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Old 08-02-2020, 01:14 PM   #1
GTSRider
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Default 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

I know this has been covered before, but not sure if a cure was ever found.
MY 2003 ION 2.2 is now dangerous to drive. Stalls out at light or stop sign, when you depress gas pedal , or when trying to park .
Engine runs fine in every other way.
Recent Replacements to no avail ....problem persists.
New spark plugs, and Ignition Module
New IAC, and TPS.
Few year old , dealer installed fuel line , and filter
Cleaned Throttle Body, and IAC port
Have not checked codes.... but will try tomorrow
No CEL on dash
Where are the vacuum lines on this 2.2 that should be checked ?
Oh....here is the really strange part....does Not do it all the time,
but noticed yesterday, while doing shopping.... as car sat while shopping,
situation seemed to get worse possibly due to heat soak.
For each shopping stop I would do, it would get worse.
So problem is intermittent, to add to the frustration of solving this problem.
Thanks
Pete
Hudson Valley , N.Y.
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Old 08-03-2020, 11:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

There are several areas to consider - loose/damaged/broken wiring, loose/damaged/broken grounds, original ignition switch fault, intermittent crank sensor. Patience and in-depth troubleshooting might help to determine where fault lies as this seems to be very troublesome, leaving you with an unreliable car.

Was the ignition switch recall performed to rule it out? As you may or may not know, Ions were the first Saturns to incorporate logic voltage (5vdc) in the ignition switch circuitry. Dielectric grease used for corrosion protection hardened in severe cold temperatures, inadvertently disconnecting wiper arms in these ign switches, interrupting the ignition circuits. Killing the engine at random is the result. GM recalled ignition switches.

If the ign switch recall was performed, maybe tapping/wiggling wiring and connections with the engine idling may kill the engine, suggesting damaged/broken wiring at connection points or wires hidden from intact insulation. If electrical mods were made for aftermarket electronics, are they spliced into the ignition system?

Two main grounds; battery negative to chassis and chassis to engine block. Two main battery positive connections; battery to engine block (long red wire from trunk to engine block) and Remote Start Terminal post next to the engine fuse box. The remote start post is used for connecting booster cables on the engine; jumper ground to engine block, positive booster cable connected to the remote start post instead of trunk connections. This remote start post may become loose and interrupt power to the main fuse box and/or starter. Check this post for looseness and corrosion.

The crank sensor is the electronic heart beat of the entire EFI system. It can fail in one of two modes; outright failure or intermittently. Outright failure simply kills the EFI system - engine cranks but never fires up. Intermittent failure tends to be engine heat soaking - as engine heat transfers to it, the sensor fails, interrupting the EFI system, killing the engine. Cooling off, the sensor operates until its warmed up, killing the EFI system. Removing it for bench testing of resistance can help reveal a faulty one. Normal resistance is between 800-1200 ohms in freezing or hot engine running. If resistance increases when dipped in boiling water, the sensor is faulty. The crank sensor provides precise timing signals (electronic clock) to the pcm to operate the EFI system. A faulty or intermittent crank sensor disrupts EFI operation. A steady pulse train of signals are expected from every crank sensor when the engine rotates.
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Old 08-19-2020, 03:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

Might be a fuel pressure issue. Any fault codes?
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Old 10-15-2020, 06:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

No Fault codes at all.
Replaced IAC , TPS, Intake temp sensor, and Manifold pressure sensor.
Want to replace MAF sensor, but not sure where it is.
Has anyone replaced a MAF sensor, and can shed some light on R/R of it ?
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Old 10-15-2020, 07:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

Ions don't have maf sensors.
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Old 10-16-2020, 01:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTSRider View Post
No Fault codes at all.
Replaced IAC , TPS, Intake temp sensor, and Manifold pressure sensor.
Want to replace MAF sensor, but not sure where it is.
Has anyone replaced a MAF sensor, and can shed some light on R/R of it ?
The 2003-2004 Ions don't have a MAF sensor. Only the later 2005-2007 Ions which have throttle-by-wire have a MAF (and MAP) sensor.

