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Saturn Ion Starting Problems

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  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,020
    If you own a Saturn and are willing to talk with a reporter about your experience, please contact jfallon@edmunds.com by Friday, February 20, 2008.

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

  • yes, Iam sure that a lot of people would like to talk to resolve this matter @ once you have questoins ,we have answers....... ;)
  • Sure,
    This is a major issue to me and I'm sure a lot of people would talk to you.
    Let me know what to do.
  • Just wanted to relay some information regarding replacing the ignition switch ($44 @ Local Saturn dealer) in my daughters '04 Saturn Ion. The torx bit needed to remove the screws holding the ignition switch is a size T15. I used this bit with a 1/4" combination wrench to remove the screws in the tight area. I disconnected my battery to replace it but you must be careful not to lock out your radio/CD player. If the theft deterrent is activated you will have to enter a code to use the radio after power has been removed and then reconnected. Myself, I have to go to the dealer to have them hook up their scanner (post 2000) and retrieve the radio code so a passcode can be obtained from GM.
    I had an idea that maybe the original ignition switch might have been OK and just needed to go through the computer relearn procedure that I did on the new switch. My problems (intermittant start, wait 10 min., etc.) seem to have started after I replaced the battery (power disconnected). Originally the problem was a low battery and the engine turned over slowly. The battery appeared to be original so I replaced it with 1 from local NAPA auto parts store (around $85). I didn't think to try the relearn procedure until after the new switch was in but might be worth a try for
    someone with a similar scenario.
    Just wanted to contribute a little to this discussion that has been so helpful to me in trying to remedy this problem! :)
  • I incountered A 2006 Ion yesterday. I have been a locksmith for 23 years specializing in automotive. Basically GM has 3 antitheft systems. Vats, passlock, and transponders. Yesterday I found that the Ion security system is Basically a passive Vats system. It lacks the hall effect coil and magnet of a passlock, and lacks the transponder and rf coil of a transponder. However it has the key rotation "sensing" of passlock and computer intigration of Transponder. The physical part of the system is very simple and located in the the black switch at the far side of the ignition housing and held on by 2 # 15 Torx screws. Inside this switch is a printed circuit board with only a resistor on it. The resistor is designed so that the "legs" are weak and will break free if the lock cylinder is physically forced and removed. I did this yesterday. I bought a new lock cylinder today for $19.51, but the car would not start. If you take this electrical switch apart you will find a small "foot" on the opposite end of the white plastic you can see with the switch assembeled . This "foot" is designed so that if you pull on the white plastic and rotate, it will break a leg off the resistor and disable the car. It is my opinion that when Saturn designed this resister with the weakened "tear away" leg the did not take into account the flexing of the printed circuit board or the expansion and contraction from changing temperture.
  • So what to do? (#1) With an ohm meter check the resistance. Here is a list. 1———— 0.402 ohm
    2———— 0.523 ohm
    3———— 0.681
    4————-0.887
    5————-1.130
    6————-1.470
    7————-1.870
    8————-2.370
    9————-3.010
    10————3.740
    11————4.750
    12————6.040
    13————7.500
    14————9.530
    15————11.801 You will have the open the old switch to access the resister for testing. The #s 1 to 15 above are #s from the old Vats system. It may be possible that these #s are on the boxes with new switches from Saturn and ethier Saturn does not know what they mean or don't want to tell. IF YOU BUY A NEW SWITCH , THE OHM RESTANCE MUST MATCH THE OLD, OR IT WILL NOT WORK!
  • (#2) Take the old switch apart and resolder the leg back onto the resister. and to be safe cut off the "foot" on the white plastic piece, but do not shorten the length
  • This is the option I would choice for permanence. Remove the resistor from the printed curcuit board and solder a wire in its place. One of the 5 or 6 connector socket prongs ( the 2nd) which clearly connects only to one side of the resistor needs to found. Find out what color the wire is and splice a Vats bypass in. Done. Find the resistance of the old resistor and match it to a Vats# from the above chart. For example 3.7 ohms is a# 10 Vats. The vats bypass I am thinking of is simply a resistor. They might cost 2 Dollars or 20 dollars, I don't know. I have taken some camera phone photos that I will try to post here or on my website AceDenton.com. Please someone take some quality photos and post. If this works for you and you are good at writing, please do, I just want to get the word out about the bad resistors with "break away legs" . Also key length makes no difference, if it turns, its good. Good Luck.
  • This is the option I would choice for permanence. Remove the resistor from the printed curcuit board and solder a wire in its place. One of the 5 or 6 connector socket prongs ( the 2nd) which clearly connects only to one side of the resistor needs to found. Find out what color the wire is and splice a Vats bypass in. Done. Find the resistance of the old resistor and match it to a Vats# from the above chart. For example 3.7 ohms is a# 10 Vats. The vats bypass I am thinking of is simply a resistor. They might cost 2 Dollars or 20 dollars, I don't know. I have taken some camera phone photos that I will try to post here or on my website AceDenton.com. Please someone take some quality photos and post. If this works for you and you are good at writing, please do, I just want to get the word out about the bad resistors with "break away legs" . Also key length makes no difference, if it turns, its good. Good Luck.
  • I bought a 04 saturn ion when it was brand new and for the past three years have been having the problem with it not wanting to start. I replace the battery first, which really ticked me off as the dealer said since the battery was in the trunk it would last for 8 years. And I live in Florida and it would be 80 degrees and it still didnt want to start, by the time I jumped it of my other car it would start. Has to have happened 50 times. Long story short I took 5 minutes and cut the white wire. It has started better in the last month than it ever has. It does tell me to service engine every morning but I dont care. Ive put 115k miles on it and am planning on driving it forever.
  • simply put, Meron posted the most epic post on this forum ever. It is the easiest and cheapest solution to this annoying problem. thumbs up
  • meronmeron Posts: 21
    Thanks bertbaggins,

