Documenting my attempt to use a fix I found on the internet to resolve an issue that plagues 2003-2004 Saturn Ions. The models in this year can have difficulty starting in cold weather. At first it was pretty sporadic for me but this year it was almost constant.
In the video I replace the ignition switch which actually ended up resolving my problem. I guess there is a lubricant in this switch that SHOULDN'T harden in cold weather but the ones that shipped in the cars of these years do. Total cost $29.99 and about 30 minutes of time.
The specific symptoms you will see with this issue are (usually in cold weather) you will try to start the car and it might crank a couple times but then die. When you try to start it again you will hear a short fire but then it stops. This is because the security system has kicked in and shut off fuel to the vehicle for 10 minutes. After you wait 10 minutes you can try to start it again. This cycle can happen multiple times (at its worst I would have to go almost an hour of doing this).
Once you replace the part you may have to reset the security (passlock). This is done by turning the key to start (but it won't) and then leaving it in the run position until the lock light in the dash quits blinking (about 10 minutes). You then do this again (again waiting 10 minutes) and finally a THIRD time (waiting another 10 minutes). After the third attempt you turn the key to OFF and wait 30 seconds (this waiting is important I am told!). It should then fire up.
Be sure to watch this on the Web if you can as I have a lot of in-video comments to help!
Cutting White Wire on Saturn Ion to Fix Starting Issue
UPDATE 3/21/2014: My car is still working fine. I still have not had a
problem with it starting since I posted this video 5 years ago. Still on
the same battery. Thanks for all the comments!
This is me showing how I cut the passlock wire on my car. My car would not
start on damp, cold mornings, often taking 30 - 40 minutes to get it to
start. After reading several forums I found users who were doing this to
"fix" the problem. I thought I would tape this for anyone who was thinking
of doing the same but doesn't know anything about cars. Like me. :)
Note: I owe thanks to meron for the post at this link
http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.f1137a7/83 it is where I
first heard about this solution.
Update 10.6.2012: I added a switch, I believe it was this one
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062533 I installed
it with it in the off position, started the car, switched it to On while
the car was running and the service engine light went away. Car started
fine after that. I just shut it off again as it was cold one morning this
week and I had trouble getting the car started. Once I got it running,
turned it off and haven't had trouble starting it since. YMMV
Getting Cars Ready For Winter Weather
Scotty Kilmer, mechanic for the last 46 years, shows how to prepare your
car for cold weather driving. A few simple checks will ensure you won't get
stranded in the cold. and, If you like my car help, be sure to watch my
live car talk show every Saturday morning at 10 AM CST on YouTube. I answer
your car questions LIVE there. Just check it out at
eature=c4-overview . And remember, every TUESDAY I upload a new video, so
don’t miss them.
How To Properly Start Your Car in Cold Weather
Just thought I'd let you know how to properly start your car in cold
weather, because I hear a lot about people ruining their cars by letting
them sit and run for a long time it goes this way for any day, not just
necessarily a cold day like today. Hope I've helped you!
Cold Start the 1972 Plymouth Fury! Brrrr...
Hi! Its cold and there's a lot of snow on the ol' 72 Fury. Lets see if it
will go. I bought this car about 5 years ago, and I've been using it as a
daily driver since then. It shows about 75000 miles, so it should last me a
while yet. I like these fuselage models, especially the 72 Fury. Its a mean
looking old thing! I actually hit a moose with this car last week, and it
didn't leave a mark on the car! No wonder the cops liked these things,
they're incredibly tough, even if they are a bit hard to look at. Thanks
for checking it out!
Saturn Ion key ignition wont return to OFF, ( solved )
Saturn Ion key ignition stuck, wont return to OFF, wont come out ( manual
How to quickly get it out. ( manual overide ). Watch full 2 part videos get
to the cause and permanent fix.
Same for Chevrolet Cobalt, Cobalt SS, Pontiac G5, Pursuit, HHR.
http://youtu.be/c0gxvEmhU8U is a short video to see Inside.
L.A. Street Racing - 1000hp + Nitrous C10 vs 700hp Mustang
We spent a week in L.A. checking out the street racing scene, here's the
craziest, and most unpredictable race that we filmed.... Some serious power
in the red pickup! Keep an eye on our channel for more from this trip,
L.A. has got some badass cars that play on the street!
Thank you to Izzy Performance for hosting us on the trip!
Removing/Cleaning the ignition coils/module on a Saturn S-series.
Shows you how to remove and clean your ignition module/coils on the above
mentioned vehicle. Especially helpful if you're getting missfire codes
(P0300-P0304) or camshaft codes (P0340/P0340).
http://www.facebook.com/groups/685328134817849/ -- Saturn S-series on
2004 Saturn ION Starting Problems
This problem occurs once in awhile and is more common in cold weather,
where the car does not want to start or even try to turn over at all. If
you wait about 20 minuets without trying to start the engine and try again
later it sometimes works, what could be the cause of this problem?
2004 Saturn Ion 2.2 Misfire Case Study (P0300)
To learn more about Engine Performance Diagnostics, go to
This video covers primary ignition operation and coil current ramping on a
waste spark ignition system. The engine that is in this Saturn Ion is a
Chevy 2.2L Ecotec and is the same engine used in the Chevy Cavalier.
Some other highlights of this video:
How to use misfire counters on scan data.
Transistor operation and testing.
Ignition coil current ramp analysis.
How to check resistance of an ignition coil on an Ecotec engine.
How to check an ignition module with a test light.