WHERE IN MY ELECTRICAL SYSTEM IS THE PROBLEM?

  • Tiny
  • boboa31189
  • 1994 Saturn SL2
  • 160 miles

I recently purchased 1994 saturn sl2 1.9 DOHC. When I got it, it had a bad starter solenoid I know this because all it would do is click when I turned the key and when I tapped on the solenoid it would fire right up. So I went and got a new starter and installed it in the car tried to turn it over and nothing! So I pulled it out put the old one back in to the same effect, nothing. I got the new starter tested and it is good. I brought out the multimeter and im getting 12.53 at the starter. All the fuses are good. I can cross jump the solenoid and get it to fire everytime. I bought the book and searched the wiring diagram and starter is connected correctly. There doesnt seem to be any breaks in the starter signal wire for as far as I can trace it back. I cannot find a starter relay anywhere on the car. When I jiggle the shifter in neutral it makes no difference still no click or anything. When I originally pulled the starter I did not the disconnect the battery, like a dummy, and sparked it out a couple times is it possible that I shorted out the ignition switch? I need help I have been under that car for 10 hrs the past two days and im very annoyed!

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Friday, September 28th, 2012 AT 5:05 PM

9 Replies

  • Tiny
  • caradiodoc
  • Expert
  • 25,431 posts

There's no fuse of any kind in the larger starter cable. If you had grounded the end for a considerable length of time that cable would have produced a huge cloud of smoke and the neighborhood would have known it!

You need to be looking at the smaller starter wire. When it gets 12 volts, that's when the solenoid engages and kicks in the electrical contacts for the starter motor. In a few car models they do away with the starter relay to save money and run the solenoid right off the ignition switch. That solenoid can draw up to 20 amps so that's a bunch for such little contacts.

Have a helper turn the ignition switch to "crank" while you measure at the starter to see if you're getting full battery voltage on the smaller wire. If you're not, look at the wiring diagram to see what comes first from the battery, the ignition switch or the neutral safety switch. Go to that terminal and check for 12 volts. Also check both wires on both switches for signs of overheating and melted connector bodies.

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Friday, September 28th, 2012 AT 5:29 PM
  • Tiny
  • boboa31189
  • Member

Thanks alot I will get back to you and let you know how it goes. Any idea what ppl is diagram?

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Friday, September 28th, 2012 AT 6:09 PM
  • Tiny
  • caradiodoc
  • Expert
  • 25,431 posts

Purple.

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Friday, September 28th, 2012 AT 6:19 PM
  • Tiny
  • saturntech9
  • Expert
  • 29,311 posts

Just to add to this one I would check the large green ignition fuse in the underhood fuse box that supplies power to the ignition swith and the purple trigger wire to starter. There is a starter relay at the base of the steering column inside the car but they rarely fail. See if your getting battery voltage out of the yellow wire from the ignition switch when the key is in the start position. Also the big red wire to the ignition switch should have battery voltage also. Another thing you can check is there is two large purple wires on a connector by them. Selves both those wires should have power to them with the key in the start position.

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Friday, September 28th, 2012 AT 7:29 PM
  • Tiny
  • saturntech9
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  • 29,311 posts

Sorry those two big purple wires on a connector all by themselves is on the neutral safety/selector switch.

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Friday, September 28th, 2012 AT 10:17 PM
  • Tiny
  • boboa31189
  • Member

So I decided to install a button to bypass the ignition system but now when I hit it the I get "crank" but the starter is not engaging the flywheel?

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Sunday, September 30th, 2012 AT 2:52 PM
  • Tiny
  • saturntech9
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  • 29,311 posts

If you would have followed my suggestions it would have told you if the starter relay is good ignition switch etc. You put in a bypass button some where no idea where. Please follow my instructions I have been working on these cars for over 16yrs at the saturn dealers. Get a bulbtest light see if it lights up bright when checking the big red battery cable at the starter. Also make sure the battery cables are clean and tight and have the battery actually tested. Also use the bulb test light to make the other tests I suggested. Make sure the purple wire at the starter is tight.I had one similar to this one on a 2002 saturn sl2 the starter would spin but not turn the engine over turned out to be a bad starter.

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Sunday, September 30th, 2012 AT 3:40 PM
  • Tiny
  • boboa31189
  • Member

So after ripping apart the entire dash and not finding the starter relay anywhere I decided to go after the ignition where I realized that someone had installed an after market alarm in the car and spliced it through the crank wire on the ignition. I removed the alarm and restored the wires back to factory and the car fired right up. Go figure 5 days on the car and it was one simple wire! Thanks for all the help!

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Saturday, October 6th, 2012 AT 6:21 PM
  • Tiny
  • saturntech9
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Glad to hear you got it figured out thats why I told you to check it the way I did. That would narrow it down between the ignition switch to outside the car.

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Saturday, October 6th, 2012 AT 7:11 PM

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