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Old 03-26-2020, 11:41 AM   #1
Sven3B
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Default Light issues, probably electrical

I have an electrical issue with my 2004 Saturn Ion, and with everything shut down, I figured I’d try to fix it myself, if possible.

It started out with what appeared to be my front, left (driver-side) turn signal going out. Easy – I replaced the bulb. But that didn’t work. I checked the connector at the light and it seemed fine. So I just hand-signaled for a while.

Then, after a little while, the dashboard’s left turn-signal indicator started lighting up whenever I pressed the brake.

So I decided to do a full check of the lights, and they are all sorts of messed up (see below).

I’m guessing there is an electrical problem somewhere, with a switch or a relay or a wire. I check the fuses, and they all appeared good.

I understand I will probably have to check throughout the car to find the problem, but I was hoping I might get some guess on where to start based on the symptoms, which I will list below. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I do have a Haynes Repair Manual with the wiring diagrams, so I should be able to follow along with that.

Run-down of which bulbs function, when. (Apologies in advance, I don’t know for certain what each bulb is called and couldn’t find a clear explanation anywhere – so some of my terminology may be inaccurate). Also, it’s possible I wrote some of this down wrong.

Left (driver) Front
-Inner bulb (main headlamp)
--Works under all circumstances (other than headlights turned off)
--Outer bulb (turn signal - and parking light, I think)
--Works when headlights are on alone
--Turn signal – does not flash
--Hazards – does not flash
Right (passenger) Front
-Everything works fine
Left (driver) Rear
-Top bulb
--Lights when headlights are on
--Does not get brighter when brake applies (not sure it is supposed to, though)
--Turn signal – flashes fast
--Hazards – works
-Middle bulb
--Lights when headlights are on
--Gets brighter when brakes applied – if headlights are off, see note*
-Bottom bulb (back-up light, I think)
--Doesn’t work (might just be burned out coincidently, I haven’t tried changing it)
-*All – when headlights are on, all left rear lights go out when brake applied
Right (passenger) Rear
-Top bulb
--Lights when headlights are on
--Does not get brighter when brakes applied
--Turn signal – works normally
--Hazards – works normally
-Middle bulb
--Lights when headlights are on
--Gets brighter when brakes applied
-Bottom
--Lights up when in Reverse
Thanks again in advance for any help!
Kevin

PS – If you think I’m going to need any electrical tool other than a multimeter, let me know.

Last edited by Sven3B; 03-26-2020 at 11:47 AM.. Reason: added note on wiring diagram

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Old 03-26-2020, 10:15 PM   #2
ruley73
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2007 ION-2 Quad Coupe
Default Re: Light issues, probably electrical

Check the front DRL/turn signal bulb socket. It's probably burned/melted and not making a good connection with the bulb. The socket (Saturn p/n 22691095) may need to be replaced if you are unable to clean it up.

Also, check all the bulbs in the left rear tail lamp assembly. Make sure they are all 3057 bulbs. Inspect all the filaments to confirm none are blown.

I think you may have two separate problems. A bad front left DRL/turn signal socket and a blown bulb in the left taillight in which the blown/separated filament is touching the filament for the other circuit in the bulb. The latter would explain how power is being fed to the turn signal when you hit the brakes.

It's also possible the turn signal switch is bad, but they don't commonly fail in the Ions.

...
2007 Ion 2 Quad Coupe 5-speed manual 183K miles
2007 Chevy Equinox LT 195K miles
2018 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L 48K miles

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Old 03-27-2020, 12:25 PM   #3
Sven3B
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Default Re: Light issues, probably electrical

Thanks! I checked the socket when the replacement bulb didn't work, but I can take a closer look.

It hadn't occurred to me that the taillight problem could be as simple as one filament touching another, but that makes a lot of sense.

Forgive my limited auto/electrical literacy, but in the unlikely event it does turn out to be the turn signal switch that needs to be replaced - are you referring to the full lever piece by which I physically engage the turn signals, or an electrical component I could get at separately?

Thanks again!

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