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Old 11-25-2009, 03:57 PM   #1
BRIAN41920
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Default Passlock / Ignition Problems

I have a 2001 SC1, recently I started having trouble starting it. It would crank over just fine, but wouldn't fire up easily like it had before. It was almost like it wasn't getting enough fuel. When it would finally start the idle would be weak and I would have to rev it up to keep it going. Once I got the car moving it was fine and idled fine at stop lights, etc. As soon as I would turn it off for about 20 - 30 minutes it would do the same thing. So my first thought was the fuel filter is plugged or even the fuel pump is about to quit. So I had my cousin who is a mechanic come over with a fuel pressure gauge and everything was normal, so not the pump or filter. So I got on here and checked and I am now thinking that it is the passlock system about to go bad. I bought the car used and the keys are a little worn and I can pull the key out of the ignition while it is running. I know the main fix for this is to get a new ignition switch, so my question is should I get the ignition cylinder too and have it coded for my keys? Could that be the problem that the cylinder is worn out causing the passlock to kick in? What about relearning the passlock, can it be done at home in the garage or do you have to have a reader/scanner?

Thanks

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Old 11-25-2009, 04:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: Passlock / Ignition Problems

1-Is the security indicator ON? Flashing? No(?), its not Passlock. You'd know it as the annoying yellow indicator flashing at you and since you didn't mention it the chance of it being on is remote. Ignition ON will turn on all the lamps for the bulb test; you should see the security light on then go off with most of the other lights.

2-Some '01's came with the faulty plastic engine coolant temperature sensor (ECTS); the shoulder is squared just before the hex portion and the replacement brass one has a rounded shoulder. Search the How-to library for pictures. Replace the coolant sensor if its the old style one asap, from any auto store. The older ones usually causes rich running mixtures.

3-When were the spark plugs were replaced last?

4-It been recommended here to have a new key made from Saturn against the car's VIN. This ensures against key copying machines copying a worn out one, duplicating the problem while a fresh key is a fresh key. A worn out lock cylinder has nothing to do with the Passlock system as they are wholly separate systems; the lock cylinder is mechanical while Passlock uses the rotating motion of the cylinder to move sensor mechanisms simultaneously for electronic detection/synchronization for the anti-theft system.

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Old 11-25-2009, 05:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Passlock / Ignition Problems

No security light. I changed the plugs about 2 months ago. It may just be an ignition switch because sometimes it will crank and crank and crank and not fire, then you turn the ignition off for about 5 to 10 seconds and then it will fire up, but again idle weakly. I will look at the how to section for the temp sensor.

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Old 11-25-2009, 05:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Passlock / Ignition Problems

I read Wolfman's post on how to change the ECTS, he says:

"The ECTS is a two wire sensor used by the PCM to measure engine temperature and set engine/transaxle operating parameters accordingly. On 91'-95' SOHC and DOHC engine equiped "S" series Saturns, there is a SEPERATE sensor used for the gauge. On these cars, the ECTS is the TWO WIRE sensor located just below where the upper radiator hose attaches to the engine. (The other ONE WIRE sensor nearby is used for the gauge) On 96'-02' SOHC and DOHC engine equiped "S" series Saturns, the ECTS is in the same location, but also operates the temperature gauge. (The other one wire sensor is deleted)"

On cold mornings I have put the car in gear, backed up and when I put it into drive it would not move, almost like there was no fluid moving in the tranny. It's not a big deal, I put it back into park and wait a few seconds and put it into drive and it goes. Could the ECTS be a part of this problem? I have no tranny problems, it runs and shifts like a dream, no whining or any noise from tranny, and I have the proper fluid level.

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Old 11-25-2009, 07:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: Passlock / Ignition Problems

With the Passlock issue out of the way there will be a sequence of troubleshooting procedures to isolate where a starting problem lies and the ignition switch isn't part of troubleshooting. If the switch allows the ignition system to turn ON and then allow the starter to engage and tutn the engine each and every time, there's nothing wrong with the ignition switch, period. The problem lies beyond the ignition switch - the rest of the EFI system.

