1997 Saturn SC1, 55K miles: Over the last year or more my saturn has started not turning over everytime I try to start the engine. Sometimes it starts fine with one turn of the key. Other times it rattles, coughs and bascially chokes until I turn off the key and turn it back on, and it starts fine. (BTW, I'm not flooding the engine.) The mechanics don't seem to notice or haven't said anyting about it. What's causing this? It's driveable but frustrating.
Sounds like you might have a fuel pump problem. You say the car will crank and start sometimes, but only crank with no start other times.
When you turn the key to the on position you should be able to hear the fuel pump buzz for a few seconds. Turn it off and then back to the on position a second time and try to start it. This will help give the pump time to pressurize the system.
Eventually the pump will fail and need to be replaced.