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Saturn Ion Starting Problems



  • Been there, done that! How many times am I supposed to have it replaced? Never heard of an ignition switch needing to be replaced even once in other cars unless it was a recall. Which it was and was taken care of. Passcode has been changed, new keys made, tumblers replaced, stopped using car alarm and remote locks all together. Please tell me what more could possibly be "changed"?
  • To all those looking to replace the ignition switch (and that will almost certainly NOT cure the problem), the same original GM switch for $49.xx will cost you less than $20 at ....

    The ignition problem is a SAD issue.
    And it is not related to winter conditions as so many are referring to.
    One of our ION's had this problem (as so many many times before) numerous times last week, heat index was 106 and it required the usual wait 10 minutes etc before starting. After 3 'dead' attempts, the 4th after 30 minutes it started right up! Go figure.
    GM is simply not taking responsibility to issue a proper repair instruction - instead they rather see that Saturn ION owners purchase NON-GM vehicles when changing out the failing Saturn ION's ....
    Have replaced 4 so far with NON-GM cars, 5 more is due this fall/winter ... One thing is certain, it will not be GM products.
  • notlkhnotlkh Posts: 6
    Since the last time I posted here, my ion has not stopped starting even once, which is normal behavior during the summer for my ion. I expect it to stop starting maybe once a month, if that, until October or November, whereupon it should become a weekly event, then in December about at least a daily event. This has been the pattern for 5 years, since I purchased this vehicle. Which is strange since it seems inconsistant with your observations that it is not related to the weather/season.

    Do you experience any variations whatsoever between the temperature/humidity extremes?
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,055

    Have you had the vehicle diagnosed by a GM dealership? Please keep me posted.

    Thank you,
    Caron, GM Customer Service
  • notlkhnotlkh Posts: 6
    Once I had it in for a service early on, and I mentioned the issue, but I was told that they couldn't do anything since no error code showed up, and that it started fine there.

    Eventually I came across this thread, and saw how prevalent this issue is, and how it seems to be unaddressable by GM, I've decided to live with it. I don't mind 10 minutes of extra reading time every now and then, just so long as I'm not freezing too many times during a cold winters day.

    However, if you think it is worth trying again, when should I do it? Would it be worth doing now, when it hasn't happened in over a month? Or should I wait until it happens, and then get it in as soon as possible, within a day or two of the issue ocurring again?
  • You need to have the ignition switch replaced the first bulletines we got at the saturn dealer for the no starts said the no start is worse at temps of 40 degrees or less.I would just replace the ignition switch if it was my car.I know the auto zone ignition switch is made by wells and has a lifetime warranty.
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,055

    If you are not having any problems at this time I would encourage you to wait until you are experiencing these concerns to have the vehicle brought into the dealership. At that time please be sure to contact us directly and we will be able to assist in setting up a case with GM Customer Assistance to try and get these problems resolved.

    Thank you,
    Caron, GM Customer Service
  • I would only wait to get the switch fixed if gm customer service was for sure going to pay for it?Otherwise if you know someone handy with tools its a easy fix amazon has the switch for 22 and i will give full replacement instructions.Otherwise why put yourself thru anymore years of this no start you have been lucky so far.I have seen some of those switches not let the car start for a day or more.Its up to you its your car and your burden.
  • You better hurry up getting to a gm dealer ... the window is less than ten, yes ten minutes and the car may start and the dealer cannot trace the problem. GM need to get a car that is 'guaranted' to have the starting problem and to the diagnostics themselves. I have at least one, that act up every week, sometimes more than once in one day! I will gladly sell them this vehicle ... By the way, to change the AC Delco Switch (less than $20 at ... same as the GM dealer sell for $49) is NOT the answer.
  • notlkhnotlkh Posts: 6
    So many opinions about this issue.

    DozenSaturn first is adamant that the issue is not weather related,
    Saturntech9 insists it is the ignition switch, and should be changed immediately
    GMCustsvc suggests waiting until it stops starting and let the dealership diagnose and correct,
    And then Dozensaturn points out that the diagnostic window is the 10 minutes that it won't start...

    It seems that the white wire method is the most reliable, but to me it also suggests that the issue is not currently diagnosable, as I don't believe the diagnostics have been designed to detect variations in resistance in a wire due to possible temperature variations, and I also agree with the 10 minute diagnostic window that Dozensaturn mentioned.

    But the ignition switch, is it physically connected to the white wire? If not, I don't see how it could correct the starting issue...
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    The white wire fix as mentioned also sets off a light on the dash that can get you failed on smog and other inspections. That's mentioned in one of the "how to" videos on You Tube as well.

    There is a Passlock "bypass" kit available that I read about in this very Edmund's thread that is sold by car stereo outfits that's been used with some success .
  • Yes there are many opinions about the 'starting issue' ... Yet, GM has not come thru with a corrective repair procedure, nor even issued any recommendations other than tow the vehicle to a GM dealer for diagnostic tests ...
    The fact is - not all ION's that we have or have had experience this problem. Of our's, one is notorius - several times a week, sometimes multiple times the same day. Another one a handful times per year. Then other's that has never had that problem. We are 'facing out' the ION's for non GM vehicles.
    It really disturbs to read how many - even at dealerships get taken and have the battery replaced. The battery is NOT the cause of the problem.

