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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,
The car is an '03 Saab 9-5 2.3T Manual Trans wagon with 172K on the clock.
This last Summer I was having intermittent starting issues, I had my battery tested and it was ok, after an inspection of the starter, I ended up finding the cables connecting my Bosch Rebuilt starter were loose. I tightened the cables and everything seemed ok for months.

Two days ago, I drove the car two hours one way, when I parked the car and shut things off, then came back a couple of minutes later and turned the key, my electronics lit up, but no crank, no sound, no clicking, nothing.

After about 4 hours, after I completing my work, I came back out to my car and it started up, the system, when starting, acted like a bad battery with laborious cranking. I drove two hours back home and the car cranked and started just fine the next morning.

The Advance Auto AGM battery is a couple of years old, I replaced the CPS sensor at about 120K as well as a rebuilt starter at around 130K miles.

Manuals don't have a Neutral Safety Switch, so I'm baffled at this behavior after a long drive. Have any of you experienced this with your 9-5?
 

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For the not cranking at all, maybe check the clutch interlock switch. And maybe have jumper leads to jump the starter relay, assuming that when the key is in ON position, your dash lights up with all the usual suspects.

Check the battery voltage when the car has sat for a while, just to confirm its condition.

Depending on who rebuilt the starter, the rebuild may be going.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks EdT, that's a new one for me, I've not heard of a "clutch interlock switch", time to do my homework. When I turned my key to the "on" position, all of my dash lights lit up.

I'll double check the voltage at the battery. I really don't know who rebuilt the Bosch Starter, but I purchased most of my parts from eEuro Parts at that time.
 

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My 2003 9-5 absolutely won't crank unless I press the clutch to the floor. Ditto my 2004 9-3. There is a switch on the clutch pedal assembly for this. I believe that the same switch is used to cut out the cruise control.

278423
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow, that's interesting, I had no idea. I'll have to remember the "clutch pedal to the floor" technique, I've never had that problem before. I'm trying to find photos of a used clutch pedal assembly. I've had some trouble occasionally getting my manual out of reverse, (when cold) after my clutch rebuild and gearbox upgrade, it needs some adjustment. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I finally found the switch on an eSaab parts diagram:
278428


For my '03, it's part #14094368 , About $10.00, but must be buried on the clutch pedal. Good to know that's another possibility.

Will a starter that's going bad cause an effect that sounds like the battery is draining or being dragged down?
 

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most probably the battery is dead after a couple of years.
Nowadays it seems that they only last for 4-6 years, sometimes even less.
Before putting any effort into other topics, ensure the quality of the battery. If there is a problem, it could really quick get toasted.
I had a battery which in the end had a capacity of 3-4 Ah and was only 2 years old.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
most probably the battery is dead after a couple of years.
Nowadays it seems that they only last for 4-6 years, sometimes even less.
Before putting any effort into other topics, ensure the quality of the battery. If there is a problem, it could really quick get toasted.
I had a battery which in the end had a capacity of 3-4 Ah and was only 2 years old.
My AGM Battery is 2 years and 2 months old. I'll be going back to Advance Auto tomorrow morning to have it tested again. I had it tested over the Summer when I first encountered this problem and according to AA, it was ok. I wonder how good car parts store testing gear is?
 

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Another very common problem is resistance in the battery cables which causes a voltage drop at the starter.
 

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One could pull the fuse for fuel pump to have more time to let the engine crank.
You could hear how healthy the starter seems to be and how fast he will spin the engine.
A second person could measure battery voltage during cranking.
Measuring voltage after 12h before starting might also indicate some problems.
 

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Wow, that's interesting, I had no idea. I'll have to remember the "clutch pedal to the floor" technique, I've never had that problem before. I'm trying to find photos of a used clutch pedal assembly. I've had some trouble occasionally getting my manual out of reverse, (when cold) after my clutch rebuild and gearbox upgrade, it needs some adjustment. Thanks
So your starter will run (well, when it runs) without pushing the clutch in? If so, the interlock has been bypassed.
 

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If the interlock switch, etc. doesn't solve your issues: I'd check out all of your grounds - my mechanic and I spent months chasing intermittent starting issues and rich running issues, and it turned out to be a pair of weak battery cables as well as a bad ECU (among other things not related to this post). I now have a different ECU, clean grounds, all new battery cables, and a supplementary grounding kit, and haven't experienced a single issue.

One other thing to note: the Mitsubishi starter that the 9-5s have cranks slowly; that's natural behavior. Seems like all T7 cars crank somewhat slowly compared to most cars. But if the voltage is low at the battery and the main relay... Then it'll crank even slower than usual. Ask me how I know....
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Ajakejyt,

I have not had any trouble since my two hour, one way drive about a week ago. My positive battery cable would be one of the main suspects. My mechanic put in my new clutch about 1.5 years ago and we all know how much work that is. He didn't properly tighten down a few key bolts, starter cables were among the things not tightened down enough. To his credit, he made good on things he overlooked, but it makes me wonder now if that ground on the transmission housing was tightened down properly? I'm looking forward to my next two hour, one way drive. Thanks for the tips.
 

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Yeah, the grounds on these cars are finicky, particularly on the later model year cars (from what I've heard from my mechanics). Couldn't hurt anything to clean and check that ground, the thermostat housing ground, and the chassis grounds.
 
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