Amanda's stuck in Aspen!

saturn
sl

#1

Here’s the deal. The car started fine one morning, drove fine to work, started after work running just as good as always. Stopped at my friends house for about an hour, car would not start, would not even turn over. Got a jump, nothing. Waited an hour got another jump, nothing. About 4 hrs. later got another jump, started like a champ. Okay I think I need a new battery so I get one. Drive back and forth to work with no stops along the way for about 4 days (after the installation of the new battery). Again it starts! Go to babysit and about 30 mins after I arrived they asked me to move my car, wouldn’t start. After babysitting for about 6 hrs I get in and starts fine. Then the next day I go to work, starts, go to leave work after 7 hrs, starts. Stop at a friends house for about 2 hrs, won’t start! Try to jump it, nothing. I have deduced that it is not the alternator or fuel filter because it starts like normal when it starts. Please help!


#2

Check out all of the connections in the starting system. That is ALL grounds and all connections to the starter especially the small one to the solenoid. Assuming that it has an automatic transmission, check the neutral safety switch by trying to start it in neutral instead of park. If it is a standard transmission, check out the clutch safety switch that is actuated when you step on the clutch. If those check out good, you may be looking at a bad ignition switch.


#3

You need to define a few things to help narrow this down.
Dashboard warning lights on?
No “click” sound when you turn the key to the START position?
Automatic transmission?

If the answer to those questions is “yes” then the neutral safety switch could be faulty.
Shift into neutral and see what happens. If shifting into neutral or moving the shift lever in and out of PARK cures the problem then it’s likely the neutral switch.
It’s not a major fix if that is the problem.


#4

BTW, if you have to be stuck somewhere, Aspen is a good choice.


#5

Only if you are a multi-millionaire…Like being stuck on Nantucket…


#6

I have noticed that on a lot of GM vehicles, with Everstart batteries (and some other brands)the lugs of the side post terminals bottom out before compressing the flange of the connector.

When you jump a side post battery, you are attaching the cables to the lugs, not the actual connectors. Therefore, when this problem exists, you are jumping a good battery that is not actually connected to the car.

A sure sign of this is if all electric goes dead in the car the instant you turn the key. No lights. Radio reads 1:00AM if it even comes back on at all.

Here’s what you need to do. Get 2 3/8" flat washers from the hardware section of your nearest home improvement store. Remove the battery leads and place one washer on each lug before reattaching.

I have seen this problem in numerous GM vehicles with certain battery combinations. There is another less common problem that is similar, but does not exhibit electrical failure.


#7

This sounds like a “heat soak” condition. When you stop a car the heat level in the engine compartment actually increases for a short time because the coolant is no longer circulating and air is not being pulled through the radiator. This only lasts for maybe 10 or 15 minutes, but still you seem to consistently have trouble with warm/hot engine starting.

The neutral safety switch is a good possibility and you should start there.
If you check the neutral safety switch and that does not appear to be the issue, I’m going to guess the starter solenoid or the starter itself may be heat sensitive and needs to be really cold to work. Just a guess.


#8

To check the idea that the bolts might be too long, which attach the battery cable terminals to the battery, try to turn the terminal from side to side. If they turn easily, try to tighten the bolts; but, try CAREFULLY. Too much force, and the lead threads will strip out.


#9

Thank you so much for your responses! I do have the check engine light on, but it has been for about a year. It is an automatic transmition and when I went to start there was no click sound. I will check the neutral switch as soon as I figure out what and where it is. Thanks again!


#10

The neutral switch is simply a safety feature that prevents the engine from being started in anything other than PARK or NEUTRAL.

Think of it as a disruption in the circuit between the ignition switch and the starter motor.
Not being a Saturn pro by any means, a wild guess would be that it’s located in the console on the shift lever assembly or on the transmission shift lever.