negative is properly grounded with a large gauge wire. I'll look under my hood to see if I can find it and post later today.

Wire markings are a mystery to me and I always use the color labeling in wire diagrams for help.

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Old 08-14-2015, 10:42 AM   #8
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

This actually has two large black cables coming from the battery connection. One goes directly to the sidewall. That whole section there, is corrosion free, and solid connection. The other large one, disappears into the harness.

Will not shift out of park, either in accessory position, or in any other position, with, or without the brake engaged.

Would that BTSI switch, being faulty, prevent the engine from actually starting, if faulty? If so, that might explain it.

Also, is there a brake pedal switch, that could be bad, causing these problems?

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Old 08-14-2015, 03:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

The BTSI uses a separate brake switch next to the brake switch to allow separate circuits, one exclusively for braking/cruise control disengagement and the other for the BTSI. As I described before, access to manually over riding the shift lock solenoid is either with ignition in ACCessary or ON position or lifting the shift boot cover to see the plastic tab. Pushing the tab unlocks the shift lever to move it into any position. The shift lock does not prevent the starter from operating. I just came back from errands and forgot to look for engine ground so it will have to wait until the engine cools down tonite.

Are you able to measure voltage on the small purple wire or not? This is the simplest way to determine what's going on without concern about the shift lock issue. Unless you know for sure, is the battery fully charged, dead or in- between?

Your Saturn has Passlock. No one told you your keyfobs are missing as all cars with new keys and Passlock came with a pair of remotes. Your plain key is sufficient to start and drive the car as you already know that. Passlock is disabled, deactivated since you bought the car without remotes. How do I know? Look at your instrument panel when turning ignition ON; all i/p lights turn on including security - a car with a large padlock superimposed on it. Either you have the car symbol with padlock or the word 'SECURITY' lighting up. All i/p lights turn off after a few seconds leaving the battery, seat belt, oil and check engine light on until the engine is started. Look for the security symbol - that's GM's Passlock theft deterrent system. It does not interfere with starter use.

There is another way to see if power is getting to the starter but starter needs to be mounted to the engine and connected electrically. With battery connected to the starter and starter frame physically grounded to the engine (presuming engine ground or connected to battery negative) a simple short between the small starter solenoid terminal and the starter battery terminal post will power the starter immediately. WARNING - the car must have its e-brake engaged and in PARK position to prevent starting in gear. A screwdriver serves as a shorting bar or a heavy gauge wire. This short provides 12v power to the starter solenoid to close a set of heavy duty electrical contacts to provide power to run the starter. The solenoid engages the starter gear into the engine flywheel just before powering the starter motor. Experienced mechanics and DIYers familiar with electrical systems are able to use this method to test starters to determine whether a problem is a starter or starting circuit.

Last edited by fdryer; 08-14-2015 at 03:28 PM..

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Old 08-14-2015, 04:02 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

Do these pictures help?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg starter-motor.jpg (146.7 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg fusible link.jpg (109.5 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg StarterOld.jpg (158.8 KB, 7 views)

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Old 08-14-2015, 04:13 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

I appreciate your help.

I tested the starter, before trying to reinstall it, and it's definitely working. I did check the voltage going to the purple wire (without starter installed, and I'm getting 12.2 v. Checked, and getting just a touch more to the main power cables to starter (there are two coming together there). Still cannot shift out of park though. I also turned the crankshaft a touch (don't have the star 18 or 20, so used a 5/8 six point), so not locked up, at least not tight, even though I couldn't see how that would happen, just did it to eliminate possibility.

Wife had hit a large bump, on way home that night, and I'm wondering if she somehow dislodged the TR switch (neutral safety switch) causing maladjustment, or just enough of a jolt to cause cruddy wire connections to cause the starter issue, and maybe even the shifting. Not sure, but definitely getting 12+ to the purple wire now.

Going to install a bypass wire direct from purple wire connection, to battery positive, with a switch on it, as a "backup" in case of that TR switch going out, and at least being able to get home to get it repaired. Thinking of saving the wife from getting stranded.

Was warned that maybe the security switch had been re-enabled by the large impact, somehow and might have to do the 10 minute reset procedure, to unlock the shifter and other things, now that I know I have juice.

