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  #1  
Old 11-13-2008, 03:41 AM
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Default 1999 9-3 ignition problem

Hi folks!
I have a problem with my 1999 9-3se Convertible that I am hoping someone here might be able to help me with.

In the past 2 months the car has decided 4-6 times to not start at random but particularly inopportune moments. When I turn the ignition, the panel lights up, radio comes on, antenna extends, headlamps go on and... that is about it - no engine clicking, no turn over.

And then usually within an hour or so, it will miraculously decide to work again (although as I am writing this, it is sitting out on the street NOT working and it has been well over an hour). This usually has happened at night, though once or twice during the daytime. I just do not know what could be going on. One thought is that here in Venice Beach, CA, the marine layer comes rolling in pretty thick at night. Perhaps moisture is getting into the starter or spark plug? But even if so, would it not at least "click"? Whatever it is, it feels like the engine just is not getting the signal, whether mechanical or electrical, to start up.

If anyone has advice, I would appreciate it. I just bought the car 3 months ago ($6500 w/ 75k miles - not bad, I think) and absolutely love it, but this is my first Saab and my first automatic for that matter (I have been driving for 20 years but this is the first car I have owned that has actually made me interested in learning ABOUT cars), so as a first-timer to both, I am in the dark here.

Thanks all! For the past several months I have really enjoyed and appreciated reading the discussions and advice people have posted to the forum.
Best wishes,
~ P.
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  #2  
Old 11-15-2008, 03:39 PM
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Default RE: 1999 9-3 ignition problem

is the car a manual or an automatic?
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  #3  
Old 11-15-2008, 05:40 PM
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Default RE: 1999 9-3 ignition problem

It's an automatic. I haven't owned one before this but after 10+ years of driving with a manual transmission here in Los Angeles' stop-and-go traffic, unless I'm trying to grab traction on snow or gravel, I have no interest in touching a clutch pedal again. Thankfully, icy roads and dirt roads are rather difficult to come by around these parts.
Now up in the mountains or back home in Vermont, you wouldn't catch me dead in an automatic. Or rather, dead is how you would probably find me if I were in an automatic.
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  #4  
Old 11-15-2008, 07:34 PM
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Default RE: 1999 9-3 ignition problem

Update -

Once the sun came out the next day, it started right up again. I brought it in to the guys over at SaabTech to take a look at that day and their suspicions were the same as mine - two possibilities or both.

First, the negative connection on the battery was fairly corroded (my own damn fault for not cleaning the thing first) and it is possible that when damp or cold it could potentially siphon off the flow of power to the point that not enough energy is getting to the starter.

The second thought is that the starter itself is to blame - although it is less than a year old (as I am told by the previous owner, anyway). It may be that the bushing-sleeve connection or some other component is already not very solid so that when cold, the metal contracts (via the laws of thermodynamics) just enough to sever the electrical connection.

Though they seem to think it more likely that the starter bushings are faulty, the more I think about it, the less the physics of it make sense to me frankly.

Well, I cleaned the battery off so if it happens again... I'll still be stuck 'til morning
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  #5  
Old 11-15-2008, 09:15 PM
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Default RE: 1999 9-3 ignition problem

The battery connection is a likely suspect If you had a manual I was going to suggest trying to push-start cause that would pinpoint it to a starter if it did start. I can't live with an automatic even though I drive stop-and-go every morning.
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  #6  
Old 01-29-2009, 12:11 AM
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Default RE: 1999 9-3 ignition problem

I had similar problems.. The steering and gearbox were both jammed, and rge car could no be started.. Had to go on a truck top to the agents.
The CIM elctronic module had to be replaced as well as the steering assembly.whick has to be wrecked in order to get at the pin that locks both the steering and the gear box.

Very exppensive repair which cost me 2500$.

so please get the CIM module electronics also ckecked before you get stranded somewhere.
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:12 PM
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Default RE: 1999 9-3 ignition problem

UPDATE:

It has been a couple of months since I posted this question and I have received a few messages asking me if it was resolved. Well the answer is... sort of.

The startup issue became an everyday occurrence, or rather, an every-night occurrence. Simply, when the car became coldish, it would not start. All electronic functions worked just fine... except for the one that starts the engine of course. After sitting in the sun for a few hours in the morning it would start right up, no problem. It turns out there are three or four possible reasons why this would happen, none of which are great. The cost and time needed to test it through trial and error would be rather prohibitive though. One by one, one day at a time, I would have had to replace each of the connections between the ignition, the battery and the starter to see which is not functioning correctly - replace one, wait til night to see if it worked, then if not put the old part back in and replace a different piece. Perhaps I would have gotten lucky and picked the right one first, but such things never go that way. Invariably, it would have been the last component I replaced. Ultimately, the cost of doing this, once labor and parts are all factored in, would probably have been in the range of $2-3k.

Luckily, my pal Walter over at SaabTech had a fantastic $100 all-in solution. We (he) installed a starter button which bypasses all those various connections. I simply turn the ignition and if it doesn't work, I pop the hood, press the button which is right next to the battery and *vroom*, I'm ready to roll. Obviously it's not the perfect solution, but it works well enough. I'm sure some are familiar with this scenario - I've since learned there are several dozen Saabs running around the streets of Los Angeles with this very setup. Ideally I'd like to have the button *inside* the cabin so I don't have to get out - it still needs the key to work so I wouldn't have the worry of it standing out like a 'steal me' sign.

I don't know, however, what exactly this device is bypassing though - Anyone?
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  #8  
Old 01-29-2009, 03:23 PM
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Default RE: 1999 9-3 ignition problem

Your basically bypassing the Neutral safety switch and starter relay.
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  #9  
Old 01-29-2009, 11:37 PM
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Default RE: 1999 9-3 ignition problem

That almost sounds like a fun mod to intentionally have (in the cockpit, of course). Now, being not mechanically inclined, I'm not entirely sure of the safety ramifications of that, but I can't imagine they'd be too dire if common sense were applied. I say get the button wired inside with it in some neat little place and enjoy the novelty!
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  #10  
Old 01-31-2009, 08:00 PM
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Default RE: 1999 9-3 ignition problem

I'm thinking I will definitely give it a whirl.

The electrical housing for the new starter button is pretty well secured to its location next to the battery. Instead of moving the box itself I plan to splice in a long lead to mount only the button elsewhere. I'm trying to decide on either the center or front console and hopefully in the process I can finally put one of those dummy place-holder buttons to use!

But both consoles are very dark and I imagine it may become a regular occurrence for someone (probably me) to accidentally press it thinking it's the light, window, seat heater, self-destruct, etc. Actually, in a way it really would function as a self-destruct button.

My original idea was to fabricate some sort of protective cover for it until I came up with a different question:

'How can I hook up the pushbutton so that it is completely incapacitated when the car is running?'

I read somewhere that it is possible to set up some sort of electrical relay which would solve this problem completely but it didn't actually provide any details on how to do that. Unfortunately, though I am fairly competent when it comes to rewiring my house, I am completely clueless when it comes to auto wiring and so have no idea what this would entail.

So... Anyone have an answer to this new question?
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Old 01-31-2009, 08:00 PM
 
 
 
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