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Discussion Starter #1
Had this 2002 Saab 9-3 OG for about a year. It now has 156k miles on it. Drives like a dream, with a perfect body (I mean FLAWLESS).

About 2 months ago, started having issues with starting, so I did a bypass with a switch on the NSS. The car has driven fine since then, but I have NOT had to use the bypass until this past week.

Recently, the car has failed to start after short trips, even with the bypass. I can hear the starter relay near the fuse box clicking when either turning the key or pushing the bypass switch, but the starter solenoid never engages. Leave the car alone for an hour or two and it would start.

I tried pulling codes but it has no CEL light and no codes stored in the system. Luckily I have another a 2000 Saab 9-3 that runs fine. So I decided to do some part switching today to see if I could find the culprit. Long story short, after 8 hours of work I have switched over the following (not all at once:

Neutral Safety Switch
Crankshaft Position Sensor
BOTH the Input and Output Sensor
Direct Injection Cassette
Battery

Took the car for a 10 minute drive, ran great, then parked at home in the garage. Now, the car will not start, even after it has cooled (3 hours). I have double checked all my work, but I cannot get the car to start. Everything else works, and still not CEL. I still tried to pull codes, got nothing. My 2000 is running fine with the parts rotated out from the 2002, but I still can't get the much nicer condition 2002 to even start now which Is my daily driver. The old 2000 has no insurance on it and is mainly a parts care for the 2002.

Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated. I hate taking my cars anywhere to be worked on, and am pretty good working on them. I am starting to lean towards the alarm immobilizer being the culprit, or perhaps this car needs to be exercised, torched, then buried. ( after today's long work on this I am half convinced this car is possessed :lol:)
 

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Since the swaps didn't fix it, and the other car is working, we can assume with fair confidence that none of the parts you swapped were an issue.

How about the starter itself? Or the battery cable to the starter or its ground i.e. it's closing the solenoid but there's no power to shunt there?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
When the car would start, it would always start without issue and would only take about a second to do so. However it may indeed be a wiring issue. It's already 10 pm so I am giving up for today, but in the morning before college classes I will poke around and trace all wiring running from battery > starter > alternator. I will also get underneath and check with volt meter to see if power is getting to the starter while someone cranks the key to see if maybe that solenoid finally just completely gave up.
 

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Looking back at my 900's history, the alarm immobilizer caused this same issue. I would lean towards that myself, but again, this is a 9-3 with a different alarm system, I am guessing.
 

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If I'm reading correctly, the starter does not engage when the key is turned to "start".

Easiest check is to simply jump power from the large wire terminal on the starter to the small.

If that works, the starter relay,NSS, or ignition switch are suspects and with your bypass switch, the relay would be the main suspect.

If jumping power does not work, the starter or power cabling are the prime suspects.
 

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If it was the immobilizer, you would not have the solenoid on the starter clicking closed, which I think you heard. If that solenoid closes, the starter cranks, since the 12v cable from the battery is direct and unswitched. So, that would leave only the high amp wiring or the starter as the culprits.
 

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When the car would start, it would always start without issue and would only take about a second to do so. However it may indeed be a wiring issue. It's already 10 pm so I am giving up for today, but in the morning before college classes I will poke around and trace all wiring running from battery > starter > alternator. I will also get underneath and check with volt meter to see if power is getting to the starter while someone cranks the key to see if maybe that solenoid finally just completely gave up.
If it starts when cold, but not when warm, I would guess the starter solenoid is sticking. You can also reach down to the starter and feel if the braided copper cable that runs from the solenoid to the back end of the starter is intact. Although that cable acts more like a fusible link, and once it melts in two, the starter isn't ever going to work again until it's fixed.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Car is running fine again. It turned out to be the starter after all. Strange, as it was a very sudden failure. The car never had trouble starting when cold, but once it went the solenoid would not even click.

Due to the age of the car, I had the whole starter replaced (156K miles, original starter).

On the plus side -- switching neutral safety switches fixed my start problem with that so I don't need the bypass switch anymore it seems..at least for now.

Thanks for the help everyone!
 
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