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Old 09-05-2017, 05:54 PM   #1
RenegadeJD
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default 2003 Saturn L300 won't start.

03 L300 not starting
It's an automatic, somewhere around 160 to 180k miles. Never had any major problems. Had the timing belt replaced not long ago. I had my mechanic do a few repairs. The most extensive was the valve cover gaskets. I got it back and all was fine for a few days. (4 I think). Then one day while my brother in law was using it. He had been driving it a day and a half, he went to leave. Started the car, backed out of driveway, realized he forgot to lock house door. Pulled back in to driveway, cut car off. Locked the door, went back to the car and went to start it and it won't start. Computer showed a faulty crankshaft sensor. Replaced crankshaft sensor. Nothing, still turning over but not starting. Had it towed to the shop. Computer now showed cam sensors, replaced those and nada. Still won't start. Checked timing belt and to see if it was still in time (jumped a tooth). All good there. My mechanic says to him it seems to not be in time. Checked for compression, that's good. However, he found two plugs (brand new from the previously replacing valve cover gaskets) were just soaked in gas. Replaced plugs dried up gas. Replaced, front and rear ignition modules, maf sensor. A brain box near air cleaner (not the engine computer). The computer was replaced. Still not it. My mechanic is about done with not having any other ideas. Thanks for your help.

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Old 09-05-2017, 06:25 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2003 Saturn L300 won't start.

1-Was a fuel pressure test performed? Fuel filter replaced at 100k miles? This should have been one of the to-do lists for any shop when throwing parts at the car. Expect 39-49 psi when a pressure gauge is connected to the fuel test valve on the fuel rail over the engine.

2-Sometimes an engine may become flooded after repeated starting attempts fails to get the engine to run. Without any clues of a flooded engine other than several failed starting attempts, one easy remedy is to hold pedal to the floor (wide open throttle) and try starting again. One or two restarts (pedal to floor) may get the engine to sputter to life. Replacing a timing belt, fuel filter, major engine repairs, freezing weather, anything that isn't normal routine may create a flooding condition. When pedal is floored, the ecm detects this and shuts off injectors during starting to allow a flooded engine to suck in more air to dilute the excess fuel until spark plugs dry out and begin sparking. A flooded engine shorts high voltage spark to plugs.

3-A simple test to determine whether this is a fuel or spark issue; spray starting fluid into the throttle body and try starting. Deliberately adding fuel means either spark is faulty or fuel isn't available/injectors aren't operating.

Be sure Passlock security isn't flashing while starting; security is normally off during starting and engine running. If flashing, Passlock is enabled and actively disabling injector operation to prevent engine running.

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Old 09-06-2017, 08:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn L300 won't start.

Any of you saturn gearheads around Greenville SC?

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Old 09-06-2017, 08:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn L300 won't start.

My mechanic says everything checks out.
However, he will be swapping out tge cps tomorrow in the one he put on is bad. If that doesn't work, it's probably going to get towed to the dealer. I think my mechanic may be a tad too old school to work on it anymore. Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
1-Was a fuel pressure test performed? Fuel filter replaced at 100k miles? This should have been one of the to-do lists for any shop when throwing parts at the car. Expect 39-49 psi when a pressure gauge is connected to the fuel test valve on the fuel rail over the engine.

2-Sometimes an engine may become flooded after repeated starting attempts fails to get the engine to run. Without any clues of a flooded engine other than several failed starting attempts, one easy remedy is to hold pedal to the floor (wide open throttle) and try starting again. One or two restarts (pedal to floor) may get the engine to sputter to life. Replacing a timing belt, fuel filter, major engine repairs, freezing weather, anything that isn't normal routine may create a flooding condition. When pedal is floored, the ecm detects this and shuts off injectors during starting to allow a flooded engine to suck in more air to dilute the excess fuel until spark plugs dry out and begin sparking. A flooded engine shorts high voltage spark to plugs.

3-A simple test to determine whether this is a fuel or spark issue; spray starting fluid into the throttle body and try starting. Deliberately adding fuel means either spark is faulty or fuel isn't available/injectors aren't operating.

Be sure Passlock security isn't flashing while starting; security is normally off during starting and engine running. If flashing, Passlock is enabled and actively disabling injector operation to prevent engine running.

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Old 09-06-2017, 11:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn L300 won't start.

