It could be a problem with your transmission ... the Saturn VUE 2003 has a variable speed transmission which is causing lots of problems. There was a recent class action suit in the US and one on-going in Canada.
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Engine needs to crank over strong and steady to have a chance of starting. Youi said it has a poor crank. Battery may be low or bad. If you get the engine to crank over corrrectly and it srill does not start check fuel pressure, spark and injector pulse.
the misfire fault (p0300 for random misfires or p 0301-08 for individual cylinder misfires) is seldom as a result of plugs
It is more likely from
low fuel pressure ,pump , EVAP not venting ,dirty injectors , wiring to the injectors , injector control, or ECM
simple fix is to put a can or 2 of injector cleaner in the tank and go for a good drive
next is to replace the fuel filter
more involved is to have the fuel pressure tested to check for pump and pressure regulator operation
check fuel pressure TBI injection fuel pressure should be 9 - 13 psi.make sure fuel pressure above 10 psi because throttle body need at least 10 psi. in order to work right.if all is good check see if PCM firing the fuel injectors.go to auto parts store buy noid light.to use noid light you have to disconnect fuel injector electrical connector then plug noid light into fuel injector connector.crank engine watch noid light should blink meaning PCM is firing fuel injectors if noid light steady not blinking PCM not working.if noid light dont light up you have open circuit in the fuel injectors wiring.if check engine light flashing have vechicle code scan.bad tps sensor will also cause problem you are having.
You will have to pinpoint what the engine is missing... - Spark - Fuel - Compression
All three of these are tested when the engine is being cranked over. There are two way of checking for fuel. Fuel pressure and fuel trigger. Both are very important and must be present for the engine to start. Fuel pressure is self explanatory. You just hook up the gage and see what the reading is. Fuel trigger is check with a noid light. The injector gets unplugged and the noid light gets plugged in to the injector clip. With the engine cranking over, this light must blink. This is the signal to the injectors from the computer. You can have all the fuel pressure in the world, but it wont matter if the injector is not pulsing gas into the cylinder like it should.
Compression tester, spark tester, fuel pressure gage and noid light are all accessible at your local auto store. All three tests play a very important part in diagnosing a no start condition. Be extremely careful when doing these tests.
The P0304 indicates the #4 cylinder is misfiring. The flashing light means the cylinder is not firing at all...It could be several things causeing it, coil, wires, plug, injector or vacuum leak. Do not drive your vehicle until you have this repaired, as it will lead to further more costly problems. Good luck, i hope this helps.
CHECK FUEL PRESSURE AND INJECTOR PULSE, IF YOU HAVE A NOID LIGHT. THERE IS A FUEL PRESS TEST PORT ON THE FUEL RAIL. KEY ON ENG OFF PRESS 35-45 PSI IF ITS A V 8 ENG 50-60 IF ITS A STRAIGHT 6. TO CHECK INJECTOR PULSE DISCONNECT THE EASIEST INJECTOR AND PUT THE NOID LIGHT IN THE CONNECTOR AND TURN THE ENG. OVER IF IT FLASHES YOU HAVE INJ PULSE. START THERE AND SEE WHAT YOU GET.
Non-start situations basically boil down to two things: No Fuel, or no spark.
I you are looking to throw a part at it, start with the crank sensor. They are cheap and not too hard to replace.
A full diagnostic approach would be to determine if it was a fuel or a spark problem. Check fuel pressures with a fuel pressure test guage: Low fuel pressure indicates a bad fuel pump or a bad fuel presssure regulator. Lastly on the fuel side, check t see if the injectors are getting a signal to fire, usually done with something called a noid light, I believe.
Spark diagnosis begins with first determining the condition, then finding the cause. Bad coil, loose wires, even the crank sensor are all suspect. A good repair manual with a flow chart is probably the best procedure to follow.
In my case, my manual only had a passing reference to the crank sensor and no diagnostic procedure to test it or even lead me to it. I found the solution through extensive web searches. Once I replaced it, all was well.
spark and fuel pressure at the times while it not starting? I hope so.
Will it start if you spray carb cleaner in the intake? If so we are dealing with an Injector issue Several injectors could be failing when hot It's very common also you need to hae a NOID light to verify that the injectors are being PULSED by the ECM if you have NOID and spark and fuel pressure then the only thing to do is while its stone cold. OHM all the fuel injectors and record all the reading for each cylinder.
Drive it then once it will not start, quickly do the ohms test again and record all readings again and any readings that are lower are likely bad injector windings and you need new injectors.
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