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Old 03-17-2017, 10:19 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 4
Starter Problem? 2002 Saab 9-5

I've have problems starting the car. Had the battery and alternator tested and they are okay. It's not the spark plugs or ignition cassette or anything electrical. It happens sporadically, usually when the car is hot. It turns over but so slowly that it doesn't fire. Each time, if I stop, wait 20 seconds and try again, it does start up right away. Someone suggested that the starter is going. Someone else thought that perhaps the timing chain is going or is not lined up properly. I'm hoping it's just the starter since that's a much cheaper solution! The car has 225,000 miles on it. I'm just wondering if anyone has had this problem. Do the timing chains "go" on these cars? Could that be the problem?
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Old 03-18-2017, 05:12 AM   #2
Drew In Houston
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,864
Is your's a 4 cylinder? If it's a 6-cylinder, the timing is completely different, those engines are completely different. Otherwise...

If it is a 4-cylinder, one way to tell if the timing chain has too much wear is to remove the tensioner spring and then pull the tensioner out and measure how far it's extended--pretty easy to do. As far as I know, Saab never had a 'recommended change interval' for the chains on these engines like manufactures have for belts and 225k can be okay. I'm thinking if it jumped timing that would be a continuous condition, not sporadic like you're seeing.

For the slow start issue, can you make a video of what you're talking about? Starter motors definitely wear out and fail. What you're describing sounds strange though in that it's non consistent.

Another school of thought, the car has 225k miles. Are you planning or wanting to keep it long term? If so and it's the original starter unit, from an availability improvement standpoint it's justified just swapping the starter as a preemptive measure since you're pretty far into the normal expected life of the unit anyway. There's no need to 'run to failure' on all items. If you're not wanting to keep the car long term that may not may sense to do though.
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