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2007 Saturn Sky Base Chili Pepper Red
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello from Nashville! Just bought my second Sky. Drove it home from Bristol and it did fine. Several restarts over the next two days. Third night it wouldn't start. Turned the key and heard a few clicks then lost all power. Fuses are all good. Battery has a complete charge. When I unhook the battery cable and hook then back up the lights, door chime and dash lights work. Turn the key to start it and hear a click then lose all power again. The only way to get the lights to come back on is to unhook the battery cable and reconnect. Still hear the same click and lose power. When the lights come back on and I put the key in the ignition the security light comes on along with all the other dash lights but goes back off. I don't have original keys...just two replacement ones. One has a fob that doesn't work at all even with a new battery. Could this be an anti theft system issue? Trying a key relearn to see if that works. In the process of the key relearn the only lights on in the dash are the brake light and the CEL. No security light. Anyone had this exact issue before? Not sure what my next step needs to be off the key relearn doesn't work. Thanks in advance!

Update: Key relearn process didn't work. What next?
 

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Next step is to measure actual voltage.

I had a situation where battery was dead. 11.9 volts. But when turning the key to start, voltage would drop so low that modules would lose communication and everything would go out until I reset the key.

Battery was junk.

Have also had plenty of other vehicles where the battery had 12.5 volts but critical bits were only receiving a fraction of that, due to broken/lose/corroded battery clamps, and even cables that had internally turned to dust.
 

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First place is to check the battery. Load test it. It should be at or above 13V. The lights and on board devices will function at 11.5 volts but the car may not have enough amperage to start. Put a jump battery on it. I carry a pocket jump battery in all my vehicles and they work great.

Second check the cables and connectors. They tend to get corroded and that can kill the start.

Generally what you are seeing is a result of a battery that has failed but still has some voltage.
 

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2007 Saturn Sky Base Chili Pepper Red
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
First place is to check the battery. Load test it. It should be at or above 13V. The lights and on board devices will function at 11.5 volts but the car may not have enough amperage to start. Put a jump battery on it. I carry a pocket jump battery in all my vehicles and they work great.

Second check the cables and connectors. They tend to get corroded and that can kill the start.

Generally what you are seeing is a result of a battery that has failed but still has some voltage.
I tested the battery and it's almost 13 volts. Disconnected the cables and cleaned them (even though they looked clean) but no change. There's a cutoff switch that the previous owner installed on the negative cable. It functions fine as far as I can tell. I'm pretty clueless about all of this and just watching videos and reading forum posts to try to figure it out on my own before I have it towed to a shop. Would the dash lights and headlights still work if the starter was bad?
 

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2007 Saturn Sky Base Chili Pepper Red
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Next step is to measure actual voltage.

I had a situation where battery was dead. 11.9 volts. But when turning the key to start, voltage would drop so low that modules would lose communication and everything would go out until I reset the key.

Battery was junk.

Have also had plenty of other vehicles where the battery had 12.5 volts but critical bits were only receiving a fraction of that, due to broken/lose/corroded battery clamps, and even cables that had internally turned to dust.
This is a new battery and has almost 13 volts so I don't think the battery is the issue. Cleaned and checked the cables to it and they look fine. The key reset did not work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Check the voltage with the headlights on.
Just tried that. There is a parasitic drain and I left the battery switched on last night so it reads 12.52v without the lights on. Reads 12.15v when I turn the lights on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just tried that. There is a parasitic drain and I left the battery switched on last night so it reads 12.52v without the lights on. Reads 12.15v when I turn the lights on.
Also, the passenger sidelight connector is missing so that wiring is just hanging there not attached to anything. Could that be causing an issue?
This is a new battery and has almost 13 volts so I don't think the battery is the issue. Cleaned and checked the cables to it and they look fine. The key reset did not work.
Also, the passenger sidelight connector is missing so that wiring is just hanging there not attached to anything. Could that be causing an issue?
Next step is to measure actual voltage.

I had a situation where battery was dead. 11.9 volts. But when turning the key to start, voltage would drop so low that modules would lose communication and everything would go out until I reset the key.

Battery was junk.

