Question about 2001 Saturn SC

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Turn on key. power to gauges and lights. will not crank starter. removed starter and load tested . checks out ok. reinstalled starter worked for a week same thing. removed starter same thing . reinstalled worked about 2weeks. now won't crank same thing.

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  • brewerbruce Mar 10, 2009

    I have a 2001 Saturn SL that has had infrequent starting issues. Within the last week, twice I have gone to start the car but will not activate the solenoid or crank the starter. The first time I was able to start it a day later. This last time, it would not crank. Battery has full charge and was replaced six months ago. Installed a new starter tonight. Started right up. Shut it off, and restarted. Engine ran a few minutes and I shut it off. I heard something running after I shut down the engine and I realized the starter was still running with the ignition switch off (key was removed). I had to disconnect the battery to stop the stater. I'm positive the wires were connected properly, as it is nearly impossible to do it wrong. I'm beginning to think the ignition switch is faulty.

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After I was able to diagnose that the new starter I first received was defective, I reinstalled the old starter that the store checked and claimed was good. It finally acted up while I had the car on the ramps. The old starter was starting as desired when finally on one key turn, it failed to turn over. After checking I had the power to the solenoid, I gave it a tap on the solenoid and the starter began to crank again. In shopping for replacement starters, I've found out that performance data in the box doesn't mean the starter will be functional. Many that I looked at were missing the water drain debris plugs. Some were even broken in the box, and one store tried to pass it off saying it was remanents from another starter since that company reused boxes. And in-store checks for starters are only as good as the people running it. I took the same starter in twice, and got two different results (good and horribly bad).

Posted on Mar 16, 2009

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Pretty limited in what you can check without a voltmeter or test light. If you have power to the ignition switch, need to know if power is getting to the starter solenoid on the starter motor when the key is held in cranking position. If power there, likely a new starter is called for-have yours tested.

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When you turn the key to on, do the warning lights and gauges come on normally? Any reason to suspect the battery is low? Has the starter motor performed flawlessly up to this point?

Without a voltmeter or test light, one's best choice is to take the starter off and have it tested. With a test light, check for power on the small purple wire at the starter solenoid, with the key held in crank. If power there, probably bad starter or solenoid. If no power, start checking the start circuit-power is lost between the ignition switch and the starter solenoid-clutch interlock switch or park/neutral switch may be the problem.
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1 Answer

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Do warning lights and gauges come on, when key is turned to on?
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But those are ignition parts. If the car won't crank, there is a problem between the battery, ignition switch, and the starter.
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If you hear no click in start, turn the headlights on and watch their intensity while someone turns key to crank. If the lights dim noticeably and no cranking, then the starter is bad or needs testing. If the lights don't change intensity when key is at crank position, then possibly the starter solenoid is bad or the circuit from ignition switch to the starter solenoid is not allowing current to pass. Take off the small wire (brown, I think) from the starter solenoid and see if it has power when key is in crank position. If it has power, the starter has to come off-it or the solenoid is bad. If no power on the solenoid wire with key in crank, then the circuit from ignition switch to the solenoid will have to be checked. There are at least a couple of components in that path- one is the starter relay, another is the neutral safety switch (or clutch switch on manuals). Also if no power on the solenoid wire, check the 30 amp fuse in the power distribution center by the battery. It may be fuse # 10, at least it is on a '97 Jeep. Heck, check all your fuses while you're at it.
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2 Answers

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1 Answer

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does this van have one of those starter keys below the steering wheel under the dash?
if so the plug is out or not all the way in.

other wise you will need to jump start test the starter manualy down on the starter itself.

there is one small gauge wire going to the starter and and large gauge wire coming from the battery .unplug the small one and put a test light on the wire and turn the key to test for power.then test at the starter turn key off .

now cross the little side to the big side on the starter .there will be a spark but this should cause the starter to engage if its working ok.


using a few of these tests should fix this one ok.
if you dont turn the key off when testing the starter the only thing that will happen is the engine may start running on you.
make sure the brake is on and in park.


hope this helps out.
keep me posted

thank you
jm

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