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Carhelp4u
Carhelp4u, ASE CERTIFIED TECH
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Experience:  ASE CERTIFICATION
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1997 saturn: wont start..lights turn..the starter and solenoid are new

Customer Question

my 1997 saturn sl wont start, some of the lights turn on but not all. the car doesnt really make any noise when i turn the key except a humming noise. the starter and solenoid are new. whatever the problem is no power is getting to the starter at all... have any idea hhat it could be
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Carhelp4u replied 6 years ago.
There are a few places a problem like this can lie. Do you have access to a voltmeter? Do you have any security messages on in the instrument panel?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
yea i have a volt meter, my low coolant light is always on even when its full, but thats the only light thats usually on, when i turn the key to the acc position and it wont start everything is lit up... i thought that was normal
Expert:  Carhelp4u replied 6 years ago.
Ok I should have asked you if this was an automatic transmission or a manual trans?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
automatic
Expert:  Carhelp4u replied 6 years ago.
Ok on the left side of the firewall is the starter relay. This relay will have 3 yellow wires and on wire will be yellow with a black stripe. I need you to verify for me is there is voltage at all three yellow wires and if the yellow with black stripe is grounding with the key in the start position?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
i cant find any yellow wires under my hood...
Expert:  Carhelp4u replied 6 years ago.
Do you have keyless entry?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
yes, but it doesnt work right now bec the power locks dont work, but the lights do work
Expert:  Carhelp4u replied 6 years ago.

Ok well if you have keyless entry this relay is located in a different area. You will need to look under the left hand side of the dash. Like I said, there will be three yellow wires and on yellow with black stripe. The testing is the same, but the placement is different. Sorry I do not have any illustrations of actual placement of this item. Here is a wiring schematic of the relay so that you can better understand why we need to find this.

graphic

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
ok we got the starter relay off, i have a 1997 saturn sl2 parts car so can i try to swap it and see if its the relay?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
the wires are getting power, it seems... so were gonna try a new relay. or could it be something else besides the ignition like the ecu
Expert:  Carhelp4u replied 6 years ago.
If all three wires are powered, we need to work further on in the circut. The next item in the circut would be the neutral safety switch. Do you know where this is located?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
no, and can u also tell me where the ECU is located
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
no its not the neutral safety switch, my friend thinks its the anti theft though bec everything works except my dome light and my automatic locks
Expert:  Carhelp4u replied 6 years ago.

The pcm is located under the left hand side of the dash.

graphic

The transmission safety switch is located on the right rear of the transmission.

graphic

We need to concentrate on the two purple wires at the switch. These should both have voltage with the key in the start position. Let me know how you make out!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
the wires arent getting power when the car is in the acc position
Expert:  Carhelp4u replied 6 years ago.
Do they get voltage in the start position is the question?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
no it didnt have it in either
Expert:  Carhelp4u replied 6 years ago.
Ok, but you stated all three yellow wires at the relay were energized?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
yes we tested it and we tried a new starter relay it did nothing.
Expert:  Carhelp4u replied 6 years ago.

Well if all of the yellow leads were energized, the relay is working as it should.

See the terminal A2 at the starter relay actually sends voltage to the transmission safety switch. I would advise you to start lookign through that wiring. The relay runs to terminal F8 of the under hood electrical center and then back out to the transmission safety switch from terminal A8. These points should all be energized with the key in the on position.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
no power is getting to the trans safety switch at all but the relay seems to be working fine, so something bet the relay and the TSS isnt working right?
Expert:  Carhelp4u replied 6 years ago.
Well if there is no voltage to the transmission safety switch, we need to work backwards. You are telling me that all three yellow wires have voltage. This means the relay is working, but there is a voltage drop from the relay to the transmission safety switch. This is where you need to get your voltmeter and start working your way through the wiring to see where the voltage stops. This could be a problem with the underhood junction block, but we need to see where the voltage stops. This is the most inportant thing at this point.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
ill check the yellow wires again, but what should i do if one of them doesnt get power this time? also there is nothing but a wire between the relay and the trans safety switch?
Expert:  Carhelp4u replied 6 years ago.

Well if one of them is not getting voltage, I would check to see if the yellow with black stripe is a good ground. If not this can be security related. This is very important to know. The wiring from the relay runs to the underhood electrical center and then back out to the transmission safety switch. Here is the complete wiring schematic so that you can see how this is wired.

graphic

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
the underhood and electrical center is the fuse and relay box right? the box seems to be working ok. maybe i just nead a new computer or somethings wrong with my alarm
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
the yellow and black wire was not a good ground so my friend spliced n a wire straight to a ground and the car started to actually turn over but still will not run
Expert:  Carhelp4u replied 6 years ago.
Ok well then that leads us to the theft system. This is why testing those wires was so important. Even though you are able to jump the relay to make the vehicle crank, still does not allow for the pcm to run the fuel injectors. For some reason my info does get into the actual theft system in your car. I hate to do it, but I am going to have to opt out. I am going to forward your question to other experts online that may be able to help. Sorry for the wait! Good luck!
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
THANKS

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