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First time saab owner. Okay so a few days ago i ended up buying a saab 9-3 SE with a manual transmission from craigslist. Car has around 160 miles. Everything was fine except for the fact that the reverse was all gone. He had the car sitting for about 2 months due to the fact that the guy had bought a truck and was using it has a daily driver. He mentioned that he would start it up at least a few times a week. I drove it back home fine, no problems. It was a 120 mile drive. Then the next morning it wouldn't turn on, i thought it was the battery so a buddy of mine gave me jump start and nothing. The car doesn't make a single sound when i try to turn it on. All the lights come on. Ive tried tapping the alternator while turning it on and still absolutely nothing. Do you guys know what it could be?
 

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tapping the alternator won't do anything, occasionally tapping the starter will work but that is usually for cars that get dirty and the components get stuck.

are you putting it into reverse? as a safety solution it has to be in reverse to start, although can be bypassed.
 

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It does NOT have to be in reverse to start. It only needs to be in reverse to remove the key.

Not sure your level of mechanic skills, but as was mentioned, you should try tapping on the starter- not alternator.

verify you have 12+ volts at the starter. Probe the trigger wire with a test light and see if it lights up when the key is in the 'start' position. If you don't have a test light a multimeter will do.

If you have 12 volts at the yellow trigger wire (at the solenoid) when key is in start postition and still no starty, get a new starter. IF you do not have 12 volts at the solenoid with key in 'start' position then you can shot-gun diagnose a bad ignition switch, but I would manually apply 12 volts to the solenoid at that point: You can VERY CAREFULLY jumper the starter solenoid with a length of wire from +12 to the terminal. If the starter activates- get an ignition switch...
 

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It does NOT have to be in reverse to start. It only needs to be in reverse to remove the key.
my bad, my beast is an auto (they seem to last longer than manuals :p)
also check for aftermarket security devices, they are like cancer on these cars.
 

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You mention that the lights come on. What else works or doesn't work with the key in the "run" position? Radio? Horn? SID? etc
 

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The starter has a braided cable that runs from the solenoid into the back of the starter, This can fray and eventually melt in half. Then, no starter. If you reach down behind the engine to the starter, you can check the braided cable for integrity. (It would be simply bad luck for the starter to go right now....unless it was jury-rigged by the previous owner.)

As this is a manual transmission, if you have the room, you can try push-starting it. Get it going down the road, and bump the clutch in fourth or fifth gear. (Note, I've never gotten this to work....but I've only tried casually, I've never been stranded where it had to work.)
 
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