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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I am extremely new to the Saab world, so forgive me if I sound ignorant, but I read through the faq and didn't find my issue. I am so new to the Saab world in fact, that on the way home from purchasing my new/first Saab I stopped to get gas and upon leaving the station my car will not start. I was only pulling about 8.4 volts and figured I had a junk/dead battery (strange as I hooked up the battery to the charger last night when I committed to buy, and the battery is less than 2 years old and under warranty). My uncle comes to give me a jump and after it charged for a bit and the dash read 13.1 volts I tried starting it to no avail. The engine turns over very healthy when jumping but will not start. If I remove the jumpers I get about 3 tries before the battery/dash dims and won't turn over. Any help or input would be greatly appreciated. I will provide background on the car (purchased from original owner and family friend) if requested but don't want to get too winded and turn away potential help.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I'll fill in some background info about the car. It is a 1993 9000 Aero trim with manual transmission. The odometer is approaching 95,000 miles and hasn't been driven more than about 500-1500 miles a year for the past ten years. I purchased it from a family friend that was the original owner. Aside from needing a caliper rebuild/replace in the next 5-10,000 miles the car is as close to immaculate as you can get mechanically and cosmetically for having been parked outside for the past 5-10 years (the interior has been covered with towels/rags to preserve plastics/color). To the best of my current knowledge the alternator, some vacuum lines, some brake system parts and meticulous maintence (sp?) are the only work this car has seen. The original owner owned a body shop for significant period (he knows his way around an automobile/toolbox) and can be somewhat OCD at times (replaced all of the individual bulbs that backlight the interior switches, etc). This is my new project car. His input into this matter has been to inspect the junction point near the positive battery terminal where it splits off to the starter solenoid as they corrode at times and can cause quirky or intermittent electrical gremlins. I am kind of stuck right now because the car is parked at a gas station two miles down the road with my DD license plate on it so it doesn't get towed and my "trailer connect" is out of state for the weekend.
 

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I would try a known good battery in the car first. It's possible the old battery won't take enough charge--that's why even with a jump it wouldn't start.
 

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If you can get the car rolling, attempt to start it by popping the clutch out (with the transmission in 1st gear). If it fires right up you can drive it home.

You can then also begin diagnosing - the non-start issue - with a good degree of certainty that the problem is in the starter's electrical circuit (as opposed to an engine spark/fuel supply problem).

BTW- it takes most first time Saab owners awhile to realize that the system voltage (as indicated on the dash) initially reads low after a cranking cycle. To see the actual voltage after start up, you need to manually scroll through the info menu until you get back to the voltage display. The 8.4 volts is what the system was during the time time you were cranking the starter. It will generally jump right up to 13+ volts after going around one time.
 

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From my owners manual--if the starting voltage indicates less than 10v the battery may need charging...

If the voltage is low enough the various ecu's won't have a high enough voltage to "think right"...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for the suggestions! I took the battery to autozone last night and had it checked, and it is not holding full charge. I located a date on the battery and discovered it to actually be four years old. Long story short I need a new battery. Until I purchase a new battery I have been cleaning the starter solenoid junction box :the junction point 8" down line from the positive cable battery connect. Along with all of the engine grounds. Then just now I grabbed the new battery out of my civic and hooked it up in the saab (similar battery ratings) just on the off chance that the issue is solely a battery issue. The engine turned over very healthily and wanted to start and did, but only for a sec then died. If I gave it liberal gas it would maintain running but rough and if I let off the gas to let it idle it would die. Does this new information shed any light on possible solutions?
 

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Despite what you say about the PO I ('cause I'm a mean spirited cynical person :cheesy:) all I can think is a car cosmetically preserved but basically neglected.

I would tow it home. On a strap behind another car/truck is fine if you've got a strong leg--actually with the civic's battery in and the ignition on the abs pump should be working and you might well have power brakes... Either way stay under 20mph, have the flashers on and get it in your driveway so you can stop worring about it's getting towed to impound lot...

I would suspect the gas is old, may have water in it or worse from sitting so long and not getting driven. I could be wrong... But unless you KNOW the gas is new I would assume it's not...

With so few miles the DIC might be original--the early ones I hear were not so good. Pull it off and check the date code. Swap it with a known good one if you have one available.
Start searching the threads "car won't start" For whatever reason the 9000 faq sticky is a sorry turd compared to the C900 but I digress. You'll find good info searching the forum.
http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2364633
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for the reply Banman. You are partially correct about neglect, the family friend I purchased this car from is actually the second owner (the original opener being his brother), he has owned it at least ten years and drove it off and on as a daily for few years. He was diagnosed with lung cancer 3.5 years ago and hasn't done much of anything car wise since then.

The fuel in it when I purchased it was just above reserve, but did have stabilizer in it and was no more than 6-8months old (the last time he took it out, and ran it 50 miles both city and highway to burn some carbon out etc). Yesterday on the way home from purchasing the car I put a little over half tank of premium gas in it.

I am currently replacing vacuum lines. The previous owner began replacing lines before his diagnosis and got about halfway through.

I ended up towing the car home last night in the exact manner you suggested. The two setup these cars have is fantastic and save headaches of finding decent tow locations.

I will begin to diagnose the DIC in the next few days in hopes that it is not the culprit. I am wondering now if the alarm could be interfering with my progress in any way.
 

