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Old 11-29-2010, 02:01 AM   #1
John Head
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Default 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

The aforementioned SC2, 235,570 miles, runs like a champ ... till today. Other night I noticed it did not want to start when I depressed the clutch. After a couple of attempts, it started and ran fine, got me home from work. Once there, I turned it off and waited 5, then restarted it and it started fine. Today, nothing. I have power: lights, et al, so it's not the battery. My guess is the clutch starter switch at the back of the clutch pedal. Is this an easy replacement part to find, and is it easy to change myself?
Thanks, as always, for the support.
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:11 AM   #2
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

Try jumping out the clutch safety switch first. If the starter doesn't run its most likely the starter if its the original or second one. This is presuming the battery and cables are in good condition. If the battery is over 5yrs old, have it tested before jumping on the starter.
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:09 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

I hate to be ignorant: How do I jump out the clutch safety switch?
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:35 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

That means, disconnect it and run a jumper wire between the two terminals. Most likely the problem is your starter.
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

What he said. ^ ^ ^ Or just take both wires off the switch and join them together temporarily. If they're spade lugs they can fit together like a puzzle. All you're doing is joining the two wires together to eliminate the clutch safety switch if its broken. The two wires joined together allow starting without the switch or pressing the clutch pedal down. As mentioned before, if this still won't get the starter to run its most likely the starter (presuming all other items are in good working order).

As usual, be sure the transmission is in neutral before trying the starter.
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Old 11-29-2010, 11:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

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Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
What he said. ^ ^ ^ Or just take both wires off the switch and join them together temporarily.
It's one connector on the switch. The two terminals inside it are female. A little piece of wire with 2 male terminals would be a permanent solution, provided the presence of mind not to need the switch. The wire carries the main power to the solenoid, however (no relay), so it should be something like 14ga.
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Old 11-30-2010, 09:07 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

Thanks to all for the usual great input and advice. It was, in fact, the starter (the old "tap the starter" trick told the tale). I bought the part and installed it myself; though, in retrospect, I'm not sure I want to tackle that again. If it weren't for that top mounting bolt, wedged blindly between the solenoid and whatever sits above the starter, it would be an easy swap. As it was, it was tough getting that top mounting bolt started. Otherwise, pretty simple swap.
I appreciate the help, folks.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:13 AM   #8
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

^^^^^ After you change one or two starters you can do it with your eyes closed. Oh yea, you pretty much have to anyways.
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

Well, I might have spoken too soon. Came outside to go home from work last night, and car wouldn't start on first two attempts; started up on third attempt.
Turned it off when I got home, restarted no problem; repeated this three times in the course of 10 minutes, kind of letting the car sit a few minutes between starts. No starting probs.
This morning, same problem: no start on first two attempts, started fine on third.
Did I get a bad replacement starter? is there something else going on here? This car has been pretty much free of chronic problems since I bought it, now, this happens. It has mileage (235,000), most of it highway, but anytime I've fixed something it pretty much has been good to go.
Any ideas? Anyone?
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:24 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

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Well, I might have spoken too soon. Came outside to go home from work last night, and car wouldn't start on first two attempts; started up on third attempt.....This morning, same problem: no start on first two attempts, started fine on third......Did I get a bad replacement starter? is there something else going on here? It has mileage (235,000), most of it highway......
You'll have to be more specific. Does "no start on first two attempts...." mean absolutely no sounds from the starter and engine, DEAD silence or the starter does run and the engine turns over but won't fire up?
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:40 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

Dead silence. No clicking like you'd hear with a dead battery.
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Old 12-02-2010, 03:46 PM   #12
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

I know it could be another bad starter, but I'm not leaning that way, given the relays and wiring involved. I've found a reputable service place that will run a starter/relay diagnostic for only $30 or so. That might be the best way for me to go to pinpoint the problem.
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:53 PM   #13
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

Is your replacement starter new, rebuilt, junkyard?

Low Saturn's tip for starter replacement - replace the top starter bolt with a stud, same size as the intake manifold studs. That way, you can just slip the starter over the portruding stud and bolt it on.
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:00 PM   #14
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

Good tip on the top bolt stud; thanks.
The starter is new, not rebuilt or junkyard.
I've been going out every few hours to start it and let it run, just to make sure. So far, still starts.
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:13 PM   #15
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

Actually, AFAIK there are no relays in the gen-3 starter circuit. The problem is chasing down the open circuit right while it's happening. You need to be able to test for voltage at the clutch switch, and at the solenoid, right during a no-start event.

You can't rule out the possibility that it's the ignition switch. It is the one part of our cars made by Lucas (the Prince of Darkness....).
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:21 PM   #16
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

Even a new starter can fail but keep in mind the other major parts that make the starter run; a battery and battery cables, excluding the starting circuit that consists of the ignition switch and wiring. You can troubleshoot where this intermittent problem lies if the battery is tested then cables examined for any hidden corrosion by the terminals. Loose battery connections trips many unsuspecting owners.

Although more difficult to test, the ignition switch can be ruled out by advanced troubleshooting requiring a knowledge of automotive electrical systems and familiarity with multimeters.
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:34 PM   #17
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

Good points, all. Battery is 7 months old; terminals at the battery connection are clean. Can't speak to the ignition switch right now, but, again, it's original so it's a possible culprit.
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Old 12-03-2010, 08:48 AM   #18
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

I am having the EXACT same problem. I am leaning towards the ignition switch or the clutch switch. (clutch switch first) Have you tried bumping the igition switch while driving? I had the no-start problem again the other night as I was leaving work. A couple of friends pushed me off. On the way home, I cut the switch off and tried to restart while coasting (at 50mph). Nothing. Then engaged the clutch and was running again. This time, I tried bumping the starter and still nothing. The starter didn't grind. That's why I'm thinking clutch or ignition switch. Does that make any sense at all?
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:15 AM   #19
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

Not posting any mileage as well as leaving out a history of your car can get you guesstimates from anyone.

Starter original? Battery?
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:23 AM   #20
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 manual won't start: clutch switch?

TESTING is better (and ultimately cheaper) than guessing. The circuit goes: Battery, fuse, ignition switch, clutch switch, solenoid. Clutch switch connector is a good test point. Put the voltmeter on each of the two terminals, one at a time (negative probe to ground), and turn the key to START each time. One side should show voltage and the other should not. If you don't get voltage on either one, the problem is upstream - ignition switch or wiring up to that point.

If you DO get voltage on one side, plug it back in, put the meter on the side that did NOT have voltage, push in the clutch (or just push on the switch if you can) and turn the key to START. If you don't get voltage, the clutch switch is bad.

Finally, put the voltmeter right on the small (purple wire) lug on the solenoid, and turn the key to START. If you get voltage, everything is good up to there, and it's a starter issue. If you don't, the problem is in the wire between the clutch switch and the solenoid. That wire does go through the firewall.
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