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2001 saturn sl2 won't start

10-22-2009, 09:02 PM
Husband is military and overseas and I know absolutely nothing about cars. This is my only transportation and I am at a loss as to what is wrong. Was going down the road about 55mph and rpms started dropping, had enough time to pull over to side of the road. Car died and won't start. Had it towed to my house was told it was the starter. Replaced that and it still won't start. The battery is only 2 months old and I have no problems with anything electric. All the lights, radio, locks, power windows, and gauges work fine. The engine clicks once when I turn the key and it won't turn over. The headlights (only) do dim when the key is turned. The battery and alternator have been checked and are good. Have tried jumping it and it won't start that way either it still just gives one click. The car is a 2001 Saturn SL 2, has 159,000 miles and this is the first problem I have had. If anyone could please help me, I don't have the money to start replacing everything until I find the problem which is what the mechanics want me to do.

10-22-2009, 09:31 PM
Look at the connections going to the battery. Make sure they are good in shape and corrosion free. Follow them down as far as you can.

Do you have access to a Voltmeter? (multimeter). Your battery should read 12.4V at least.

How badly do the lights dim?? If they dim Alot, that points to your batter. Its not uncommon for a bad battery to be purchased.

If possible, get under the car and bang the starter itself. Sometimes it gets stuck and this will get it free. If this works a new starter is needed.

The fact that it clicks says it is something with the following; battery, battery connections, or starter. This is all that is part of the starting circuit.

10-23-2009, 09:26 AM
All the battery cables are in great shape, no corrosion anywhere, battery has got 12.5 volts when checked. The lights dim just barely almost not noticeable. Tried the tapping on the starter and that doesn't work either. We tapped on it after putting a new starter in also still the same thing the engine clicks once and that is it. Had the alterntor checked it has juice or power (not sure which it is I am not car smart)they said it is okay. The fuel injector makes noise when I turn the key so it isn't that either. Thanks for the ideas though.

10-24-2009, 12:55 AM
Definitely commend the diagnosing!


Is your security light on ? As in it comes on but does not shut off?

10-24-2009, 10:36 AM
All the dashboard lights come on and then go off like normal none of them stay on. The whole dashboard lights up, lights come on that I didn't even know were there. I think every light that can light up does. I do see the security light come on but it goes right back off. I read in the forum about doing this so I removed the front passenger tire and the splash guard to get to the crank shaft pulley bolt to see if it would turn clockwise and it does not move. The car is in neutral when I did this. Any more ideas about this? Is my engine dead?

10-24-2009, 10:48 AM
When was the last time you checked your oil?
What is the level now?

You should be able to turn the crank by hand with a large breaker bar. It may be tough but it should turn. Removing the spark plugs should make it easier.

If the crank can not turn, your engine seized some how.

10-24-2009, 01:18 PM
Oil level is good, that was the first thing the tow truck driver checked. All the fluid levels are good. Took spark plugs out and tried to turn the crank(?) almost broke the ratchet, still won't turn. There was a lot of oil on the spark plugs. Like they were sitting in oil but my oil level is fine and I am not losing oil. I think the car might just be dead.

10-24-2009, 04:27 PM
Your engine doesn't just die unless you ran out of oil and it seized up.

You wont be able to turn the crank with a ratchet. You need a breaker bar. or a pipe to extend your torque on the ratchet.

Check your oil level yourself. post the results.

10-24-2009, 08:47 PM
Oil level is 1/8th of an inch below full. Had the ratchet on the bolt with breaker bar on end of ratchet and it did not move at all.

10-24-2009, 10:27 PM
Your engine is siezed some how. Remove the valve cover using a 10mm socket. You need to inspect the chain.

With oil that full I'm at a loss of why it would seized. I have read of no other reason but low oil since i've got into saturns.

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