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Saturn Ion Starting Problems



  • we had the same thing every winter since we owned it. They have replaced the battery 3 times and the ignition switch. Well finally after this winter, and having to jump it 5 times in 2 weeks I took it in. They replaced the computer stating that the computers in this car has been malfunctioning. We have had it back for 4 days now and it has been -4 for 2 mornings and it starts GREAT>. It also took car of the transmission surge that happened every once in awhile. the car runs so good right now. What a difference in power, starting and everything.
  • I posted this to a reply to someone else but I though I should give it its own Title. We had many winters of non starting ION and after an ignition switch and 3 batteries they replace our computer. Our dealer said that the IONS have had computer problems. Its now been almost a week and below freezing again and the car has started without ANY problems. Aslo we were having problems with a surging in the trans when going from 1st to 2nd gear...its an automatic. It also fixed taht problem. This car is running like it did when we took it off the lot with 15 miles it. It has 74K now. It runs good, it has spunk again. Amazing what a fix of a computer will do. Lucky for us we took the extended warrenty and it covered it. But looking at the cost of replacing it on our own wouldnt have been to bad. Cheaper in the long run then replacing batteries and ignition switches all the time.
    I would ask your local service department about it.
  • I have a '95 Saturn my folks handed down to me. It has about 180k miles on a rebuilt engine. Aside from being stolen once, and thus a ripped up interior, it ran pretty well until it suddenly developed an intermittent starting problem a few months ago. I've taken to parking on hills just so I can pop the clutch to start the thing, just in case it won't. Doesn't matter if it's cold, hot, wet or dry, although I *have* noticed it had a greater tendency to switch it's starting (from not starting to starting, or from starting to not starting) when I go over one unavoidable particular speed bump in my work's parking lot..... hmmmmmm.... that made me thing perhaps grounding, but who knew where that could be?!?!

    We've replaced the battery and the ignition switch, and cleaned up the dinglybob that has to be pushed in by the clutch peddle in order to allow the car to start. We've been mulling over pulling out the starter to test it, but hey, I'm happy to try your suggestion and see if that works!

  • When the car was stolen, how did the thief start the car? If the ignition and steering column was damaged you may want to start by taking the cover off the steering column and look for loose parts/wires.

    I don't think the '95 had the passlock 2 system so the ignition switch problem myself and other have referred to probably does not apply but if the ignition lock was tampered with when stolen you may want to look there.

    Since I am sure you proceed very slowly over the speed bump that would not be the problem of knocking something loose.

    Much success with your Saturn.
  • I have a 2003 Saturn ION that recently started to have starting problems, my brother has the exact same car and it also just started to have problems since it became cold, snowy, and salty. I took it to a very good mechanic and he could not figure it out. Finally I took it to a friend that dedicated alot of time to it. The problem is defect in the placement of the starter, it was extremely dirty from salt and corrosion because it is located in a bad position. Since few areas will have this problem (ie upstate NY) there will probably never be a recall. I had the starter changed and the part was $200 which is quite expensive compared to mant other cars. This is only the third day of it operating it, but it does sound much healthier. Hope this helps.... also stay away from the dealer mechanics : )
  • But I'm thinking they either already had a key close enough, or they used Fiscar scissors (which open a Saturn door easily). It was stolen and recovered a few days later over a year ago, the starting problem didn't start until about three months ago. The creeps stole my car, with two car seats in the back and out-of-state plates, from the Sea World parking lot in San Diego! Oh, yah, take a car from a family with little kids who are far away from friends and family to call for help. Lovely. They had a thing for joyriding in stolen green Saturns, as they parked the green '95 Saturn they had stolen just before mine a few stalls away. I tried my key in that car, and was able to open the door with it, but not start the car.

    BTW, luckily, my folks lived nearby, so I wasn't far from family, but still! Also - Sea World security? Extremely nice. They even went out and bought car seats to replace the ones stolen so the kids could leave the lot safely.

    Sorry, still makes me MAD!

    Anyways, when we replaced the starter switch, we had to pull the cowling around the steering wheel, and everything looked okay down there. Still, I'll keep that in mind... may brave the PIA cowling again to take a closer look.

    Tightening the fuse box last night did no good. It just gets dusty here in southern Nevada, and it came from southern California, so I'm not sure how grimed the starter is. But it does seem like the next logical choice to check.

    Thanks for all your help!
  • davey49davey49 Posts: 5
    Was this problem ever fixed? I would've replaced the battery regardless of what the people said. 4 years is about time to replace it.
  • I have posted about my car, but I also wanted to post about my mom's 2004 Saturn Ion. She had the same problem w/her car not starting in low temps this winter. Her dealership also replaced her igntion switch and then it was fine. I do understand that cars are complicated machines/computers, etc. However-- a car should not repeatedly fail to start in cold temps. My uncle tests cars in Alaska--but, they are Toyotas! Maybe Ions are not as rigorously tested?!!? Also--dealerships need to do a better job at providing customer service. I think Saturn is alienating their loyal customers like me by providing a low-quality car combined w/bad service and multiple, expensive repairs!! I will not be returning to my Saturn dealer again for a new car!
  • jswitzer1jswitzer1 Posts: 1
    I have a lengthy tail to tell, please bear with me. I have an '03 Ion and have had intermittant starting problems. I had the ignition replaced before the warranty ran out, which seemed to fix it, but the starting problems have returned. I didn't think temperature was not a factor, but now that 90 degree weather is here it hasn't failed to start in about 2 weeks.

