Last post on Dec 11, 2013 at 3:07 PM
You are in the Saturn ION
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Saturn ION, Electrical, Coupe, Sedan
#80 of 1228 Saturn Ion Level 3
Jan 27, 2008 (4:22 am)
Am experiencing the same ignition switch problems as alot of others here and will have to take it in to a dealership soon . Car flashes service engine light , won't start , all lights on dashboard light up , horn sounds after locking the doors , wait a while longer and it starts like nothing was ever wrong ..soooo frustrated !! I live in Jamestown NY , bought the vehicle 3 years ago from Orchard Park NY which is 65 miles away ( no Saturn dealers here in Jamestown ) , hopefully when I take it in to a nearby Chevy dealer they can correct this problem ( they service Saturns supposedly ) and it will be a recall issue that is relatively inexpensive for me . Any advice would be greatly appreciated ! Tim
#81 of 1228 Re: 2003 Ion won't start under 10 degrees [junkionowner]
Jan 31, 2008 (8:30 am)
Ditto to everyones symptoms. In late 2005, when I had my ignition switch replaced, the dealer told me something along these lines: the ignition switch was developed, made, and tested in a state where the temperature doesn't dip below 20 degrees (ie, Kentucky). The "lube" inside the ignition switch wasn't quality-checked for freezing at "teen and below" temperatures. (This could be a posible explaination as to why the theft-deterrent system is triggered and the no-start occurs). So, the dealer replaced my ignition switch with the "northern climate" lube and has worked fine for over 2 years. But....
Last week the temperature happened to be 10-15 degrees. Guess what? My car wouldn't start. Exact same symptoms as before. Luckily after trying to start it for a bit, and then going in the house and waiting 10 minutes before trying again, the car started and I was able to get to my job interview on time. (Thank God.) The weather warmed up immediately and for a week no problems, but yesterday, again, it's in the teens...
So I just called my service dept, and the warranty work warranty has expired (they allow 1 year for malfunctioning warranty work to be repaired). So my warranty issue isn't retroactive--I'll have to pay for any repairs done. (This doesn't seem fair...). Anyway, I called customer service (800-553-6000) and they said that some repair "bulletins" have just been released "for 03-05 Ions with the no-start condition." Service is supposed to follow 2 possible recommended fixes Document ID#: 1959536 and Doc ID# 1871764. The customer service rep said that you should be able to obtain copies of these documents at the dealership. I don't have them yet myself, but the rep explained:
One of the documents says that deposits left by "cheap" gas could be clogging the fuel system--use GM System Treatment Plus to clean the gas tank/lines, and use high-quality, detergent gasoline from places like Shell (not the cheap stuff from BP or Citgo). Since I have to buy the cheap stuff ($3.10/gal is cheap?), it is a strong possiblity that my current issues are related to having crusties in my fuel system. So I'm going to try a little clean-up before I invest in replacing the fuel pump, fuel line, or whatever. (I might just invest in a microwaveable hot pad and hold it on the ignition switch on those cold, cold days. LOL.)
I do believe that replacing your non-starting ignition switch with one that has the "northern climate" lube is the cheapest, quickest solution. Don't spend a fortune replacing the battery, BCM, etc. The service department should not con you into that--by now, they KNOW how what the issue is.
I'll update y'all about how effective using better gas and the cleaner is.
#82 of 1228 Re: 2003 Ion won't start under 10 degrees [4r33l]
Feb 07, 2008 (7:45 am)
To all those who have had similar starting problems related to the anti-theft circuitry on the start switch I can offer a cost free solution that has worked for my daughter's Ion. After searching all over the net and talking to service departments at Saturn, I discovered a remote start website as well as service bulletins from GM. As a result, once I got the car started, using the wait ten minutes routine, I found the harness plug at the rear of the starter switch, unravelled the electrical tape, and cut the white wire while the car was running. The car has started every time since then, with the only draw-back the yellow "lock" on the dash stays on. You can check this link for wiring diagrams for the Saturn remote start, 2003-4.
The GM bulletin basically describes putting a switch inline in the severed white wire; I just put wire nuts on them.
The wiring diagram shows three wires; I found five. I only cut the white wire and only when the car was RUNNING. The BCM module thinks that the voltage has been interrupted while being driven and goes into a "failsafe" mode, to allow the car to continue to run, as no one would attempt to steal a car thru this circuit, if it were already running.
Hope this is of some help.
By the way this is from KY.
#83 of 1228 Re: 2003 Ion won't start under 10 degrees [meron]
Feb 07, 2008 (10:53 am)
Allright Kentucky! I'll definitely try your solution--since the freezing lube theory isn't holding up.
#84 of 1228 Re: 2003 Ion won't start under 10 degrees [4r33l]
Feb 08, 2008 (5:30 am)
I also had heard that the lubricant in the switch was at fault and tried electrical contact cleaner and then relubed the switch. It seemed to help. For a day or two.
GM service bulletins describe "reteaching" the BCM thru a thirty minute process with a new switch/key, and I inferred that you could also reteach it with an old key. I did so and the car started repeatedly, until my daughter tried to start it, with a different key on a keyring with many other keys and whatnot dangling from it. It would not start, as you might guess but did start for me when I used the 'retaught' key. I think that might have solved the problem, if she would have used the sucessful key from then on, but I wanted a permanent solution for the rest of the winter anyway.