Also, if I have to, I'm hoping I can disable the shifting column lock. Wife's father-in-law used to manufacture the actual shifter assemblies and said there were a ton of issues with them locking up, when they shouldn't, and that people had told him of disabling it, but not sure. Hoping I don't have to go that route.

I know I'm screwed if having to replace the ignition switch/BCM and what, the PCM????

Oh, before I forget, is there some sort of brake relay switch, that could not be working, preventing the shifting? If so, where is it?

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Old 08-14-2015, 06:11 PM   #12
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

Here are some pictures to locate the 2nd ground wire from battery negative. You mentioned finding the first battery ground to chassis so the second ground going to engine block is within a foot of where you looked.

The brake xmission shift interlock is a safety device requiring pressing the brake pedal before being allowed to shift out of Park position when the engine's running. I doubt the xmission Park/Neutral safety switch was jarred out of alignment because you measured 12 volts on the end of the purple wire; 12 volts cannot be on the purple wire if the p/n switch is misaligned or broken but you can examine it when checking battery ground to engine block. The Park/Neutral safety switch is to the right of the red xmission fill cap.

What ever you read or heard, ignore suggestions of questionable shift interlock solenoids or switches until you verify operation by trying suggestions given here. I would not suggest anything unless its been proven by other members or recommended in service manuals - two ways of proven methods to check on solenoid operation and manually bypassing the interlock solenoid under the shift boot. Hearsay is just that until you verify what failed or distracted from hearsay. Go with what's given here, not what you hear unless the person stating it can prove it to you in person. When you found difficulty tracing battery/engine ground, its just a matter of someone taking the time to take a picture or two (I like pictures better than descriptions) and editing to point out specific areas.

Please don't become distracted with hearsay with starting problems related to the ecm or bcm or what anyone says unless these people can show you in person where to find the problem otherwise its another "armchair quarterback" saying this and that while never showing proof of what they say.

Passlock, GM's theft deterrent system, does not interfere with the starting circuit, period. The brake xmission interlock does not interfere with starting, period. All it does is prevent moving the shift lever, nothing more.

The Park/Neutral safety switch is working otherwise you would not see 12 volts on the purple wire.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DSCN1955.jpg (202.8 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN1956.jpg (206.4 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN1957.jpg (172.2 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN1959.jpg (160.8 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN1960.jpg (163.5 KB, 10 views)

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Old 08-14-2015, 11:38 PM   #13
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

Okay.. awesome... So far, so good, although for some reason, I don't have the fusible link from starter main power "pole" to alternator, unless it's just a bit different on mine, as I have two red wires, coming together, into one connector, at starter, and then disappearing back into harness, with one medium red and one small red wire at alternator.

I just got the starter back in (a nightmare to get bolts back in, had to invent a way to hold the bottom bolt -with a helper bolt holder made from muffler hanger metal- in place, and attack it from the far side of the car. lol), and still have to put alternator and tensioner pulley back in, and will locate the other ground, via your pics, and try it. Maybe the thing will shift, and if not, will pull console apart. Not sure if yours is identical, but this one has all those darned window up/down switches on it too.

Was wondering if I can just remove that plastic tab you mentioned on shifter, to permanently remove that problem, in case it happened again, with no shift issue.

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Old 08-14-2015, 11:55 PM   #14
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

Try not to imagine anything until you see parts up close. The tab is part of the interlock solenoid. Its easy to become self distracted when anticipating more problems if unfamiliar with general electrical problems (starter/starting) and possible electrical or electronic problems (shift lock mechanism).

All L-series (300) with the 3.0L V6 engine are the same using the same wiring harnesses. You are describing the two red wires to the starter correctly; one large battery cable and one small red wire feeding power from the battery-to-starter terminal to the alternator. The small red wire is the fusible link wire. Its not a fuse but a smaller (actual) wire inside a heat resistant insulator to act as a full length fuse; if the alternator were to short circuit internally, this fusible link wire will not allow what ever amperage rating its designed to burn. Alternators usually require anywhere from 15-30 amps power from a battery but if a short occurs in the alternator, the current is limited between 15-30 amps and if exceeded, burns the wire inside the insulation to open the power feed to the alternator, protecting the battery from damage.

