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Saturn Ion Starting Problems



  • New on forum but lurking in the shadows for couple years. 05 saturn ion no start, stalls at any speed, stalls won't restart,I get a p0601[pcm check sum error]. New battery year ago,cut white wire 3months ago,new ignition swich last week and would not let me reprogram[started right up]. Stalled in driveway day after switch install, decided to hook white wire back up,still would not stop the stalling no start problem.Talked to Saturn dealer who blew the usual dealer smoke up my@$$ an was not helpful at all.This vehicle has 48k an this is the only problem I have had with this car.I have NEVER had a vehicle electrical problem fixed at any dealer shop EVER that solved the issue and am reluctant to start throwing money at a dealership just to change parts to find out they guessed wrong! My question for you saturn ion guru's is the following: can I put a used pcm in this car without a dealer reprogram and is their a way to disconnect the passlock crap? No fun owning a vehicle you can't depend on to start and not stall. thank you Steve
  • asolisiiiasolisiii Posts: 1
    I was recently having the same problem. This is how I was able to start my car: turn the key, but not all the way to where the car will start only to where the anti thieft light comes on, wait till it goes off then turn the key all the way to start the car. I have not had anymore problems with this anymore.
  • bangelbangel Posts: 8
    Pull the air bag fuse....Remember to start your car before cutting the white wire. It has to be running or it won't work. The steps are.
    1) disassemble steering column 7 mm socket I think
    2) find the wire in question...Solid white not the one with a stripe on it.
    3) remove the fuse cover to the right of the gas pedal.
    4) find the air bag fuse and pull it
    5) Start your car
    6) cut the white wire
    7) turn it off
    8) put the fuse back in and cover
    9) reassembl the column cover
    10) start your car. The pass lock light will stay on all the time and your display will tell you to service your car every time you start it. Just push the trip milage button and it goes away. It will do it every time you start your car...Small price to pay for a car that will start every time...
  • esprixesprix Posts: 11
    We tried that for a while, but it's not the solution - it won't always work, trust me. We finally cut the white wire, and haven't had a single problem in almost 2 years.
  • stocky09stocky09 Posts: 2
    Last week my son started the car as usual to move it down the driveway for me. When he put the car into park and tried to turn the car off, the key would not turn to the off position. Furthermore, if you turned the key to the start position, there was not a grinding sound as you would usually hear because the car was already running. This is a 2006 Saturn ION and I am very confused about this problem. Up until now the car has been very reliable. I had to finally have a mechanic come to the house and he removed the main fuse to turn the car off. He also disconnected the negative terminal of the battery as to not drain it. The car has set in the driveway since then. Now I can connect the battery and turn the car on and drive it, BUT I will not be able to turn it off once I get to where I am going.

    Does anyone have a clue as to what has happened?
  • mrmoe13mrmoe13 Posts: 4
    Same thing happenend to me. Saturn dinged me for $530.00. This was the last straw, dropped that car like 3rd period french. Check out some other sites on all the problems the 06 Ion has. You'll be on a first name basis at the dealer real soon. They always seem to have the parts in stock for all the strange problems the car has. They won't recall anything, just want your $$$. Dump while you can !
  • So I got my 2007 Ion in May 2007. From day one, it had starter issues ... thing would occasionally NOT TURN OFF. Finally, one night it so refused that we had to call the dealership to come bring us a loaner that would.

    Ignition switch replaced, problem fixed.

    However, now it's developed a disturbing new habit ... it's growing increasingly reluctant to start when "cold" (in quotation marks because I'm in Houston, and the mornings here are about 85). It starts just fine after it's been warmed up - if I run into the pharmacy for a few minutes, it starts great when I come out.

    Appointment made with dealership next week, since it's still under warranty, but any interim tips would be most appreciated.
  • I also cut the white wire about two years ago and have not had one problem staring since. I think it is remarkable that one smart Saturn owner in Kentucky came up with this solution and yet, judging by all the frustrating stories, all of the Saturn/GM engineers could not figure out the correct fix. My thanks again to the individual in Kentucky who figured this out and posted the solution.
  • standfirmstandfirm Posts: 1
    edited August 2010
    Just bought a 2004 saturn ion, may have been wrong decision but it is what it is. Car has new battery, turns over great but wont start. Is this the same nonstart issue that so many have talked about. If it is, any suggestions on how to start the car so I can cut the "white wire"?
  • lnquachlnquach Posts: 3
    With the "white wire" problem, typically the car won't turn over (i.e. doesn't even click) because the system has disabled the ignition.
  • THIS WORKS GREAT BY THE WAY!!!!! NOT ONE PROBLEM AFTER IT WAS CUT!! :) I can't thank you enough!!!
  • My 04 Ion won't turn off. The key is stuck in the "on" position. I have to pull the fuse and disconnect the battery to turn it off. I tried getting the key out by pressing the button on the steering colomn that's supposed to pop the key out but the key won't budge. I called my mechanic to get a "ball park" on what it's going to cost to fix it but he can't because he doesn't know what's causing the problem so he doesn't know what will be involved in fixing it.
    Does anyone know what else it could be and if I can fix it myself? I am desperate since this is our only car. Thanks!
  • I just bought a 2005 Ion. Has any one had trouble passing emission test after cutting the white wire? I live in Ontario Canada and need an E test every 2 years. This car is replacing a 1995 SL1 which has been a tough little beast. thanks Jim
  • i just had an emissions test and the guy didnt even ask why the check engine light was on
  • cath5cath5 Posts: 3
    I have a 2004 ion, which has had the no start problem since about 2006, only in cold weather. Every winter its been getting worse, happening more frequently and taking longer to finally get started. I am going to cut the white wire... but first I just want to check out one thing...

