“Crank-but-no-start” ’02 Saturn SC2 fixed

Replaced the starter since car was having issue with failed starts. Once replaced, the car started during testing. After that, it wouldn’t start. I tried Dry Gas. I tried recharging the battery numerous times (battery self-drains from 12.6 to 12.35V with no electrical connections made to it). I removed the spark plug wires and tested their resistance; they were AOK. I looked inside the spark plug wells to find much oily liquid smothering the spark plugs.
“Aha!” I thought. I disconnected the negative battery cable to be safe then removed the spark plugs and cleaned them. Each of the four spark plugs were covered in different amounts of oil. I cleaned the contacts where the spark plugs are grounded by swirling a screwdriver wrapped in paper towel in the spark plug wells. Once everything was cleaned and reconnected, I tested the engine’s starting with fingers crossed. I had waited six months (Maine weather is too harsh and formidable to do auto work) for this moment. And, “VROOOOooommm!” “We have life! Once again!”
White smoke billowed out of the muffler for a good minute before tapering into invisibility. I took her for a ride to burn off the excess oil (boy, did that smell, almost like an imminent fire; err). Once the spark plugs were less fouled by oil, the engine performed more quietly, efficiently, and powerfully.
I’m glad I finally revived a great sports car that will become a collectors item after having dumped numerous $hundreds and countless hours of manergy into its ungrateful plastic body.
Also wrong with the engine was a clogged air filter from a shredded up paper towel that was carelessly wedged in front of the air intake. You can’t help but laugh, shake your head and sigh.


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