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Old 03-30-2014, 07:09 PM   #1
Trinity5
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Default 97 sw2 very hard start ONLY on 2nd start

I have read a bunch of posts now I am just completely confused.
1997 SW2 will start perfect every morning, no issues, it idles away like a champ while it warms up. When I drive to destination, turn off, shop/whatever, go to start and it hesitates and will not hold a steady idle. I have to keep holding down the gas. To get it to move without stalling, I have to keep the rpm steady and put it into drive. Once in motion it runs just fine. If I make a 3rd, 4th, 5th stop, same hesitation all over again. However; come the next morning, it starts like a champ. Recently changed, coil packs, plugs & wires, belt tension assembly & belt.
Codes come up for Camshaft Position Sensor, but hear there is NOT one in this car. Also, the Coolant sensor needs replaced, this will be the 3rd one for this car, but I can not see this being the issue with the rough starts. Also code for transmission temp sensor comes up too. Again, can't really see how transm temp has anything to do with the ignition.
Thought could be bad gas, ran it down to nothing and refueled, no changes.
CODES were all over the place but I think most of the occurring & reoccurring every time the car stalls or fails to start right away.
QUESTION I have from reading forums, I have plugs in that did not require me to gap them. Could this be the issue. I replaced them over 6 months ago with the coil packs and the wires and seemed to be just fine.
ECU-electronic control unit ?? & Ignition control ???
A layman step by step on what to check would sure be helpful. This way I can have a checklist to report. This is my 3rd 1997-1998 Saturn S series, I have made a lot of minor repairs with the help of these forums and YOUTUBE Richpin. Thank you in advance for your help.
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Old 03-30-2014, 08:42 PM   #2
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Default Re: 97 sw2 very hard start ONLY on 2nd start

You have a crank position sensor, not a camshaft position sensor. If you are getting that code, then I guess that is where to start.
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Old 03-30-2014, 08:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: 97 sw2 very hard start ONLY on 2nd start

That cam position sensor is caused by plugs and plug wires, replace them. Use NGK BKR5ESA-11 plugs and no platinum or other fine wire type of plug. Multi electrode plugs do not work well either. If you substitute use plain coper core plugs. Get any corrosion off of the coil towers. If this does not fix the p341 code then it will require coil/ICM replacement with a good used unit from local pick and pull.

The ECTS and TTS both have an impact on staring fuel mixture so find out what is fouled up and fix them. Connectors full of corrosion or oil, wiring splices that are not soldered and insulated, or failed sensors.
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Old 03-30-2014, 09:08 PM   #4
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Dizzy Re: 97 sw2 very hard start ONLY on 2nd start

Thank you. Knowing to start with Plugs and Wires helps me begin this process. I will get the plugs you suggest (NGK BKR5ESA-11) I have new wires and coil packs already. (only 6mo old) Ill also replace the Engine Coolant Temp Sensor, and Transmission Temp Sensor as they are easy fixes. I am hoping that I do not have to go the route of replacing the Ignition Control Module. Is the ICM something that goes bad at 140K??? Thank you so very much for your input.
Ill post my results/findings.
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: 97 sw2 very hard start ONLY on 2nd start

ICMs do fail but they are low cost at the used parts place, junk yard, and you can use the coils and ICM from any 96 or newer S-Series Saturn. When you replace these sensors use a Standard motor products TX73 or equivalent for both sensors as they are identical. Get a can of electrical connection cleaner and spray out your connectors and check for non-soldered splices.
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Old 04-01-2014, 04:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: 97 sw2 very hard start ONLY on 2nd start

What I did today. I disconnected the battery, then I removed the old platinum spark plugs and replaced them with the NKG as you suggested. I did notice that #1 had some oil on the threads, all the rest were just black. I used a .040 gap. New wires were just put on 3-4 months ago. I replaced both the Engine coolant temp. sensor and the Transmission fluid temp sensor. I made sure to clean the connections with electronic cleaner. I also put in a bottle of fuel injector cleaner. Reconnected the battery and started it up. It started up and idled fine, I took it for a little ride and turned it off and back on again, I let it sit until the fans came on then I drove it some more. Let it idle and it did not seem rough. There is only one issue, the car never had a problem with starting up on the very 1st start of the day, it was after I drove, parked, turned it off, returned and tried to start it...that is when it would give me fits. I will be driving the car on Thursday on my regular route where I would usually have this issue. That will be the test. Thank you all for your help. Explaining how spark 1/4 works and knowing BOTH temp sensors are the same part helped me a lot, as did giving me the exact plug to buy and the Gap. Not being a mechanic, those little things sure do help. I did all repairs/exchanges in less than an hour. Thank you again. I will post on Thursday if the car is still running great.
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Old 04-01-2014, 04:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: 97 sw2 very hard start ONLY on 2nd start

If you are lucky it is fixed and if it is not at least you have completed a decent tuneup so the serious checking and testing can proceed. Oil on plug threads can come from several places and a leaking cam cover gasket is a prime suspect as oil on a sparkplug will eventually lead to a misfire condition. That will be something to check here shortly. First see if it starts after it sits hot now.
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Old 04-03-2014, 05:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: 97 sw2 very hard start ONLY on 2nd start

