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
Saturn Ion key ignition stuck wont come out (solved) manual overide & troubleshoot
Deactivate Adblock to allow on screen instructions. I added a part 2 ( a
better view how to fix it ) click on the following link
The problem was on a 2005 saturn ion with automatic transmission. The key
refuse to return to OFF position and to come out of ignition slot .
Ignition only accept ACC ON START. Watch How to MANUALLY OVERIDE IGNITION
SWITCH SOLENOID and troubleshooting, in my case ,lead to the automatic
transmission SHIFTER PARK MICROSWITCH, it fails frequently. As I got
closer to the microswitch, daylight was running away , my cam focus was
acting out the shifter is totally black making it hard to shoot I had to
speed up and get it done. WATCH CLOSELY HOW I SLIGHTLY BEND THE MICROSWITCH
LEVER TO GIVE IT MORE STRENGHT, i used a needle nose plier . The
microswitch is held in place by a removable plastic clip ( it's got a green
line painted onto it as you can see on the still image just prior to click
on the play icon ) I removed with a small flat tip screwdriver pushing from
the Inside out , no need to unclip top shifter panel. So after all this, I
went for a test ride, the problem disappeared, yes! it works, so far so
good. ( in my case the problem was the microswitch & its lever Inside the
consol shifter assembly ). http://youtu.be/gSXk5LQDflo
262 Cummins Pull Start on a Cold Day
Gettin the Hayes Clipper fired up to take it to its winter parking spot.
The truck pulling is a 2000 Kenworth C-500 winch tractor C-15 Caterpiller
18spd. The Hayes is a 220 Cummins 5+4.
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!
2007 Saturn ION Starting Problems
Since we drove the car off the lot it would periodically not start on
demand only to start some time later (usually 15 minutes or so). Because
this problem cannot be replicated on demand we have filmed an instance when
the car would not start.
Getting Cars Ready For Winter Weather
Scotty Kilmer, mechanic for the last 45 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.
Saturn Ion ignition switch replace part 5
I have 6 videos
Part - 1 - removing the steering column bezel
Part - 2 - Replacing the ignition switch and putting the steering column
bezel back on
Part - 3 - First step of the Pass Lock reset
Part - 4 - second step of the Pass Lock reset
Part - 5 - third step of the Pass Lock reset
Part - 6 - Success.
What to Do When Your Car Won't Start: Car Expert Lauren Fix
Courtesy of Time Warner Cable/ YNN
We're all in a rush these days, but what should you do when your vehicle
won't start? This frustrating experience can put a wrench in your day.
What To Do If Your Car Won't Start
Over the years, cars have become much more reliable. But with so many
moving parts, even the most well maintained vehicles are occasionally
temperamental. Assuming you're not a mechanic, let's take a look at the
most common situations and how to deal with them.
• You Turn The Key - Nothing Happens
Listen to your car. Even though it has betrayed you by not starting, it's
still considerate enough to give you hints as to why. If you turn the key
and the engine doesn't crank at all, things may not be all that bad
(believe it or not). The problem most likely lies with the battery,
especially in cold weather.
When your car responds with silence or clicking:
• Turn on the car lights. If they're dim, you may have poor battery
connections or a dead battery. Did you leave your headlights on last night
or leave an interior light on? It happens to the best of us.
• Tighten and clean the battery connections and try again. They could
just be corroded or loose. This can be done with baking soda, water and an
• Jump start the car.
If this works, immediately have your battery tested, especially if it's
old. An auto parts store will often test your battery for free and can
replace it if you need a new one.
Things could still be worse; you may have a bad starter or alternator.
Unfortunately at this point, you'll need a tow truck and a mechanic.
• If the Car Cranks But Doesn't Start. Now What?
If the starter turns, but the engine won't start, the problem can be much
harder to diagnose. In the winter, one common problem is a frozen fuel
line, so be sure to always keep your fuel tank half full. If water
accumulates in your fuel line, the condensation will freeze and your car
won't start. If you've been driving in wet conditions or deep snow, wet
spark plugs or other engine components can prevent your car from starting.
If you still have no luck, you'll probably want to turn the problem over to
your trusty mechanic. Bottom line: If your auto won't start, the problem is
either spark or gas.
Preventative maintenance and preparation can be the difference between a
car that starts versus one that becomes the world's biggest paperweight.
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.