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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Car: 2003 Saab 9.3 2.0T

What Happened:
Was trying to parallel park on a hill this morning, and stalled a few times (which may or may not be related to a problem). After the second stall, the car would not start. When key is turned to the "ON" position, all electronics turn on, including the headlights. When key is rotated to "START", nothing happens. Nothing at all. Car is currently "parked" on the side of the road, legally, at least for today.

Background:
The last few days I began to receive a "Steering Wheel Lock Malfunction" warning on my SID. It has not gone away after several days, and more than 5 starts. Instrument panel is illuminated, radio works, SID is lit (but will not display information as it normally does after I clear the warning). Hence, I did not think it was the battery as other posts had suggested. Could I be completely wrong?

What should I do now?
The car can only be parked here for the day. The closest dealership is probably in Buffalo, NY. (I live in Ithaca, NY). That is at least 3 hours away. There's a guy here that works exclusively on Saabs, but I am not sure how I feel about taking my car there again, after they were unable to fix a simple problem with the connector from my car's ECU.


This might or might not be related:
Very recently my windshield has started leaking water into my car. I have not figured out the exact reason. I believe there must be either a leak, or a blocked drain somewhere at the base of my front windshield. The water leaks into my car from the very back-bottom of the center console on the passenger side. Could this be causing electrical problems?
 

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How old is the battery. If it is over 3 years old start there. When the battery goes on or cars it causes lots of electrical glitches.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I could attempt to have it jump started later today and see if that will get me going. I am not sure how old the battery is, as I bought the car a little less than a year ago from a previous owner.

Is it normal for the lights and all electronics to be working on a dying battery?
 

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It is very normal for the lights and electronics to work on our cars when the battery goes. It is also very normal for them not to be able to be jump started. Most likely your battery is dead, especially if it is a Saab branded battery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well that is unfortunate. I will probably just have someone drive me to get a new battery. It could probably use the replacement anyway.

I will update when I have results.
 

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Well that is unfortunate. I will probably just have someone drive me to get a new battery. It could probably use the replacement anyway.

I will update when I have results.
My car is doing the same thing. And, I hadn't thought about it at first, but mine is leaking water at the same place. I thought it was the drain below the filter on the firewall but I cleaned it out and after a heavy rain I have more water. I have changed my battery out with a 900+ cranking amp battery from my diesel truck and still nothing. I have jumped the starter relay and it will turn over but won't start, which I believe should eliminate the neutral safety switch. I have also pulled ecu fuses for a period of time and left battery unplugged as well. I took the ISM apart and cleaned it and that didn't help either. I am just trying to list off the things I have done as I think our situations are identical except for the fact that mine is stuck in my driveway. Just to clarify, in-car electronics work when key turned on, but not even a click when you try to start? I am going to go home tonight and dig around at the rear of the console and see if I cannot determine what the water is affecting because that is likely the culprit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That is not at all what I wanted to hear, haha. I got my hopes up that it was just a battery issue. I will still try the battery, as it's the simplest thing to check right now.

But yes, that is correct. Key will turn everything on in the on position (and I believe I hear the fuel pump, too), but won't even crank in the start position. Just nothing at all.

The water leak is very new. The car was parked outside in a thunderstorm a few weeks back and the next day I discovered an inch of water in the front passenger side. Washing my car I decided to try and source the leak, and believe it's runoff from the windshield going underneath the plastic that pushes against the windshield, but I do not know where the seals/drains are. Is this piece of plastic easy to remove? Should it be removed?
 

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The plastic cover at the base of the windshield is very easy to remove. There is a push tab, I believe, just at each end. The foam weatherstripping at the front pulls up and the cover will lift up. This will expose the area below the windshield that usually fills up with scog. I only cleaned out my passenger side, but it is possible there is something plugged toward the middle or driver's side. I am leaning more and more toward finding some electrical item full of water behind the console. I will let you know what I find when I dig into mine. I have hours in going through forums and doing different tests on the car so I'll be happy to have it fixed! Good luck with the battery though, it would be wonderful if that's all it was, a little unlikely, since the car was driven right up to the point of failure, but possible.
 

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Well, not necessarily gonna help with the no-start, but I found the leak that you are likely experiencing. I soaked the windshield and saw where it was pouring in. When you pull the cover off below the windshield (you are gonna want to pull the wipers off too) you will see a white shroud around the filter to the blower motor. Remove the filter and there are two clips that release that shroud. When I pulled mine out i found the remnants of a foam gasket that had turned to slime. The water was running down the windshield and then down the back of the shroud right into the blower motor. This filled up the lower dash cover on the passenger side and caused the water to run out toward the center console. I cleaned both surfaces and ran a heavy bead of marine silicone around the shroud. Also, when I reassembled it I added a nut to either side where a stud comes through the shroud as mine didn't have any on it. That helped pull it tighter to the firewall. As an added measure I took some aluminum backed rubber tabe (commonly used in hvac) and ran it from the edge of the flange below the windshield to the front edge of the shroud to act as a diverter to direct water away from the rear of the shroud. No leak now. When I took the interior apart I noticed heavy condensation on a lot of the electronics due to the moisture in the car. I have a fan running in the car now to try and dry it all out. Once dry I will try to start it again and see what I come up with.
 

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Sorry to hear of the troubles.

Indecisive: these cars chew through batteries. When it gets low, all kinds of crazy madness start. The "steering lock malfunction" has been a reliable indicator of a low battery on my car (ca. every 20 to 25 months). That might fix it.

Saleenmav: your leak is probably through the cabin filter. There are a lot of threads about this. The newer years have a big plastic piece that goes under the cowl but over the cabin filter box. Both the cover and a new cabin filter box can be bought as replacement parts.
 

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gso_saab,
Thanks. I got my leak fixed. But I still have the same no-start issue as indecisive. I have a fresh battery in it and I currently have it jumped off to another running car and I still get nothing. My steering is not locked, but I was told it wouldn't lock until the car ran again. I am at a loss, the only thing I can think of is the ecu has somehow come un-synced from the car. Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Good news! I had a friend come to jump my car, but I tried starting it without the cables, first, and it started right up. I immediately drove to autozone (with a steering wheel malfunction warning still on) to get a new battery. Before selling me a battery, they insisted on testing it, and they said it was fine (89%), that the starter was fine, and that the alternator was working. The car started three times with no troubles in this period of time.

Moreover, the steering wheel malfunction warning has disappeared. How, I have no idea.

I wish I could have solved my problem so that I could offer you advice, but somehow it fixed itself. I do suspect it may be related to my leak, though. This morning it was wet and rainy. This evening it was not. Perhaps the electrical system dried out...

How did you fix your leak?
 

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Leak is fixed - see a couple posts up. Dried everything out and still nothing. This seems to be a common problem after looking through the forums, unfortunately, no one seems to know what it is because their cars will just randomly start again so they don't worry about it. Mine, however, won't start. I finally found a shop that claims to have the diagnostic equipment necessary and will be lining up a tow shortly. I'll let you know what comes out of it.
 
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