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Old 05-24-2018, 12:25 PM   #1
bluehornet2297
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Default Saturn Ion p0606

Hello everyone!

A friend of mine has a 2005 saturn ion 2.2 Auto, that she has not maintained very well since she bought it last year. It has ~150k on it and I know nothing about the previous owners maintenance. She says its had a check engine light on for awhile, and she remembers the codes in the past read a "engine too lean code", and other codes related to that. The other day she was driving it when the limp mode got turned on and it runs really rough. The only code it spits out now is a p0606. Some of you on here have mentioned this is often what happens when the drive by wire system goes bad, and that replacing the throttle body is the fix. However, the car runs REALLY rough (on top of being in limp mode)and according to my scan tool, none of the evap system is responding to the ecm. No cat data, no evap data, no 02 sensor data of any kind. my thinking is that by running the car lean for the last several months, she has clogged up something in the exhaust system, to the point that the car has decided to activate limp mode so as to not damage the engine because the exhaust has nowhere to go. And because of the p0606 code being spit out, it doesn't want to give out any more exhaust or lean codes like it has done in the past. I think the solution is to replace/clean her cat and or muffler.

I would really appreciate any advice from you all. My friend is a young, single parent and cannot easily pay for professional diagnosis/repairs or another vehicle.

Thanks

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Old 05-24-2018, 03:04 PM   #2
fdryer
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Default Re: Saturn Ion p0606

If you are handling repairs to keep repair costs low, this may be one of a few sites with free info for anyone capable of diagnosing, troubleshooting, familiarity with tools and know a few things about car maintenance. The majority here are diyers not willing to visit dealer or repair shops unless absolutely necessary.

You've described several problems. Possible blocked exhaust system, error code pointing to the engine computer, reduced power mode and no ready status related to on board self diagnostics. Sorting this out may be simply determining which problem takes priority over others and how one problem affects other things downstream, creating a cascade effect of (possible) false errors. Personally, two things stands out in priority - reduced power mode and blocked exhaust flow. Of the two, exhaust is easily addressed. Ignore the emissions not ready status as any emissions error code disables the emissions self tests from continuing until repairs correct the error code when the self tests automatically detect a correct repair to erase the error and continue self tests on the next engine startup.

Try manually resetting/erasing error codes; either use a reader to reset/erase error codes or disconnect battery negative for a minute. If errors come back, record them for posting here. You can google for definitions.

Were spark plugs ever replaced? 100k miles for platinum plugs. Coil over plugs have a history of failure - the ignition control module (finned unit sitting in the coil pack) may fail from engine heat.

Remove the front exhaust manifold mounted O2 sensor, hiding behind the exhaust heat shield. This allows an alternate exhaust path. Startup and if possible, drive around the block. If the exhaust system is clogged from the catalytic converter disintegrating and partially or completely blocking exhaust flow, the alternate exhaust hole from O2 sensor removal will allow the engine to breathe. Sudden renewed power would indicate a blocked exhaust system.

Reduced power mode involves three parts; electric throttle, electronic pedal and engine computer. All three communicate continuously with driver pressing the pedal to tell the ecm to move throttle - drive by wire. The simplest repair may be just cleaning throttle. The throttle plate is spring loaded to stay closed without power so forcing open the throttle plate is needed to clean any build up. A heavy duty coiled spring inside the throttle actuator assembly ensures closure if power is lost while driving. An electric motor is geared to open/close throttle. A quick check for throttle operation; with ignition on, have someone exercise the gas pedal as you observe throttle plate movement. Throttle should move in sync with pedal movement.

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Old 05-24-2018, 05:27 PM   #3
bluehornet2297
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Default Re: Saturn Ion p0606

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
If you are handling repairs to keep repair costs low, this may be one of a few sites with free info for anyone capable of diagnosing, troubleshooting, familiarity with tools and know a few things about car maintenance. The majority here are diyers not willing to visit dealer or repair shops unless absolutely necessary.

You've described several problems. Possible blocked exhaust system, error code pointing to the engine computer, reduced power mode and no ready status related to on board self diagnostics. Sorting this out may be simply determining which problem takes priority over others and how one problem affects other things downstream, creating a cascade effect of (possible) false errors. Personally, two things stands out in priority - reduced power mode and blocked exhaust flow. Of the two, exhaust is easily addressed. Ignore the emissions not ready status as any emissions error code disables the emissions self tests from continuing until repairs correct the error code when the self tests automatically detect a correct repair to erase the error and continue self tests on the next engine startup.

