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Old 07-01-2008, 04:50 PM   #1
SWDude
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Default 97 SW2 no start suspect RKE module

Hi All,

Just registered but I have been using the search feature alot to help gather info as I troubleshoot my no start problem. Kinda think I've narrowed the problem down and want to get some advice.

Back ground....1997 SW2, a/t. about 130,000miles, We're original owners.

Symptoms: turn key and starter does nothing, no soleloid click either. Just here fuel pump relay in center console fuse/ relay panel.

Same symptoms when jump starting.

Got a haynes manual and started torubleshooting further...

Run a hot wire from battery to S terminal on soleloid and car starts. Implies starter and soleloid and cables good.

Must be "up stream" ..either p/n switch, starter relay (hacked into harness on 1997 models, learned where this relay was by searching around this site! )ignition switch or wiring.

Jumped out p/n switch cable (as if p/n switch was closed) and same problem. implies p/n switch not problem.

Suscepted starter relay. Got a new one and same problem. I then jumped out the starter relay (as if the starter relay switch was closed) and the car started. Implies ignition switch ok and there's a problem with the starter relay operation.

So, I now suscept it's the RKE module not giving the starter relay a good ground. This makes more sense when you see the schematic in the Haynes.

I read here about someone with the exact same problem and they also suspected a bad ground from the RKE but it turned out they had a blown 10amp Body fuse. Checked mine and it's good, double checked all fuses and they are good.

So, if I jumper the starter relay everthing works ok but if I do this I didn't really fix the problem.

So, again I suspect the RKE module but my key fobs still lock and unlock the doors fine so that part of operation is OK, which kinda makes me doubt the RKE module is bad.

Saturn dealer says...new RKE is $156 and is not returnable, says they can't test a RKE module out of the car, says they can trouble shoot with it inside the car for $130 to $150.

Dealer mechanic also says in 15yrs he's never had to replace a RKE module. But I read here from a Saturn mech (sorry forget name) that his replaced more RKE modules than starter motors. Both could be true but neither really helps.

So, I'm thinking of trying to find a used RKE unit. Does anybody have any good idea about troubleshooting the RKE module??? Also, perhaps even though my 10amp Body fuse is OK it could still be open due to corrosion within ther console fuse panel. I think this because of someones else experience I mentioned above.

So, hopefully that wasn't too long but I was trying to provide as much info as I could.

Last edited by SWDude; 07-01-2008 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 07-01-2008, 04:55 PM   #2
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Default Re: 97 SW2 no start suspect RKE module

Not to be retarded , but did you try replacing the battery within the RKE??
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Old 07-01-2008, 05:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: 97 SW2 no start suspect RKE module

Hmmm. I got excited for a second but then realized you've mistaken the RKE module for a key fob. The RKE module and the key fobs are different things. The key fobs work fine, unlock and lock the doors fine implies the batteries are good in them. The RKE is the reciever unit under the rear passenger side C pillar panel. This RKE module has no battery in it. Least that's what I've learned by troubleshooting. Thanks for the reply!

Last edited by SWDude; 07-01-2008 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 07-01-2008, 09:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: 97 SW2 no start suspect RKE module

Seems like there's alot of entries on this site about the RKE and the security system lately. Anyways reading them gives me the thought that I will try to reconfigure the RKE to disable the ignition kit function and see what happens. I don't know if it's configure now or not.
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Old 07-01-2008, 10:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: 97 SW2 no start suspect RKE module

Have you checked to see if the starter is getting the start signal? Get the front of the car in the air and get under it with a test light. Check for power at the small purple wire on the starter solenoid when a helper is turning the key to the start position.

Standard safety proceedures in place of course so that you don't end up flatter under the car. Jack stands or ramps.


If you have power then you have a bad starter or bad power supply to the starter---loose cable, corroded cables or a bad battery.
More likely bad starter. They tend to fail to complete failure. No clicking noises at all.
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Old 07-01-2008, 11:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: 97 SW2 no start suspect RKE module

ssicarman, thanks the reply. Guess my post maybe had too much info so people gloss over it.

