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Old 10-30-2014, 07:21 PM   #1
Mitsorib
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Dizzy 99 SL2 Cranks, Wont Start, No Spark!! Please Help!

Hello Saturn Forums,

Ive been using this site for the last few years for my '99 Saturn SL2, so Id like to start by saying thanks to the community for being as helpful and professional as you are.

On to the problem...

Two weeks ago I went to start my car for the first time of the day, when I turned the key the engine cranked, but wouldnt start. I walked to the store, reading over similar issues on the forums, and gave it another shot when I got home. Started right up that time, so I figured I would take it home where I had tools and could deal with it if the problem happened again.

I couldnt get it to replicate the problem, so drove sparingly over the next few weeks, but everything seemed fine.

Last Thursday I was driving to a job interview, when suddenly it stalled a few blocks from home, but it started right back up. I did the interview, started right up after, went to the gas station to fill the tank, started right up again, drove home and parked it. That was the last time it started for me.

I thought it might be the Coolant Temp Sensor, as ive had issues with it before and read it can cause staring issues. I had a spare brand new one in the box and switched it out really quick. Still no start.

I checked the coil towers for a spark and saw that there was no spark from tower to tower. Reading more, I see that a common issue is the CPS needing to be replaced. I jacked up the car, removed the old CPS and replaced it with a new one (without removing the starter, just reaching around it). Tried to start it again, no difference, still no spark at towers.

After reading that the ICM is another likely culprit to no spark at the coil towers, i thought that had to be it. A mechanic I know happened to have a 99 sl2 that was running in his yard, and let me borrow the ICM/Coil from it to try in mine. I removed my coil/ICM and put in the working one, thinking this time I had got it, but no...still no start, no spark.

Im at a loss for what to do next, or maybe something that could have gone wrong. Please, any help would be appreciated!

TL;DR:
-1999 Saturn SL2, 210k miles (ive owned since 140k)
-NO START, NO SPARK
-Changed Coolant Temp Sensor
-Changed CPS (w/o removing starter)
-Tried a working ICM/Coil still no spark.
-Checked every fuse just in case, all were fine.

PLEASE HELP!!

-Mitsorib
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Old 10-30-2014, 10:34 PM   #2
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1996 SW2
Default Re: 99 SL2 Cranks, Wont Start, No Spark!! Please Help!

Check your grounds. Start at the under hood fuse box (you did check the fuses there, right?) and you'll find there are a few wires attached to it which are connected to ground. Clean those connections. Use a wire brush.
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Old 10-30-2014, 11:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cranks, Wont Start, No Spark!! Please Help!

And check for any blown fuses. The EIS 10 amp fuse powers the ignition system for spark. If you can, measure the pink wire on the icm connection for 12 volts. Fused power is switched thru the ign switch to supply 12v power to the icm.
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Old 10-30-2014, 11:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cranks, Wont Start, No Spark!! Please Help!

Yes, I checked all of the fuses on the passenger side on the inside, as well as the ones under the hood.

Ill check those wires first thing tomorrow, and report back.

Thanks!
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Old 10-31-2014, 12:08 AM   #5
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cranks, Wont Start, No Spark!! Please Help!

While you're checking things, remove spark plugs and examine them - since you already tried several starting attempts without the engine firing up, the plugs should be soaked in fuel. This checks injectors for operations as well as fuel pressure. Are plugs wet with fuel or dry? A fuel and spark check are ways to troubleshoot EFI systems.
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Old 11-05-2014, 04:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cranks, Wont Start, No Spark!! Please Help!

Sorry for slow response, crazy Halloween weekend.

I checked to see if anything was noticeably going to ground, and I really wasnt seeing anything out of the usual.

I pulled the plugs, they werent in the best shape, but didnt look too bad. I decided to buy a new set of NGK standard plugs.

Could it possibly be a problem with the computer (ECU or PCM) ?

Just brainstorming, since Im running out of options.

Thanks!
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Old 11-05-2014, 04:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cranks, Wont Start, No Spark!! Please Help!

Sure, why not? You're throwing money and parts at the car without any methodical troubleshooting already suggested...................

