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Old 02-06-2005, 01:33 PM   #1
slawdawg
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Default 1995 Saturn SL2 no power to starter solenoid

Hello all,

My son's Saturn died at a stop light the other day while he was going to school. It had been running fine till then. All electrical circuits are working fine, but when he turns the key, nothing. I jumped his car from my truck with no change. I took the battery to Autozone, and it was fine. I've checked all fuses. Where would I find the nuetral/park switch to check that? Is this possibly the ignition switch? The car has 157,000 miles on it...I've read on this forum that there is a crankshaft position sensor that usually needs to be replaced at high milage. Could that cause there to be no voltage at the starter solenoid? Where is it located? I'm going to start replacing parts this week until it works. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Slawdawg in TN

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Old 02-06-2005, 01:42 PM   #2
Sky King
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1999 SC2
1995 SL2
Default Re: 1995 Saturn SL2 no power to starter solenoid

I am going to ask this anyway even though by your question about where the park/neutral switch is it is probably an automatic. But just for clarification, is it manual or auto?

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Old 02-06-2005, 01:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1995 Saturn SL2 no power to starter solenoid

It is an automatic.

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Old 02-06-2005, 02:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: 1995 Saturn SL2 no power to starter solenoid

Hi, I'm not sure if it's the exact situation because I'm a little unclear on your wording and I'm a mechanic, but around 102k on my '95 sl2 the same type of thing happened. Wouldn't start, couldn't jump it. Took it to the shop and they replaced the starter solenoid and it worked fine. I'm just not sure what you mean by no power going to it, but theres the extent of my knowledge on the problem. You might try that

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Old 02-06-2005, 03:33 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1995 Saturn SL2 no power to starter solenoid

Thanks, CPSlacker...

That would be my first inclination except that a bad starter solenoid wouldn't cause the motor to die...or would it?

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Old 02-06-2005, 03:59 PM   #6
SATURNER
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Default Re: 1995 Saturn SL2 no power to starter solenoid

To locate the crank positon senser and the neutral safety switch, look in WOLFMAN's gallery. He has labelled pictures. Sorry, but that is all the help I can give on this problem.

...
Hang up and Drive

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Old 02-06-2005, 05:03 PM   #7
Razorbak
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Default Re: 1995 Saturn SL2 no power to starter solenoid

Quote:
Originally Posted by slawdawg
Thanks, CPSlacker...

That would be my first inclination except that a bad starter solenoid wouldn't cause the motor to die...or would it?
True, but nor would a bad CPS prevent you from getting juice to the starter solenoid. It would prevent your ignition system from firing, but the engine would still turn over.

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Old 02-06-2005, 05:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1995 Saturn SL2 no power to starter solenoid

When you say there is no juice to the starter solenoid, have you verified this with a multimeter, or are you just assuming this is the case due to other symptoms? Do you hear an audible click when you turn the ignition switch? Do the interior lights dim? If you DON'T hear a click and the lights don't dim, your theory that the solenoid is not getting any juice may be right, but you should verify this if possible by checking with a meter. If you DO hear a click, then you may need to replace your starter.

A bad CPS could cause your engine to die unexpectedly, but that shouldn't affect your starter circuit. You may have two separate problems here.

You also said you've checked all the fuses. Please re-check the IGN3 fuse and verify that it is OK. (Pull it out, inspect it visually, clean off the contacts, reinsert it firmly, and then try to start the car again if it looks OK.)

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Old 02-06-2005, 06:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1995 Saturn SL2 no power to starter solenoid

Thanks for the info guys...

Razorbak, I will check IGN3 again and clean the contacts this time. I am only assuming I have no juice to the starter solenoid. When I turn the key, I hear pumps charging etc., all the normal sounds but no starter solenoid click and no dimming lights. I will check with a meter when I get started working on the car this week. I'm planning to first change out the ignition switch, then if that's not it, I'll change the neutral safety switch. Are there any relays that you know of that could be the culprit? Also, I've read that the computer shuts down the ignition if the key is not recognized. I don't know if this feature is on my son's car or not. If it is, does it shut off power at the ignition switch? And does this system continue to check the key code even after the car has been running? Maybe a control module glitch? So many possibilities...Thank you all for the help!

Slawdawg

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Old 02-06-2005, 09:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1995 Saturn SL2 no power to starter solenoid

Slawdawg, don't just tear parts out, test them. The ignition switch could be an especially expensive and time-consuming procedure on what might be a perfectly good part. Before you tear out what could be a good neutral switch, there's one test worth trying. Try to start it in Neutral instead of Park. Also, as you're holding the key in START with one hand, and have a foot FIRMLY on the brake, move the tranny lever from Neutral toward Drive and then toward REVERSE. If nothing changes, the NSS is probably not the culprit.

One thing to do is try to directly power the starter solenoid with a jumper wire. If that makes it work, then work your way up the circuit by testing rather than replacing. A FSM should have decision trees to follow.

About the "recognition" of the ignition key, I don't know the options that intimately, but I'm quite sure nothing like that was available back in '95.

As has been said, unless it's WAY upstream, there's nothing that would be a single cause for an engine stall AND a failure of the starter to even turn over the engine. It would have to be something like Razorbak's idea of the IGN3 fuse, or something severe like the wire going to the underhood junction block falling off completely.

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Old 02-06-2005, 09:59 PM   #11
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1996 SL2
Default Re: 1995 Saturn SL2 no power to starter solenoid

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue
It would have to be something like Razorbak's idea of the IGN3 fuse, or something severe like the wire going to the underhood junction block falling off completely.
Actually, there are a total of 4 ignition-related fuses in the S-series: two 30-amp green maxifuses in the under hood junction box (IGN3 and IGN4), and one 10-amp red minifuse (IGN1) plus a 7.5-amp brown minifuse (IGN3) in the instrument panel junction box. However, the 30-amp IGN3 maxifuse under the hood controls the starter solenoid.

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Old 02-06-2005, 10:03 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1995 Saturn SL2 no power to starter solenoid

I bought a kit with an assortment of fuses and it included a nice little fuse tester... a wonderful tool to have. Fuses sometimes "look" good but aren't so a continuity test is a good practice.

I agree with the statement that the crank position sensor may have caused the initial stop, but it should not effect cranking.

I also agree that a test light along with the proper wiring maps from a factory service manual (FSM) are pretty much essential to troubleshoot problem. I once had to shoot a similar problem - except mine was intermittent. Couldn't have done it without the FSM and even then it was a pain in the posterior.

You don't mention any other circuits being out or electical things not working - you may want to check out various accessories and see what works and what doesn't - that can help find the source.

Good luck.

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Old 02-06-2005, 10:59 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1995 Saturn SL2 no power to starter solenoid

Thank you, DrBob...

Everything electrical is working, except the ignition key. I'm going to take the day Wednesday and try to fix the car. I live only a few miles from the assembly plant in Spring Hill, TN...maybe some good mojo will come my way. I'll take your advice and get a FSM if I end up running down electrical circuits. I've got a Haynes manual which is somewhat helpful. Thanks for all the replies!

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Old 02-07-2005, 11:39 AM   #14
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1996 SW2
Default Re: 1995 Saturn SL2 no power to starter solenoid

So when you turn the key to "RUN" (NOT "ACC" and NOT "START", but "RUN"), all the lights on the dash light up? Again, are you sure it's the ignition switch, and not something in the starting circuit?

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