1993 SAAB 9000 - Possible Faulty Ignition Switch?

This morning I started my 9000 to go to work and I noticed a problem. After the car turned over, the key did not return (spring back?) from the “Start” position to the “On” position. When I tried to turn the key back to “On” since the car was already running, I heard a squealing noise and turned it back to “Start,” which I probably should not have done. (fried my starter motor/solenoid?)

Because it was in the “Start” position on my way to work, I had no accessories, like HVAC and even turn signals - not safe. I probably should’ve turned around and gone home when I noticed that, but I didn’t want to be late. Whoops. Well, I eventually got to work with my windows fogged up and a trail of confused people wondering why I didn’t signal.

To see if the problem would occur again, I tried to start the car again after turning it off. Well, it didn’t. I get accessories when I turn the key to the “On” position, but if I turn it one click farther to the right, to the “Start” position, nothing happens. The key just lays there, “limp,” and the dash lights stay on but there’s no accessories.

The battery appears to still have a good charge after I tested it with my multimeter. However, I haven’t removed the starter and tested it or the solenoid. To be honest, I don’t want to, because it’s wedged nicely between the back of the engine and the firewall. If I have to, though, I will.

I’ve already ordered a replacement ignition switch in the hopes of that being the problem. The reason I’m led to believe that’s the problem is the odd behavior when turning the key…i.e., no “spring back” when you try to crank the engine and the key remains in the “Start” position after you turn it all the way to the right. As far as I can tell, when I have someone turn the key to the “Start” position, there’s no click or buzz from the solenoid or starter. All I hear is the Direct Ignition cassette cleaning the spark plugs.

Does anyone want to help me verify or debunk this diagnosis? I’m trying to figure this out quickly because my car is stranded at employer’s parking lot. Thanks in advance, I appreciate your help - this is both frustrating and unnerving!

I hope no one minds, but I’m going to bump this since it was lost in the shuffle of technical problems earlier today. Thanks!

I think that your theory is correct.
Because of Saab’s placement of the ignition switch on the floor, it is subject to having dust and debris contaminate it to a much greater extent than on other cars. And, if soda or juice ever spilled on the floor, the sugar in those liquids–coupled with the dust and debris–creates the perfect environment for this problem.