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Old 11-22-2022, 10:54 PM   #1
Spaceman Spiff
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Default 1999 SW2 no start

Please help. I'm going crazy with this.

I've had this Saturn for about six months and drove it as my daily commuter. After having no issues for that time, I gave it to my daughter for her first car. Then one morning it won't start. Right after the temperature dropped to the 30s. So we jumped it and drove it couple miles. Turned it off and restarted it no problem. Of course I knew I'd probably be back the next day. Sure enough, it wouldn't start again. So I bought a new battery and came back and installed it and all was well. That was on a Friday. The car sat all weekend and then I told her to start it Sunday night just to make sure it would. It started fine. Then the following morning I get another call. Not starting. So I went back expecting to find a parasitic draw and found that the car was cranking too slowly. Battery was fully charged, so no draw. I tested the fuel pressure and it was fine. I checked the f5 situation and it looked like every other connection. So I went for the Crank sensor and did that and no different. Towed it back to my house and tested the starter incorrectly. Ordered a new starter thinking that was it. It wasn't, won't even turn over now.??
Then I found a thread here and tested the small bolt on the starter and got 0 volts while cranking. I wish I did that before buying a starter. I also notice that the key fob transmitter is no longer working. How do I test further from here? Did I fry something when I jumped it? I hope I don't find some aftermarket alarm/starter kill bird's nest of wires.

PS The original battery was definitely bad.

Sorry about such a long-winded first post!
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Old 11-23-2022, 12:11 AM   #2
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1999 SL2
1998 SC2
Default Re: 1999 SW2 no start

You have to find the parasitic draw. Best way is to pull the negative battery cable, then put an ammeter between the cable and the battery and pull fuses.


This was on my '98. On this car the passenger side door lock electric button failed, and was stuck on. This also caused the keyfob to not work. Check out how that switch feels, and if one side is hokey pull the fuse out of the box by the passenger footwell.
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Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, 5SP bought new
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018
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Old 11-23-2022, 12:23 AM   #3
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Default Re: 1999 SW2 no start

I think the OP is saying that parasitic draw is not now suspected. The battery stayed fully charged, but cranking was slow. Now, no voltage to the PPL wire?

Track that missing power to the PPL wire with your voltmeter. That used to be a trivial task, before infatuation with anti-theft and remote-start systems.

Yeah, if there is aftermarket stuff, that is the first suspect. Both the quality of the parts and skill involved in those aftermarket installs seem to be minimal.
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Old 11-23-2022, 12:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: 1999 SW2 no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
I think the OP is saying that parasitic draw is not now suspected. The battery stayed fully charged, but cranking was slow. Now, no voltage to the PPL wire?

Track that missing power to the PPL wire with your voltmeter. That used to be a trivial task, before infatuation with anti-theft and remote-start systems.

Yeah, if there is aftermarket stuff, that is the first suspect. Both the quality of the parts and skill involved in those aftermarket installs seem to be minimal.
Right, i no longer suspect a parasitic draw.

So does that wire go to the under hood fuse block or the under dash one?
Fuse and relay I imagine? Does it stay purple the whole way to the ignition switch?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 11-23-2022, 01:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: 1999 SW2 no start

In its simplest form, that PPL wire goes through a safety-switch activated by either the clutch or the auto trans being in P or N. Power to the safety-switch comes from the ignition switch. I don't think it stays PPL all the way, but I will see if I can confirm.

Anti-theft or remote-start have to interfere with that simple circuit, either interrupting for anti-theft or bypassing it for remote-start. Although it would seem the remote start would not prevent normal cranking, since it is a "bypass", often the normal power for that PPL wire passes through the remote-start module and can be interrupted by problems in the remote-start module or wiring. Poor splices/taps are common with aftermarket stuff.

Check first for power at the safety-switch, easy to get to on either the manual or auto trans. On the manual, it is inside the cabin, activated by the lever the clutch pedal is mounted to. Note that there should only be power to that safety-switch when the key is turned to try cranking the engine.
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Old 11-23-2022, 05:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1999 SW2 no start

I gotta back up a little bit. I just pushed on the passenger side of the interior fuse block and got my door locks back. I then tried to start it and I'm back to where I was before the starter swap: It cranks slowly. I tested the PPL wire on the starter again and got 10.5V while cranking. It's close to starting, but I don't thinks it's cranking fast enough to satisfy the CPS. I checked spark to ground and it's very intermittent.

