My car has trouble starting

Tiny
ANGELATHOMAS
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 SATURN SL2
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 148,000 MILES
It seems like it mostly does it at night but when I go to start my car it doesnt want to turn over I pump the gas while trying to start it, and after a few mintues it eventually starts what could be wrong?
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Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 AT 4:27 AM

22 Replies

Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
Start by checking the fuel pressure with a fuel pressure gauge if its within specs-
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Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 AT 7:21 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
What if you hold your gas pedal all the way to the floor will it start then?Also does it let out a black cloud of smoke when it does start up?Sound's like you could have a bad coolant temp sensor.
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Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 AT 8:43 AM
Tiny
ANGELATHOMAS
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It does start if I pump the gas or hold it in. I havent noticed if it smokes but my coolant light is on, but my collant guage is not working so I thought maybe thats why the coolant light was on telling me that it dont work. So do you think thats what is wrong with it?
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Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 AT 11:24 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
So your temp gauge is reading cold all the time?If so you need to look at your coolant temp sensor and connector if the connector is corroded you will have to replace it. Let me know.
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Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 AT 11:49 PM
Tiny
ANGELATHOMAS
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Yes it stays on cold. Where is the coolant temp sensor and the connector?
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 AT 3:59 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
It's screwed into the head right below where the upper radiator hose goes on. It has a yellow wire and a black wire going to it.
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 AT 6:09 PM
Tiny
ANGELATHOMAS
  • MEMBER
Okay thanks. What will it look like if its bad?
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 AT 6:44 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
If it's a plastic tipped sensor it could be cracked but they don't always crack when they go bad. There only 10 the sensor so not a big gamble. Also inspect the connector if it's corroded you will have to replace that too. It's most likely you have a bad coolant temp sensor and possibly the connector too. Also be warned you will loose coolant if you have a new sensor you can swap them out before you loose a lot of coolant. Let me know what you find.
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 AT 6:49 PM
Tiny
ANGELATHOMAS
  • MEMBER
I looked and have no clue about it, im going to have to take it to a garage, but until I get to take it is it ok to be drove for right now? Will it eventually stop and break down? And do you know about how much a mechanic would charge to have the sensor and connector replaced, or even to check to see if that is whats wrong? Or can I take it to a auto part store would they have something they can hook up to it to check if the sensor or connector is bad? Thanks so much for your information its been very helpful.
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Thursday, January 6th, 2011 AT 7:23 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
If you want to replace the sensor yourself there 10 and it's most likely the sensor. The connector is pretty easy if it's blue or green color on the inside where it plug's onto the sensor then it's bad. But if you don't have someone that can do it the labor for the sensor is 1.1 hour's time's shop labor rate 80-100 per hour. The connector should be about 25 plus to install it a half hour time's shop labor rate. So much cheaper to replace the connector yourself it just screw's into the head. But if you don't anyone that can do it then you will just have to pay to get it done. Plus at least a half hour labor for diagnoses. To diagnose it or see if the sensor is reading the correct temp you would need a scan tool that can read live engine data. It's really common for those sensor's to go bad and especailly since you said it read's cold all the time and your starting problem's.
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Thursday, January 6th, 2011 AT 9:18 PM
Tiny
ANGELATHOMAS
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Ok thanks one of my relatives boyfriend is going to check it with a scan tool at his work saturday and he said he would get everything he'll need an fix it at his house so it wont cost anything. So hopefully by next week it will be starting right. Ill let you know what the scan tool said. Thanks so much
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Friday, January 7th, 2011 AT 2:35 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Just so you can let him know the coolant temp on the scan tool should read within 10 degree's of actual engine coolant temp so hopefully he has a temp gun or thermometer to check what the engine temp is.
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Friday, January 7th, 2011 AT 7:35 PM
Tiny
ANGELATHOMAS
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Had bad weather so just now getting around to checking it he said that one of the valves was gooped up he said that was why, he cleaned it and said it should start fine now. Well it still isnt starting right but yesterday the engine started over heating but the gauge read to the 1/4 mark, checked it and the fan wasnt coming on, so got a sensor for it and I have someone putting it on when they took my sensor off it was different from the new one but it fit, there taking it to the part store to find out if that could be the problem. So if my car needs a new sensor and thats what causing the fan not to come on to cool the engine, would my sensor be working at all? Could it still work but reading the right temp? Because it does move but never reaches the half mark or further but the engine is getting hot.
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Monday, January 17th, 2011 AT 4:05 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
When the sensor goes bad it read's colder then actual temp some time's a lot colder I have seen them when they go bad read over 40 degree's colder then actual temp sometimes. Since that sensor operates your temp gauge and tells the computer what temp your coolant is then is sound's just like that sensor is bad. The guy that cleaned that valve didn't take in consideration that your temp gauge isn't working correctly and a sticking valve isn't going to cause the starting problem's and the temp gauge to not work correctly. So change that coolant temp sensor and make sure the connector going to it isn't corroded and let me know how everything work's.
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Monday, January 17th, 2011 AT 7:44 PM
Tiny
ANGELATHOMAS
  • MEMBER
Okay so they put the sensor on and it made the coolant light go off and the gauge is reading in between the 1/4 and 1/2 mark so its a little higher than it was, and the car is starting right up its not puttering in an out or hesitating to start. They said they could'nt really tell if the connector was corroded or not but incase we was going to get a new one to put on anyways but we couldnt find one instock anywhere we would have to order it so they just put the other connector back on. I drove it around for a little bit and it didnt seem like it was getting hot but I cant tell if the fan is coming on or not I cant hear any difference so I looked but I cant see it really. So do you think this might have fixed it? What if the connector was bad that they put back on will it effect anything or make the sensor go bad till I get one?
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Monday, January 17th, 2011 AT 8:30 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
AS far as the connector goes if there corroded they turn blue or green where the connector meet's the sensor if it wasn't discolored then it's fine. Now what you need to do is if the a/c work's turn it on did the radiator cooling fan come on?If so shut the car off then start the car back up let it run watch the temp gauge when it reaches a little past the half way point you should hear the radiator fan come on. Only try that if the radiator fan comes on with the a/c. Let me know what you find.
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Monday, January 17th, 2011 AT 8:43 PM
Tiny
ANGELATHOMAS
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The fan comes on when I turn on the ac the gauge doesnt go to the half mark it goes between the 1/4 an 1/2
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Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 AT 4:48 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
If it only get's between the 1/4 and half way mark then I would check your thermostat it is probably stuck open.
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Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 AT 9:29 AM
Tiny
ANGELATHOMAS
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Okay how do I check it to tell if its stuck open
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Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 AT 3:14 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
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All the saturn S model car's I have had that will only go up to the mark between the 1/4 and half way mark have been bad thermostat's and when I have removed them I never visually was ever able to see a problem with them. So I just replaced them the only way to check to see if it was opening too soon would be to put the thermostat in a pot of boiling water and measure with a thermometer when it open's up.
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Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 AT 7:09 PM

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