Does your Ion have a manual or auto transmission? Quad Coupe or sedan?
Does the car drive fine once it's moving?
Does it stall immediately when coming to a stop?
Does the engine have any trouble restarting after it stalls?
Does the engine idle fine while parked or sitting in neutral?
How old is the battery?
Have you had the alternator checked?

GM did issue TSB# 04-06-04-029A to address erratic idle/stalling issues in closed throttle situations. In the TSB, the fix is to have the ECM recalibrated. The PDF of the TSB is too big to attach so I took some screenshots (see attached pics below).

TSB_04-06-04-029A_page1.JPG
TSB_04-06-04-029A_page2.JPG
TSB_04-06-04-029A_page3.JPG

I suppose it's possible, but seems unlikely that your car would still need this update. The issue in the TSB strikes me as a problem that would've most likely been noticed and addressed shortly after the vehicle was purchased. The ECM calibration has probably already been done a long time ago if it was applicable to your Ion.

If the car seems to have an overall loss of power, I'd recommend testing fuel pressure and/or temporarily removing the upstream oxygen sensor to rule out a plugged catalytic converter.
...
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2007 Chevy Equinox LT 200K miles
2018 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L 60K miles

Last edited by ruley73; 10-16-2020 at 01:26 AM.
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Old 10-16-2020, 07:53 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

No wonder I could not find the damn MAF ! .....and yet Rock Auto is sending me a MAF for a 2003 ION ! Oh well , sending that back before I even open it....
ruley...it is the 5 speed AISIN, been a great tranny for this 4 door do everything car.
Yes drives like new, other than the problem.
It dies in a parking situation , STOP sign, or RED light.... but ONLY after it reaches peak operating temperature....will NOT do it upon cold starts , and the first 15 minutes of driving. I can only drive it with one foot on brake, one on throttle..... have come real close to having a big pickup truck in my back seat, after light changes GREEN.
Yes , idles fine in neutral or park. Battery is about 4 years old now, alternator replaced 3 years ago....but will check battery.
No never got TSB done, but did have recall ignition done 4 years ago.
No loss of power....power is good for 230,000 miles..... OH ...one thing I forgot to mention....it has the cracked exhaust manifold , with NEW one waiting to be installed... Could the loss of back pressure cause the engine to run too lean , thereby causing the stalling off the line ?
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Old 10-18-2020, 02:59 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTSRider View Post
No wonder I could not find the damn MAF ! .....and yet Rock Auto is sending me a MAF for a 2003 ION ! Oh well , sending that back before I even open it....
ruley...it is the 5 speed AISIN, been a great tranny for this 4 door do everything car.
Yes drives like new, other than the problem.
It dies in a parking situation , STOP sign, or RED light.... but ONLY after it reaches peak operating temperature....will NOT do it upon cold starts , and the first 15 minutes of driving. I can only drive it with one foot on brake, one on throttle..... have come real close to having a big pickup truck in my back seat, after light changes GREEN.
Yes , idles fine in neutral or park. Battery is about 4 years old now, alternator replaced 3 years ago....but will check battery.
No never got TSB done, but did have recall ignition done 4 years ago.
No loss of power....power is good for 230,000 miles..... OH ...one thing I forgot to mention....it has the cracked exhaust manifold , with NEW one waiting to be installed... Could the loss of back pressure cause the engine to run too lean , thereby causing the stalling off the line ?
The back pressure probably won't affect too much. However, the resulting exhaust leak could be preventing the upstream oxygen sensor from operating properly. During normal operation, the difference in oxygen content between the exhaust stream and the atmospheric air around the sensor is what creates the voltage the ECM monitors. The exhaust leak lowers the oxygen content of the air around the outside of the oxygen sensor which reduces the voltage it will produce. The ECM will interpret the reduced voltage as a lean running condition and try to compensate accordingly by enrichening the fuel mixture. This could be the cause of your problem, but you won't know for sure until you fix the exhaust leak by replacing the exhaust manifold.

The fact that your car doesn't act up until the engine is warm makes me think this is a real possibility though. The ECM basically ignores the oxygen sensor's reading during cold starts because oxygen sensors are not accurate until they warm up. This period of time that the ECM ignores the oxygen sensor is known as open loop operation. Virtually all oxygen sensors used in the last 20+ years have a heater built into them to get them up to operating temperature faster to reduce emissions.

