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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
2000 SAAB 9-3 SE, Auto, 101k miles

Symptom:

Intermittently cannot start when car is hot (after driving). No crank at all, can hear fuel pump and one "click", all lights on instrument panel go on.

If wait for 15 mins to half hour, car will start up right away. Once the car started, it runs good. Never had problem with cold start.

The original post is here.

Tracking the problem:

1. Tested battery and alternator, they are all good.

2. Checked all the cables and terminals on battery, starter, alternator, etc. No loose nut, no corrosion.

3. Since fuel pump starts when the key is at "on" position and the car never dies when driving, the fuel pump should be fine.

4. It should not be the infamous Crank Position Sensor (CPS), since the car do not crank at all when the problem come. And it runs fine after started.

So, it is more likely to be the Neutral Safety Switch. There are many posts on SaabCentral and SaabNet regarding the NSS issue. Cost for NSS is $300 (parts) plus labor. It is very expensive. DIY for replacement is not very feasible because the room to work on is very limited. I was almost prepared to spend a couple hundreds to have it replaced until a few days ago I saw a post on SaabNet. The idea is that you can by-pass the NSS. It is pretty easy and cheap. Here is a step by step illustration on how to do it:

1.You need to take off the panel below the instrument panel. To do this, you will need to take the fuse box cover off first. There are three screws on this side, unscrew them.



2. There are three more screws and one bolt to loosen. The bolt is located on the left lower corner as indicated by the red circle.





3. Now look from beneath, you need to take the OBD II plug off. There are two screws. One is blocked by the OBD cover in the picture below.



4. With the panel off, you can see the relay box. There is one more screw to do.



5. A closer look. After taking off this screw, you can just slide the relay box off. There are four guide pins holding the box, you can see two of them in this picture.

 

6. Here is the relay box off. You need to take the "K" relay (the starter relay) out.

 


 


 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
7. The back of the relay. You need to run two wires, one from the 30 pin, another from the 87 pin. Then put the relay back.

 

8. Now you have by-passed the NSS. When you put the key at "on" position and touch the two wires, the car should be able to start. Make sure it works before put everything back!

Caution: Make sure the gear is on P or N, otherwise the car will move! By-passing the NSS allows the car to start in any gear.

You may want to add a momentary switch instead of touching the wires. Here is what I used on my car. I bought it from RadioShack for $2.29. Just be careful for the location of the switch, you don't want to touch it when the car is running!

 

9. I drilled a hole on the panel I just took off to install the switch.

 

10. Then put everything back and you are done! Here is what mine looks like.

 

I waited a few days between adding the wires and putting on the switch. I got a chance the day before yesterday, the car won't start again. I just touched the wires and wuhuuuu, the car started right away. Today after I installed the switch, the car acted up again. But it is not a problem anymore, JUST PUSH THE BUTTON!

The total cost is a switch, two feet wire, some insulating tape, and 1 hour work. Thanks to everybody answered my questions and participated in the discussion. Also thank the fellows on SaabNet sharing the experience on how to by-pass the NSS.
 

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Excellent:lol:

Excellent:lol:

This could/should be the Saab dealer repair option, if they had balls !
PMI also had a pictorial on this, but for diagnostics rather than permanent.
Another man on this site dissembled/cleaned his neutral switch. But I do not know how successful this was..
 

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Yeah, I tried something like this but...

Yeah, a buddy and I tried something like this last year, but the no-start occurred again...

So if you do this and the no-start occurs again, move onto the Alarm Immobilizer Dance... Which is:

Next time no start occurs, get out of car, lock car, wait 10 seconds (thus resetting security system and alarm immobilizer), unlock car, get in, start car.

Last several times the no start occured, I have been doing this and the car starts. Convincing me... in my car... that it is the alarm immobilizer.

One of these days I'll replace it...;)
 

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Another thing to consider in "no-start" is the ignition switch itself... and the wiring (maybe)...

I do like the idea of the direct line from the battery to the starter, but this does bypass several things all at once.
  1. alarm/immobilizer...... in a ten year old car, I would disconnect this
  2. ignition switch.....this is known to be troublesome
  3. starter relay......less troublesome; switchable; inexpensive
  4. Neutral safety switch.......can the contacts be cleaned ??...very,very expensive and difficult to R and R.
  5. starter solenoid... these seem to be quite durable/reliable
 

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brucepayne said:
Yeah, a buddy and I tried something like this last year, but the no-start occurred again...