GM also described the Passlock system as fifteen different resistors that could possibly have been used, thus the reason for the BCM to be retaught. The original had a resistor in the key itself. The module, BCM or previously the TCM, needed to see a small voltage, thru a small wire, that was within a +/- 5% range or the start signal was disabled, some shuting down the fuel injectors, fuel pump delivery. In the cold weather electrons get a little sluggish, and fall outside the necessary range originally programmed into the control module.
Remote start addons replace a resistor inline between two relays, with a diode ahead of the circuit, I believe as a one way valve. The resistance value is first determined while the car is running I think, between the two wires going from the switch to the module.
There are websites that describe all this, along with an aftermarket defeating system that learns the voltage that the module expects to see. I think the whole kit runs about $40. The link is below.
As I said in above post, cutting the white wire, (2003 ION) and putting wire nuts on the severed ends has eliminated the problem, BUT you must cut the wire after the car is RUNNING. The module thinks the circuit has been damaged and falls into a failsafe mode allowing the car to be started from then on. The only side effect is the little yellow padlock icon on the dash stays on.
I may look into disabling the yellow icon later in the spring. For now I don't see a lot of the car as my daughter hasn't been around much; she's busy driving all over town.
I hope others are able to find a solution here. If you read the above you will see that this problem has been around for a while, across a broad spectum of GM products.
As far as I can see the only difference in any of the solultions is the wire color on individual products.
Good luck out there!
#85 of 1228 Cold weather (non) starting....
Feb 10, 2008 (2:28 pm)
Ok, I get it now from this forum....... I'm not doing anything wrong, I DO know how to start a car on a cold morning, it's the CAR that is acting up.
My problem is related in as much as I thought it was my battery, so once we got it running I hot-footed it over for a new, high-performance, high-pricetag battery guaranteed to start in sub-zero temps. Needless to say, it still won't. But my problem, in addition to that, is ever since the battery was replaced the sound system in the car does not work and all I get is an '---error---' message. The clock still works just fine so there is power going to the unit. I purchased the car used from a dealer who was always going to get right on the problem of obtaining an owner's manual for me but that never happened, and I have been unable to find one on my own so I can troubleshoot the problem. Am I going to find anyone else with the same problem??? Or is there truly something flukey this time that I can have fixed as soon as I find someone who knows more than I do?
#86 of 1228 Question for Meron
Feb 12, 2008 (8:08 am)
Thanks for the White Wire tip. But I have two questions for you before I do it myself.
If the Battery is disconnected, with the BCM revert back to it's original status and "forget" that the car is in failsafe mode? Therefore, not letting anyone start the car.
Along the same lines, if I connect my reader up to the car and reset the errors, will the BCM again revert back to it's original status and "forget" that the car is in failsafe mode? Resulting in the same conclusion as in Question A and not let anyone start the car.
#87 of 1228 Re: Question for Meron [deepinohio]
Feb 13, 2008 (11:29 am)
First, check the links for a specific wiring diagram, or solution for your individual car. The white wire I found was specific to 2003/4 Ions. There are many different models made by GM that use this ant-theft circuitry. Thus wire colors are specific as well.
The GM bulletin specifically states that a switch would be put in the "white wire" circuit, and the remote start added as per the aftermarket product describes. This switch would allow removal of batteries, or reading of the specific error codes, while in a normal starting mode, and also allow the car to be selectively started via the five minute rule, revert back to the "open" side of the switch, with or without the error padlock lite on the dash.
I have not added a switch. These are small wires, twenty-guage if I remember correctly, and care should be used especially when adding a switch. Because these wires are so small reflects the 'voltage drop' that occurs in cold weather, just as a long extension cord needs to be a heavier guage wire as distance increases.
Check the links I provided above. (Previous blog). There is a plug-in device, for $30-$40 dollars that supplies the voltage that the BCM requires to start the vehicle. As the BCM is 'fooled' I would assume that there would be no issues as far as changing batteries, etc. I don't think you need to cut wires, or add a switch.
I may add a switch later, or try to reteach the BCM as I described previously. At some point I may try the $30 add on, especially when we trade the car. Otherwise I'll wait till spring; it's twenty degrees here and my daughter isn't home right now anyway.
Hope this helps. Check the links and ask me any other questions and I'll try to update as I can.
#88 of 1228 05 Ion 1 won't start after ignition lock replacement
Feb 18, 2008 (8:04 pm)
I am seriously frustrated...I've been all over the internet, posting all kinds of questions, reading other people's numerous suggestions and getting nowhere. My car is stuck at home and I really need it to get to work (45 miles). Last October, my key got stuck in the ignition and after trying to extract it, I broke the key off inside the keyaway. I tried to take out the lock cylinder, but to no avail. So I just left it that way, using a flat-blade screwdriver to start the car. I was finally able to find an ignition lock for it and I replaced it yesterday. But, now it won't start. I bought a Chilton manual which explained the process of "relearning" the new key. After trying that several times, it still won't start. I found message #9 which referred me to "Saturn Problems & Solutions" (messages 793 & 797), but I was unable to find them. I'm very frustrated and I just want some straight answers without having to search the internet most of the day. Going to the dealer is just not financially feasable; they want $95 just to diagnose it. Not to mention the cost of having it towed.
#89 of 1228 Re: 05 Ion 1 won't start after ignition lock replacement [conagher]
Feb 19, 2008 (5:51 am)
This is the re-learn procedure I used when I replaced the ignition switch.
To relearn passlock, you turn the key to start, and release it to run, then wait 10 minutes. Leave like that for 10 mins, do again, then do again. Takes about 30 mins to complete. When 3 cycles complete, turn off car completely for at least 30 seconds. then start car.