Fuel, spark and compression are needed to make an engine run. So far, no spark appears but no replies when asked to check on fuel. Somewhere in your guessing game, a compression test may be needed. Yes, even when spark seems to be the problem and fuel is still in question.

To date, the crank sensor (presumed fully seated) supplies crucial timing signals to allow the pcm full EFI functions; turn on fuel pump, initiate ignition system for spark, and pulse injectors. In case you aren't informed, you just learned about EFI systems. Replacing a pcm on a guess still leaves out all the wiring involved in EFI systems...........if you're wrong. Your choice to shotgun it and get it right or out more money with the same problem.

The majority here prefer to proceed with a step by step diagnoses to eliminate and isolate most problems to one or two issues. Troubleshooting any other way can be expensive and simply more time consuming. There is the time and tested method; any repair shop will gladly accept as much money as you can spend so they can fix your car - some do it right while others use/throw parts at the car until they find the answer. All at your expense.
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Old 11-05-2014, 06:20 PM   #8
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cranks, Wont Start, No Spark!! Please Help!

Sorry about that, forgot to mention, but spark plugs were wet and smelled like gas when i checked.

Thanks for the info on the EFI systems, I didnt know. You mention it may be a wiring issue somewhere involving the EFI?

Im really not that familiar with the system, what would I need to look for to check it?

Thanks.
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Old 11-05-2014, 06:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cranks, Wont Start, No Spark!! Please Help!

Ok, now you're communicating by replying with specific info. No one anywhere can be clairvoyant on public message boards. I doubt of any idiot savants that can say what's wrong with someone's car other than say "It's broke!" Anyone or idiot can do that..............

With fuel sprayed from operating injectors, this alone says many things; the crank sensor is outputting and the pcm is operating the EFI system with the exception of the ignition system. Its not a faulty pcm, faulty injectors, faulty fuel pump or lost fuel pressure - just by stating you see and smell fuel on spark plugs. The ignition system is the problem since all other pcm functions are operating. The pcm sends spark timing signals to the ignition control module that switches power to each ignition coil for spark.

The most likely fault here is the ignition control module. Most salvage yards may have a set of icm and coils as low cost options against expensive new parts. Most here have done well this way with used parts that work just as well as new.
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Old 11-05-2014, 07:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cranks, Wont Start, No Spark!! Please Help!

Thanks for the info on troubleshooting system.

I took an ICM/Coil assembly out of a working 99 Saturn (it was a SOHC, mine is DOHC, but the ICM/Coil looked the same), replaced mine with it hoping to get a spark. Had my buddy turn it over while i looked at the uncovered coils (similar to Richpins video on youtube), but still no spark.

Could this be due to it not being an exact matching engine, or does that point to the problem not being with the ICM/Coil?
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Old 11-05-2014, 08:55 PM   #11
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cranks, Wont Start, No Spark!! Please Help!

Sorry, I should have remembered this from the first post. It gets a little confusing if posts and clues don't flow towards a logical conclusion. It shouldn't matter about icm's as long as wiring connections remains similar.

Below is your wiring diagram for the ignition system. Pink wire is 12v power.
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Old 11-05-2014, 09:50 PM   #12
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cranks, Wont Start, No Spark!! Please Help!

So, just start by testing the pink wire in ICM Connector for 12v with the key turned to on?

Should I be following any other particular wires, checking for damage, or testing?
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:45 PM   #13
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cranks, Wont Start, No Spark!! Please Help!

Yes, that's just a start as the rest of wiring can be checked for continuity. A visual check for broken, chafed wiring, loose terminal crimps may reveal something.
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Old 11-06-2014, 10:03 PM   #14
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Default Re: 99 SL2 Cranks, Wont Start, No Spark!! Please Help!

My '94 sl2 had a bad ICM a year ago. It was causing a 7.5 amp fuse in the fuse box to blow. Car would not turn over.

You might want to invest in a Haynes Manual and just go through the trouble shooting section, step by step. This requires some tools, including test lamp and volt/ohm meter.

This shouldn't be that hard to figure out. You're getting fuel and electricity to the starter. Maybe a bad crankshaft position sensor (hideous to replace).
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