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Old 08-10-2020, 06:05 PM   #1
MikeDerucki
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Default Saturn ION Engine Stalls When Put into Drive

Hello,

New user here looking for answers. My father has a 2005 Saturn ION. It has less than 25,000 miles and has been great until now.

When he starts the car and puts it in drive, the engine stalls. Even if he lets it warm up. If he puts it in reverse, the same thing happens. He called a tow truck to bring it to the garage. When the toe truck driver arrived, all of a sudden the problem went away. He still drove it to the garage and they ran a diag. The mechanic couldnít find anything obvious but said there was an error with the transmission. He said he reset the on-board computer and told my father to call him if the problem came back. My father drove the car for a few days without issue and the problem has now resurfaced. The mechanic has no idea what the problem is but he said heís not that familiar with Saturns. He wants to take another look at it.

One of my fatherís neighbours said that he had the exact same problem with his Saturn ION years ago. It canít remember what the cause was. I was wondering if anyone knows what the problem could be or where to look.
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Old 08-10-2020, 08:54 PM   #2
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Default Re: Saturn ION Engine Stalls When Put into Drive

Did this Ion have its ignition switch replaced under the recall campaign? The ignition switch no longer operates on 12v. Ions use low voltage (5v) in the ignition circuit, electronics. When switching to a lower voltage ignition circuit, the ignition switch design changed to reflect this, using wiper arms to make electrical connections. Lubed with dielectric grease, original ignition switches hardened in freezing weather, preventing startup. To much grease was the problem so a recall replaced these switches. If the ignition switch recall was performed, move on to other possibilities.

Most problems with vehicles are a little more difficult to diagnose when the obvious issues like a dead battery, water lump leak, faulty alternator, etc, are eliminated and possible electronic problems pop up. Good mechanics staying abreast of EFI and factory theft deterrent systems may have to spend time with service manuals just to become familiar with idiosyncrasies with each vehicle manufacturer before attempting to diagnose a problem. That would be money billed to the customer or hidden as higher costs when repairs are made to correct the fault.
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Old 08-11-2020, 07:10 AM   #3
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Default Re: Saturn ION Engine Stalls When Put into Drive

I have no idea if the ignition switch was changed. He bought the car used. Is there any way to tell? What relevance would an ignition switch have with the car stalling when put into gear? The car starts like a champ and idles perfectly. Is there a possible connection between the two?
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Old 08-11-2020, 12:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: Saturn ION Engine Stalls When Put into Drive

The ignition switches GM uses, as well as many other manufacturers with featured 'push button' starting, are low voltage (<12v circuits) devices. Unfortunately GM created their own problem with engines shutting off at random, never starting, interfering with factory Passlock theft deterrent systems, etc, due to faulty ignition switches. I don't know if other vehicle manufacturers suffered the same problems. The recall addresses this. Original owners are usually mailed recall notices. If a notice is lost or misplaced, calling GM with VIN info can help determine if the recall was performed. You can search threads within these forums for members having this problem. Searching sites like NTSB for GM vehicle recalls. Perhaps a member here remembers and can post the service bulletin from GM. Try GMs website. Google GM recalls on ignition switches. It is serious enough that either death(s) resulted or crashes occurred when the engine suddenly shuts off on its own at anytime, giving near total lack of confidence in the car for everyday use.

The ignition switch commands power to turn on the EFI system. If it becomes faulty, erratic commands to the EFI system disables it, killing the engine at random. Killing the engine at startup or while driving is not something anyone wants occurring to everyday transportation where we rely on jumping into a car, truck or suv and turn the key to drive off on a whim.

Please do not assume ignition switch issues is your problem. It's only one of several possibilities to consider but at the top of the list as it is a serous issue. There isn't a scantool around to detect this intermittent failure or anyone relying on scantools to diagnose this. Perhaps only the high end scantools can detect this, I don't know. There are many problems where scantools do nothing where experience in electrical/electronic/anti theft systems are all integrated requiring more than casual knowledge of trained repair people are needed to find intermittent problems. Once the ignition switch issue is resolved and determined not to contribute to this problem, more diagnosing follows.

Last edited by fdryer; 08-11-2020 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 08-11-2020, 01:55 PM   #5
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Default Re: Saturn ION Engine Stalls When Put into Drive

OK, thanks. For what it's worth, here's the diag report. Anything in there that looks like it could be the issue?