So if you do this and the no-start occurs again, move onto the Alarm Immobilizer Dance... Which is:

Next time no start occurs, get out of car, lock car, wait 10 seconds (thus resetting security system and alarm immobilizer), unlock car, get in, start car.

Last several times the no start occured, I have been doing this and the car starts. Convincing me... in my car... that it is the alarm immobilizer.

One of these days I'll replace it...;)
Thats what I was looking for!!!! Do you have any idea what triggers this? Is it some wierd combination of locking the car? I have had this happen to me three times so far and it just drove me crazy!
 

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Are you saying that for several no-starts, you got out of car, locked doors, waiting several seconds, unlocked doors, got in and car started?

If that is the case, then it is your Alarm Immoblizer.

Per a Jaguar shop owner friend of mine (who has worked on some Saabs), there is a series of turn the key in the lock more than what is needed... and in combination... with using a remote... that disrupts the security system programming. Getting out of car and locking tends to reset this.

But this is only the case if re-locking and unlocking has successfully started the car everytime a no-start has occured.

For the last 5 times this Alarm Immobilizer Dance has done the trick for me.

Thanks
 

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Yes that is exactly what I am saying. And the only reason I figured this out was because I had my gf with me. She has a mercedes and said she had the same thing happened to her, she locked it, waited, unlocked it again, then fired up. Thus, the dance...;)
 

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Owner's Manual explanation ?

We will assume that the "no-start" problem is related to the Electronic Starting Interlock (Alarm Immobilizer).

So, what is going on with the Electronic Starting Interlock (Alarm Immobilizer) or anything else that would keep the SID from reporting "KEY NOT ACCEPTED" ?

Per the Owner's Manual Saab 9-3 M2000, page 36 (Car Alarm):

The car alarm is armed 10 seconds after the car has been locked by the remote control. During this ten-second delay period, the doors, trunk lid and hood may still be opened without the alarm being triggered. The LED indicator on the dash will be on continuously during this period, at the end of which it will start to flash (once every third second) when the alarm arms.

Now, I do not use my remote key, I just use the regular key, however I still wait about 10 seconds for the dash LED to start flashing, then I unlock, get in, and restart car.

However, I do not understand, when the no-start occurs, why I do not see KEY NOT ACCEPTED on the SID? This is also in the Owner's Manual:

When the key is inserted in the ignition, a signal is sent to the receiver. If the signal is verified, the engine can be started. Each time the key is removed from the ignition, the electronic immobilizer is activated. If a fault is detected (e.g. in the transmitter) "KEY NOT ACCEPTED" will appear on the SID. In this case, you can still start the car if you turn the ignition key to ON and press one of the buttons on the remote control.

So, I am thinking about keeping the remote in the car, and next time the no-start occurs, doing what the manual says: turn the ignition key to ON and press one of the buttons on the remote control, and seeing if that starts the car.

But what is going on with the Electronic Starting Interlock (Alarm Immobilizer) or anything else that would keep the SID from reporting "KEY NOT ACCEPTED" ?

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Bruce, you question is far beyond my knowledge. Maybe you should talk to some mechanics in dealership.
 

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coliphage said:
Bruce, you question is far beyond my knowledge. Maybe you should talk to some mechanics in dealership.
Absolutely second this.
Also, a possibility exists that the Tech II can be used to extend that 10 seconds arm time; or disable the ararm.....
 
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Hey Coliphage! Now, I did this exact same procedure with my car, but when I use the push start, I actually put the key in the ignition, switch it to the "ON" position, then use "Push Start". Am I doing this right? Or should I not even insert the key into the ignition? Let me know how you do it, because when I put the key to ON and then push the switch, the engine will just turn over and over and will not "catch" or start. Thanks for the info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Leon said:
Hey Coliphage! Now, I did this exact same procedure with my car, but when I use the push start, I actually put the key in the ignition, switch it to the "ON" position, then use "Push Start". Am I doing this right? Or should I not even insert the key into the ignition? Let me know how you do it, because when I put the key to ON and then push the switch, the engine will just turn over and over and will not "catch" or start. Thanks for the info.
Hi, what I do is to put the key in and to the "on" position and then press the button for 2-3 seconds and release the button. If your car will not start, there must be some other reasons.
 

