Interesting (?) problem with Saturn LW



Long post - apologies in advance.

I have a 2000 Saturn LW 3 Liter V6:

The car semi-randomly fails to start. It has no problem starting cold, or hot. I can start it right up after sitting several hours, and I can stop and restart it without a problem. However, If I stop the engine, let it sit for around 15 minutes and try to start it again, it will crank, but fail to turn over. I leave it to sit several hours, and it starts fine.

Additional information: I had it plugged into a code reader at a parts store, and it reported over 30 codes. The tech cleared the codes and instructed me to come back after it fails to start. I did, and the code reader reported a failure in the heater, but according to him, that shouldn’t cause the problem I’m experiencing. It may be worth noting that the heater works fine.

I don’t know much about cars, but given the way it behaves in apparent relation to the temperature of the engine I wonder if the problem may be a poor connection somewhere along the way. I’m out of ideas, but still resistant to paying dealership repair prices. Any ideas before I bite that bullet?


I can only speak from expierience. But anytime the computer displays a multitude of fault codes, but the vehicle appears to run normally except for maybe one or two intermintant problems, it usually turned out to be a problem with the computer itself. The good news is, if that’s the problem, the computer is covered for eight years/80,000 miles under the mandated EPA emissions warranty. So if you meet this criteria, the dealer must replace the computer at no cost to you.



Just curious. When the engine will not start is there any sputtering and coughing at all? When cold, does it start up instantly with no rough running?
I was just contemplating if you could have a fuel injector dribbling off. This can cause a flooded condition much like an old carbureted engine.

A cold engine will burn that extra fuel and a warmed up engine will have a chance to boil any dribbled fuel off after a few hours, whereas one that been sitting for 15 minutes or so will essentially be flooded.

This may not be your problem at all; just pointing out a possibility.

I agree with Tester about the computer but since this is an '00 model car there is a chance the in-service or delivery date of the car was in '99 so if that date is before today’s date, or tomorrow’s actually, you’re out of luck on warranty.

There is probably some misinterpretation about the heater business. The parts house is probably referring to the heater circuit on an O2 sensor, not the cabin heater inside the car. This will also not cause your problem.


Thanks for the responses!

There’s no sputtering, just cranking and… nothing. The dealership has been quick to inform me that the computer is no longer under warranty.

I’ve got a mechanic friend looking at it today, I’ll mention the possibility of the fuel injector/flooding. Thanks again for the ideas!