If I jumper out the starter relay the car starts and runs fine. I've done this numerous times in my troubleshooting and it always works.

Problem is not...starter, solenoid, park/neutral switch or starter relay. They all work fine when I jumper the "hacked in" starter relay, well actually the relay is removed when I jumper the relay socket.

I believe it's the gnd connection to the gnd side of the starter relay coil which comes from the RKE module The RKE module is not giving the starter relay a good ground for some reason.

Question is do I believe this enough to plunk down $156 for a new module???

I do (because of everything I said above) and I don't (because alot of the other functions of the RKE (remote locking and unlocking of the doors) work fine).



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Old 07-01-2008, 11:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: 97 SW2 no start suspect RKE module

With all that you've done, is the RKE module repairable since you seem to know that the ground signal is missing from the RKE? Or thought of junk yard RKE modules?
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Old 07-02-2008, 12:08 AM   #8
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Default Re: 97 SW2 no start suspect RKE module

Quote:
Originally Posted by SWDude View Post
Seems like there's alot of entries on this site about the RKE and the security system lately.
Yes, it's July, and July is RKE/Security month here on SF. We're having a special on '97 SW2s. June was diff pin month.

(Seriously, seems like lately, it's ALWAYS a '97 SW2, even though this system is the same for ALL '97-'99 cars so equipped. )

IIRC, the BODY fuse powers the RKE module's general function, but the CHIME fuse supplies power to the 86 pin of the hacked-in starter relay. Does the door chime work? Cool to hear the Haynes manual includes that diagram; a lot of the Haynes/Chilton books have diagrams going only up to about '95.

I'm thinking the same as fdryer -- the RKE general functions are working, but the circuit from the security "logic" to the ground is the one that's bad. Hopefully your Haynes manual has the pinouts for the RKE connector. Short (no pun intended) of that, I'd second the idea of an salvage yard RKE. Just stay away from '96, since it was the first year for factory RKE, and didn't have the security feature. 'Course, your "drop back and punt" option is simply to decommission and permanently bypass the hacked-in relay. This is how EVERY S-Series starter circuit before '97 was wired.
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Old 07-02-2008, 01:22 AM   #9
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Default Re: 97 SW2 no start suspect RKE module

thanks for the replies! I've been searching thru this site and have really been amazed at the frequency of this kinda problem no start/ chime/ starter relay issue and how frequently people respond with knowledgable help!

My chime module is chiming normally and it's fuse is ok. I unplugged the chime module, pins looked clean and shiny. Plugged it back in and same no start issue. Is it possible the chime module still chimes correctly but not provide pwr to the hacked in relay 86 pin?

I can't believe the stinkin Chime module is in the starting circuit!!

Actually we've had this car since new. It's got 145,000miles, only has broken done on us once and that was within a mile of the Saturn dealer. It was still under warranty at the time and was a shorted wire which blew a fuse. Other than that the car has never left us stranded. Even this no start problem first happend in our drive way so it didn't leave us stranded somewhere. Had to replace a leaky power steering pump which was also under warranty and that's it for unschedule repairs. Not too bad.

Anyways I'm gonna looked for a wrecking yard RKE and chime module from a 97 or later Saturn..

Last edited by SWDude; 07-02-2008 at 01:36 AM.
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:57 AM   #10
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Default Re: 97 SW2 no start suspect RKE module. YES!!!! WHO'S YOUR DADDY LITTLE SW2!!!!

Hey All, had to let you all know I found the culprit...(so many times on here while I was searching for info, I'd run across somebody discussing their problem...it would go on for several exhanges and then nothing...they'd never come back and say how they fixed their problem!! Not the best way to learn from each other!!)

Anyways, went to the Pick-n-Pull in San Jose today, looking for a RKE module and a chime module...not really expecting to have any luck finding anything but heck turns out they had around 10 Saturns. Found a couple with RKE modules and went with one from a 98 SW. Also, got a chime module. Heck didn't even need any tools to get these parts!

