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Old 05-19-2017, 11:35 AM   #1
Landvect8
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Attention 1997 Saturn SL2 strange starting problems - ignition switch?

Please forgive the length of this post, but I wanted to include as much information and detail as possible. If I've left out something that would help to troubleshoot this please let me know. I thank you all in advance for reading and assisting with this.

I have a 1997 Saturn SL2 with 107,000 miles and for the last 3 weeks I've been having intermittent problems starting the car. About 80% of the time the car starts fine, but when it doesn't this is what happens. When I turn the key one notch the dashboard lights come on as usual, but when I turn the key to start I hear two clicks as if the battery was dead and I don't hear the starter attempting to start the car. After two or three attempts I hear the engine crank one, two or three times and the car starts. I had no issues starting the car on my last 10 or 12 attempts and then the problem presented again yesterday with a new twist. Yesterday when I tried to start the car before work I heard only two clicks on my first two attempts and on the third attempt the car started, which was basically what has happening before. However, when leaving work on the first attempt to start the car I heard only one click and no engine cranking. On the second attempt something new happened. I turned the key to acc and the dashboard lights came on, but when I tried to start the car I heard no clicks and the dashboard lights immediately went off as well as the clock on the radio . I removed the key, tried again and the dashboard and clock remained off and I heard nothing when attempting to start the car. I removed the key, waited a couple of minutes and tried to start the car again. This time the dashboard lights came on and the engine cranked and started. The clock on the radio was reset to 1:00 as if the battery had been disconnected. The battery is new (replaced about 4 months) ago and reads 12.85 volts right after I stop driving the car, and 12.58 volts after the car sits about 15 hours. The battery connections are clean. I replaced the ECTS about 4 or 5 months ago. The starter, ignition switch and clutch ignition lock switch are original. I'm wondering if the problem could be the ignition switch.

If anyone has any ideas about what might be wrong I would certainly appreciate your advise. I'm no mechanic, but am able to do most minor repairs on this car. Thanks again for reading this and for any assistance you can provide .

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Old 05-19-2017, 11:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 strange starting problems - ignition switch?

Might be, or Starter/and it's connections.

Ever have it happen at night, so you might determine IF the headlights dim out when the key turn yields just a click or two?

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Old 05-19-2017, 11:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: 1997 Saturn SL2 strange starting problems - ignition switch?

Really need to have someone measure battery voltage while you turn the key. If the voltage does not drop its a starter issue. Fortunately the starter and solenoid are one unit so no need to distinguish. If the voltage drops to 7-8 volts the starter is pulling power but the battery lacks capacity. Or if you have a battery tester you can just test it with a 80-100 amp draw tester.
Obviously inspect connections for corrosion, looseness.

-Robert

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