Some other notes:
I replaced the Ignition control module and coils from the JY
I cleaned up the ground connections and 12V+ to the fuse block
I cut the extra plastic from around the battery connections
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Old 11-23-2022, 06:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1999 SW2 no start

Spaceman Spiff, somewhere around '96-'00, with the remote keyless entry (RKE) module used as a starter defeat/antitheft system, there's a plain 87a relay under the steering wheel column, taped to a wiring harness that disables the starter circuit (purple wire) when remote is used to Lock doors (relay de-energized, contacts 30 and 87 open). When Unlocking via the remote, the RKE module energizes and closes relay contacts 30 and 87, completing the starting circuit to allow the ignition switch to Start. From the ignition switch, the START wire is yellow, goes to the RKE relay under the steering column, comes out and goes on to the Park/Neutral switch, goes into the engine fuse box and comes out as a purple wire to the starter small terminal.

Look under the steering column for the RKE relay, remove it for replacement with another one or bypass it completely by jumpering relay terminal sockets 30 and 87. All 87a relays are labeled with pinouts. You should be able to see a pair of yellow wires on the relay socket too. Bypassing the relay simply allows the starting circuit to operate - no theft protection but the remote still works to lock/unlock doors.
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Old 11-23-2022, 08:12 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1999 SW2 no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Spaceman Spiff, somewhere around '96-'00, with the remote keyless entry (RKE) module used as a starter defeat/antitheft system, there's a plain 87a relay under the steering wheel column, taped to a wiring harness that disables the starter circuit (purple wire) when remote is used to Lock doors (relay de-energized, contacts 30 and 87 open). When Unlocking via the remote, the RKE module energizes and closes relay contacts 30 and 87, completing the starting circuit to allow the ignition switch to Start. From the ignition switch, the START wire is yellow, goes to the RKE relay under the steering column, comes out and goes on to the Park/Neutral switch, goes into the engine fu1se box and comes out as a purple wire to the starter small terminal.

Look under the steering column for the RKE relay, remove it for replacement with another one or bypass it completely by jumpering relay terminal sockets 30 and 87. All 87a relays are labeled with pinouts. You should be able to see a pair of yellow wires on the relay socket too. Bypassing the relay simply allows the starting circuit to operate - no theft protection but the remote still works to lock/unlock doors.
Thanks for your input. However I can't find any relay under the steering column. I have the whole front dash/console apart. So I guess maybe mine didn't have it?

I'm thinking of running a push button start 12V directly to the small starter pole. What size wire/fuse(amps required) would work? Or would that be ill-advised altogether. I only have this weekend left to work on this thing.
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Old 11-23-2022, 08:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1999 SW2 no start

#20 or larger should be good enough for this very brief duty, but I would probably use #16. (copper)

A pushbutton, or any other kind of "mometary on" switch, will work OK. Even non-momentary, but I feel certain you will forget to turn it off right away once in a while. Not much real harm done, but it sounds kind of nasty...
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Old 11-23-2022, 10:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1999 SW2 no start

If the battery is fully charged and starter is known to be good but it cranks slow, could be due to poor electrical connections. Clean and snug up all battery and starter connections, including ground and see if it helps.
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Old 11-24-2022, 12:41 PM   #11
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Default Re: 1999 SW2 no start

Here's one thread about the remote keyless entry (RKE) module with the remote key fob controlling door locks and starting circuit; https://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sh...ht=RKE+circuit
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Old 11-24-2022, 02:37 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1999 SW2 no start

Well, I went out this morning to put in a couple more hours on it and it started right up and idled normal. Don't know why. I certainly can't have a lot of confidence in it without knowing what's going on. I do notice that the tachometer takes about 4 seconds before it starts registering rpm after it starts. Before, it was about 1 second delay. Can the tach delay mean something?

I appreciate all the help on this.
Very thankful

I've done a lot of work on this car prior and would love keep it going for much longer. It's been very easy to work on, until this point. Gotta be something pretty simple.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Stephen
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Old 11-24-2022, 03:00 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1999 SW2 no start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverblu02SL2 View Post
If the battery is fully charged and starter is known to be good but it cranks slow, could be due to poor electrical connections. Clean and snug up all battery and starter connections, including ground and see if it helps.

I did clean up everything I could find in this process. Everything looked strikingly clean for a 23 yo car.
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Old 11-24-2022, 03:01 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1999 SW2 no start

Is it possible to run push button start in parallel to the small starter pole? While leaving the original wiring in place? Or would it be better to just disconnect the original?
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Old 11-24-2022, 03:10 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1999 SW2 no start

Parallel will work fine.

Measure resistance from that terminal on the starter to ground to get some clue as to amperage. I'm guessing about 10A.
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Old 11-25-2022, 05:09 PM   #16
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Default Re: 1999 SW2 no start

I have the push button starter hooked up and so far it's working good.:banana

I appreciate all the help!
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