Try manually resetting/erasing error codes; either use a reader to reset/erase error codes or disconnect battery negative for a minute. If errors come back, record them for posting here. You can google for definitions.

Were spark plugs ever replaced? 100k miles for platinum plugs. Coil over plugs have a history of failure - the ignition control module (finned unit sitting in the coil pack) may fail from engine heat.

Remove the front exhaust manifold mounted O2 sensor, hiding behind the exhaust heat shield. This allows an alternate exhaust path. Startup and if possible, drive around the block. If the exhaust system is clogged from the catalytic converter disintegrating and partially or completely blocking exhaust flow, the alternate exhaust hole from O2 sensor removal will allow the engine to breathe. Sudden renewed power would indicate a blocked exhaust system.

Reduced power mode involves three parts; electric throttle, electronic pedal and engine computer. All three communicate continuously with driver pressing the pedal to tell the ecm to move throttle - drive by wire. The simplest repair may be just cleaning throttle. The throttle plate is spring loaded to stay closed without power so forcing open the throttle plate is needed to clean any build up. A heavy duty coiled spring inside the throttle actuator assembly ensures closure if power is lost while driving. An electric motor is geared to open/close throttle. A quick check for throttle operation; with ignition on, have someone exercise the gas pedal as you observe throttle plate movement. Throttle should move in sync with pedal movement.
I did try erasing the p0606 code, and restarted the car. The code came back up like it had never been cleared at all. I will get back about the spark plugs, but I doubt they were replaced at 100k. If the car detects that it has an alternate exhaust hole, will it disable the reduced power mode so that I am able to more clearly tell that the power has increased? At the moment the car will not leave reduced power mode. I have not checked the throttle at all, but I did recommend to the owner that she either purchase a replacement throttle body position sensor or the entire throttle body alltogether, as it seems most people experiencing this recommend that

Last edited by bluehornet2297; 05-24-2018 at 05:38 PM..

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Old 05-24-2018, 06:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Saturn Ion p0606

I should have made myself clearer when I get long winded. Removing the O2 sensor may or may not correct the reduced power mode problem. O2 sensor removal is for troubleshooting a blocked exhaust system.

I would not recommend replacing parts unless they're proven faulty. To check on parts, try rockauto and examine which throttle assembly this Ion uses. Drive by wire systems may have a one piece throttle assembly with no removable parts like throttle position sensors. Drive by wire throttle actuators are not cheap.

Suggestions I give are without costs to buy parts, to troubleshoot the easiest way possible to determine where fault lies. Examining and cleaning throttle is less expensive than just throwing a new part on in hopes of correcting the problem. Spark plugs need to be replace, period, if they were never replaced. If you're wrong.............someone threw away money.

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Old 05-25-2018, 03:29 AM   #5
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Default Re: Saturn Ion p0606

Personally, I'd try a junkyard throttle body if you have a self service junkyard around, also check the underhood fuse box for any blown fuses (especially the emissions fuse - that has a lot more stuff on it than you'd expect, as I learned when rodents damaged the harness on my car). The throttle position sensors are not replaceable on the drive by wire throttle body (and there's 2 of them anyway).

Unfortunately, that code is usually a roached ECU/PCM. If it does wind up being the PCM, you'll need someone to pair a replacement to the car (they're paired to both the ignition switch and the body control module, though you can do an ignition switch re-learn in 30 minutes - the pairing to the BCM requires a Tech 2 tool).

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Old 05-25-2018, 12:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: Saturn Ion p0606

Well I completely removed the throttle body and sure enough it was fairly dirty.
I wiped this down quickly and reinstalled the throttle and restarted the car. the car started and limp mode was no longer active, and it ran much better than before. it was still giving me code p0606 but this time it also gave code p2101 which is a throttle position sensor code. I figured this code came out because i was playing with the throttle and cleared these codes. I drove the car around the lot for a few minutes and it ran just fine and no codes returned. I recommended to the owner that someone goes in with throttle cleaner and finishes the cleaning job that I started. I also told the owner to let me know if the engine light comes on again, to help me determine if the throttle does need to be replaced after all, or if it just needed this cleaning.

I will update in here with any future developments regarding this issue.

Thanks for the help everyone.

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