    Would it not be great if GM would announce a solution to this problem, and then stand behind that to be correct - and this problem would go into the history books!
  • My advice comes from being a saturn factory trained tech i worked for saturn dealers fixing them over 16yrs.My niece bought the first year saturn ion a 2003 and she still has it and it had that starting issue everyone is talking about.I replaced the ignition switch with a new factory one from the dealer i worked at.It was well over three years ago has to be closer to four and she hasnt complained of it not starting again.But we live in sunny southern california and she works in palm springs california where it gets really hot during the summer so that would kill the hot weather fail idea.Last summer my friend who owns a 2006 ion who lives in indio california a little past palm springs and it gets a little out there then palm springs.Every winter only when it cold out his car wouldnt start i replaced his ignition switch with one from auto zone over a year ago and they told me it was made by wells.Most of the ignition switchs i repalced on the ions when i worked at the saturn dealer before they all closed i replaced in the colder part of the year.Thats when they mostly came there were some during summer but not like in colder part of the year.They have redesigned the switch like 3 or 4 times because thenpart number kept changing.There was also bulletines if it was this part number change the switch.If you were to have no start and brought it right in iam sure they would find the B2960 and or B3033 codes in the body control module like some people are talking about do the diagnostics.But from my expernice if it was my car or a family members or friends car i would just change the ignition switch.But its your car and up to you what you want to do.Sounds like the one person works for gm customer service that is telling you to wait till it happens and have it diagnosed.Havent seen a post from them since i said maybe if they can for sure tell you it will be a free repair to possible think about waiting.But now you have the facts to base your decision on.Just hope a emergency doesnt happen and it doesnt start when you could have just replaced the switch.
  • Caron,

    GM Customer service has done nothing but give me the run around. If you want my case #, I can give it to you... but basically they tell me I need to go to a GM dealer... which I did before... but now they are no longer a GM dealer, so I need to go to a new place and pay them out of pocket to diagnose the issue. This is a GM ponzi scheme- the dealers make money and GM moves on to other things, not caring about its customers. Customers want #1 -issue reolution and for GM to take accountability for their faulty ION models with ignition start problems. GM customer service is not doing that. What I would really love is for Saturn/GM to pay for me to get the problem diagnosed and fixed- maybe a total of $500 at the most. Will GM do that? NO!!! I have requested, and still get the run around. Now Caron- you tell me what I can do!
  • Has anyone had a problem with their saturn turning off on its own while driving down the street? Ive never had a problem starting it but occasionally (3 times in the past 4-5 months) the car has turned off after I went over a bump while driving down the road. I got a new battery and that didnt fix the problem. Ive read all over the internet that this is a problem with Saturn Ions and not even Saturn can figure out how to fix it. Any help/comments would be extremely awesome. Thank you! Oh, Ive got a 2005 with a lil over 100,000 miles.
  • So when it dies when you hit a bump will it restart right away?Also have you had it scanned for codes yet?The engine and body computer?Those ions have had a lot of issues with terminal tightness issue i have found a lot of open terminals causing all kinds of problems.One thing you can try and has helped me find loose terminals on those cars is let the car idle and smack the under hood fuse box with your hand on top side etc also do the same with inside fuse box/bcm see if the car dies.
  • Its a easy cheap fix if your handy with tools or know someone that is all you have to do is replace the switch and relearn the pass lock sensor.The switch at auto zone are 50 and the ones on amazon are 22.If you have been having issues lately with it like the last couple of days you can have body control module scanned for codes and have a B2960 and or B3033 then you have a bad switch.If it was my car and it was intermintantly not starting i would just replace the switch.
  • So when did you replace the switch?They have redesigned that switch 3 or 4 times.You can replace it with one from auto zone there switch is made by wells its a easy replacement.
  • kikibkikib Posts: 14
    yes, my son had exactly the same problem of his saturn ion 2005 turning off on its own....he also had problems starting it....finally, after it wouldn't start when he went to pick it up from the dealership when they said sorry but we couldn't duplicate the problem, a service guy finally figured out it was a burned out fuse box and it needed a new body control module. the bcm had to be ordered from west virginia and the fuse box from michigan (he goes to school in louisiana) but it's been fine ever since....$1300 later!
  • I just ran into this same problem last night. I tried to turn my car off and the key would not go the the lock position and my car kept running! After 1 1/2 hours I finally found out what fuse to pull and I disconnected the battery to turn the car completely off! What a deal! Of course I can't call Saturn until tomorrow morning but I will be making that call. Just last month my Power Steering had to be replaced. Saturn covered that. Since this issue has been an on-going issue for YEARS and Saturn is very aware of it...Saturn should fix it.
    Like you, if they don't cover the cost, I am calling my attorney general office and get their opinion on what my next step will be. I can't afford to have this repaired. I am by myself and barely making ends meet now without having to repair Saturn's faulty car when they should step up to the plate and fix this issue. It's nothing I done that caused this. I keep my car maintained regularly so the blame is not with me, it's Saturn. I will post what they tell me tomorrow.
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