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Old 09-03-2008, 03:12 PM   #1
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Massive Self-Fail, now corrected

So, the '73 99 was not starting. One day came back from an errand, parked in the office parking lot, got back in and it would not start. Put the key in, everything seemed fine, turn it to start, and . . . nothing.

I thought it was a short, or a bad ground to the starter. I replaced the negative battery cable which looked pretty dodgy. I used battery terminal cleaner to clean all the contacts between the battery and the grounding point. I spent about half a day trying to figure this out.

That was about 3 weeks ago. Got busy at work, went to SOC, came back, got busier at work. Decided to take another look at it this afternoon.

So I'm on the verge of replacing all the fuses trying to chase a bad connection down, when I try to start it one last time.

As I look down at the key, I notice that the shift lever is on "D."

I put it back in park, turn the key, and it starts right up.

Yes, it an automatic and it won't start unless it's in park or (I think) neutral.

D'oh.

The good news is I might take the car out the MN Saab Club BBQ/drive on Saturday.
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:41 PM   #2
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Haha! I've had that happen several times in my 91 9kT, and my wife too. (Wife: "Honey, the car won't start!" Me: "Did you check to make sure it's in park?" Wife: "Nooo...") It's pre-shift interlock (9000 has key on steering column) and it doesn't require you to have it in park to remove the key. Does need to be in park or neutral to start.
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:52 PM   #3
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I had a similar problem many years ago with one of my old ford mustangs.
It was in reverse. I found that out after bypassing the starter solenoid and having the car start while in reverse.
Mr. drivers side door met Mr. garage door post in an ugly sounding crunch as the pilotless car backed out of the garage.
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Old 09-05-2008, 03:25 PM   #4
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I've had some similar dim witted moments myself. I was working at my dads shop fixing a window regulator on a 99 9-3 while the customer was waiting (a real cutie at that) once I finished i backed it out (left keys in) put it in what i thought was park, was in the process of telling her it was done just as i saw it start to roll towards a big hill with cars lining either side, luckily i jumped in and managed to stop it (i had it in reverse, that one last click seemed so far away =P) So don't feel bad you're not the only one to have that sort of stuff happen. To hell with automatics, manual forever!
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Old 09-05-2008, 03:43 PM   #5
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neutral safety switch.
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Old 09-28-2008, 01:12 PM   #6
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Back in '79 my '99 EMS wouldn't start- oil had worked it's way up the distributor shaft and fouled the dual points below the plate that has the single ignition points for the primary of the ignition coil. This was a Bosch J-Tronic system with multi port electronic fuel injection and those fouled points tell the injectors when and how fast to fire. Anyway, cleaned the fouled points and was back in business. Found it by spraying a small burst of starting fluid in the throttle body- if it briefly fires, then you have a fuel problem. If it does not, you have an ignition problem. Wouldn't try that on a turbo engine and don't get carried away with the ether- it can generate some pretty high cylinder pressures and will somewhat wash the oil off the cylinder walls if used too liberally- just a little! Just thought I'd share that little bit of a really basic trouble
shooting method. Love them Saabs.
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