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2001 SAAB won't start

My 2001 SAAB (with 75K miles and well maintained) has a problem that happens unpredicatbly. It happens both in hot and cold weather, usually after the car has been parked (on level ground). When I put the key in the ignition, the display panel reads “Checking” and then “OK”, the lights (including cabin courtesy lights) work fine (I have a brand new battery), but there is absolutly no response from the engine – no cranking effort, no nothing. Sometimes if I let the car sit and try it again (in 5 minutes; in an hour) is will turn on and run just fine. The dealer has replaced the ingition module and the “coils” and has no idea what the issue is. Of course, the dealer can’t get the car to replicate the problem when I bring it (or tow it) in for service. Any ideas? Thanks

Your dealer is a dope, quite frankly. This isn’t an ignition problem, it’s a starter circuit problem.

If the car has an automatic transmission, trying starting it in Neutral. If that works, the problem is the neutral safety switch. If it has a manual transmission, the problem could be the clutch switch.

Thanks. Yes, the Dealer is a dope – but he did check that, plus the ignition, the relays (main relay, battery relay, etc) and the circuit board and says all of them check out. To the dealer’s credit they at least say it wouldn’t be right for them to replace any parts under the circumstances that they can’t find out what it is.

Any other suggestions?

BTW- when the car won’t start, I also can’t get the automatic transmission to shift into neutral…

I believe you have to press the brake pedal firmly to get it out of Park.

Another thought: does this car have the ignition switch on the console between the seats? A potential collection spot for all sorts of gook to muck up the electrical contacts.

Knew that. Did that. But good try.

I had a similar problem with a Passat, but only when the temperature was below 10. It was the ignition switch, the part of it that fires the starter solenoid. In this case I could jiggle the switch and eventually get it to start.

Thanks - I told the Dealer to check the solenoids (there are several) but the Dealer hasn’t found any issues with them…

Dumb question: Did you turn the key to the Run position, depress the brake pedal, THEN try to shift into Neutral? If you did and still can’t shift out of Park, there is a problem with the shift interlock.

Hello, I have same problem with my 2001 saab 9-3 , have you had any luck ?

I had a similar problem, only mine would try to turn over. I would get some cranking sound, and then it would not start. If I waited 15 - 30 minutes it would finally start. I finally got the Saab dealer to look at it and he said it was a crank shaft positioning problem. They are fixing it today, so don’t know if that will fix it or not, but you might want to check it. I was frustrated that no one seemed to find the problem…so I’m excited the dealer finally did. Mine is a 2000 saab 93 5 speed.