Question about 1996 Saab 900

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96 Saab 900S SE Turbo won't start in the cold weather

The check engine light is on and I took it to the shop, they told me that I needed a new front O2 Sensor. I am wondering if the front O2 sensor not working would make my car not want to start in the cold weather or if it sounds like it may be a starter or something else?

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  • crystal_moor Nov 13, 2008

    It tries to turn over (sounds like it starts then shuts right off when I realease the key) and if it's a bit warm outside it will actually start. Sometimes when it's warm out it takes 2 or 3 times to make it acutally start.

  • cdlite Jan 16, 2009

    I have the same problem with my 1997 900. It appears that when the temptures drop below the 20s mine wont start. twice this year, I had problems starting and actually never got it running until the temps outside was above 32 and It just turned over. Today the temps are in the teens and twentys and my SAAB wont start. All the things that have been offered as probable causes on this page I have already done and the situation still exsists. I am convienced there is a cold start sensor some where but I just can't find it. please notify me if you have any updates

  • lalcmt Jan 24, 2009

    I have a 1996 900SE Turbo and it won't start. Today I went into the store came out 5 mins later ... all the lights came on but it wouldn't even turn over... nothing. After about 10 mins my car started. I drove to a place to have my car checked. I was there for about an hour, I went out and the car started, 5 mins later they tried to start it and again all the lights came on but it wouldn't even turn over. They could push start it, I drove home and as soon as I turned it off… the same thing … no start.
    They think that it is the ignition switch. I was wondering if it couldn’t be a fuse? The ignition cassette? It is like they are missing something very simple.

    There is no Saab dealer or mechanic in the area… HELP!!!
    My Saab is sabbing L

  • Anonymous Feb 07, 2009

    I got a 1997 900S this summer. Ran fine all summer.
    I live in the Boston area and since the cold
    weather set in, I have had an extremely hard time 
    getting it started. It will catch for a second then die.
    If I presist the time it runs get longer and longer, then
    when the run time get to 5 seconds it starts. I let it warm a few minutes, 
    and I can run it up to 70 on the highway. It will behave like
    a new car. I've had it towed to a service station 3 times.
    They have done a complete tuneup, changed the air and
    fuel filter.

  • saablover199 Feb 12, 2009

    I have a 1996 SAAB 900S Convertible that also will not start when it is cold outside--usually temps below 20 F. It will start after about 2 minutes of cranking, sputtering, and stalling. My engine light came on the first time I had this problem, which is only in the dead of winter. Maybe I should replace the o2 sensor and see if that fixes it. If nothing else, I may get better mileage.

  • Anonymous Apr 11, 2009

    Got the same problem only mine is a V6 not a turbo.

  • Dennis May 11, 2010

    When you state that you're car does not want to start, do you mean it doesn't start? Or is it just hard to start? And typically when an O2 sensor goes, a vehicle will get worse gas millage, or possibly run a little rough, however I've never heard of it causing a vehicle not to start.



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You need to do four things:
Replace the plugs and make sure they are the correct ones gapped dead on to spec (1 mm). Use lots of silicone dielectric grease in the plug boots when reinstalling the DIC over the plugs.
Check the DIC
Check the CPS (crankshaft position sensor).
My money is on the CPS. The car may or may not start and run with a failing CPS (which is maintenance part, meaning it will fail over time). This, and the DIC, are known failure parts. The CPS is located on the right front lower corner of the engine block and secured with a single Torx screw (T27 or 30 IIRC).
Finally, the fuel pump may be on its way out, but I hope not as it is expensive to correct. They are good for 100,00 to 120,000 miles.

Posted on Nov 25, 2008

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What is a DIC

Posted on Nov 19, 2009


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