Dash lights flicker, car dies, nothing in car works, now car stalls, WTF? [Archive] - SaabCentral Forums

: Dash lights flicker, car dies, nothing in car works, now car stalls, WTF?


bradman951
8th July 2009, 11:23 PM
Hey all, I am quite vexed and slightly terrified of my Saab's most recent behavior :o So here's the story:

I was heading home from campus the other night. It was nice outside, so I rolled the windows down and was jamming out to some sweet underground hip-hop when all of my gauges, SID and stereo screen started flickering. I immediately turned the stereo down to listen for anything unusual and they just continued flickering, but slightly less so.

Knowing that sometimes restarting can clear this car's mind, I decided to pull and in a moment of blind optimism, I shut the car off... FAIL! The key would not go all the way to the off position, nor would it come out. EVERYTHING in the car stopped working. I am talking dome lights, trunk release, windows absolutely everything. No matter what I did, it responded to no command, as if it had no power whatsoever.

I managed to squeeze through the small opening behind the armrest to get my tools out of the trunk, (seat releases are in the trunk and the trunk wouldn't open). I disconnected and reconnected the battery and BAM! Everything seemed fine, so I drove home.

TODAY I was driving the car and it used to stall occasionally when coasting with the clutch in but never under throttle--until now. It nearly completely shutoff while I was on the road, as if it were out of gas and then finally came back on with the clutch out. While driving, you can feel the engine cutting in and out almost constantly, bogging, and shuddering, but it seems to accelerate away and idle fine. Oh, and no CEL.

These two incidents are only two days apart and I haven't had any problems with the car in over a year. Does anyone have ideas? I have read about the battery cutoff switch being a problem sometimes...

Ferms_93_2.8T
8th July 2009, 11:45 PM
Just a suggestion, but you should check the battery. If its the original then you are definitely over-due for a new one.

If you dig around here you will read that a battery that is not 100%, it will give you all kinds of weird electrical problems.

bradman951
8th July 2009, 11:51 PM
Just a suggestion, but you should check the battery. If its the original then you are definitely over-due for a new one.

If you dig around here you will read that a battery that is not 100%, it will give you all kinds of weird electrical problems.

Hey Ferms, I actually replaced the battery about 6 months ago, so I am pretty sure that is not it. But yeah, the original batt. was toast.

lscrx
9th July 2009, 12:28 AM
It sounds like a bad ground wire.

brianl703
9th July 2009, 09:25 AM
Hey Ferms, I actually replaced the battery about 6 months ago, so I am pretty sure that is not it. But yeah, the original batt. was toast.

You could get the battery tested and know for sure. It's not unheard of that a battery fails after 6 months.

BWhelan
9th July 2009, 10:09 AM
You could get the battery tested and know for sure. It's not unheard of that a battery fails after 6 months.

There's always a lemon in the bunch.

bradman951
9th July 2009, 10:15 AM
Well testing the battery is definitely not out of the question, if the battery is all that is causing this scary set of problems, I will consider myself very lucky! I have not driven the car since last night and I am taking the bus to campus today but when I get back, I will try taking it to the AutoZone for a battery test and also see how it behaves on the way.

In the meantime, has anyone had similar problems? Are there any alternate theories out there?

alexdrops
9th July 2009, 10:31 AM
I had a similar problem....dead battery cel..and my car is an 06 so the battery was fairly new...hope its the same deal in your case and nothing worse! Good luck!

bradman951
9th July 2009, 10:36 AM
I had a similar problem....dead battery cel..and my car is an 06 so the battery was fairly new...hope its the same deal in your case and nothing worse! Good luck!

Hey Alex, if you don't mind me asking--what did your car actually do?

brianl703
9th July 2009, 02:13 PM
DO NOT start the car and unhook the battery. You can damage something that way. Use a multimeter to check the charging voltage at the battery terminals after the car is started. If it's below 13.2V then you have a problem.

Better yet, take it to Autozone or another auto parts store that has the tester they can wheel out to your car in the parking lot and have them do a charging system test. The tester can load the alternator down to be sure that it's capable of putting out full current, and can also test the battery too.

bradman951
9th July 2009, 02:39 PM
Wow, thanks everyone! I just got home from class, I have a couple tests tomorrow, so I am not sure if I will be able to take it to the auto parts store tonight--but if I do, I will let you guys know what I learn. I sure hope that I can rectify this, I was planning on going to Tampa this weekend with some friends :confused:

alexdrops
9th July 2009, 03:31 PM
Wow, thanks everyone! I just got home from class, I have a couple tests tomorrow, so I am not sure if I will be able to take it to the auto parts store tonight--but if I do, I will let you guys know what I learn. I sure hope that I can rectify this, I was planning on going to Tampa this weekend with some friends :confused:

hey,

I was at school when it happened! Surprisingly the car unlocked but when i tried to start the car dashboard lights would flicker, speedometer and rpm needles would shake up and down very fast along with some other weird noises lol. The engine wouldnt even make a noise thats how dead the bat. was

bradman951
9th July 2009, 06:50 PM
Haha, how ironic! The worst stuff always happens on campus, where do you go to school?

