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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1999 Saab 9-3 SE 5 Speed 2.0T. Been having an issue starting. Everything turns on, but the starter doesn't engage. I've been able to previously stick the shifter between 4th and R, then apply pressure and the car's starter would begin to kick over and start. I think whatever the issue is has gotten worse. Now I'm hearing occasional clicks when I'm doing the trick, but nothing happens.

So far what I've gone through:

- Battery (less then 9 Months old): Took it to be test came out good.
- Starter: Took to auto shop, sparked up on the bench test perfect.
- Shifter Linkage: Adjusted in a few different ways, but nothing better/worse.
- Took out shifter from center of car. Thinking it had something to do with the lockout button. Hit it by hand, no effect.

My only thing I can think of is the ignition Switch under the tumbler, but I'm not sure if that hitting/applying pressure between 4th and R would move it enough to start the car.

Any advice would be awesome!
 

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To guess, I'd say the NSS has gone south.

Not to hard to replace, pretty easy to just bypass.

Very common problem, should be easy to find a "How To" post on bypassing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
To guess, I'd say the NSS has gone south.

Not to hard to replace, pretty easy to just bypass.

Very common problem, should be easy to find a "How To" post on bypassing it.
Thanks for the reply! I originally thought that as well, but I keep reading the NSS is only on the Auto's and can't find one for the 5Speed. Do you know where the one for 5speed is?
 

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You have to determine if the starter solenoid is getting +12V or not. If not, then there's a problem in maybe the ignition switch. If it is getting +12V, then the problem is in the starter.

Does the ignition turn freely with the key in it? Does this happen all the time, but only when hot or cold?

You may be moving something when you press on the shift lever, but the problem would be in the cylinder or ignition switch. You can try spraying the ignition cylinder with a penetrating lubricant; that can't hurt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replys!

The key appears to do everything except spring back (got in the habit of returning it to the on position about a year ago.) I've taken out the key cylinder and appears to turn without any issues. I think your right though, signs are pointing towards the ignition switch.

Heat doesn't seem to effect the problem, I've done the old fashion "tap the starter" trick I learned on old VW's, but didn't get anything. When I took the starter to an auto shop for a test it came back good, so I'm pretty positive the starter is fine. (I don't have a volt meter to test the volts, but the battery test the shop did came back +12V.)

A lot of my research does feel like what auto's have problems with the NSS. I plan on replacing the Ignition switch Monday, but any additional help/ideas are appreciated.
 

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No neutral saftey switch on a manual trans. Maybe starter solenoid but that's internal in the starter I believe. Time for a fresh starter? Check the starter ground wire?
 

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You should attach a voltmeter between the ignition terminal on the solenoid (small wire on the side of the solenoid, not the big battery +12V lead that also goes to the alternator) and a good ground. If you see +12V when you turn the key to start, the starter is the problem. If you don't see +12V, then it's a problem with the ignition switch--I'm betting it's this. Note, be careful when doing this test. You don't want to short anything out or munch a body part if the engine starts.

Actually, a test light with alligator clips might be the best solution here....
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys!

So update. Decided to not screw around (ignition spring was toast anyways in the ignition) and bought a new one... sadly didn't solve the problem. Lights turn on, etc. the same, but no starter. So bought a brand new starter... nothing.

SO, due to elimination those two are completely out. Something I forgot about is the SID does display the Alarm needs serviced, but I didn't think that has anything to do with starting. Other then that, I'm kind of lost for ideas.

Thoughts? ..Help!?!
 

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Is the new starter able to partly engage for you like your old one? Is it doing anything different? "Service Alarm" is for the siren's battery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm actually getting nothing, other then lights all the normal sounds. Absolutely nothing at the starter though, even with the old trick. I've double checked all the connections at the starter, along with the fuses. I had a few extra starter relays, tried those, along with the bypass trick from Fuse 36 to the 86 wire of the starter relay. Still nothing.

I'm scratching my head at this one. So far I'm at least liking a ignition switch that springs back. That's a cool feature.
 

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2 cents

Is it possible that the old ignition switch, faulty as it was, tripped the anti theft alarm and immobilized the vehicle ? Battery unplugged when replacing the ignition switch ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK! So, small update. Got my roommate to turn the ignition, I noticed the ground to the transmission post is loose (the small wire that connects to the front-bottom of the trans to the body.)

When I moved it I started to hear a lot of clicking going on while moving it. Anyone know the purpose of that ground is? (This is not the thick Battery to transmission ground).

Do you guys think this is chasing the right rabbit hole?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Is it possible that the old ignition switch, faulty as it was, tripped the anti theft alarm and immobilized the vehicle ? Battery unplugged when replacing the ignition switch ?
Yes, the battery was unplugged every time I messed with the ignition. The alarm has never gone off since I've been working on it. Is there a way to double check or deactivate the immobilizer if its been tripped?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I was able to remove, clean, and tighten the ground wire to the transmission from the body. Turn the key, the engine starts! Tried it a few times. $250 fix for one wire... but at least it works now.

Thanks guys for the help!
 
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