Saab 9000 CSE what seems to be the problem?

Twice it has now happened that when I turn the ignition key, no reaction from starter. The battery is full, headlamps not dimming;
indicating that no load is taken from the battery.
However, after faffing around for about half an hour, it all suddenly works fine again. But very embarrassing.
The car is fitted with an old immobiliser, but that appears to work fine. I always hear hear a click and the little red LED goes out. This is always the same.
It is strange that the problem appear only at my work place in the evening, not at home even after leaving the car parked until next morning. But then there have only been two incidents.
Could it be due to some local intermittent radio transmission? I know this is a long shot, betting probability 0.05.
Or is it a stuck relay on the starter motor? But then why does it comes back to life?
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johannes wrote:

There are many possibles. I would start by putting a flylead to the starter relay, when it won't go, try powering the relay, if it then spins OK you know it isn't the starter itself.
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On 05/01/2013 11:23, Mrcheerful wrote:

There is no drain on battery, if the starter was stuck then you should see the effect on e.g. headlamps when turning the key, but there is none. Other posters here have mentioned the starter solenoid, I think this could be it. I would explain why it works after faffing about, as my movements in the seat may have rocked the car about a little, and that could have unseated the solenoid?
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On Sun, 06 Jan 2013 09:43:30 -0000, johannes

If it's sticking a little then tapping it with a hard object whilst turning the key tends to temporarily fix it, but once they start sticking they're knackered. But if it's got an immobiliser that may well be in series with the solenoid.
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On 06/01/2013 10:50, Duncan Wood wrote:

Is the solenoid replaceable, or does it need a new starter motor unit?
The start is fine (when it starts). There is no untoward mechanical sounds.
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On Sun, 06 Jan 2013 10:58:42 -0000, johannes

Should be, but as they're the bit that dies it's normally almost as much as a recon starter.

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On 06/01/2013 11:24, Duncan Wood wrote:

[... too many lines]

The immobiliser looks like an aftermarket fit by previous owner, sometime before 1997. So I don't know where exactly it is. I suppose that's one of the tricks with an immobiliser; it should be well hidden. But it works ok, although not on the Chatham list, as the company no longer exists. I don't really need it for a car of this vintage, but it's there already.
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On Sun, 06 Jan 2013 11:42:05 -0000, johannes

Till it does it again you're a bit stuck then, I'd bet on the starter but I don't think it's particularly easy to get at on a 9000
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On 06/01/2013 11:44, Duncan Wood wrote:

[... too many lines for the news server]

Can the car be push started just in case it does it again?
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On 06/01/2013 12:24, johannes wrote:

P.S. the old start handle was useful. Last time I used it was on my dad's 4CV...
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johannes wrote:

Assuming it is manual you will not know until you try, because if it is an immobiliser fault then it will probably also effect fuel and ign. systems.
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On Sun, 06 Jan 2013 11:42:05 +0000, johannes wrote:
[...]

That's where I would be looking then.
Before immobilisers were standard fitment,there were any number of small companies making them. Almost without exception, they were crap; mostly, the relays are hugely under-rated, so contact failure occurs.
Chris
--
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On 06/01/2013 13:15, Chris Whelan wrote:

Yeahbut it has stood the test of time; 15 plus years, so that one isn't exactly crap innit?
But I take the point. The immobiliser is the first barrier to starting. But...
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On 06/01/2013 14:39, johannes wrote:

... you might be able to work out whether the immobiliser prevents the starter from working, or just prevents the engine from firing. Being a Saab there might also be a switch on the handbrake or gear change.
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Perhaps most cars these days have a pre-engage starter motor where the engagement of the pinion is done by a solenoid on the starter. And after engagement it turns the starter on. The solenoid takes quite a bit of current itself, so is usually fed via a relay, which is controlled by the starter switch. First thing I'd do is check the connections to that relay are clean - and then try a substitute relay, if it's a common type.
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On 05/01/2013 15:59, Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

OK thanks for that. Yes I do hear a click somewhere behind the panel, maybe there is a relay. I don't think there is any significant drain on battery, but worth checking it out.

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On 05/01/2013 10:53, johannes wrote:

Yes, that's it! They *are* out to get ya :-p

This was in my mum's Polo. Mechanic showing me why she needed a new motor.
<http://i912.photobucket.com/albums/ac327/turnstyler/MVI_4308_zps8f27f0eb.mp4
--
Adrian C


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On 05/01/2013 16:05, Adrian C wrote:

I will wrap the car in government certified BS9999 UFO safe tinfoil.
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Are you absolutely certain about that? ;-)
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

that is the 'normal' method, yes. in the op case I would still wait till it next does its trick and try powering the starter directly just to eliminate external faults.
IIUC that saab is just a remodelled Vauxhall Cavalier and they had a large multi pin connector for all engine electrics which was conveniently located below the battery, corrosion in that used to be a common fault.
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