Have also had plenty of other vehicles where the battery had 12.5 volts but critical bits were only receiving a fraction of that, due to broken/lose/corroded battery clamps, and even cables that had internally turned to dust.
Also, the passenger sidelight connector is missing so that wiring is just hanging there not attached to anything. Could that be causing an issue?
 

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Make sure both ends of that sidelight wiring are properly insulated.

Something in me says to check your ground cable to the chassis in the red circled area. You might be able to access the connection point from below without disturbing the black plastic fender liner......not sure though. A bad ground can cause weird things. Your connection here might have come loose or gotten damaged from a historic acid boil-over. The ground cable crimped eyelet end might be corroded inside the crimp area.

If that checks out okay, remove the battery disconnect switch, even if only to troubleshoot.
116388
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So, tonight I hooked the battery up to my other car and let it run a few minutes. Dash lights came on again. Put the key in and turned one click. The dash lights flashed and there was a whirring sound for about 20 seconds. After it stopped, I tried to start the car and it started. Drove it around for @20 minutes. Turned it off and can't get it to start again. Tried the same thing and now it clicks repeatedly and the security light comes on, clicks a few times again, security light comes on again, etc. Won't start again. It ran fine for twenty minutes driving around my neighborhood. Could this still be the starter? Or the key?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Bought a new battery today. Car started and ran a few minutes. Turned it off while I put the fender back on. Tried to start again and it won't start. So I know it's not the battery now.
 

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Bought a new battery today. Car started and ran a few minutes. Turned it off while I put the fender back on. Tried to start again and it won't start. So I know it's not the battery now.
As you had wondered, you may have a modified or secondary security system installed in the car. Is there any evidence of such? Any strange out-of-place electronic boxes?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hmm. Not sure exactly what you're talking about. I haven't posted any pics. I think it just has the original security system but I don't know because I have replacement keys and fobs. I kinda think it's the security system, too, though. When I completely unhook the cables and hook them back up I have power again. It just still won't start.
 

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Hmm. Not sure exactly what you're talking about. I haven't posted any pics. I think it just has the original security system but I don't know because I have replacement keys and fobs. I kinda think it's the security system, too, though. When I completely unhook the cables and hook them back up I have power again. It just still won't start.
I had you mixed up with another post and modified my reply. Sorry for the confusion.

Still, is there any electronic box out of place?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
No worries! I appreciate all the help. I don't notice any extra boxes or anything out of place
 

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After trying to start, I would check voltages in these locations:
  • From positive to negative on the battery posts (not the clamps)
  • From positive clamp to negative post
  • From positive post to negative clamp
  • From the positive post under the red cover to the negative battery post
  • From the positive post under the red cover to the jumper cable ground strap on the side of the engine
  • From the positive post under the red cover to the chassis ground screw under the right side hood hinge
  • From the positive post under the red cover to the chassis under the right side hood hinge
These are all easily accessible and will tell you if one of the major connections is at fault
 

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After trying to start, I would check voltages in these locations:
  • From positive to negative on the battery posts (not the clamps)
  • From positive clamp to negative post
  • From positive post to negative clamp
  • From the positive post under the red cover to the negative battery post
  • From the positive post under the red cover to the jumper cable ground strap on the side of the engine
  • From the positive post under the red cover to the chassis ground screw under the right side hood hinge
  • From the positive post under the red cover to the chassis under the right side hood hinge
These are all easily accessible and will tell you if one of the major connections is at fault
This is good advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So, after a week of blood, sweat and tears (yes, I cried tears of frustration over this car), I had a mechanic friend come to the house. He replaced the battery cable ends and it fired right up. Turns out, even though I had them as tight as they would go, they just weren't tight enough to make a good enough connection. An $8 part and money for his time and I'm back on the road. Thank you all so much for the great advice! I know where to come when I need information now :)
 

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That dang battery terminal design using a tapered nut to squeeze the termination never sat well with me. It works well, but does not seem to be robust for repeated disconnects and reconnects.
 

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That dang battery terminal design using a tapered nut to squeeze the termination never sat well with me. It works well, but does not seem to be robust for repeated disconnects and reconnects.
I have to think that "repeated disconnects and reconnects" is the root cause of that issue. I have had each of mine disconnected two or three times each, and only to change batteries.
 
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