    Meanwhile, I was in an accident and one of the parts replaced (with an after market version) was the right front running lamp/blinker. A week to 10 days after I got the car back, the light developed intermittant problems, sometimes it would light up/blink and sometimes not. I took it back to the dealers body shop where the repairs had been made and after an hour or so of swapping things around, a tech noticed the bulb for that light didn't fit the socket tightly and was losing connection. Sounded simple enough to me. But the appraisor suggested I bring it back the next day when a certified GM tech could check it out. That guy decided that the starting problem and the running light problem were both due to me needing a new BCM, to the tune of $560.

    I had read about a recall on 2003 Ion's for the bulb/socket issue, although mine wasn't in the recall. But this was NOT my original running light, it was the after market version the insurance company authorized. I wonder if that light could have been from the batch with the problem that prompted the recall?

    Not to be too cynical, but I'm not ready to drop $560 on a BCM just yet. Can anyone corroborate that the starting and light problems sound like a BCM issue? I imagine they could be in some cases, but I'm not sure about this case. I'd like to have another running light installed to verify, but can't seem to get the appraisor to call me back. Knowledge IS power, so any info anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated!

  • jelswickjelswick Posts: 1
    A couple of the issues posted sound similar to my problem. Occasionaly, my Ion won't start. It will sputter, then do nothing during the next 5 or so tries, then almost start, then nothing for a few more times, on and on for up to 20 minutes, and then it finally starts with a loud backfire and then a really strong gas smell. The problem is not tempurature dependant. The first time it was sunny and 70, then it's done it in the winter, in the sun, in the rain, and yesterday sunny and 95. Any thoughts?
  • kaydo31kaydo31 Posts: 1
    sorry to say that it doesnt get better. I own a 06 ion and have had it in the service department for the starting problem almost every month since my odometer reached 7400 miles. In december of 06 it started and hasn't gotten better. they have replaced the starter ignition switch, re-programed the computer, changed the ignition modual, replaced the battery and once told me they found no problem. i bought the car in feb of o6 with 750 miles on it. All I can say is i will never buy another saturn or recommend it to anyone i know. :lemon:
  • willbrenwillbren Posts: 5
    Thank you for the info. I will keep an eye opened for the problem. So far no other problems have occurred, maybe you did get a :lemon:.

    Good luck.
  • Our 2004 Ion with 37,000 miles has been shutting off while being driven by my wife. We took it to the dealer friday 7/20/07 and they quoted a OPCODE: M5305 replacement of steering column at a cost of $1,137...the service man claims he drove the car and it the electric motor for the steering is the one shutting down. Not as reported by my wife since the engine shuts and the dinger comes on. No warranty and no recall... I can not believe the entire column must be replaced, I totally mistrust the dealer shop. I am inclined to believe it is related to the ignition switch. Does anyone have a helping suggestion or experienced similar?
  • :lemon: I posted it before incorrectly as an engine shut down, however I drove it and it happened, it has taken place while my wife drove it before; the power steering pump shut or stopped working. A warning message displayed "POWER STR." The car has 37,000 miles it is out of warranty and the dealer is asking for $1,300 to replace the steering wheel column. There is not a reservoir for this fluid or instructions regarding how to add fluid. I am out of the Ions and will have to get another car somehow. Any thoughts on this ? :mad: :mad: :mad: ">
  • I have a 2003 Saturn Ion that I bought used last year. It was running great until about 3 months ago when it would randomly decide not to start. It wouldn't matter about the weather or if the car was hot or cold. If I keep trying to start it, it gets less and less juice until nothing happens. Then if I wait about 10 minutes it will finally start. Am I just out of luck with this problem?? And will it get any worse? Also my Saturn while i'm driving it will all the sudden stall out and the RPMs will be really high as I try to keep it going to pull it over while all the lights and dings are going off. That problem has happened 3 times only luckily enough. And the Vehicle Service msg has gone off a couple of times since my Ion has started the problem of not starting. I was going to take it in, especially after that msg came on, but i'm wondering if I should even bother since it doesn't seem like a fixable problem? Any suggestions?? :confuse:
  • this is the first time i have gotten up here. i just found the site because i am having the power steering problems like you are. my car is a 2004 also. it is ridiculous. the saturn dealership here in north carolina says it will cost me $750,"> that his cost was $400..have you had it fixed or did you get another car? i definatly wouldn't have bought this car if i knew it was so costly to repair. my dad has always fixed my vehicles but this electrical stuff sucks.. good luck
  • Rockfish1,

    I cant find the Saturn Problems & Solutions #793 forum, can you repost the solutions?

    Thank you
  • The Saturn Maintenance & Repair topic is read only, but I am moving the thread about the 2004 Ion starting problem to here.

    Karen-Edmunds Community Manager

  • rockfish1rockfish1 Posts: 113
    joe154, I haven't been on this forum for a while. Glad the HOST was looking out for you. Did the fix help?
  • I have a problem with my daughter in-law's 2003 Saturn ION, but it is not a cold weather problem like most postings. It is not intermittent. The car has been starting fine but she had the SES light on for several weeks. A guy at an auto parts store told my son to disconnect the battery and reconnect. Now it won't start, period. The starter turns over and all indications are normal, but it won't fire. It does not have the security light on the dash on and the security functions work properly with the key remote. I've tried the 30 minute reprogram tricks. Doesn't work. There is no indication that it's the Passlock. Saturn says it must be towed to them for diagnosis. There must be a better way.
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