As a gesture of appreciation for finally receiving a new taillight, the Saturn has decided that it doesn’t want to start. I noticed the available gusto with which it usually cranks over its sewing-machine engine was a bit lacking the other day, and yesterday morning it simply sat and made the click-click-click noise that cars make when the battery is either almost dead or connected with a wire dripping with corrosion. I’m currently borrowing my neighbor’s charger in order to get the Scout’s battery working again (that saga has taken another negative course correction, BTW) so I pulled the Saturn’s four-month-old battery last night and hooked it up, thinking the alternator isn’t providing a charge anymore. But after about 15 seconds, the charger reported the battery as being full.
So this morning, I dropped it back in, cleaned the contacts off (the positive side was, indeed, flaky) and tried it about four times with no success. Last night I was really bummed, because I noticed for the first time that the alternator is buried behind the transversely mounted engine block and under the cowling, making its replacement more than this shade-tree mechanic is able to take on right now. But now, I’m just perplexed. If it’s not the battery, then it’s either the starter solenoid or the relay.
The plan to diagnose is as follows:
- Try using the Jeep battery to start it.
- Try jumping it from the Jeep.
- Check or replace the starter solenoid.
- Check or replace the starter relay. ($~11)
Update: Jumped it almost immediately off the jeep. So I’m thinking it could be the battery. I have to do some more sleuthing.