Are you aware that you are working on two separate problems, each unrelated to the other? One is the starter, starting issue. The other is the inability to move the shift lever.

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Old 08-15-2015, 01:35 AM   #15
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

Yeah. I realize that it's two different problems. What's weird as hell, is that they both popped up, at exactly the same time, when it drove in fine, and had no problems, what so ever, up until that point. That's what's crazy as hell, and just keeps yelling at me that somehow they are related, or that one, caused the other.

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Old 08-15-2015, 02:04 PM   #16
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

Got the car to shift again. Evidently it was the entire system not being completely wired together and working, that affected it, cuz it shifts now.

Changed out the ground wires, from the battery (to block and firewall) and tried to start, and it went click, click, click. Thinking I drained the battery to much, so got it on the charger, and we'll see in a bit.

Question though, and I can't find the part in the manual, but there is a small black hose, going from the power brake booster to the manifold, and it has a little one way valve in it, allowing air to only go towards the manifold. I broke that valve, and want to buy another one, but can't figure out what it's called. lol

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Old 08-15-2015, 02:41 PM   #17
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

I broke mine and jumped thru hoops trying to replace the hose and valve with an aftermarket one (incorrect size). There are various names; one way check valve, vacuum check valve for the power brake unit, etc.. GM is probably best for the correct part.

This doesn't allow air as the whole line is connected to the intake manifold for a source of vacuum. This line supplies vacuum to the large diameter power brake unit operating on vacuum. The check valve prevents vacuum from drawing air when the engine is not running since vacuum only occurs when the engine's running.

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Old 08-15-2015, 04:03 PM   #18
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

Got it all together, put it on the charger for a few hours, and just click click click. Think I junked the battery somehow, as it was the same after charging it too. Now, got to get a ride to someplace to check it good...

I did manage to superglue my check valve back together and because the broken end was toward the manifold, I used an existing piece of hose, put the check valve right next to the manifold and zip-tied the hose in place so it won't be able to bounce around. That should be fine, but will be trying to find a new one, in case...

I did manage to turn the engine a tiny bit, with a socket (didn't have the right sized start socket, so used a 5/8" 6 point socket,, so at least I'm thinking it isn't seized up.

So pissed off right now. And if it's that starter, and I have to remove that ******* again, to get a new one, I might go to jail. I took it for a rebuild, and the guy took it apart and said it looked like new almost, inside. Of course, no load tester, in my county...

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Old 08-15-2015, 10:25 PM   #19
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Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

Batteries are always the first to suspect, along with the main cables before jumping on the starting circuit or starter. I don't know if a rebuild shop can apply a load on starters as they come in many shapes with different dimensions. I would imagine it would take a creative imagination to come up with a bench test to duplicate the same loads an engine has when turning a flywheel. The three moving parts that are important besides the brushes and bearings; the starter solenoid and electrical contacts, yoke mechanism allowing the solenoid to throw out the starter gear, engaging the flywheel teeth and the starter motor. Last is the one way bearing on the starter gear.

Click sounds usually mean the starter solenoid is either pulling the starter gear into place to engage the engine flywheel and there isn't enough battery power to run the starter motor or the brushes are worn out. Since your rebuilding place says the starter is fine, they're most likely right. Its not rocket science for any rebuild shop to know what's wrong with any starter.

An old battery near or past its warranty may not have enough capacity to power starters since starters pull anywhere from 50-150 amps+. Jumper cables are only as good as the largest gauge used to allow a booster battery to help power a starter during a boost.

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Old 08-16-2015, 12:34 AM   #20
randyfarber
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2000 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2000 Saturn LS2 V-6 3.0 Starting issues

The battery tested fine, before, but, I'm afraid I might have screwed up and might have shorted it a few times, trying to engage the starter, while other wires weren't connected, and might have grounded to other engine parts. Not sure if that would cause the battery to go bad, or even over charging it. Will find out tomorrow, when I can get it tested. I do know that it is discharging very fast. Got it on trickle charge overnight so they can test it good.

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