BTW, UPDATE: I drove the car to the library and it almost immediately started bogging/hesitating. It only does it under constant grade and speed and if I add throttle, it accelerates out of it. This is very strange/scary. It ceased to do it near the end of my trip but I am not convinced that this will be the last I see of this ghost. Hopefully tomorrow I can get it to a shop or something.

alexdrops
9th July 2009, 06:57 PM
Haha, how ironic! The worst stuff always happens on campus, where do you go to school?

BTW, UPDATE: I drove the car to the library and it almost immediately started bogging/hesitating. It only does it under constant grade and speed and if I add throttle, it accelerates out of it. This is very strange/scary. It ceased to do it near the end of my trip but I am not convinced that this will be the last I see of this ghost. Hopefully tomorrow I can get it to a shop or something.


Yes its kinda funny haha andddd it was in the middle of the winter! I was freezing my ballz off! Anyway, hope ull fig it out tomorrow!

athakur999
7th September 2009, 10:34 PM
Coincidentally enough, we ran into similar problems with my wife's 2006 9-3 Aero. She went to the grocery store without any problems and the car hasn't show any signs of battery failure before today. When she was going to leave the store though, the car wouldn't start. All of the electronics came on but when she tried to start it, it wouldn't turn over and the speedometer would just oscillate quickly.

I was nearby and drove over and tried to jump start it but it didn't take. We were worried it was something worse than just a bad battery since I figured it'd at least have started when hooked up to my car. Anyway, I took her home and then went back with a multimeter and some tools and found the battery reading around 11V, so it was way down. The battery is coming up on 4 years so I figured I may as well replace it and the car started right up with the new battery.

The oscillating speedometer really freaked me out. I was worried there was some kind of fried ECU or something causing it. This car definitely has the scariest "low battery" behavior of any car we've owned!

sulloj
8th September 2009, 09:03 PM
Always important to check battery first! In order to do a charging system check, the battery has to be fully charged.
Multimeter check should show 13.2 or better or there could be an alternator problem. DONT forget to check the battery terminals! They should be clean and tight! You can buy a tool with a little brush inside to clean both the battery posts and terminals. Don't overlook them! Any crud needs to be cleaned up. Baking soda in warm water is a good thing to clean the battery terminals with. Just remember to flush with warm water when done.
Remember: The battery is supposed to be fully charged; the alternator supplies voltage to both replenish the battery and supply power to the car. If the battery goes bad, the whole system goes out of whack and strange things start to happen such as flickering lights, stalling, wont start etc.

Jubilee Vert
10th January 2010, 01:38 PM
Not revive an old thread, but 7 months ago I left my car at the airport. On the way to the airport the SID and Radio would flicker to the beat of the bass tracks on the CD. I found it odd, it had never done that before.

7 months later, I pick the car up from the airport (Long unimportant story there). The battery is of course completely drained. I get it jump started and it fired right up, although the starter sounded weak. I drove it for two hours in snow. The SID and Radio are just randomly flickering now. If I engaged ABS or the ESP system, the radio and SID would black out completely until the ESP system ceased correcting whatever the situation was. I got to my destination, turned the car off and it refused to start.

I jumped it again and went to the SAAB dealer and got a new battery. Everything is perfect again. SID and Radio are no longer flickering. The starter sounds fine. It is -20 degrees C and she is driving just fine.

Moral of the story, if your SID and or radio even hint at flickering, inspect the battery first as it is probably the culprit. Oh, and don't let your SAAB sit on a lot for 7 months! :-)

JonV
10th January 2010, 02:04 PM
The Alternator is shot. You get every warning imaginable, finally the car shuts down and won't start, or it will take a jump then die. 2-3 hrs Labor depending on the shop and a remaned Alt is about 300. About 200 more if you get a new one.

My battery was 6 mos Old, The Alt just quit.

bradman951
10th January 2010, 09:57 PM
The battery terminals were the problem on mine. I cleaned the connections and have hod zero trouble since (knocks on table)

brianl703
11th January 2010, 10:46 AM
a remaned Alt is about 300. About 200 more if you get a new one.

The prices on remaned alternators for the 93 have dropped, now you can get one for $180 or $200 depending on if it's 120 or 140 amp (from Rockauto, who now also sells a remaned power steering pump)

saab9360
16th January 2010, 10:40 PM
Ah yes. The flickering stereo lights. Just had that happen. Battery, battery, battery. Remember this: Voltage does make the car start. Amperage does. With all the computer components in the car this is the first thing everyone fails to check. They all think voltage. My radio dimmed then went bright then dimmed, etc Two days later the battery died.

So if you check the battery ensure you have at least 700amps. Otherwise, you will be left stranded.

saab9360
16th January 2010, 10:43 PM
Ah yes. The flickering stereo lights. Just had that happen. Battery, battery, battery. Remember this: Voltage does not make the car start. Amperage does. With all the computer components in the car this is the first thing everyone fails to check. They all think voltage. My radio dimmed then went bright then dimmed, etc Two days later the battery died.

So if you check the battery ensure you have at least 700amps. Otherwise, you will be left stranded.