I'd check the air filter and replace it if you haven't already done so. I'm betting you've already done this by now, but just offering the suggestion because you didn't mention it.

The only two vacuum lines that go to the intake are the PCV hose from the valve cover and the brake booster line. A leaky PCV hose won't affect idle much because its connected to the air intake before the throttlebody. A leaky brake booster line would make it idle high because it's connected directly to the intake manifold after the throttlebody.
...
2007 Ion 2 Quad Coupe 5-speed manual 183K miles *gone*
2007 Chevy Equinox LT 200K miles
2018 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L 60K miles

Last edited by ruley73; 10-18-2020 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 01-10-2021, 12:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

In my ongoing quest to quell stalling issue... I installed a new crank sensor yesterday 1-9-21.....after 60 miles, of all types of driving, codes now read learning crank sensor....question....how many cycles/mileage will it take to learn ? ....and stalling issue still there....
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Old 01-10-2021, 05:57 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

What's the code? Unless someone has Saturn service manuals for reference, either a GM dealer is needed to perform recalibration of crank signals to ecm or the ecm will perform calibration on its own. Some Saturn models requires GMs Tech II scantool to calibrate cranks sensor signals. Others do not.

My L300 croaked a few years ago. The crank sensor was replaced and does not need calibration - plug n' play. My Saturn service manuals do not mention L300s requiring calibration. I changed the sensor where it died and drove home the same day. A '04 Nissan Sentra was erratic and limped home - crank sensor. Replaced without needing calibration. When I had access to Saturn service manuals I recall one model requiring GMs scantool to calibrate it. I do not have access to Saturn service manuals anymore.

Since this problem is intermittent without rhyme or reason, a worn out pump is a possibility with very few ways to determine an erratic pump other than suggestions for testing.

With 230k miles, everything is out of warranty and failure of long life parts have to be considered. No one can expect a fuel pump to last forever since its on while the engine's running. A dead pump is relatively easy to diagnose but an intermittent one may be more difficult. There are several ways to determine an intermittent pump and requires a simple 12v test light and fuel pressure gauge (connected at all times). A test light with long wires, one wire connected to the pump relay terminal 30 or 87, one wire to ground with the light inside the car. A fuel pressure gauge can monitor pressure while driving or parked.

At ignition ON time, fuel pressure should be around 40 psi, same with engine running, Engine shutdown should display pressure for at least a few minutes before pressure bleeds off. With am erratic pump, pressures may fluctuate at any time and drop off almost immediately when the engine dies at random. The test light will turn off when the engine stops but can help visualize power being applied to the pump and/or if the pump is intermittently failing.
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Old 01-10-2021, 07:38 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

No codes...my hand held unit OBD continues to says....
"Crankshaft position sensor not learned "
Do I need to take this to my dealer to have it mapped in?
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Old 01-10-2021, 10:51 PM   #12
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

No check engine light and your reader says a crank sensor not learn? Either the led indicator died or your reader is displaying false info. Turning on ignition powers up all electronics and turns on all indicators in the instrument panel (lamp test at every ign on cycle). Specific leds are designated for more reliability than incandescent lamps with filaments to burn out. Oil, battery, check engine, seat belt, security, etc, are usually leds that last the life of most vehicles. I would be suspicious of false info when the cel isn't turned on as this tells an owner that an error occurred in emissions. The wrench indicator (another led) stores errors in memory related to chassis, body and network codes and only decoded by either aftermarket low cost scantools, high end scantools used in repair shops or GMs scantool. Generic readers cannot read wrench codes.

If you cannot perform suggestions given to continue diagnosing and troubleshooting at home, your options are to either find a repair shop with expertise in diagnostics or GM dealer.
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Old 01-11-2021, 08:01 PM   #13
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

CEL is now on, it wasn't , but now is on, but there are no number codes present... only says, crankshaft sensor/system is not yet learned.
So now have over 100 miles, but have not held it at 3-4,000 rpm for 20 seconds, which was suggested by a service bulletin, posted on here..... will try that tomorrow, on my way to work.
If no change after 200 miles will take it to my local dealer.
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Old 01-12-2021, 03:28 PM   #14
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

