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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone,
Great site. I am currently having a problem starting my car so I will try to make as much sense as possible to try and make sense of whats going on.
Once I tried to start my car, it cranked but did not want to run. The engine cranked a bit but didnt start running. After maybe a couple more tries it would start up, but gave me a immobilizer failure warning. One day I turned it on, no problem, car drove like it always did. Parked it and walked around a bit. Came back to the car, put the key in, electrics went on fine, tried to start and the car just made a series of clicking sounds and the lights went all freaky. I was pretty weirded out because this never happened before. So I turned it off and pulled the key but I still heard clicking. I waited till it slowed to a stop then I slowly tried again with the key. This time I turn and everything just shut off. No error, nothing. I tried taking the key out but it locked so I had to twist and pull. The car was officially dead like it had no battery. Well I got out and went under the hood and check everything. Im thinking it cant be the battery because I just got it a month ago and it started the car fine an hour previously. So I unhooked the positive cable on the battery and hooked it back. Electrics came on so im like yes I got it. Close the hood, hop in and try again. This time I get the key turned to start and the electricity stayed on but the car did not start. I was so annoyed by this. So I took the key out and turned the key so the little saab symbol faced the other way. Turned it to start and everything shut off again. No crazy clicking this time just complete power loss. So I left the car parked, luckily outside my job which is a relitively safe area. I went back the next day and tried and I had the same issues. I brought my sisters car out to maybe jump it and that did not help at all it did the same thing. So I played with the cables hooked to the battery and pressed that little yellow button on the box hooked up to the positive charge cable. I cleaned off the battery a bit and hooked it back up. Surprisingly success. It started right up no problem. Car drove like it never even had a problem. Gave me no errors. So happily I drove it home and parked it up in front my house. Turned it off closed the door and locked it. I wondered if it would start up again so I tried starting it again... Click... no power. No electricity nothing again. I was happy I atleast had it home. So I fiddled with the battery area till I got electricity and just used that to lock the car and thats it.

Sorry I made it so lenghty but I tried to give every detail possible. Any clues as to what this might be, I read allot about the batteries being drained but this is a new battery. Also as a note my passanger side window slipped out out of the clips so I dont bother opening it because, well it cannot. Is it possible that the window not being able to open tell the alarm that its broken and thus activates the immobilizer? If that even makes sense. Thank you for reading my lenghty post.
 

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Have you tested the battery? It could be faulty. Just because it is brand new does not mean it must be working OK.

It seems the only change you have made in the last month is a new battery and now you have these problems. To me that indicates the battery is the problem.
 

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This has all the hallmarks of a low voltage battery, loose connection or poor earth (ground).

I know the battery is new but have you checked the voltage with a volt meter? It's possible the battery could have a duff cell and this is causing the voltage to drop (had this on a brand new battery once). Anything below 12.5V can cause odd electrical gremlins on these cars due to all the computers they have.

I'd also check the terminal connections. I know you've disconnected them a few times, but I'd clean both terminals and make sure they are nice and tight.

Lastly, if still no luck, I'd check the main earth (ground) strap where it connects to the chassis and the engine. Any poor connections here will give the same symptoms as a flat battery.

*EDIT* Sorry for duplicated post, posted at the same time as SMHarman! At least we both agree on the diagnosis!:cheesy:
 

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As per Jbob above^^

Also, I believe you will have a circuit breaker attached to the positive terminal. I think all 2003's got this. It looks like a little box with a button. The purpose is to disconnect your battery power in an accident. I'm not sure how this device works, but it would not surprise if it contains a bit of circuitry much like a GFCI outlet. I'm not saying it works like a GFCI, just that the device may get overly sensitive and start cutting the power out when it should not.

Your window problem is unlikely to be related. These windows tend to slip out of their cradle and then the regulator gets all messed up. Someone posted a nice how-to for replacing a regulator recently. Doesn't sound too bad as a DIY project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the posts, I am working 2 doubles this weekend so I will grab a volt meter and check it monday and let you guys know the outcome. Again thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok sorry for the delay I have been swamped. So I looked into the battery situation and came up with what everyone was refering to. The voltage was too low and the car cut out. So I swapped the Saab brand battery for a Duralast battery and everything jumps on like the car was brand new, at least the electrics do. Now I have a problem starting the car. I can get the engine up into the trying to run sound ( if that makes sense). But the engine never picks up and runs. I can get it to turn but it just wont fire. I have a strange feeling that this may be due to the spark plugs. At least I hope its the spark plugs.
 

