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Old 03-26-2014, 01:45 PM   #1
JBerb1984
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Question Ignition Problems

I Have a 2008 Saturn Aura XE 3.5L with about 80k miles.
Im experiencing an intermittent problem with the ignition system.
When I try to start my car I turn the key and power is cut from all accessories and the headlights as it should but I get absolutely nothing from that starter.
After repeated attempts(20mins of constantly turning the key) I will start to get some life out of the starter. It will crank for a moment then disengage. Once it tries once its pretty consistent in trying again. It seems as if the power is being cut from the starter or something.
I changed the starter, checked all the fuses and relays(all good)
I don't believe its the battery because jumping it doesn't make a difference and i can sit in the car with the lights and radio on repeatedly trying to start it for 30 min and in will eventually start. Having the radio and lights off doesn't help it start any faster or easier. I'm thinking maybe the ignition switch? Or a loose ground somewhere? I bought the ignition switch but after tearing into the dash realized its a bigger project that I have time for right now and I want to make sure that's it before I get into it. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 03-27-2014, 11:41 AM   #2
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Default Re: Ignition Problems

have the battery tested, sounds like it is on the way out.

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Old 03-27-2014, 12:52 PM   #3
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Default Re: Ignition Problems

Not doubting your suggestion but if it's the battery wouldn't jumping it work? I've tried that with no results.

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Old 03-27-2014, 11:14 PM   #4
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Ignition Problems

The ecm controls START RELAY 31 to close a set of contacts, sending 12v to the starter solenoid. The solenoid closes a heavy duty set of contacts that sends battery power to the starter motor. If I'm not mistaken, START RELAY 31 is a replaceable 87a relay.

Be absolutely sure battery, battery cables and their connections are clean and free of corrosion, including chassis/engine grounds. Even new starters can fail whether new or rebuilt. Ensuring power (battery) and main power connections (cables) are able to carry welding currents (50-150+ amps) to power a starter leaves either the starting circuit or ecm. If your Aura has a starter interrupt as part of the factory theft deterrent system (PASS- Key III+), the starter may be disabled during a theft attempt - the security indicator should flash during starting attempts.
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: Ignition Problems

Had the battery tested and it was indeed bad
Replaced it and still have the same issues. Now the battery and starter and new. They've both tested good. All the terminals on both are clean and secure.

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Old 03-28-2014, 01:40 AM   #6
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Default Re: Ignition Problems

Are you able to wire a small jumper across START RELAY terminals 30 & 87? This sends 12v power to the starter the same way the ignition switch tells the ecm to command the starter operation - all you're doing is bypassing the ignition switch and ecm. The ignition switch can be left OFF; you're looking to see if the starter will operate or not.

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Old 03-28-2014, 10:13 AM   #7
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Default Re: Ignition Problems

I think so. But can you give me some details so I know I'm doing it right?

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Old 03-28-2014, 02:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: Ignition Problems

Tried what you suggested and it causes the starter to crank perfectly every time.replaced the relay but that didn't fix it. Have we narrowed it down to the ignition switch?

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Old 03-28-2014, 02:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: Ignition Problems

Also, I will occasionally get "service traction" "service esc" and an abs light. Always all three together. When this happens they come on right when the car is started and stay in until I shut it off. Related to my ignition issues?

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Old 03-28-2014, 11:08 PM   #10
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Default Re: Ignition Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBerb1984 View Post
.......When I try to start my car I turn the key and power is cut from all accessories and the headlights as it should but I get absolutely nothing from that starter..........I changed the starter, checked all the fuses and relays(all good)......
This may be the only hint of a dying/failed battery - headlights always remain on and most will dim somewhat due to a large current draw from starters. If this is the original battery, replace it. There are very few stock car batteries that outlast their battery warranty. To be absolutely sure, have it load tested by any auto store selling car batteries.

Another hint of a failing battery are the three important safety indicators mentioned above as they tend to be critical of battery power. There are posts about these indicators, usually power related - either the battery or alternator failure caused voltage drops to inadvertently cause false error codes.

Last edited by fdryer; 03-28-2014 at 11:14 PM..

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Old 03-29-2014, 02:58 PM   #11
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Default Re: Ignition Problems

I already replaced the battery. Drove 200 miles and had it tested. Its good. My car cuts power to the lights when you turn the key. That's what it has always done and I believe it's supposed to.