Update. Car starts cold perfectly this AM. Made 9 stops today, (9AM-4PM) only the last stop of the day had an issue. Car ran great and started right up all day, the last stop it hesitated but started after about 10-15 sec. Idle was fine. Went and got the codes read and NOTHING came up, cleared codes and Service light was out. About 2 miles up the road the Service light came on again but, car ran fine. One weird thing, the Temp. gauge worked intermittently (level at a bit over the 1/4 mark) then it did not register at all. Now, it constantly sits at the 1/2 mark, even when I first start it up in the AM., it will read at 1/2. I may have done something while changing out sensors ??
I have been reading that a lot of HOT starts are the CPS (crank pos. sen) but I also thought I read my vehicle does not have one. I saw a video showing it at the back of the engine (on the S series) along side of the starter (from under the car). I'm thinking of changing this too. Any suggestions ? Just seems like an easy change and the car did throw that code last week, but NOT today. Thank you in advance for your input and suggestions, they are very helpful, time and $$ Saving.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:19 PM   #9
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Default Re: 97 sw2 very hard start ONLY on 2nd start

You could have a failing cps during a short hot soak or a bad fuel pump check valve, It fails to hold pressure at key off, then causes extended crank time if you don't wait a couple seconds when the pump primes after you turn the key back on.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: 97 sw2 very hard start ONLY on 2nd start

Thank you. I do find that if I turn the ignition to the start position and let it stay there for about 5-10 seconds, the car does start much better. This is my normal practice since I have found it causes less issues. Thinking I'm still going to replace the CPS since it is a relatively easy and cheap exchange. Cant hurt right ???
Any suggestions on my temperature gauge. ???
Thank you very much for the information.
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:03 PM   #11
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Default Re: 97 sw2 very hard start ONLY on 2nd start

It sounds like your ects connector is bad
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Old 04-03-2014, 10:30 PM   #12
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Default Re: 97 sw2 very hard start ONLY on 2nd start

Yes, there is a problem in the ECTS circuit and the connector is the most likely point of failure. You can go to a pick and pull and obtain an IAT sensor connector which is identical and solder it in to replace the existing connector. That is the low cost approach. IAT sensor is located just behind the drivers side headlight in the air box inlet horn. Get as much wire as you can.

You can order this part from RockAuto, DORMAN Part # 645900. These splices must be soldered or you will have future problems.

Last edited by OldNuc; 04-03-2014 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:02 AM   #13
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Default Re: 97 sw2 very hard start ONLY on 2nd start

Thank You. I ordered two parts from Rock Auto. The suggested sensor replacement for the ECTS and the Crankshaft Position Sensor, they had that in stock. $30.00 for the two parts and seem like easy enough fixes.
Ill update again when I get them replaced. However; the car is running much better with the replacement of the ECTS, TCTS and change in spark plugs.
Thanks again for the help in getting the right parts. My hopes is that this will do it
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:42 PM   #14
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Default Re: 97 sw2 very hard start ONLY on 2nd start

Replace your ECTS connector as described above.
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Old 04-06-2014, 03:24 PM   #15
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Default Re: 97 sw2 very hard start ONLY on 2nd start

If you are still suffering with a hard warm start, here is a thread for you. It seems that the topic is so old that few are around that remember. For many years, I have given the fuel pump several seconds to run on a warm start before turning the key. Car starts great cold and even better with new coil packs every 100,000 miles. All of the other advice given to you is sound as well.

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...=hard+cranking
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Old 04-08-2014, 05:17 PM   #16
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Default Re: 97 sw2 very hard start ONLY on 2nd start

OK, here is my update. I replaced the "wires & cap" to the ECTS and that fixed the temp gauge issue, now it works perfectly. I also took on the task of replacing the CPS. Took the car for a ride and it runs beautifully and NO illuminated Service Engine light. (For now) Ill be driving the car on a usual route Thursday and I am Praying that all that I have done in the last week has fixed my HOT Start issue. Thank you all for the great help & information.

** Notes on changing the CPS.
1st you can barely see the tip of it from the top. You can not see it from under the car either so, WHEN you finally locate it by feel; which took me about 20 minutes, the fun begins. The car has to be jacked pretty high because its located at the back of the engine. I used a 10mm deep well, its tight in that area. Once I got the bolt loose I just used my fingers, it was easier. You will be doing this blind, like I said; you can not see it at all, unless you take off the starter, which I was NOT going to attempt. It is a lot of feeling around and guessing. After I pulled the CPS out, which took a little back and forth force the rest was a piece of cake.

These were the PARTS I used: From RockAuto.com
Temp Sensor cap & wires #DOR-645-900 (Dorman)
CPS #STI PC48T (Standard Motor Prod.)
They were perfect fits.

For NON - Mechanics like me ... Location of the CPS / how to find it.
It is located right above the starter, on the engine. Now you can see the starter from the top but barely the CPS. I had to climb on the engine get a flashlight an peer though all the wires and hoses. You can just make out the blue cap. Its behind cylinder #3. Look straight down. From the underside its a feeling game but if you put your hand above the starter and then in towards the engine you can feel the cap and the one bolt is under the sensor. Once you locate it, the rest is quite easy.
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Old 04-08-2014, 05:42 PM   #17
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Default Re: 97 sw2 very hard start ONLY on 2nd start

It's always a good investment to replace the CPS on a '97 vehicle. However, the symptom of a failed CPS would be a no-go when hot, rather than just a hard start.

The hard warm start is most likely due to the bleed down of fuel pressure as covered in the referenced thread.

If you get a failed warm start, just sit with the key in the "RUN" position while you hear the electric fuel pump run for a few seconds. Grinding on the starter when it's not starting definitely does no good.

Most owners of a '97 are no longer attempting to replace the parts required to fix this problem. Pumping up the fuel pressure always works.
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