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Old 08-06-2018, 06:19 PM   #1
Saturnman121
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Wrench 2008 Saturn Aura - Alarm/Electrical issues?

Hi yall,

I'm stopping by hoping someone can point me in the right direction. So I've been driving Uber for a few weeks and a few days ago I had a weird issue pop up while driving. That's basically messed me up so bad I don't trust my car to drive it anymore.

I think its electrical but I'm not sure.

So before the really bad stuff happened the other night the right front headlight went out and the rear plate light went out while I was talking a couple home from our local airport, I would not have even noticed it if a cop had not pulled us over to warm me about it.

I had just got to my next pick up location, I parked the car and my car alarm activates. It activated while the car was still on, so I think that is weird and hit the key fob to deactivate it. But instead of turning it off, it triggers the alarm. So I turn the car off, and sit for a sec. I smashed the deactivate button and it finally works, but then the alarm reactivates itself again. I ended up having to tell the rider I was having car issues and drove off. Car alarm going off mind you, so I'm about an hour away from home and I decide I'm not about to drive like that the whole way home. I ended up pulling into a parking lot and popping the hood. I had been driving in 100+ heat for well over 8 hours non stop. So I thought maybe it was heat related and gave it a few minutes to cool down. But every time I put the key in and started the car it would activate the alarm. I thought maybe the key fob had messed up so I took the battery out, and still same issue. I was about to call a road side service for a tow when I decided to try one other thing. I busted out the manual and found the fuse diagram and took out the fuse for the security system. The car would not turn over, so I put it back in, started the car, and THEN removed it. The red light for the alarm stayed on solid, and the whole dash went out but the car drove. I drove home like that, but just as I was getting close to my house, the alarm turned on AGAIN. While the security fuse was out... but the fob worked to disable it like it normally would.

The next day I checked the fuse I had removed and it does not appear to be fried. I reinserted it and started the car, and the issue has not returned, but I have also not driven the car since out of fear it will go off like it did again.

Just to add some background that might be relevant, the dash and radio back lights had been really low during daylight conditions, like almost un-seeable. That has been that way for over 2 years now. The dash and radio back lighting works fine at night or in low light. Some times the radio display will get all scrambled up, but will always fix itself over time or after turning the car/radio on and off.

So at this point I need advise, what should I be checking for? I think the light going out and the alarm issue are related, is that probable?

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Old 08-06-2018, 09:09 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2008 Saturn Aura - Alarm/Electrical issues?

When was the battery, battery cables/connections, belt drive, and alternator checked/tested?

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Old 08-07-2018, 12:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2008 Saturn Aura - Alarm/Electrical issues?

Battery is WAAAY past its shelf life, and hasn't been checked in a while. But alternator was replaced a year or 2 ago. Belts and cables should be ok too.

I'm going to go check the battery tomorrow.

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Old 08-07-2018, 12:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2008 Saturn Aura - Alarm/Electrical issues?

It's always recommended to do the easy stuff first before going deep into technical troubleshooting. A blown fuse or dead/dying battery is much less costly than second guessing.

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Old 08-07-2018, 01:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2008 Saturn Aura - Alarm/Electrical issues?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
It's always recommended to do the easy stuff first before going deep into technical troubleshooting. A blown fuse or dead/dying battery is much less costly than second guessing.
Checked battery today, it tested good.

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Old 08-07-2018, 01:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2008 Saturn Aura - Alarm/Electrical issues?

Someone in the r/Mechanicadvise Subreddit Posted the following advise, I'm going to take a crack at these tests later.

Quote:
the BCM controls the negative side of all the circuits you have mentioned.. (BCM = Body control module.. ) its the right side of the console behind the removable panel.

i would want to start with this test.. under the hood with the engine running and the headlights on. hxxps://i.imgur.com/kviX0VQ.jpg you might want to copy this text and email it to yourself. and you will want a printed copy of the above test..

during test 5.. i would want to make sure to perform test 5 carefully to the underhood fuse block fuses..

pay attention to fuse 20 ICBM 1 .. make sure with items on that you don't have any voltage drop to it.. indicating an issue with the wiring to the underhood fuse box..

fuse 20 IBCM1 powers the ignition switch.. the theft control and several other devices in the BCM under the dash in front of the shifter..

fuse 25 ICBM2 powers a bunch of things in the BCM also..

like the interior lights fuse.. the door lock fuse.. but it powers other circuits inside the BCM..

the BCM is grounded in several different location..

G201 ground ring terminal location is under the dash which will be a black and white stripe wire coming out of it..

G203 is also under the dash.. these should be visible from the right side with the console panel removed.. farther forward than the fuse box..

G305 is probably under the carpet below the seats .. i don't have a ground location map handy for that car..

if you don't have good grounds out front during tests 2, 3 and 4, you will have problems elsewhere.. the 3 BCM ground connections are really important also.. since the BCM needs them to supply it with electrons.. no grounds.. or intermittent ground.. poor operation.

lastly.. did anybody spill anything on the center of the dash in front of the shifter.. do you have a windshield leak.. that could have gotten water into the BCM and have destroyed it..

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Old 08-09-2018, 07:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2008 Saturn Aura - Alarm/Electrical issues?

So I finished the tests mentioned in the post above this one, battery is 100% full, Alternator is charging battery. But all the other tests came back as 0.00 at test 6 I could not reach the alternator output stud so I skipped it.

I've been checking fuses, I see that one in particular is the one that controls the alarm and instrument panel... but it looks ok, and I tested it with the voltmeter and it seems to have tested ok.

I also managed to replaced the bulbs for the headlight and plate light and both worked with new lights installed.

Last edited by Saturnman121; 08-09-2018 at 08:02 PM..

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Old 08-09-2018, 08:35 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2008 Saturn Aura - Alarm/Electrical issues?

What's battery voltage before engine running? Battery voltage after the engine's running? The difference should be the alternator outputting a higher voltage for supplying all the electrical needs of the car while recharging the battery.

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