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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I'm new to this forum but I've been a member of car forums for years. I'm very familiar with older model BMWs and know my way around those pretty well but this is the first time I've ever had to fix a Saab (it's my parents' car). Right now I'm experiencing a strange problem that may or may not be common on these models based on what I've read so far.
What happens with the car is that when I turn the key in an attempt to start the car, the engine will start and then immediately die within 1-2 seconds. If I hold the gas pedal down a little but while starting the car, it will start and stay on but the moment I release the gas pedal the RPM will drop to zero and the engine will die again.

The car was just repaired a few days ago at a mechanic shop for a no-start problem, although I don't know what ended up being fixed (my parents' were the ones who took it there to be fixed). I was the one who picked up the car from the shop, however, and when I did - this happened. I told the mechanic that it kept dying on me and he hooked up a code reader. I asked him what the code was and he said it was to "check some flap" before proceeding to remove the plastic cover where the engine oil dipstick is and fiddle around with some things in there. He said everything looked fine and replaced the cover. Then he cleared the codes with his code reader and the car started fine and idled normally.

I drove the car home (about 40 minutes away) and when I was at a stoplight near my house waiting for the light to turn green, the engine died. I had just come to a complete stop when it happened. Now everytime I start the car I have to basically have my foot on the gas to hold the RPMs up above stall speed, even at a complete stop or when changing gears (it's an automatic).

Does anyone know what the cause of this could be? The problems that come to my mind are things like idle control valve, throttle body, camshaft position sensor, vacuum leak, etc. But again, I'm not familiar at all with Saabs. Any help or advice you can give a frustrated newbie would be greatly appreciated.

Also, on another note. The temp gauge seems to be reading high. Even when the car has been sitting for over 12 hours, if I turn the key to the accessories position, the temp gauge reads about 1/4 to 1/3 above the blue (fully cold) notch. Then when I drive the car and it warms up, the needle goes into the red zone. Naturally, when I realized this I immediately shut it off. Would anyone happen to know if it's actually an overheat situation or just a sensor/gauge problem?

Not sure if it matters but the car also makes between 4-8 loud clicking noises everytime I turn the key from the off position to the on position (without actually cranking it). Just thought I'd throw that in there since I've never heard a car do that before.

The basic stats on the car are:
Model Year 2002
Saab 9-3 SE convertible
Automatic transmission
Approximately 150k miles

Thanks everyone
 

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If the vehicle has been sitting for 6 hours and the gage registers any heat, its probably a sensor problem, IMO.
These T7 vehicles do have their throttle body problems.
T7 is the engine management system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response, earthworm. I was thinking that the temperature gauge problem was something wrong with a sensor or gauge. I hope that's the extent of that problem. Is there a way that I can test for it?

Also, I've been doing some research about the throttle bodies for these cars. I learned that there is a such thing as a limp mode for the throttle body. Is it possible that either it being in limp mode or being dirty/in need of lubrication could cause the kind of problem that I'm having?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
An update of sorts:

I went ahead and pulled off the black plastic cover over the engine and I checked on the throttle cable. I discovered that the little black cog next to the throttle body is engaged and moves with the throttle cable arm, meaning (I believe) that the throttle body is in limp home mode. I reset the throttle body by following instructions in a video on youtube and tried starting the car again. No change. The car still dies and when I go back to check, the throttle body is back in limp mode. Not sure what the next step should be. Try cleaning the throttle body perhaps?
 

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I had similar when I took the air box off the top of the throttle body to fit the cruise cable. There is a very large O ring that seals the airbox to the throttle body on my car in my case this had become kinked and was alowing air in. Check for any air leaks between the Throttle and the AFM
 
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