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Old 10-27-2017, 07:34 PM   #1
jmd4j
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Default 2003 Ion Starting Issue

Hey all...long time lurker first time poster. After scouring all the threads on the PassLock starting issues...I have one more to bring to the table that I could not linpoint an answer to in precious threads. My 2003 Ion has the intermittent starting troubles...but never have I ever had to sit there for at least 10 minutes for it to finally turn over amd start. Every passlock issue I've read locks it up for 10 minutes however mine...sometime it may be 10 seconds, 1 min, 2 min... and just all random times. I have the PassLock illuminate on the instrument panel, but if its actually the PassLock, wouldn't I have to wait to full 10 min? This has me puzzled. I replaced the battery not long ago since I assumed it was time anyway as it had been in there for almost 7 years. It seemed to crank flawlessly for a few times after I installed the battery which I'm sure was a coincidence...but thought I may have repositioned a faulty battery cable but then it went back to the no starting after a few days. Any ideas? My next task is to jump the relay on the starter to verify its not that.

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Old 10-27-2017, 09:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2003 Ion Starting Issue

I should also add that this car has 260k miles on it and has ran like a top for all of its life so far. I have owned it since 140k and have only put a battery and alternator in it..other than the normal wear and tear items such as tires/brakes.

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Old 10-28-2017, 10:50 AM   #3
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2003 Ion Starting Issue

If the security light turns off during starting and you don't hear the starter, it's probably a worn out starter if its original to the car. Nothing lasts forever. A simple way to check when a starter is worn out - bang the starter a few times with a piece of 2x 4 lumber and try starting. Another way is to measure for voltage on the small gauge wire on the starter solenoid when someone turns the key to START. 12 volts should be on this wire as long as the ignition switch is held in START position. Beware of the starter suddenly running and turn over the engine - to stop the engine from running, remove the fuel pump fuse. This voltage check is to confirm at least one thing, the starting circuit. Virtually all starting circuits are trouble free but starters fail from normal wear and tear. Seeing 12v on the small wire during START and no starter operation points to a worn out starter. Even if the starter runs but is intermittent, the starter is probably worn out.

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Old 11-27-2017, 09:13 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2003 Ion Starting Issue

I went ahead and started replacing things from cheap to most expensive, so I started with the ignition switch ($21). I replaced it and reset the PassLock and for 3 days...so far so good so we'll see. I was simply going to cut the white wire like others but it seemed like an easy fix to just replace it. What made me lean toward that was reading others reports on it not starting when it was cold outside, or at least it being more difficult to start when it cold because of the faulty switch. This morning it was 25 degrees and frosted over, and it started exactly like it should. I will report back if this doesn't remedy the problem but so far so good.

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Old 12-04-2017, 07:55 AM   #5
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Default Re: 2003 Ion Starting Issue

I am here to report back that this did not solve my issue. I thought it did because for the first two days after I replaced the ignition switch, it started as it should on each attempt to crank. It's now back to the drawing boards.

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Old 12-04-2017, 02:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2003 Ion Starting Issue

Are you comfortable under the car to wire a jumper on the starter? A temporary jumper clipped to the small terminal on the starter, some labeled as 'S'. A small gauge purple wire is on this terminal. Run a length long enough to reach the top red post that's used as a REMOTE START terminal (this is where a jumper cable, red, is connected on the battery cable for jump starting). Once attached to the starter 'S' terminal and standing over the fuse box with the red remote start terminal, touch the other end of this jumper wire to the remote start terminal. The terminal is the hot battery connection between the battery in the trunk and starter/fuse panel. You're supplying 12v to the starter solenoid to power the starter. If all you hear is the same click or no sounds, replace the starter.

This jumper wire can be whatever gauge is laying around, anywhere from 18-10 gauge. You're supplying power to the starter solenoid, not the starter motor to test the starter. Be sure xmission is in Park with parking brakes applied.

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Old 12-17-2017, 07:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2003 Ion Starting Issue

Thank you for the recommendation. I was finally able to hook up a jumper today and test. I actually rigged up a push button switch to the inside so I could immediately try it when it acted up. Well after getting it wired up, I turned the car on with the normal switch and nothing. I immediately hit the button I had rigged up and also nothing. I could hear contact inside of my push button so I knew it was making contact when I pushed it. I also switched back and forth between the ignition switch and my button. Finally after about 5 minutes the car turned over with the ignition switch. I didn't let it start so I then hit my push button switch and bam, it started turning over too, just as it would when I used the ignition. Long story short...looks like I'm in the market for a new starter.

On a side note...before attempting this, I thought it could've been something to do with the relay. I reached down under and knocked on the fuse panel/relays and it turned over one day. I think this was probably just a coicidence looking back so not sure if there was any merit to it.

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