First post states no cel. Your last post now states a cel, presumably from replacing the crank sensor. In my limited knowledge, every cel is accompanied by at least one error code stored in memory for retrieval by generic readers. Yours not displaying any error code may be suspect. Perhaps trying another reader from AutoZone or other auto store providing free readings may reveal stored error code(s).
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Old 01-13-2021, 05:30 PM   #15
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

Hmmm....like your idea.... will try that soon....thanks...
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Old 01-20-2021, 12:31 AM   #16
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

Sounds to me like ou just been throwing parts at the car.my 2007 had an issue with running a while ago but that was cause the muffler was split open and the oxygen sensor was not reading correctly after it warmed up. Fixed my muffler no more shakey idle afrer warm up. Hell mine sat in my uncles drive way for 2 years and it started up just fine. Tho i did have to clean out the throtle body amd clean and properly reseat the air box and hoses. But yoyr issue defantly sohnds to be a sensor related problem. I would defantly get some kne else to read your vehicle so that your not tossing money at it anymore.
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Old 01-20-2021, 05:37 PM   #17
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

Update....got a shop to synch newly installed Crankshaft Sensor with ECM today, and no codes whatsoever.....engine runs much better under throttle, but still hesitates off idle ..... but only 2 out of 10 times, now.... have put 38 miles on since synch, so hoping I can reach 100% no issues off of idle at stop, with more miles put on it. Thing I don't get is , how is it running fine 8 times out of 10 ?
Will more miles put on, it cure it ?
Now, in the last few months, replaced leaking exhaust manifold with new, leaky cat flex pipe new, rear pipes and muffler new recently, all new exhaust gaskets of course... ox sensors new, every engine sensor replaced with new, crankcase hose new, installed new injectors the other day.... Fuel filter replaced last year... again no codes .....
Any thoughts ?
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Old 01-20-2021, 06:55 PM   #18
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

In my previous post, #10, I mentioned a possible fuel issue.

With 230k miles, everything is out of warranty and failure of long life parts have to be considered. No one can expect a fuel pump to last forever since its on while the engine's running. A dead pump is relatively easy to diagnose but an intermittent one may be more difficult. There are several ways to determine an intermittent pump and requires a simple 12v test light and fuel pressure gauge (connected at all times). A test light with long wires, one wire connected to the pump relay terminal 30 or 87, one wire to ground with the light inside the car. A fuel pressure gauge can monitor pressure while driving or parked.

At ignition ON time, fuel pressure should be around 40 psi, same with engine running, Engine shutdown should display pressure for at least a few minutes before pressure bleeds off. With am erratic pump, pressures may fluctuate at any time and drop off almost immediately when the engine dies at random. The test light will turn off when the engine stops but can help visualize power being applied to the pump and/or if the pump is intermittently failing.

Unless you guarantee zero issues with a 230k mile fuel pump, it would be wise to borrow a fuel pressure gauge from AutoZone or Advance Auto and check it. You may have to leave it connected so the next random engine die off, check for pressure, at engine die off time and on restarting.
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Old 01-21-2021, 12:57 PM   #19
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

Now Happy to Report Problem, Fixed !
Crank sensor was replaced and synched in by a shop, and that cured my problem 99%..... leaving an occasional minor tendency to stall , without stalling. This morning I cleaned throttle body again , from a few months ago, and engine is very happy, no stalling or attempting to stall, just smooth throttle take off from stop. It took me 6 months to get this devil , but it was worth it ! So to summarize it all ....it looks like it was the crank sensor all along, but initially , it never threw a code. So I have replaced every sensor on engine, but not a waste for a 18 year old ION with 232,000 miles. Now hope to get at least 50, - 60,0000 more till I retire, in 5 years.... but by then I'm sure we'll all be in electric cars anyways....hope I'm wrong.....lol GTSRider Hudson Valley N.Y.
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Old 02-17-2021, 12:56 PM   #20
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Default Re: 2003 ION Stalls at Stop....Now Dangerous to Drive

What's the code? Unless someone has Saturn service manuals for reference, either a GM dealer is needed to perform recalibration of crank signals to ecm or the ecm will perform calibration on its own. Some Saturn models requires GMs Tech II scantool to calibrate cranks sensor signals. Others do not.
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