1994 Saturn SL2 Starter

Tiny
CESPOSITO
  • MEMBER
  • 1994 SATURN SL2
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 210,000 MILES
I am driving a 94 Saturn SL2 DOHC with way over 210,000 miles. The tachometer no longer works, so I do not know the exact mileage.

I am having major problems with the starter - which has now been replaced three times in the last two months. The first one was put in by my son early November (it was a rebuilt one) and it lasted until Dec. 24th. He took it back to Autozone who said that it was probably faulty and gave him another one. My son put it in and that one only last 2 days. Autozone gave us a full refund and we bought another rebuilt starter but from a different manufacturer. The guy at Autozone said that the transmission or fly wheel may be 'eating up' the starter and shorting them out.

I have never heard of that and seem improbable to me. The automatic transmission does slip or clunk when switching to the next gear. But how can the transmission short out a starter?

Any ideas?
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Sunday, January 3rd, 2010 AT 5:19 PM

4 Replies

Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
U have a flex plate on that the only thing I have seen is the flex plate get some damaged teeth and that can damage the starter gear but not burn up the starter u just got a cheap starter I have seen the cheap ones catch fire even.U need to get a good quality starter. Let me know how it goes.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Sunday, January 3rd, 2010 AT 9:16 PM
Tiny
CESPOSITO
  • MEMBER
Thank you for responding so quickly. I mean, since I am not able to make a donation, I wasn't expecting any kind of response at all.

I'm sorry, but what is a flex plate? Is that the piece that gets taken off from the top of the engine to get to the one bolt that is holding the starter to from the top of the engine?

I just hand my son tools; so I dont quite understand.

I just never heard of a transmission problem effecting the starter. How it was explained to me, the parts of the engine, the starter is like the book of matches that just "starts" the car, provides the spark. After that, its done with its job. So. How can a slipping transmission supposedly cause the problem with the starter; since the car does not need to start after its running - right? My son agrees, somewhat. He said its very rare for a starter to be shorted out by anything else in the engine since all it does is provide the initial spark to start the car then its done. He also said, tho, that in some cars, the transmission, if its slipping, may tell the starter that the car is not working, and the starter sparks again, and again, and again until the transmission tells the starter its doing its job.

Even though I believe in my son's abilities and talents, is that right?

BTW, in this car, my son has already replaced the alternator (which was tested and was found to be working fine - it was the wires going to it that were messed up) and the fuel pump. His shop doesn't have the 'software' to read the error codes; if there are any. From my research online, that's the usual findings anyways. Saturn dealer shops' software don't read any error codes, even tho the "check engine" light is on.

I may be ignorant, but I aint stupid. I'm not a rich woman, I don't have the money to bring this to the dealer - yet again - to have them hook up the computer & run their tests just to find out that there are no "error codes". I can spend that $150 elsewhere.

I seriously need some kind of guidance - whether divine or not - but something that will make feel assured that the car will start tomorrow morning so I can get my younger son to school and myself to work, IYKWIM?
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, January 4th, 2010 AT 12:34 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
A flex plate is what bolts to the crankshaft of the engine it's big and round and has a ring gear on the outside of it where the starter meshes with it to turn the engine over to start it. It also bolts to the tourqe convertor of the transmission. As far as the starter turning on automaticlly doesn't happen it only turns on when u turn the key to the start postion. The only car I know of that auto starts is the hybrid cars when they idle for more then a certain period of time they shut off when u come to a stop when u release the brake they auto start. Not from the transmission slipping never heard of a car doing that. Sounds like u just got some cheap starters. There's no codes for bad starters on ur car so the check engine would have nothing to do with ur starter issues. So where did u end up getting a starter after u got ur refund from autozone?
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, January 4th, 2010 AT 12:55 AM
Tiny
CESPOSITO
  • MEMBER
I got the other starter from Advanced Auto Parts.

When I told them the problem, they said I got bum starters but, since I bought the other two from a competitor, I didn't totally believe them. I just got it, and my son put it in.

And, with this other starter, I drove the car home without a buck or clunk from the transmission. It still went slowly switching gears, but it didn't race the engine or flatten the speedometer. I even let it sit for an hour or so, and starter her up again. And she did.

Thank you again for your suggestions. I'm at my wits end trying to figure this out - so is my son since his shop cannot diagnosis the problem with their more current software.

Its not even a classic yet - right? That's a 20 year old car, and its far from antique. LOL

Thank you again. I will mention the fly wheel to my son - even though he's not convinced or even remotely considering the possibility that the transmission is the real problem with burning out starters. I will will have him look at it, as you suggested.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, January 4th, 2010 AT 1:10 AM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides