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jeffrey590, Master Saab Technician
Category: Saab
Satisfied Customers: 2847
Experience:  ASE Master Technician , Saab Master Technician w/ 35 years Dealer Experience in Advanced Level Diag.
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Saab 9-3 2.0T: Wont start!

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I have a 2004 SAAB 9-3. I was trying to replace the clutch helper spring. I couldn't compress the spring far enough to get it in. I noticed a white "button" near where the top of the helper spring mounts (the yellow clip). I pushed in the button (actually more of a plunger) hoping it might be a clutch pedal release. It didn't seem to do anything, but now my car won't start! And I still don't have the helper spring in place!


When I turn the key, the electrical system comes on, but the starter doesn't spin.

Greetings JACUSTOMER, Start by checking the vehicle battery for a minimum of 12.5 volts with vehicle OFF using a Digital Volt Meter across the battery terminals. The battery drains quickly in these vehicles with key in ignition and door open while making repairs. If reading is low, disconnect NEGATIVE cable and charge battery until desired voltage is reached. Then reconnect cable, insert key in ISM, remove key to initialize key with immobilizer and insert key and try to start. If this proves to be ok, the next step is to check the button you pushed and either push it again; or try to pull it out to original position. The clutch safety switch is likely in open circuit and will not allow vehicle starter to crank. This is a safety feature so vehicle cannot be started in gear without clutch pedal being fully depressed. You may have disturbed it trying to install the spring or by pushing the white button. I cannot at the moment recall the button you refer to but I will check the next manual trans vehicle our shop gets in if you don't locate the problem beforehand...If I can assist further please let me know...jeffrey590
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for the response. You're getting close...


I did a little more research and it does seem to be the so-called clutch pedal switch that I pushed in and can't pull back back out. I didn't have the doors open that long and I put a new battery in less than 2 months ago, so I doubt that it's the battery. The starter solenoid doesn't even click I don't think.


I could try to push start it tomorrow. Just seems odd that the battery would have gone dead. Maybe the switch is not the issue? This car only has 23k miles on it!

Hello Jeff, OK ...If you cannot release the clutch safety switch then the only course of action will be to replace it . I have seen several of these switches fail over the years but do not recall the plunger being white. Maybe a change during production and/or a different vendor. l would try to repair the switch by pulling out gently on the plunger and possibly releasing whatever is binding internally. If you have no luck then it will need replacement. I recommend for best quality OEM parts at competitive prices...If I can assist further please let me know...Jeff
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I'll give that another try and let you know. I didn't want to pull on it too hard and risk breaking it!



Hi Jeff, Agreed...Don't want to force it too much..If it won't release with moderate pressure than replacement is only other option...Here if you need more help..Thanks...Jeff
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Just went out and pulled it a little harder. Pulled it out! The shaft is ratcheted (I believe) so I had to tug it a bit. The car starts now!


Now if you can only tell me how to install the clutch helper spring. I see where it needs to go, but can't compress the spring enough to get it in.


Thanks again!



Hello Jeff, Excellent!! you are correct in the shaft being notched. This aids in the fine adjustment if needed. As far as installing the helper spring I use a thin. nylon tie strap or a piece of thin bailing wire. I compress the spring outside the vehicle to its max and use the wire /strap to hold it in the compressed position. Then i slide it into position and cut the wire/strap to complete the install. I have also seen techs disconnect the pedal linkage to make enough clearance to get the spring in position and compress it under the dash. Whatever way works for you , those are the recommended install methods...Jeff
jeffrey590 and other Saab Specialists are ready to help you
Hi jeff[],

I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. Did my answer help?

Let me know,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hey Jeff!


I haven't had time to try the spring compression tricks you suggested, but I think they might work. It's pretty darn hard to get under the dash to do this so I may end up paying someone else to do it anyway.


Thnaks for your help!



Hi Jeff, I am here if you need any further advice...Please let me know...Thanks...jeff
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Cool. Did you get my initial payment? First time I've used this site and I'm definitely happy with your response.


-Jeff (also)

hi jeff, i sure did...thank you so much for the excellent rating and the payment..really appreciate it and i am glad you are satisfied with my response...always here if you need me...jeff

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