    I seem to have the same symptoms as everyone else, except I don't have to wait 10 minutes for passlock reset. I used to be able to try again 30-60 seconds after the failure, and get another failure, and repeat several times until it eventually it starts... that "repeat several times" took me 45 minutes yesterday (it was -20 celsius). If I were to try again without waiting at all after the failure, then I just get the hum/click noise, but no real attempt to start.

    So will the white wire fix work for me even though I don't need the 10 minute wait for reset?
    Otherwise I'm pretty sure the problem is the passlock based on what everybody has said thanks to everyone for helping people like me figure out what's going on and prove I'm not crazy!!
  • The reason it took you 45 mins to get the car started IS the same problem we are all having. It took 45mins because you didn't give the car enough time to complete the "reset". I was doing the same thing w/my car and every time it took longer to start. My mechanic told me that when the car doesn't start to leave key in the "on" position and wait for the security light to stop blinking, at this point it has been reset. Next, turn car off, wait about 30 seconds and start the car. You should be good to go.
    I have not cut the wire yet. Since I have stopped using the security all together it starts immediately. I took my remote off my keys so I do not use it @ all. I lock the car before I close the door like you had to back in the day and unlock the car w/my key. You may want to see if this works for you if you're unsure about cutting the white wire.
  • justjessica is absolutely correct. However, cutting the white wire eliminates the need to wait at all. I got tired of waiting even 30-60 seconds to try again, so I followed the procedure. No more problems or waiting.
  • cath5cath5 Posts: 3
    Thanks to both of you for the info & helping me clarify the problem. I just cut my wire... now I'm actually looking forward to another -20 day so I can laugh with glee when I just jump in my car and get to work on time!!:)
  • I have a Saturn Ion 2004 2.2 L. will NOT start in cold (below 20 degrees F) and default to SERVICE on the panel. I have been told by a local auto electric shop that the contacts in the harness need to "see" a closed loop mode to start. In very cold weather, the alignment in the harness (Not the key ignition cylinder) is not making contact and prevents the car from starting. First year of winter (2005), I purchased a new battery and still no solution. Still can not find a correction for this problem EXCEPT I place a electric heater on the drivers side floor and after 10 mins or so, the vehicle starts. Any ideas?
  • esprixesprix Posts: 11
    tryco3, cut the white wire - it's worked for everyone else. :)
  • Still can not find a correction for this problem EXCEPT I place a electric heater on the drivers side floor and after 10 mins or so, the vehicle starts. Any ideas?

    It's not the heater that helps, it's the waiting ten minutes. Someone posted a guide on the previous page which explains the problem, yes it even covers the "white wire fix".
  • kl777kl777 Posts: 2
    We are having the same problem....where is this white wire that we need to cut?
  • brava58brava58 Posts: 27
    edited December 2010
    I've used the turn key on, not start, turn off and wait 30 sec. and this seems to be working.
  • The problem with that is the grease clumps at the start position and will still be a problem eventually. You've just been lucky in my opinion. The only fixes are to cut the wire, replace the switch, replace the grease or bypass passlock with an add on.
  • I read about also having to reset the key module after doing this?
    Or is this all that has to be done, just cut the wire, tape it up and be done with it?
  • Just start the car, cut the wire, tape it up and be done with it. Remove the airbag fuse first and then replace it once you're completed the procedure and turned the vehicle off.
  • kl777kl777 Posts: 2
    We opted to change the ignition swith rather than cutting the wire. We followed the instructions (both online and in the "service" manual). Now the car is bucking and the airbag light and oil light come on when it is bucking. Once it is run in high gear a a steading speed the bucking stops. Any ideas?
  • If you only touched the steering column and steering wheel I can't think of any reason or way "bucking" could be caused. Could just be coincidental. Did you touch anything under the hood? Leave a tool on the floor board? Accidentally leave a fuse out? Anything out of the ordinary?
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