help diagnose no start on 91 saturn

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  #1  
Old 07-28-03, 10:09 AM
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help diagnose no start on 91 saturn

'91 Saturn SL2 1.9DOHC 172k AT
Driving down the freeway, the car stalled and would not restart.
Turns over fine, has spark at plugs, has 42# pressure at test port when turned to on position. Holds fuel pressure. The car started and ran smoothly for 10 sec. when I sprayed starting fluid in the TB. Chilton manual lists different pressures for the fuel pump but only with the lines disconnected or the car running. Also says the injectors are controlled by the PCM, getting signals from various sensors at start-up. I'm thinking possibly a bad CTS or PCM... but not sure and don't just want to replace parts.
I had also considered timing problems but the car ran fairly smooth for a few seconds on the starting fluid. I figured if it was timing it would at least sputter or something. Seems like the injectors aren't firing at all - not sure.
I checked the injector fuse... I've got 12v at the fuse, and a good fuse (appears good).
Tried something else with an interesting outcome. I'm not sure what to make of it.
I disconnected one of the injector elec. connectors (I was going to try to check voltage at the injector). With the wire disconnected, I tried to crank the engine. It sputtered, started, and ran rough for a few seconds. When I plugged the inj. wire back in, it didn't want to start at all.
The car has held fuel pressure since yesterday afternoon - but dropped to 15lbs.
My next step is to try a noid light to check injector signal.

Any/all ideas greatly appreciated. Sorry this post was so long.

Steve H.
 
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  #2  
Old 07-28-03, 10:33 AM
Joe_F
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A bad fuel pump is a possibility. As noted, check your injectors for proper grounding and connections with a noid light.

Do that first. The PCM on most Saturns is a reprogrammable piece by VIN # and is not likely a returnable item, so make sure it's the problem! LOL.

Any parts store can send it out to be tested for you to confirm it being bad or not. That's the way I'd go first.

BTW: The CTS and sender for the gauge are dirt cheap. If they are original, throw them out for new parts anyhow.
 
  #3  
Old 07-28-03, 05:55 PM
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OK, now I have some more info... but am just as puzzled.

Tried to start it again w/starting fluid... ran for a few seconds (rough) and I heard Clattering %$#!.

Checked each injector signal w/ a noid light. The light lit on each. I checked injector resistance - found as follows:
1)2.5ohm 2)2.5 3)2.5 4)2.2ohm. Chilton says 1-2ohms.

Also found that if I disconnect injector wire #4, the car will start and run real rough. None of the others do the same. (Bad inj.??)

Checked all plugs, they looked fair. Checked compression and am stumped. 1) 150# 2)150 3)210 4)210. #3 might have been elevated because there was oil in the plug well that I'm sure drenched the cyl. when I took the plug out.
So are 1 & 2 good, 3&4 elevated... or 1&2 low, 3&4 good???
Not sure if this is a new problem or not and if it is the reason for the no-start, or just part of the problem combined w/ injector and fuel problems.

Took off the cam cover - nothing broken. Not sure of crank to cam timing yet, have to check the marks.

Not sure where to go with this. I don't want to pull the head to check for bent valves or head gasket. Might need to do a leak down test. Also not sure why it would run w/o #4 injector or on starting fluid.

Help appreciated.

Steve H.
 
  #4  
Old 07-28-03, 06:09 PM
Joe_F
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Swap injector #4 with a different one to see if the problem transfers itself to that new cylinder.

Add some oil to the spark plug holes to see if there's a difference between wet and dry cranking/compression tests.

Oil in the spark plug hole---bad valve cover gaskets/o-ring seals. Common Saturn problem. They use grey silicone as a gasket (or they did when I did my mother's 93 SL2).

Clacking---probably dry lifters from all the fuel soaked into the oil.
 
  #5  
Old 07-28-03, 07:08 PM
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Thanks Joe_F, I'll swap the injector(s) tomorrow and report back. Hopefully the problem follows that inj.

I'll tackle the other problems as secondary.

Thanks again,

Steve H.
 
  #6  
Old 07-29-03, 03:37 PM
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When doing resistance checks include the test lead resistance.My digital meter just read .4 ohms.Hold the 2 leads together and you will have a reading to subtract from your total reading.When testing like components such as injectors(or ignition coils) you are looking for similar readings.Most meters are plus or minus a % of the reading also depends on the meter.All the injectors may be in specs after you take this in account.If #4 injector is bad it could shut down the PCM resulting in a no start.Injectors should be tested by current draw not ohms because many fail under load(live circuit)not static.
 
  #7  
Old 07-29-03, 05:09 PM
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Thanks Davo - I just checked my meter and found .3 ohms in the leads. that means 2.2, 2.2, 2.2 and 1.9. Only one in spec is #4 (As per my Chilton book).

Well, I'm getting even more stumped. I didn't want to reply until I tested things further, but here's what I got today.

I swapped the #4 injector to another location, and the "start-up when disconnected" did not follow it.
BUT, today the car seems to "try" to start whether any of the injectors are disconnected or not.
Now when I first turn the key to On, then crank, it tries to start (barely), then dies. If I continue cranking the motor with the starter it's like the motor wants to start, and would run with the starter cranking it, but that's all.

I feel like I need to start at square 1 and get the basics done. When I checked spark initially I only did that on #1 - I need to still check the rest. I have no way to check spark timing or find out if it's the crank sensor (I need to read my Chilton)... Almost wish this car had a carb. and a distributor right now.

Thanks for all of the ideas... Anyone have a spare set of good injectors!

Steve H.
 