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Old 04-03-2014, 11:25 AM   #12
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Default Re: Ignition Problems

Still dealing with this issue. I really wish someone out there would offer any suggestion other than dead battery since that clearly isn't the issue. Anybody got any ideas?

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Old 04-03-2014, 02:46 PM   #13
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Ignition Problems

There's more to this than simply replacing the ignition switch. Here's a partial reprint from the service manual;

Starting System Description and Operation

When the ignition switch is turned to the Start position, the body control module (BCM) receives battery voltage on the ignition 1 voltage circuit, and less than 5 volts on the off/run/crank voltage circuit. The BCM supplies voltage to energize the RUN/CRANK Relay 32. The BCM sends a high speed GMLAN serial data message to the engine control module (ECM) that the key is in the start position. The ECM receives the message from the BCM, and also receives a serial data message from the transmission control module (TCM) containing the shift lever position. If the shift lever is in Park or Neutral when ignition switch is turned to Start, the ECM supplies voltage to the START Relay 31. The START relay supplies voltage to the S terminal of the starter solenoid, through the 30 A STRTR Fuse 26, in order to crank the engine.


Is security ON/flashing during starting? Security Indicator Operation

The theft deterrent module (TDM) can command the body control module (BCM) to illuminate the security indicator only when the ignition key is in the ON position. If the engine control module (ECM) loses communication with the TDM, the BCM will also detect the loss of communication and will illuminate the security indicator. The security indicator can indicate both malfunctions, indicator ON steady and tamper, indicator flashing. A flashing indicator indicates unauthorized operation.

Immobilizer Description and Operation
The vehicle theft deterrent (VTD) system functions are provided by the theft deterrent module (TDM). When an ignition key is inserted into the ignition lock cylinder and the ignition is switched ON, the transponder embedded in the head of the key is energized by the exciter coils surrounding the ignition lock cylinder. The energized transponder transmits a signal that contains a unique value, which is received by the TDM. The theft deterrent control module then compares this value to a value stored in memory, learned key code. If the value is correct, the TDM sends a random generated number to the transponder. This is called a challenge. Both the transponder and the TDM perform a calculation on the challenge. If the calculations match, the TDM sends the fuel continue password via the serial data circuit to the engine control module (ECM). If either the transponders unique value or the calculation to the challenge is incorrect, the TDM will send the fuel disable password to the PCM via the serial data circuit.

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Old 04-03-2014, 03:48 PM   #14
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Default Re: Ignition Problems

have you tried different key? immobilizer problem?

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Old 04-03-2014, 05:10 PM   #15
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Default Re: Ignition Problems

I wish I had a nickle for every perfectly good starter replaced by a DIYer that doesn't have a clue what the hell they're doing...

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Old 04-03-2014, 05:50 PM   #16
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Default Re: Ignition Problems

i remember we had a lady trade in her 5 yr old 98 lumina she loved. intermittent no start. had new starter, alternator, battery, fuel pump. hated to trade but needed reliable car. it was the key.

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Old 04-04-2014, 09:16 AM   #17
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Default Re: Ignition Problems

The doors lock when I put it in gear and unlock when I put it in park, so I believe the tcm is working. The security light is not coming on and I've tried both keys, so I don't think that's an issues either...

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Old 04-04-2014, 09:22 AM   #18
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Default Re: Ignition Problems

Just because you got a new battery does not mean it's not defective. All signs are still pointing to the battery.

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Old 04-04-2014, 01:27 PM   #19
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Default Re: Ignition Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBerb1984 View Post
The doors lock when I put it in gear and unlock when I put it in park, so I believe the tcm is working. The security light is not coming on and I've tried both keys, so I don't think that's an issues either...
The door locks operate thru the body control module (BCM). If you are able to use service manual information that describes the theft deterrent system and starting electronically, pm me an email address with car stats. You may find that there's more to your problems than can be explained in a post. Unfortunately, unless you're well informed about electronics in EFI and theft systems that prevent the car from operating, you may have to resign yourself to seeking GM service. A review of your owner's manual will have some background info.

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Old 04-08-2014, 09:26 AM   #20
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Default Re: Ignition Problems

I finally gave in and took it to a shop. He told me that they need to put a new computer in it.

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