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Old 03-09-2018, 10:25 AM   #1
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Willoughfam is on a distinguished road
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Default Saturn LW200 Won't crank

Ok, here's some back story about this car because I am not sure what is and is not relevant to diagnosing this issue.

This is a 2003 Saturn LW200. I'm not sure about milage because the digital odometer doesn't change.

I bought this car a year ago. 3 weeks after buying it I drove round trip 2000 miles in it and it did fine. The next day after returning I drove it to town and upon leaving the store it wouldn't crank. My dad said he suspected bad gas. He messed with it for a bit and got it to crank. I took it home but it kept having issues. My dad suggested replacing the crank shaft position sensor, so I did. A couple of days later it left me and my children stranded at a grocery store, so that obviously wasn't the issue. My dad unhooked the battery for 30 seconds and it cranked right up. For months after that, any time it happened we could unhook the battery and it would crank afterward. My dad said there was a bad relay in the computer somewhere. I replaced the battery last July and it stopped doing that. Last July I also replaced the fuel pump. Since then I have had no issues until January. In January it started having issues starting. It would usually only happen after getting gas. Otherwise it was fine. But after getting gas you would have to romp on the gas to get it to crank. I did a little research, then replaced the purge valve solenoid and it stopped doing that for a few weeks. A week ago it started having issues cranking nearly everytime you tried to start it. Again, you would have to romp on the gas. Wednesday I took my children to school and on the way I noticed when it changed gears it didn't do so smoothly. It jerked. That evening it wouldn't crank at all. It won't even act like it wants to crank. It will turn over, but not crank. I replaced spark plugs yesterday because my dad said the engine was flooded because it wasnt sparking. He also replaced the crankshaft position sensor again. Still won't crank. It's getting plenty of fuel to the injectors. He mentioned it sounds like it may have jumped time but he's not sure. We also noticed that the firewall is wet and the smell of gas is strong. We are all stumped. It's my only car right now because my van is also having issues. Any ideas? This has me so stressed out. Thanks!


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Old 03-09-2018, 11:05 AM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Saturn LW200 Won't crank

While it's great to have another person for a second set of eyes and experience, I'm not so sure your dad is experienced in EFI systems. Replacing a crank position sensor once is enough and it would be very rare to have this one fail to replace it again. There's quite a bit more involved in diagnosing EFI systems and you're descriptions are scattered with suppositions and throwing parts at the car. There are ways to diagnose and troubleshoot this problem but you'll have to accept specific steps in order to narrow the field of possible faulty parts. It begins with verifying spark and fuel.

Verifying spark and fuel requires more than just pressing the fuel test valve and insisting spark is available. Test and verify. While fuel pressure may spray out the test valve on the fuel rail, injectors need to operate to allow pressurized fuel into cylinders. To verify fuel injectors, several failed starting attempts should have spark plugs soaking in fuel and smelling of it. Spark can be tested on one of two ways; plugs, coil pack removed, reconnected to wiring and laid out over the engine with plug bases grounded to the engine block - someone cranks the engine while you observe for spark on every plug or spray starting fluid into throttle while starting. Since no one is standing next to you and cannot verify fuel and spark, you have to provide specific detailed information to anyone reading your thread to have a picture of what you're doing.

Raw fuel smelling in the engine bay may be signs of either a really flooded engine with raw fuel in the exhaust system or a fuel leak in the fuel lines as fuel pressure forces it out any damaged line or fitting. Hopefully its a flooded engine. A flooded engine is remedied in one of two ways; hold throttle wide open during subsequent starts until the engine sputters to life or remove spark plugs and crank the engine to blow out raw fuel the replace dried plugs for another start.

Without any mileage history, it can be presumed this engine has some mileage on it. A loaner compression gauge from AutoZone or Advance Auto can help determine the mechanical state of health this engine. Good engines will have around 185 psi. A total loss of compression might explain this problem but you have to test compression first before concluding this as the reason for the engine not firing up.

And when the fuel pump was replaced, did you replace the fuel filter too? This is important.


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