  #8  
Old 07-29-03, 07:24 PM
Joe_F
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If swapping them didn't help, chances are they are OK. If you've verified all grounds are good, have a parts store send the PCM out for testing.
 
  #9  
Old 07-30-03, 03:04 PM
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I read your noid light post again.Did it light up or did it flash when cranking the engine?If it didn't flash you don't have injector pulse.
 
  #10  
Old 07-30-03, 04:41 PM
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Here's another thought to through at you..If there is fuel pressure and flow while cranking, and the noid light flashes while cranking, and the car sounds like it wants to run as long as you're cranking, have you though to check the ignition switch? I've had 3-4 the last month (different model cars to be sure..) that would do what you're talking about..Run well, then die..No start, but cranked good ect...This occured on 2 Honda's 1 toyota and Monday, an s10 pick up...

Just a thought...
 
  #11  
Old 07-30-03, 06:42 PM
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This car is driving me bonkers

Today, I stopped on the way home and bought a CPS - just in case. When I got home I pulled the plugs. Then I checked the wires for resistance - each checked between 5-7k ohms. I pulled the wires from the coil packs, then had my wife crank the car. Got consistant orange/white/purple sparking between posts (hard to tell color). Put the wires back on with plugs in each and sitting (plugs) on radiator support - cranked it over. Got good spark at each. Now - do I do the CPS or not? Oh, BTW coil pack resistance was 8,400 ohms each.

Here comes the good part...

I decided to check compression again just for giggles. Got 180,60,50,90 ...OMG!! what happened?? I thought it might be my comp. tester (hard to tighten in the wells), but it was as tight as before. Didn't add any oil in cylinders after that. (Just picked myself up off the driveway and went inside)

Now what ? leak down test,check valvetrain timing (pull cam cover- again). I'm going to verify these compression readings with another tester and/or use some tool to tighten the comp. tester hose down in the plug well (not just super hand tight turning the hose)
UGH!!
Thanks to all for the ideas,
Steve H.
BTW - Davo, the Noid light was pulsing.
Msargent - hadn't thought about the ignition switch, certainly a possibility. I would think that with spark during cranking and the motor spinning and injectors pulsing (signal at least) - something should be ready to roll (or at least make more sputtering). The one main concern here for me would be how the injectors are timed to the crank position. (PCM controlled?)
 
  #12  
Old 07-30-03, 06:42 PM
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This car is driving me bonkers

Today, I stopped on the way home and bought a CPS - just in case. When I got home I pulled the plugs. Then I checked the wires for resistance - each checked between 5-7k ohms. I pulled the wires from the coil packs, then had my wife crank the car. Got consistant orange/white/purple sparking between posts (hard to tell color). Put the wires back on with plugs in each and sitting (plugs) on radiator support - cranked it over. Got good spark at each. Now - do I do the CPS or not? Oh, BTW coil pack resistance was 8,400 ohms each.

Here comes the good part...

I decided to check compression again just for giggles. Got 180,60,50,90 ...OMG!! what happened?? I thought it might be my comp. tester (hard to tighten in the wells), but it was as tight as before. Didn't add any oil in cylinders after that. (Just picked myself up off the driveway and went inside)

Now what ? leak down test,check valvetrain timing (pull cam cover- again). I'm going to verify these compression readings with another tester and/or use some tool to tighten the comp. tester hose down in the plug well (not just super hand tight turning the hose)
UGH!!
Thanks to all for the ideas,
Steve H.
BTW - Davo, the Noid light was pulsing.
Msargent - hadn't thought about the ignition switch, certainly a possibility. I would think that with spark during cranking and the motor spinning and injectors pulsing (signal at least) - something should be ready to roll (or at least make more sputtering). The one main concern here for me would be how the injectors are timed to the crank position. (PCM controlled?)
 
  #13  
Old 07-30-03, 08:36 PM
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RELAX, RELAX!

all that fuel in the cylinders has washed the rings down and lowered your compression from the previous good readings, a few squirts of oil should bring it back up

i would think if you had spark from coil packs the crank position sensor 'has' to be working, every car i ever saw had the spark indexed to the cps, i wouldn't be concerned about fuel injector timing, some old cars had 'batch firing'--they all fired at once. as long as there's fuel in the intake port(carbureted cars, throttle body fuel injected cars too), it'll fire up. sequentially timed injectors was developed for idle drivibility and emissions--not the problem here.

i'll make a very long story short(three days long )

i had a car towed in from jiffy lube(always a bad sign), wouldn't start, pop or anything. 4-cyl. dohc. good spark, good compression, good fuel pressure, each injector firing, cam timing marks exactly right, no metal in the pan, oil getting to everywhere. just like you, the compression got washed down, and i had to keep oiling the cylinders

when i took the valve cover off for the fourth time, i watched the cam-crank relationship as i turned the crank slowly by hand, with a long skinny screwdriver in the spark plug hole. intake valve opened on the down stroke, all closed on compression, all closed on power, all closed on exhaust!!! just before the piston hit top dead center, the exhaust valve started opening, then both valves were open for most of the intake stroke, that's why i had good compression.

somehow, it got ran without oil long enough to seize one cam bearing, that sheared the pin in the cam and let it turn 90degrees, then when it cooled down the cam unseized and the cam bolt never loosened, timing marks were always right on.

there's a lot more to that story, but i kept it short

it's probably not your problem, but it is something that is possible, like if a cam bolt slightly loosened, or the belt jumped a tooth or three, if a rock got inside the timing belt area. i've learned over the years that ANYTHING is possible

let us know what you find


here's my DIY tip for the day-----stay away from 'oil change only' shops.

jiffy lube towed it out to a 'body' shop to install a junkyard engine after that!!
 
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