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
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
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!
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.
Erratic Fuel Gauge - 2002 Ford Taurus
Documenting a fix for an issue I ran into with a 2002 Ford Taurus. We
bought the car from my Sister in Law and apparently the safety standards in
Wyoming are not as high as they are in Utah because the inspector would not
pass the car due to the fuel gauge being erratic. As you would drive
around it would bounce from full, to empty, to half full, etc.
We got quotes all over the map so I went to my friend google and found out
it could be the flex fuel sensor module and felt good enough about it that
we bought the part and replaced it. Luckily enough it worked and the fuel
gauge now reads accurately.
You will know you have a flex fuel Ford Taurus if the 8th character in the
VIN is a 2 and not a U.
Saturn Ion ignition switch replace part 2
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.
GM Pass Key Systems Hands-On Tip Clip
In this video, Bill Fulton presents several hands on test you can quickly
and easily perform when diagnosing GM Pass Key antitheft issues and
problems. Watch this video and learn to use your multimeter to check and
diagnose the various components of the antitheft system.
What to do if your car won't start.
Emmy Award Winning mechanic Scotty Kilmer shows what to do if your car
won't start (besides kicking it.) For answers to all your car questions,
visit Scottykilmer.com where Scotty answers everyone's questions free.
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.
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.