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Saturn Ion Starting Problems



  • tainataina Posts: 5
    I am considering getting a remote starter on my car but I have to wait until the end of the holiday season. Would a new key be a temporary solution? I have also "re-taught" my key (waited the 30 minutes for the pass-lock system to reset itself) but its such an inconvenience
  • I still do not have mine hooked up. I'm trying to find a way to hook it up without a remote starter. It seems like it should work, but the directions that come with the switch are for hooking it up with a remote start. I'm emailing some places that sell them to see if they have a solution for me.
  • tainataina Posts: 5
    I found an auto shop that will install the bypass without the remote starter--
    this is their website
    They charge $175-$200..

    Also, I would really like to try the wire idea that Meron suggested but I do not know any mechanic that would do it for me (and I am not comfortable trying it myself).

    So until I can get the money for this--I would like to try getting a new key or valet key to see if it would help. Has anyone else tried this approach and found it successful?
  • Tiffany,

    Do you know where your husband got his remote starter?

    Cold and Frustrated Husband
  • I did the white wire cut yesterday, no problems starting so far. I also left it out for 12 hours in the cold to make sure, and it started right up.

    Did notice that the clutch was a little sluggish when I started it, I doubt there's any connection there, beyond the fact that it's starting when it's out in the cold, and I may need some transmission fluid or something like that.

    One thing that I did notice is that I'm getting the Service Vehicle error, everytime I start the car. Is there a way to have that code cleared, or would doing so cause problems with getting it started.

    I will be posting up a blog post with picture on how to do this modification, anyone should be able to do it. I only had to buy a shopguide to confirm that I was cutting the right wire.
  • 96WS696WS6 Posts: 2
    I found this forum after replacing the starter, battery, and ignition switch on my 04 Ion (5spd manual). I cut the white wire today, and so far so good. I will definitely post again if the car redevelops the starting problem.
    As far as the vehicle error message, I have been just pushing the trip odometer reset button to get rid of it. I don't know how to prevent it altogether.
    My idea to get rid of the padlock light on the dash is to pull the bulb.
    Good luck to everyone.
  • Exactly which white wire did you cut was it coming directly from the bcm. my bcm is the one under the dash a little to the left of the steering column.
  • meronmeron Posts: 21

    The white wire is located at the end of the ignition switch, opposite from where the key is inserted. Check posts around #84 for more in depth instructions. This was for a 03/04 Ion; some models may be different, but most here have cut the white wire as per the diagrams, as bertbaggins used. It has worked for me for over a year now, and again as the weather has gotten colder, this forum has gotten very busy!

    The white wire was wrapped in black electrical tape on our car; it is a very small wire, and needs to be cut while the car is running. See my previous posts to bertbaggins, and others around 84.

    good luck!

  • tainataina Posts: 5

    Does the location of the wire depend on if the car is automatic vs. manual? Also, I have a viper car alarm-(not factory) on my car (Saturn Ion 03)--it wont be affected if I cut the wire while my car is running right?

  • For anyone who is unclear on where the wire is and needs clarification, you can go to my flickr feed and see the wire that needs to be cut. In the pictures, it is the wire that has the orange wire molds on them.

    These photos are going to be use if/when I get around to writing out a blog post describing how it's done. Been making sure all is well with my car before I do it. Over a week into the mod and I haven't had an issue with starting the car yet!
  • meronmeron Posts: 21
    I doubt if manual or automatic has anything to do with the issue; ours is a manual. I really would hate to say anything about the viper alarm; I have no experience with those. I would say that once the wire were cut you could revert back but rejoining them with one of the wire nuts or crimp them together. bertbaggins has some good photos on flicker; it shows the plastic cover removed and the white wire cut and wire nuts attached. He has had no issues for a week; ours has been over a year.

    The "padlock" light on the dash stays lit, tho. You can put a switch in and flip it back when the weather warms up.

    Good luck!

  • I have an 04 saturn ion that is doing all of what u people are saying!!!! oh luck me! NOW WHAT DO I DO! my wife is due with our second child in january and she works 3rd shift and this is her car! and I need it to start If her water breaks! u know! I am from the madison wi area and could use the help!
    my email is
    thank you
  • I have just got done replacing the ignition switch!!!! it is -10 degrees out side got to love wisconsin!!

    I talk to a saturn tech. today and told him @ what was going on with my 04 ion! and he said that he would change the ignition switch. he said that he does at least one a week and more than that some times when it gets cold out!

    Im having trouble re teaching the ignition! i have seen that in other posting that u guys have to turn it to start then to the on, but what is the start position? when the key rotates to engage the starter or the acc. part on the switch! my ignition has the off-on- the acc. and the rotary part!
    Could some one please help me! thank u Tim

    :confuse: :confuse: :confuse: :confuse:
  • 96WS696WS6 Posts: 2
    When teaching the ignition, all you need to do is attempt to start the car by turning the key as in a normal start. Let go of the key when it does not start. It is spring loaded to the postion you need to leave it in for the 10 minute cycles. It takes exactly 10 minutes for the padlock light on the dash to go out. When that light goes out. Turn the key to off for 5 seconds. Then go through another 10 minute cycle. Perform 3 of these cycles. Mine started on the 4th attempt to start the car.
  • should have saved your money. The ignition switch replacement, does not fix the problem. read previous posts. start at #82.
  • Why is that some people change the ignition switch and u never hear if it really worked just wondering? I did replace mine today and yesterday and so far so good!
    I really hope that it works! I was told that most Gm cars with the pass lock system have to be re taught very often! so looks like i will be cutting a wire soon and installing a toggle switch!

    Who is right
  • Hey everybody!

    I just got done reading every post in this thread. image

    Over the summer I purchased a slightly used 2006 Ion from a Saturn Dealership here in New England and now that winter is here I'm having problems with the PassLock.

    I'm pretty pissed off that this is all happening but I've got to get it fixed one way or the other because I can't keep getting stranded for 10 minutes every time it's cold outside. image

    After stopping in at three service stations today, I found one that understands the problem and will install a bypass.

    I found a guy that sells them on Ebay for $39.00 + s&h.

    If I buy the By-Pass, the service station will install it. They said it will probably take an hour or so to do the job.

    Once I receive the by-pass in the mail, I'm gonna look over the directions. I all ready took the cover off of my steering column and I can see the wires everyone is talking about and I can see the ignition switch. If the directions seem simple and straight forward I'll try it myself.

    I will let everybody know how I make out.

    I'm also going to call the numbers to Saturn that were posted earlier.
    1-866-790-5700 & 1-888-327-4236

    Other than this huge problem, I like my ION. image

  • Hey Bert, how'd you make out with your bypass switch?

    I'm thinking of going with this company:
  • I'm having a hard time figuring out how to intall the switch. It all is pretty straight forward, however the directions given with the kit of for hooking it up with a remote start. the ignition wire is supposed to hook up somewhere, and I also can't figure out what to do with the pink wire on the bypass kit, because there is no pink wire to splice it to on the saturn. the diagram I'm talking about is posted earlier by Meron post 85 or a little after that. does anyone else know what to do?
  • Hey Bert:

    I just wrote to link title about any installation issues. Hopefully this guy "Carlos" will get back to me.

    I have no intention of hooking up a remote starter either. My mechanic suggested a remote car starter store might also be able to install the bypass as well.

    A large corporation might not do it because of legalities but a small mom & pop car stereo / remote starter shop might do it.

    It's too bad we can't just go to the Saturn dealerships to install the bypass!! :mad:
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