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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All, I have a 1996 SE Turbo convertible, 160K miles.

Been troubleshooting for past couple weeks, driving me crazy.

Motor cranks and cranks, catches then dies. If I crank for an extended period -- 30 seconds -- it will pop/backfire several times, then eventually it will catch and with some throttle blipping it will run. Once running, stumbles for a mile or two, then will run great and start the rest of the day. Let it sit overnight and the whole thing starts all over again.

At one point the CEL came on, ODBII showed a P1611 code; once reset, hasn't come back (yet).


What I have done so far (in order):
  1. Checked all vacuum lines
  2. Replaced CPS
  3. Jumped from fuse 5 to fuse 32 to confirm fuel pump operation
  4. Confirmed DIC operation (strong spark at all coils when cranking)
  5. Replaced spark plugs
  6. Confirmed voltage at fuse 32 when cranking
  7. Disconnected fuel line at rail and cranked to confirm fuel flow
  8. Pinched off the purge valve connection
  9. Replaced fuel filter
  10. Replaced coolant temp sensor
  11. Replaced FPR (removed and cleaned fuel rail, throttle body and intake manifold at same time)
  12. Replaced white check valve at fuel pump (entire line to fuel filter)
  13. Replaced PCV valve
  14. Checked for proper waste gate operation (i.e., that it's not stuck)
When I crank for only a short period, the plugs come out dry, but as I can eventually get it started, enough fuel finally seems to get into the manifold to sustain combustion.

My next test is to get some starting fluid, spray it thru one of the vacuum nipples on the throttle body and see what happens.

If it starts with some starting fluid, then it would appear that the injectors are not opening immediately (but do open after extended cranking and a couple of backfires); is this the right assessment? If so what would cause this given everything else I have already tried?

My next thoughts are either the ECU or the APC is bad (don't really understand what the APC does, but it's about the last thing that can control the injectors, right).

Any further insight or other ideas would be appreciated.

BTW, when I removed the pipe connecting the intercooler output to the throttle body intake, there was a small amount (few drops) of oil that had collected in the pipe, so I am guessing that the turbo is on its last legs. The turbo itself couldn't be the problem, could it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update on my problem.

Re-checked gas flow at both the intake and return on the fuel rail by removing the connectors, putting on a tube and pumping into a glass jar. Pumping lots of fuel at both the intake and the return.

Sprayed starting fliud into the intake. No effect.

Finally, after a lot of cranking and throttle blipping, got the motor started again. A little white smoke out of the tailpipe.

No matter how high I rev the motor when running, the Turbo/APC gauge will not read above the edge of the white zone.

Does the mean that the APC is bad? the turbo? something else?

BTW, in addition to the 14 other things I did, I also cleaned the AIC.

Help anyone?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
One more thing. When I pull the new plugs they were "sooty" but not wet at all. Totally dry.

If I attach the multimeter to one of the injector connectors, what voltage should I see?
 

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That the car won't fire reliably on starter fluid is a clear indication of an ignition problem.

The CPS is new, and it's replacing did not have a positive effect so I think like the spark plugs, we can eliminate those.

That really only leaves a few likely culprits, and an unlikely one or two.

1) DIC is dead and only fooling you into thinking it's healthy.

2) The ECU is not triggering the ignition correctly

3) Compression is so poor that ignition cannot occur. (cams out of time, worn cylinders, blown head gasket)

4) The crankshaft trigger ring is faulty causing incorrect timing of the ignition.

I'd start with a compression test and after that, I look to a used/spare/borrowed DIC and then ECU.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for reply.

The internal engine problems are scary: hopefully that's not the problem.

Could it really be timing problems, esp. since the car runs great once it does "catch"?

Not quite ready to assume it is an ignition problem yet, esp. given how strong the sparks on the DIC when cranked.

For the fuel test, I used a spray starter fluid, which I put thru the PCV hose -- about 3 seconds worth.

Is this the right approach or is there a liquid start fluid I should be using?

and if a liquid instead of a spray, should I pour it down the throttle body? How much?
 

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replace your map (manifold absolute pressure) sensor. that is your issue. the APC gauge gets its reading from the MAP sensor, also tells the ECU how much pressure or vac is in the intake to tell the ECU how much fuel to dump in.. you either have a bad sensor or a bad line to the sensor. looks like this:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OK, after going step-by-step thru 20+ checks, and then starting back thru the list again, the problem turned out to be the DIC -- one of top 5 items on the checklist. It worked fine when upside down, but only intermittenttly when "right-side up". Didn't believe the DIC mythology: strange but true. And yes, the failed DIC was one of the cheap Chinese ones from eBay. Lasted barely 15,000 miles.

I ended buying a new CPS, MAP and check valve.
 
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