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99 Saturn SL2 starts once, then won't start for a day

Calladus Calladus
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 02/07
Posted: 02/13/07
02:10 PM

I've got a 99 Saturn SL2 that's developed an odd problem (to me at least.)

If I start the car, everything seems fine.  The problem is that if I kill it, the dang thing won't start again until the next day.  (Perhaps sooner, but definitely longer than 3 hours!)

I can't make every trip to 7-11 a "three hour tour" so I need to figure this out.

Turning the key gives me full console lighting, but on ignition there is no solenoid action at all, no clicking - just silence.  The console doesn't even dim.  

I thought it was the battery at first, but it tests good; I even tried jumping the car with the same result.  I've checked the clutch interlock switch, and made sure the clutch was topped off with fluid, so I'm pretty sure those are okay.  

The car does have another problem - the thermostat needs to be replaced.  But I wouldn't think these problems are related, are they?

Any ideas?  

johnyelle johnyelle
New User | Posts: 17 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 02/14/07
08:23 PM

I read that the Saturn ignition controls that work with the keys are faulty on some and need to be taken back to the dealer to be reprogrammed.  I've never owned a Saturn so I'm not quite sure what that involves and perhaps someone else who owned one could tell you more, but I really believe the dealer needs to reprogram the ignition with a new keying suystem.  

Calladus Calladus
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 02/07
Posted: 02/20/07
09:47 AM

Well, I finally found the answer.

I checked voltage to the solenoid, and found that I was getting starting voltage when I turned the key.  The solenoid wasn't supplying current to the starter, so it had to be a bad solenoid.

I tapped the solenoid, and the car started.  I'm guessing that something about the temperature, or about vibration, caused it to seem like it would work once and then not work a second time.

Replacing the solenoid with a new one fixed the problem.  

Oh, and replacing this on a Saturn... not fun.  There's no fun to be had working on a Saturn.  Pulling the oil pan requires you to remove the exhaust, and even then I had to unbolt the engine and jack it up a couple of inches in order to get the pan off and back on.  Replacing something as simple as a thermostat requires you to unbolt parts from under the engine.  Everything under the hood of a Saturn is built as if it were designed by a maniacal Swiss watch maker with delusions of internal combustion.  

rcochran rcochran
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 02/07
Posted: 02/22/07
09:58 AM

I have a question related to your solenoid discovery.  The issue I'm having with my 99 SL2 sounds very similar to yours...will start fine some times but others with the turn of the key, nothing, others it will click but no turnover.  If the hood is raised and the battery cables are jiggled with, sometimes works.  Hopefully that is the issue.  But, mine is doing another strange thing in that sometimes while driving the speedometer and RPM gague needles will slowly go back down to zero for a second then snap back to driving position.  Also, the brake light comes on when this happens.  I was wondering if you were also having this problem or had heard of it before.  

Calladus Calladus
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 02/07
Posted: 03/02/07
07:37 PM

The start problem does sound like battery cables... does the solenoid click every time?  If you turn the key and get nothing then it should either be the solenoid or the clutch interlock switch.

The needles drop when the dash loses voltage, are all console instruments crashing, or just those two?  I've never had, nor heard of that problem before.

I miss my '94 Saturn.  It ran just fine with nary a hiccup for 60 thousand miles.  When I traded it in the dealer couldn't believe that the tires were the original factory tires.  Nothing ever went wrong with it.

My 99 SL2 has been nothing but a lemon.  The driver's seat wobbles, the cover fell off of the seatbelt pulley on the passenger side.  The idler pulley's bearing failed while driving down the highway, causing massive overpressure (blew a seal, blew a water pump, screwed up my thermostat)

Only one power window still works.  My exhaust pipe fell apart, and the car failed the mandatory Smog Test the last time I had it checked.  

I just clicked over to 80 thousand miles about 4 months ago.  Feh.  Next time I'm getting a Toyota.  

cbonet76 cbonet76
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 07/08
Posted: 07/17/08
06:49 AM

I had the same problem with my 98 Saturn SL.  It turned out to be the starter.  Once I had replaced the starter all was fine.  It started up one morning as it always did, I went in to drop of my son came out it wouldn't start.  I had the car towed home.  Went out the next day started right up no problem, It carried on like this for awhile it seemed like it only would start when it wanted too. At first I thought it was my battery because it acted like the battery was completely dead.  I had a friend who suggested the starter and havent had a problem since.  

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