I like roaming around junk yards and looking at all the cars...wish they could talk...oh the places and things they must have seen...camping trips, cross country road trips, cruises to the beach and oh that day that telephone came out of no where!

So, a new RKE costs about $150 from the dealer, a chime box about $40, I hear. I had no idea what PickNPull would want...turns out $17 total, they called them relay boxes, I didn't argue.

Removed the jumper I installed in the starter relay socket, and put in the starter relay and then installed the new (used) chime and same no start problem. Damn.

Then I installed the new (used) RKE module and re-taught my key fobs to it and

YES BABY SHE STARTED!!!! WHO'S YOUR DADDY LITTLE 97 SW2!!!!!

So, it was the RKE not giving the starter relay it's ground to the coil side!

I did a little dance around the drive way and then started adding up...

all the money I saved and thus was going to spend on toys!!!

Anyways, I figure maybe.....

Tow to Saturn dealer (35miles away). $50?
Dealer troubleshoot $150
Part $150
Installation $150

$500 smackers! What do think??? Is that too much???

Anyways, it was quite a little puzzle. Spent several hours working on this. Had both my boys 11 and 12 helping too and it was fun trying to teach them about how to read a circuit, about grounds, relays, starters, solenoids etc.

So case closed. It was the darn RKE module. Book'em Dan-O!!!
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Old 07-03-2008, 01:04 AM   #11
SWDude
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Default Re: 97 SW2 no start suspect RKE module. YES!!!! WHO'S YOUR DADDY LITTLE SW2!!!!

Hey All, had to let you all know I found the culprit...(so many times on here while I was searching for info, I'd run across somebody discussing their problem...it would go on for several exhanges and then nothing...they'd never come back and say how they fixed their problem!! Not the best way to learn from each other!!)

Anyways, went to the Pick-n-Pull in San Jose today, looking for a RKE module and a chime module...not really expecting to have any luck finding anything but heck turns out they had around 10 Saturns. Found a couple with RKE modules and went with one from a 98 SW. Also, got a chime module. Heck didn't even need any tools to get these parts!

I like roaming around junk yards and looking at all the cars...wish they could talk...oh the places and things they must have seen...camping trips, cross country road trips, cruises to the beach and oh that day that telephone pole came out of no where!

So, a new RKE costs about $150 from the dealer, a chime box about $40, I hear. I had no idea what PickNPull would want...turns out $17 total, they called them relay boxes, I didn't argue.

Removed the jumper I installed in the starter relay socket, and put in the starter relay and then installed the new (used) chime and same no start problem. Damn.

Then I installed the new (used) RKE module and re-taught my key fobs to it and

YES BABY SHE STARTED!!!! WHO'S YOUR DADDY LITTLE 97 SW2!!!!!

So, it was the RKE not giving the starter relay it's ground to the coil side!

I did a little dance around the drive way and then started adding up...

all the money I saved and thus was going to spend on toys!!!

Anyways, I figure maybe.....

Tow to Saturn dealer (35miles away). $50?
Dealer troubleshoot $150
Part $150
Installation $150

$500 smackers! What do think??? Is that too much???

Anyways, it was quite a little puzzle. Spent several hours working on this. Had both my boys 11 and 12 helping too and it was fun trying to teach them about how to read a circuit, about grounds, relays, starters, solenoids etc.

So case closed. It was the darn RKE module. Book'em Dan-O!!!
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Old 07-03-2008, 02:16 AM   #12
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Default Re: 97 SW2 no start suspect RKE module. YES!!!! WHO'S YOUR DADDY LITTLE SW2!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SWDude View Post
Had both my boys 11 and 12 helping too and it was fun trying to teach them about how to read a circuit, about grounds, relays, starters, solenoids etc.
Forget about whether they learned the electronics. They'll get that in school eventually. What they really learned is the value of perseverence, patience and common sense. And that if you're not lazy or conditioned to pay someone else to deal with your challenges, you can do a lot yourself, and be self-sufficient, and save some real scratch in the process. There's NO school that'll ever teach them that.

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