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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all!
I've got a 2001 Saab 9.3 and when ever I turn the key to start all I get is clicking from under the dash and I think the engine bay too.
I have no idea what's going on seems like a lot of the relays are clicking rapidly.
Previous owner put the jumper cables on backwards and I just replaced the serpentine belt. Sometime it won't click but it slowly turns over but it won't start. I need some ideas I'm about ready to just take it to the shop but I want to avoid that.
Give me some ideas help me out
 

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The clicking is almost certainly the starter solenoid and that happens when the starter doesn't get the current/voltage it needs...

First, ensure the battery is charged. It doesn't matter how new it is...the symptoms point to a lack of battery power. Once the battery is fully charged, put a voltmeter on the battery terminals while someone cranks the engine...note the initial voltage (before cranking...should be above 12.5v)), the cranking voltage (while cranking...should NOT be below 10v)), and the recovery voltage (after cranking...should go back to 12.5-12.7).

IF you can fully exonerate the battery, then suspect loose or corroded connections...battery terminals, starter wiring, and alternator wiring. You just changed the battery...are you positive (pun) that the terminals are tight?

The fact that you changed the serpentine belt might suggest that the belt is loose on the alternator (thereby preventing a full charge)...but, that is fairly rare on cars with spring loaded tensioners like the OG9-3 has.

If you can get the car started, you can measure the charging output at the alternator and compare that to the charging voltage at the battery...any difference greater than a couple tenths of a volt points to a bad B+ cable.
 

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Battery cables were hooked up backwards? I would look for a smoked wire, like maybe the ground from the battery to the block, or from the battery to the starter. There are LOTS of possibilities for damage if that happened, but start with the easy stuff....

The battery + is wired directly to the starter. The battery - is connected directly to the block, and the starter is grounded through it's mechanical connection to the block. The solenoid is powered via 12v from the ignition key, through the range sensor on the transmission, through the starter relay (essentially). Not very complicated.

Test for voltage at the starter, inspect the battery cables, then remove the starter and have it tested at autozone, etc. That'd be my approach.
 

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As Boxer-Moto says the symptoms point toward the battery or some other reason that the current is interfered with.
I think jvanabra is on to something when he says the ground wires might be effected.

People check all their wiring but they tend to forget the groumds. If you have a multi meter check for continuity and resistance. You might be getting enough current through a scorched earth strap to allow some action but not allow enough for the starter.

The ignition/starter switch in these cars play up and cause all sorts of weird problems.
My starter wasn't getting the hit from the exciter wire off the stater switch so I installed a jump wire to the battery as a temporary emergent measure and the problem never happened again. I'm too worried to remove that wire.

Last thing is the starter itself. It may be flogged out or full of crap.
Try jumping the starter to see if you can eliminate anything.
 

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Of the 11 earth locations, 4 are in the engine bay so if it is an earth issue its likely one of those.Description from the Haynes manual:-

One on a "structural member" forward of each wheel housing - total 2.
One on the "side of intake manifold cylinder 4"
"Battery ground, left structural member".

You may have to move stuff to find them of course.

I once had a car (not a Saab) which sometimes required the starter motor to be gently hit with a tool of some sort (spanner, hammer etc.) to nudge the solenoid into action. Symptoms - exactly as you describe.
 

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A good way to diagnose a failed ground connection is to use a jump lead to connect the battery negative terminal to the engine block then try to start.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Honestly the battery was just dead and the car was sitting for a while. I just put it on the charger and turned the key from on and off I was told that'll put fuel in the lines cause they could just have air and after about the tenth time I put the key to start and it started. It's now knocking however and I'm very concerned. Idk why it would be doing that
 
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