The very first part to consider is the ects for model years through 2001. It has the most effect on the overall operation of the engine and does influence how the transmission shifts. If the engine doesn't run just right, how can the transmission shift properly? The ects is one of the most important sensors since it constantly tells the pcm what the engine temperature is; many past posts have all reported poor engine and transmission faults - all traced to this simple coolant sensor costing less than $15. The pcm determines what fuel/air mixture is used based largely on coolant temps along with various sensors. If this coolant sensor sends incorrect signals (usually acting as if the engine was always cold) the pcm continues to run a richer fuel mixture rather than gradually lean fuel mixtures as engine temps rise. Incorrectly detecting coolant temps by a faulty ects then fools the pcm to shift at the wrong time. Most replacements automatically corrects many issues except for other sensor failures that mimic a faulty coolant sensor. The trick is to isolate each sensor based on how it works and the descriptions you post each time something is replaced or tested for. The next logical step after verifying a valid coolant sensor is operating would be (in my opinion) determining the low rpm at start-up when most starts are high idles unless the engine were already warmed up. The coolant sensor helps determine what rpm is needed; cold start/high engine idle and warm running idle (800-900rpm).

Cold starting should result in 1200 rpm, gradually lowering in a few minutes to 800-900 rpm. The idle air control valve (IACV) also plays a role to help adjust this idling speed.

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Old 11-25-2009, 08:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Passlock / Ignition Problems

I will try and replace the ETCS, what the heck for $20 bucks I will give it a try, if that doesn't get it fixed, then it will have to go in the shop..... thank you for the help....... I will keep everyone posted.

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Old 08-02-2012, 09:41 AM   #7
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Default Re: Passlock / Ignition Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
1-Is the security indicator ON? Flashing? No(?), its not Passlock. You'd know it as the annoying yellow indicator flashing at you and since you didn't mention it the chance of it being on is remote. Ignition ON will turn on all the lamps for the bulb test; you should see the security light on then go off with most of the other lights.

2-Some '01's came with the faulty plastic engine coolant temperature sensor (ECTS); the shoulder is squared just before the hex portion and the replacement brass one has a rounded shoulder. Search the How-to library for pictures. Replace the coolant sensor if its the old style one asap, from any auto store. The older ones usually causes rich running mixtures.

3-When were the spark plugs were replaced last?

4-It been recommended here to have a new key made from Saturn against the car's VIN. This ensures against key copying machines copying a worn out one, duplicating the problem while a fresh key is a fresh key. A worn out lock cylinder has nothing to do with the Passlock system as they are wholly separate systems; the lock cylinder is mechanical while Passlock uses the rotating motion of the cylinder to move sensor mechanisms simultaneously for electronic detection/synchronization for the anti-theft system.
my 2002 saturns sl200 started for about 2 seconds and died and now it wont start? the key is super worn down, in fact for the last 6 months ive been having to jiggle the key and yank on the steering wheel in order for it to turn and start, but now when i get the key turn turn it wont start,, it will just crank and crank and never turn over, headlights work and the instrument panel lights up, the car also wont shift out of park? could this be a passlock problem?

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Old 08-02-2012, 10:25 AM   #8
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Default Re: Passlock / Ignition Problems

Passlock is GM's theft deterrent system and indicates when its ON/flashing/OFF for status. If OFF during start then its not Passlock related (the security indicator is a LED). Post what you see when starting.

A worn key interferes with the lock cylinder, a mechanical issue. Replace the worn key from GM using the VIN. Its not advisable to make a copy of a copy from the hardware store.

With security OFF while starting, there are two issues to deal with; crank position sensor and ignition control module (for spark). First check for fuel and pressure at the fuel rail's test valve; with ignition ON the fuel pump runs (with a faint hum/hiss) for 2-seconds, remove the schrader valve cap and depress the valve stem (cover with a rag) expecting a spray. If you can test for spark, remove the plugs and reassemble them with the ignition coil pack/icm and ground the plug bases to the engine block. Have someone crank the engine while you observe for spark. No spark usually points to the cps while the ignition control module (sitting in the coil pack, aluminum finned box) is a close second. The cps can be tested for resistance (700-1200 ohms) before replacing it. To be sure its a faulty cps, measure it again while immersed in boiling water and after rapping it on the table a few times as this duplicates the engine environment. Any open reading means failure. The cps is next to the starter.

The icm is the second most failure prone part of the ignition system after the cps.

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