I'm old school and barely understood distributor ignition but took it on faith about how it works. As soon as I could afford it, my first new car came with EFI and I was terrified of it until I bought the service manual to get up to speed. Having an electronics background helped to make it less antagonizing. I still recall the reliability of instant starting with EFI systems over distributor ignition and carburetors requiring lots of tlc. The transition from older non fuel injected engines to EFI systems can be difficult if a person isn't keeping up with changes, especially electronics and sensors used by virtually every vehicle around the world.

Even if Harvey left town and Irma walking towards Florida, I'm not fighting the hordes driving north to hunker down anywhere else. While NYC is about 20 feet above sea level, Sandy tried to drown everyone living along the shoreline. I'm very comfortable being an armchair quarterback with an internet connection. The last time I visited NC was to witness a newly minted Marine (nephew) a few years ago and it was HOT and HUMID!? On graduation day the barracks turned on airconditioning. I thought recruits were treated as dirt and earned their place in the hierarchy.

Hopefully someone will find a minor problem and restore your L300 back to driving condition.

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Old 09-25-2017, 05:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn L300 won't start.

Ok, so he replaced the cps again and nothing changed. He had a gm guy with the gm computer take a look at. The gm guy said that camshaft sensors weren't reading properly. One sensor was reading high voltage the other low voltage. He told my mechanic that he may have pinched a wire(s) when putting it back together or the computer is bad. So my mechanic went through everything and couldn't find any broken or pinched wires. So he then went and got another ecu, put it in and this time he said it backfired. Also it backfired through the vacuum line to the brake booster. He said because of that he knew it was out of time. He said since the marks lined up and appeared to be in time then the belt had to have stretched. So he put a new timing belt on and still not starting.

I called the dealership and it's 60 bucks to get it towed there. 90 bucks an hour to diagnose. If they are unable to diagnose the first hour, they'd call first for authorization. There is no max or guarantee to diagnose. They don't apply the diagnostic charges to the cost of repairs.

Soooo, I'm torn on what to do with this car.

Oh, I almost forgot. The service advisor asked if my mechanic reprogrammed the car after installing the parts and that could be what's wrong. Is that true? Whenever you replace an electronic part it needs to be reprogrammed?

Thanks again.

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Old 09-25-2017, 06:24 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn L300 won't start.

Without any info about the second ECM, there's little to do at this point and having the car diagnosed by GM may be your only resort. New ECMs cannot be programmed by repair shops unless they have GM's Tech II scantool. Used ECMs do not need programming per se since they already work. Programming of Passlock security doesn't require GM's scantool when its merely a 30 minute procedure to do this at home. Security flashes quickly if an ecm isn't married correctly to the bcm where Passlock security is performed before the ecm is allowed to run the engine.

Does security turn off during starting or not?

With so many repairs made, its now more a puzzle for anyone not standing next to your car to see or diagnose symptoms. All we can do here is make assessments based on info provided and suggest tests for troubleshooting. I can't come up with any more suggestions.

Perhaps the original ecm should be put back, remarried to the bcm and continue from there. GM is your last resort to pick up the pieces of this mystery and sort it all out.

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Old 09-25-2017, 06:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn L300 won't start.

Thank you.

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Old 09-26-2017, 01:17 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn L300 won't start.

Sometimes folks get too caught up in codes to stop and think about basics.
Has anyone checked to see what the battery voltage at the fuse box is dropping to during cranking?
Has anyone pulled the plugs to see if they are wet with fuel?
How about clear flood cranking?
Pulled a O2 sensor to check for cat blockage? Catalyst not the animal.

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Old 09-26-2017, 03:47 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2003 Saturn L300 won't start.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Claybury View Post
Sometimes folks get too caught up in codes to stop and think about basics.
Has anyone checked to see what the battery voltage at the fuse box is dropping to during cranking?
Has anyone pulled the plugs to see if they are wet with fuel?
How about clear flood cranking?
Pulled a O2 sensor to check for cat blockage? Catalyst not the animal.

Everything seemed fine with all the electrical (lights, radio, etc....) didn't think voltage was an issue. So we didn't think to check the voltage at the fuse box. But we will check it. What should the voltage be while cranking?

Right after it wouldn't start tge plugs were pulled. They were soaked with gas. Dried out (left plugs out 24hrs),replaced 2 plugs that were black.

Clear flood cranking?? Are you talking about holding the pedal to the floor? If so then yes we have.

Never got a code for an o2 sensor so never thought to pull it. I wouldn't think a clogged cat wouldn't cause a sudden no start. But, we can check that to.

Thanks for your time and advice.

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