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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
'93 9000CSET. On Friday I sat in a border crossing line for 45 mins moving around 0.25 miles per hour :confused: Since it was a hot day in the high 80s I thought it'd be smart to keep the A/C off as well as everything else that would add load to the engine. After crossing the line I pulled right into a gas station to get some snacks for about 10 mins. When I came back out and cranked the car the motor wouldn't start. There was plenty of juice, and all indicator lights came on but motor refuses to start. Tried two more times, no luck. Confused, I waited 5 mins and tried for fourth time .... bingo.

I found a nearby indie BMW shop where I dropped in to ask for advice and the mech thinks my starter could be nearing its last legs, and the hot idle at the border crossing just exacerbated the situation. Luckily the car started fine for rest of the weekend and I'll be able to ask my own indie later this week.

Is this symptom consistent with a starter that's about to expire ?
How many miles do 9000 starters generally last ? I'm at 140k miles/223k kms.
 

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The ignition switch might be the problem. Heat may cause excessive resistance in that circuit.


Failing starters draw too much current and crank slowly. They don't not work then start working again as a rule. What voltage are you getting on the display right after starting?

I just had my starter rebuilt on my 97 Aero at 190,000 km and it still worked fine, the solenoid was just sticking instead of pulling the pinion out of enagagement so made noises after start up. I rebuilt it as a precautionary step knwoing that I intend to keep this car for a long time and likely it would need only one starter rebuild during the life of the car.

On my 86 the starter failed at around 70,000 km and I had it rebuilt. That starter now has a total of 290,000 km on it and shows no signs of breaking.

The starters on these cars are very durable. The main issue is usually the battery (heat realy kills batteries fast) Bad batteries make the starters work harder and shorten their life. The starter draws maximum current and develops maximum torque just as it starts to spin so a good battery keeps the starter healthy. The starter generates counter current as it spins up (as do all electric motors) so, ironically, the faster they spin the less load they experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the tips, Superaero.

I was getting anywhere from 13.2-13.5V after start-up on the EDU (after cycling through readings once). It didn't appear the battery itself is low (it's an Interstate MT-34R that's only 1.5 years old) as all other electrical functions were operational and showed no signs of sluggishness.

I did notice one of the battery cables had a 1.5" piece of its vinyl jacket shredded off, exposing the copper strands. The tear is about 2.5" below the terminal post. I re-wrapped that portion with electrical tape for now until I go to my indie to have everything looked at in more detail.

It may well be a bad ignition switch, this is what I found on thesaabsite.com:

"Ignition switch failures are quite common on the 9000 series. More often than not, a faulty electrical portion of the ignition switch is diagnosed as a bad starter.Ignition switch failures can often be identified by noting the vehicle will not start during hot weather and generally occurs intermittently. 9000 intermittent no starts in warm weather can often be attributed to ignition switch (the electrical portion) failures. More often than not mechanics change the starter because the symptoms lead them to the starter as being the source of the problem. In reality what generally occurs is that the voltage going to the starter is less than adequate to COMPLETELY turn over the engine. This is not to say that Starter assemblies do not fail because they do, but an occasional ignition switch problem can be a difficult problem to diagnose especially when the no starts seem to occur only in warm weather. If you hear a click from the starter area then you need to determine if 12 volts exist on the wire from the ignition switch. If 12 volts exist there then the problem is likely a faulty starter solenoid. If less than 12 volts exist then the likely problem is the ignition switch (providing the battery is at full charge)."

Coincidentally that day my CEL came on (7 flashes ..... fuel/air mixture ?), not sure if it's related to the aforementioned problem.
 

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It is theoretically impossible to get more than 12 volts on teh EDU after startup and before you move the car. The EDU reads and holds the battery voltage after starting the car, until it moves 50 feet or so, then reverts to alternator output, typically 13.4 to 13.9 volts on older cars and 13.9 to 14.2 on newer cars. I have an 86 and a 97 Aero.
 

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Old story with a couple of 'new' twists :) Previous intermittent Starter 'fire up' problems were invariably attributed to the Yellow Wire energising the solenoid.. usually evidenced after an extraordinary heat event (sound Familiar?:) often a Ford solenoid was installed as an intermediary relay.. It worked (s) but kinda Hillbilly.
Usually it was/is the Wire that (still!) suffers from the 80's infamous insulation deterioration symptoms.
It gets kinda Hot in the Saab engine room.. under the v best of conditions.
Have heard the Ign switch Theory and it may be possible, but having dissasembled a few.. the darned things are much better built than I had thought...serious abuse required to burn one of those rascals out..Perhaps the GM units are less good ? anything is possible onna Saab.
A Good answer is to replace the Starter ..regardless.. a Competently Rebuilt one runs approx $125 CDN complete with a 1 year warranty, add in a half hour labour to swap it out and examine/repair the yellow wire and yer good to go.
Besides at well over 100k are you expecting Eternal Life from yer car's innards:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Basre.

Since the ignition switch is cheaper and quicker to replace, would it just be better if I had that done first, then take a chance with the starter later ? Then again I may be taking a chance of becoming stranded with a deteriorating starter,. Although weather is about as hot as it gets around here right now so maybe my risks are less over the next 8 months.
 

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Sorry, we didn't check for your actual symptoms. The ignition switch issue results in no cranking as the ignition switch won't deliver current to the relay, so you get a dead click sound. Then after the interior of the car cools down a bit you get a normal start.

If the starter cranks but too slowly to fire the engine then it is worth while to replace it or rebuild it (after checking and if necessary replacing the battery of course). If the starter intermittently fails to crank at all, then suspect the relays, the igntion switch, and the starter connections before you assume the starter itself is bad.

BTW, where can you get a SAAB 9000 rebuilt starter for $125???
 
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