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DIC is easy and cheap--$25 for a used one at the pick and pull. I'd rather buy a used OEM from ~200x then a new pos from ebay/china any day...

If the starter is turning then the alarm (probably) isn't the problem--it disables the starter...

Start with all your basics. Fresh spark plugs, get a can of gas anti-freeze to "soak up" the water that may be in your tank...

Make sure all the turbo hoses/clamps are tight...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
We are talking about the Direct Injection cassette right? I thought I was reading some thread with a similar starting issue and they reportedly paid something like 250-300 for one. Now I don't recall how old the post was, maybe 2005, but that Dave's me a huge about of budget stress I was anticipating. I am searching for a local store that would sell silicone vacuum lines. I intend to replace all lines as my next step.
 

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We are talking about the Direct Injection cassette right? I thought I was reading some thread with a similar starting issue and they reportedly paid something like 250-300 for one. Now I don't recall how old the post was, maybe 2005, but that Dave's me a huge about of budget stress I was anticipating. I am searching for a local store that would sell silicone vacuum lines. I intend to replace all lines as my next step.
The trick with a DIC (direct Ignition Cass) is to find a good one cheap before you need it. I keep one ready to go in my spare tire well 'cause they can fail w/out warning. There's a good write up for them on wiki.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Update:

Replaced the plugs (gapped at .028" or 1 MM), and all 4mm vacuum lines. Just tried starting her up for the first time since the last reported try to no avail :-/ . It did start much easier/less struggle than before the plug & vacuum line update. I also replaced the BOV hoses (the two fat short pieces)..... Starting to get bummed out, still not throwing any codes. I wonder if maybe the Civic Battery is just weak enough to not maintain? That makes no sense though, once started the alternator (assuming it is ok) would maintain running. The car starts then instantly dies unless I flog the gas. I'm going to try it again in a few mins though because I got a S**t load of white smoke this try but that's because I used liberal PB Blaster and Silicone spray when pulling plugs as they were pretty resistant. I also put a drop of Marvel Mystery Oil in each cylinder to possibly lube/loosen any old carbon and let it sit while I had to run errands.

I guess tomorrow I'll research testing the DIC and search for a local deal on a replacement.

I really do appreciate everyone's suggestions and input through this. I am pretty much shooting in the dark here. I have a fairly solid mechanical/engine background, but it is nearly 100% of the Japanese variety. It means a lot that you have been so receptive to my woes.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I apologize, apparently after changing vacuum lines and plugs I DO in fact have a code now. I'll probably pull it tomorrow. I'm at about wit send this evening.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
How convenient! Saab makes it much easier to pull codes than Honda. I am used to using a paper clip as a jumper to short specific ecu pins to get codes. We if I am interpreting this right I am pulling a TPS code (five brief flashes). I let it cycle 3-4 times to be certain I wasn't pulling any other codes. Does this offer any further insight?
 

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Does this beast have TCS? Traction control system--that could complicate a couple things here--my knowledge is limited on it...

Does the throttle cable directly pull the butterfly on the intake or is there an electric motor that actuates the butterfly?

You would also see down at your gas pedal--is there an electrical unit built into the gas pedal? This senses the gas pedal position and tells the motor on the intake how far to open the throttle plate (butterfly)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I forgot to add something incredibly strange that happened last night. Right before finally calling it a night I hooked the battery up again and tried starting it again. Before starting however, I noticed the engine code I was pulling was different. Initially it was pulling the TPS code (5 flashes), but now it's throwing an intake air temp sensor code (three short flashes) and no TPS code. The only work I performed on the car in the interim of pulling the TPS code was unhook battery, clean windows, then Hook battery up.... At that point I decided it best to call it a night before I blew up on my car. I did nothing that would cause the codes to change in any manner. Maybe I am losing it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ok so I have a question that will really piss me off if is right, but is there a bare minimum battery rating required to maintain engine ignition? For example, the exact specs of the civic battery are 625 cca at 32 degrees and the saab battery is 740. Is it feasible that the reason the saab only maintains running with the civic battery when it is turning 3000+ rpm because the alternator is taking over and at lower rpm there is t enough "umph" to power the dic etc and that's why it dies? I was assuming a car battery is a car battery as far as starting and running are concerned but as far as charging and maintaining charge vs load is why you want a bigger battery. But I am wondering if it's as simple as the civic battery doesn't output a strong enough constant to maintain when the alternator isn't spinning as fast?

Another possible inkling to my question is that when the saab battery was solid it displayed a 13.1 volt charge whereas the civic battery always presents a 12.1-12.4volt charge. Maybe this is simply conjecture or thinking out loud, but given this specific car history and the prev owner persistence that it is something very simple/minor that is causing this issue.

I'm not sure how this would explain the car not starting when trying to jump it at 13.4 volts though
 

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How old is the civic battery?
After starting the Saab, the digital volt gauge will show how low the voltage went during the start cycle. It should then come up to a charging rate of ~14v to recharge the battery. If you're not seeing readings higher than ~13.8 I'd suspect a problem with the charging circuit (alternator, regulator, brushes, etc)

Get a dvm and confirm what the voltages really are before and after starting at the battery if the car will stay running...

The 9K has about 59 different ecu's to enable it to do all it does--they were all designed to run above 12volts. If the volts are lower the electronics can't function as designed...
 
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