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Damn you no-start ! Damn you to hell !



Anyway, if you can rule out the Neutral Inhibitor Switch, there are those other culprits you could troubleshoot. Like:
1. Ground wire that runs from the transmission.
2. Battery connections
3. Ignition Control Module
4. Ignition Switch
5. Starter Relay
6. and my favorite, the Electronic Starting Interlock (Alarm Immobilizer).

Leon, I didn't scroll all the way through it, but if you were not aware nor part of this thread, it has some helpful advice:

http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80996

By the way, another fidget ritual I discovered if a no-start occurs... (and while remaining seated in the car... I used to get out)... is I lock all doors, unlock all doors, lock all doors, unlock all doors (using switch on middle console)... lock and unlock about three times in all... Voila ! Car starts. This also resets the Electronic Starting Interlock (Alarm Immobilizer).

Thanks,
Bruce
 

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Coliphage, the '96 900s does the exact thing, and has been difficult for the past two years, BUT I can start it when warm, if I very, very slowly turn the key until I hit the "sweet spot" on the start position area..
BTW, this "very slow turning of the key" would be impossible, but I have a 1 by 2" "handle" on my key...
Sometimes this takes 10 or more attempts..:nono;
I think I had best use the diagnostic procedures(yours,PMIs, and mine) and fix her....
 

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BruceP when's the last time you changed your remote key battery? If you're seeing "Key Not Recognized" then most likely your battery on the remote is dead or loose (had that happen to me, battery moved just a little to stop remote from working) or the remote itself is dead.

Also to reset the Alarm System and have your remote key activate again after changing the battery: approach car to working range and press the "unlock" button on the remote 4 times quickly. The alarm system will flash and the doors will unlock and all is back to normal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
abdukted1456 said:
that;'s pretty neat.
what happens if you are driving along and you hit the swicth accidentally?
It will be the same as you turn your key to ignition during driving. You have a good chance to break the starter. I did once with another car ;oops:, so that's why I suggested to put the button in a secure place.
 

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Well you might try doing it another way: Terminals 30 and 87 are the load contacts of the starter relay (this engages the starter solenoid). The current draw for a starter solenoid is actually pretty hefty with about 20-30Amps in-rush and 10-15Amps steady-state. The relay coliphage is bypassing is our G8W type with a rating of 40Amps N.O and 20A N.C. (normally open/normally closed) and it's designed to handle the starter solenoid current for it's life-time, but that little switch he used is not!

But if he made a parallel connection across the 85 and 86 terminals (these are the coil terminals of the starter relay) then he could use the the relay as normal and let it do the heavy current carrying it was designed to do.

If you want to do this alteration instead of by-passing terms 30 and 87, then what you're trying to do is create a parrallel circuit for the coil drive.
Below is a picture of how to do it schematically. The red square is the NEW switch you will install just like coliphage's. Now the current load on this relay coil is ONLY 100-150mA (that's milliamps or 0.10 to 0.15Amps) Compare that to the 10-15amps staedy state for the starter solenoid load. In the drawing below R represents the load (in this case the starter solenoid).


Cheers.
 

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Snaab:) said:
BruceP when's the last time you changed your remote key battery? If you're seeing "Key Not Recognized" then most likely your battery on the remote is dead or loose (had that happen to me, battery moved just a little to stop remote from working) or the remote itself is dead.

Also to reset the Alarm System and have your remote key activate again after changing the battery: approach car to working range and press the "unlock" button on the remote 4 times quickly. The alarm system will flash and the doors will unlock and all is back to normal.
I think I already mentioned above that I do not use the "remote key", I use a regular key. I have maybe used the remote key 3 times in the 5 years I have had this car, which was all in the first month of ownership (the remote key is to bulky, so I gave up on it). The no-start started about a year ago. So I don't see a relationship in using or not using the remote key.

Also, as mentioned in my previous post, I am NOT seeing "Key Not Recognized", which has me puzzled... since I am thoroughly convinced my no-start problem is related to the Alarm Immobilizer.

So, I am back to asking my intial question from my post above. What is going on with the Electronic Starting Interlock (Alarm Immobilizer) or anything else that would NOT report "KEY NOT ACCEPTED" on the SID?

Again, I don't use the remote key and I am not seeing "Key Not Accepted" when the no-start occurs.

Thanks
Bruce
 
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