    Please check out this youtube video. Help these Tibetan refugees if you can. The medical team will return to India again this year, and can use any contribution you care to send.

    Thanks,
    meron

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjdrhgowijU
  • I'm attempting to simplify my earlier post. Find the black electrical switch on the lock housing (the one with the green connector and "white" wire) Remove it and disassemble. There is a resistor on the Printed circuit board. With your finger lightly push on it. If you notice one of the legs is disconnected from the resistor, then solder the leg back to the resistor. Done.
  • Thanks for the tip about the Saturn bulletin, mikeey1. I'm so glad I found this message board. I had the non-starting problem twice last winter, then twice last week. Last year I took it to my mechanic, who "couldn't replicate the problem," but put in a new battery anyway. This year, I took it to my Saturn dealer.

    I told them I thought it was the ignition switch, and to see Bulletin Number 04-08-45-005D, Ignition System - No Crank / No Start / DTC's B2960/B3033, dated March 15, 2006, covering Saturn ION models 2003-2006. They said if they do a diagnostic and the codes B2960/B3033 come up, this bulletin tells them it's the ignition switch. They ran the diagnostic, the codes came up, they replaced the switch, and I was on my way (although it did take 1.5 hours and cost $192). The car has started just fine for the last week now.

    Not the cheapest solution, but easy and aggravation-ending, at least in my opinion. :shades:
  • Yes!! I had the same problem and I took it in and they found out it was the ignition switch. It took them 2 days to fix it and I haven't had a problem since then. At first I thought it might have been my alarm since I had another one installed on top of the manufactory one but they found it was the ignition switch, now I don't have to wait in the cold to find out what's wrong with it. It cost me $179.

    A happier camper!
    :shades:
  • check back in a year when the same problem starts again. :)
  • mikeey1mikeey1 Posts: 6
    Hi,
    I had to break down and have my ignition switch replaced last Thursday. I woke up Friday morning to go to work and the car wouldn't start! So I now have another appointment to bring it in this Thursday for them to try again. This is like a bad dream. I'll keep you posted on what happens.
    mikeeyv1
  • ricirici Posts: 7
    The only thing that works is cutting the white wire...(go to Youtube and see one of our members here do it..easy and effective.) It is the only thing that works...I got a new ignition switch, I put heating pads on the steering wheel...The cutting of the wire was the only thing that worked.
    However, a moot issue now, as the car was totalled last week. Sigh. Loved the Saturn...wonder if other years have the same issue.
    Does anyone know?
  • 2003 to 2006 ions have this problem. and yes the white wire is the only way.
  • tbsierratbsierra Posts: 6
    I disagree that cutting the white wire is the only way. We had a remote starter installed about a year ago and as long as we use the remote start to start the car before putting the key in the ignition we have absolutely no problems. If you don't want to cut the white whire have a remote starter installed, make sure whoever installs it understands the passlock system though. Ours cost around $350 last year and the car starts great + we get to warm it up without going outside in the cold.
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