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Not starting could be due to your immobilizer failure you were seeing before. Have you tried your other key, in case the one you have been prying out got it's programming messed up? It's looking more like a dealer needs to look at it. You can always pull a spark plug and see it there is a spark. That will rule them out.

Try turning the key to the on position for 10 seconds and then to start. This will make sure the fuel is primed and give the computers a chance to settle. Good luck.
 

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I would try a battery disconnect and see if that can effect a reset. I think boogyman may be right in that some kind of computer glitch is present here.

I have seen dying batteries cause very upredicatable and unexpected behaviors. I'm convinced that every 2003 still on its original battery is on borrowed time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok here is a positive update. I decided to change the spark plugs and im glad I did because they looked like they have never been changed. I threw in some Champions just to eliminate any possible causes. I tried again and the car didnt want to run. So I said it was a good try. Then I tried boogyman's suggestion in using a spare key. At first I went to turn it but it went on for a bit then quit. Great news because it was really hard to get it to do even that. So I tried a few more times and BOOM. The car runs. Runs great actually. So now im gonna throw the Saab battery back at them because its funked. I gave the car a while to heat up considering that its been sitting for a bit. Little rough exhaust smoke came out but cleared up straight away. Once it heated up I took it for a lite run. Then pulled up in front of my house then turned it off and let it rest for a a minute. Moment of truth, I turn the key and the car starts right up like there was never a problem. So now I know my spare key is now my main key until I can get my main to the dealership. I will start it in the morning to see if I can get it to run right off the first turn of the key. Thank you all for all of your input. Next step will be to look after fixing the window.
 

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same issues

Screlz...my car has the exact same issues. When you try and start the car and after the lights freek out...do all your gauge needles flutter? Also before you changed the battery, did all your lights, gauges, headlights, etc. light up just as bright as usual? My all of mine seem to.

Needless to say, I took my battery down to an autozone to have it tested and they said it was low. They charged it for free. When charged I tried to start my car. More of the same...no success. Should I just by a new battery? Sucks because no returns!!!!
 

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IzzyCrazy said:
I took my battery down to an autozone to have it tested and they said it was low. They charged it for free.
You can't go wrong replacing that battery. A full charge on that battery might only be 50% of the charge on a new battery.

I replaced mine months ago and it was maxing at 75% charge. I don't know how autozone reports state of charge. The best way is to measure specific gravity or battery voltage, preferably after the "surface charge" on the plates has been removed (typically by leaving the lights on for about 2 minutes).

There have been enough failing batteries on these cars for me to unequivocally say you should ditch the original battery in a 2003, and probably a 2004 as well.
 

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If your using a simple meter, Any battery should be tested with a load on it whether it's an AA or an Auto battery. Leave the lights and radio on or more to get an accurate reading. Of course don't have the engine running:roll:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
New update. After solving the issue, I was able to replicate an electrics cut off. This came about when I hooked my External amp up to the battery. For some reason its either shorting everything out or its pulling more volts than it needs to power the sub in the trunk. Either way im going to delve into this a bit more. I was able to get the car started after taking the power cable off of the battery that runs to the trunk and into my amp. This is strange considering that it never caused a problem before.
 

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Is your remote turn on wired correctly? Your amp should not be drawing power when you start the car. Chances are the load of the amp is causing voltage fluctuations which mess with the computers during the start sequence.

In your OP you kind of omitted the fact you have aftermarket equipment wired directly to the battery, my friend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Im sorry for that, I should have thought about that but I forgot considering that I disconnected it after the trouble and still could not get the car up. Ill check the wiring.
 

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Fuse 17 in the rear electrical center is always present. It is the circuit for auto-dimming mirror. It's there if you have the mirror or not. This is switched power and works well for RTO.

The amp 12 V can go directly to the battery or other 12V source such as circuit 22 in the rear center. The amp will need a good ground. There is one by the left tail light in the trunk. Aftermarket amps often cause trouble if not grounded adequately. Just another quirk of this car.
 

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An amp with no audio input shouldn't be drawing much current at all. Certainly not enough to cause the car to fail to start. (The radio is muted during engine start isn't it?)

Since the problem went away when you removed the amp connection from the battery, my suggestion is to check the battery connections for corrosion and loose connections.
 
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