IMG_0318.jpg
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Old 08-11-2020, 03:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: Saturn ION Engine Stalls When Put into Drive

Google Saturn Ion P0700 for threads about xmission errors if yours is the cvt - continuously variable transmission. Conventional xmissions uses gears. CVTs use a segmented steel belt turning variable sheaves (pulleys) under electronic control for infinite ratios. Early Vues using cvt failed outright with GM recalling, replacing and extending warranty for a poorly made product that was discontinued after two or three years. If your Ion has a cvt, this may either an additional problem or the main problem. An expert in Ions is needed to diagnose this. As I mentioned, once a problem goes beyond everyday issues, expertise is needed.

Your reader is a generic one. The scantools used by dealers and repair shops are expensive and capable of more than just reading error codes. Yours only decodes P-type errors. Better readers and scantools can read C, U, and B codes.
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Old 08-12-2020, 03:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: Saturn ION Engine Stalls When Put into Drive

The mechanic has run some other tests and is now telling us that it is the torque converter pressure solenoid. Does this make sense? This mechanic isn't trying to pressure us because he doesn't work on transmissions.
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Old 08-12-2020, 05:22 PM   #8
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Default Re: Saturn ION Engine Stalls When Put into Drive

I am far from being expert on Ions and cannot judge a repair shop's assessment. Remember, you're asking for help on public forums, vehicle sight unseen. Repair shops and dealers have a vehicle to make better assessments. There's always the possibility of incorrect assessments whether here or repair shop.

As a general rule, automatic xmissions in Park or Neutral, do not affect engine running. When D or R is selected, the torque converter is the liquid clutch to allow engine idle while stopped then allow forward or reverse motion when engine rpm is increased above idle.

Is your Ion xmission a cvt or not? If this Ion uses a cvt and is the cause of intermittent engine stalling, this may be an expensive repair outweighing the value of the car.
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Old 08-15-2020, 10:15 AM   #9
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Default Re: Saturn ION Engine Stalls When Put into Drive

I don't believe the 05 models had the cvt transaxle, I think just 03-04 quad coupes had them. So if you have a four door sedan it's the 4T40 4-speed transaxle. One of the codes is stating there is codes in the Transmission computer, you are going to have to get the actual codes read by a good code scanner. One that is capable of reading those codes, otherwise we are stabbing in the dark. It's possible by the sound of it that maybe the torque converter is locking up when it should not.
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Old 08-16-2020, 03:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Saturn ION Engine Stalls When Put into Drive

The codes I was give are:

P0973
P0976
P2764

Shift solenoid circuit A low
Shift solenoid circuit B low

The mechanic who ran these diags says that itís the torque converter pressure solenoid. I spoke to some transmission shops around town and they seem to think that this could very well be the issue.

They also say that pulling out the tranny, repairing it and reinstalling is a 7 to 10 hour job plus the parts and oil ($150-$350). Apparently itís quite a job to get at the tranny on this model.
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Old 08-16-2020, 05:10 PM   #11
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Default Re: Saturn ION Engine Stalls When Put into Drive

Here's a past thread about the same error codes; http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=237566. One blown fuse.
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Old 08-22-2020, 01:01 PM   #12
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Default Re: Saturn ION Engine Stalls When Put into Drive

Well the mystery is solved. It was the solenoid. 8 hours of labor and a $50 part.
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Old 08-22-2020, 01:16 PM   #13
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Default Re: Saturn ION Engine Stalls When Put into Drive

Which solenoid? What was total cost?
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Old 09-09-2020, 07:53 AM   #14
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Default Re: Saturn ION Engine Stalls When Put into Drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Which solenoid? What was total cost?
All I was told was that the solenoid needed to be changed. I was not aware there were more than one. It must have been the one in the transmission because it took 8 hours of labor to pull it out and put it all back together.

This was not the end of the story though. My father drove the car home and the next day the same problem reoccurred. We were baffled and so was the transmission shop. The car was towed back to the transmission shop and after 2 days of troubleshooting they finally found the problem: the transmission ECU was defective. $750 later, new ECU and labor, the car is running fine now for a couple of weeks. I suspect that the problem was the ECU all along. This ended up costing almost $2,000 with sales taxes.
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Old 09-12-2020, 06:55 PM   #15
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Default Re: Saturn ION Engine Stalls When Put into Drive

I have the SAME problem , and have been working on it for 2 months now... car NOT being driven , as I have another car, to get me to work and all other places. My problem is heat related, as it does NOT do it when cold.
Working on replacing engine computer....will get back to group , when cure is found.
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Old 09-19-2020, 11:07 PM   #16
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Default Re: Saturn ION Engine Stalls When Put into Drive

solenoids usually fail hot.
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Old 09-20-2020, 12:33 AM   #17
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Default Re: Saturn ION Engine Stalls When Put into Drive

^He's right.
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