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Old 10-21-2019, 05:04 PM   #1
MikeHarrison
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2007 ION-2 Sedan
Default 2007 Ion Alarm/horn starts blowing by itself

I thought the key fob battery had finally died, so I replaced it. But no good. Every couple of minutes, the car alarm/horn begins blowing (and the lights begin flashing) without any instigation.

How do I disable this and what might be causing it?

Thanks!

...
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2007 Saturn Ion 2 Sedan 57K miles
2.2L engine
5-spd manual trans

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Old 10-21-2019, 05:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2007 Ion Alarm/horn starts blowing by itself

Additional info:

The car was parked and locked in my condo parking lot at the time and was last driven two days ago. This is the first time this problem has appeared.

To disable it temporarily, I've removed the negative cable from the battery.

So, again, my question: what would cause this?

Many thanks.

...
-------------------------
2007 Saturn Ion 2 Sedan 57K miles
2.2L engine
5-spd manual trans

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Old 10-22-2019, 01:29 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2007 Ion Alarm/horn starts blowing by itself

Technically, Saturn's alarm system monitors door switches, the ones that turn on the dome light. If the trunk has an indicator light to inform you of the trunk left open, this is another alarm monitor. Presuming the factory alarm system is toed to Passlock security, when a theft attempt is made without using the remote to Unlock/disable Passlock, Passlock will disable the starting circuit. The alarm system flashes lights and honks the horn. The body control module has both Passlock and alarm system.

You can test all door switches using the dome light to ensure each switch operates the dome light. The trunk indicator should turn on with trunk opening, turn off with trunk closed. If all switches operate correctly then the bcm is suspect. Bcm programming is fixed and cannot be reflashed.

A temporary bypass would be using the master door lock switch to manually lock all doors instead of using your remote (that enables/disables Passlock and alarm system). If you have a security indicator for Passlock, it should be off when manually locking doors without remote use. Passlock security should not blink and no one is wiser about this.

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Old 10-22-2019, 11:37 AM   #4
MikeHarrison
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Default Re: 2007 Ion Alarm/horn starts blowing by itself

Thank you. Now, there's new information:

After reattaching the negative battery cable and driving the car locally, the electric door locks began actuating randomly and, at one point, the interior (dome) light came on and blinked & dimmed several times before going out again.

So, it now seems something more than an alarm issue. I'll bring the car to my techs in a few days (when they're able to begin troubleshooting) but, if you have any other thoughts in the meantime, they'd be most appreciated.

Thanks.

...
-------------------------
2007 Saturn Ion 2 Sedan 57K miles
2.2L engine
5-spd manual trans

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Old 10-22-2019, 05:19 PM   #5
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2007 Ion Alarm/horn starts blowing by itself

The body control module runs everything the engine computer doesn't. The abs and airbags have their own electronic control modules. If the possessed doors isn't a flaky door lock/unlock switch making intermittent lock/unlock issues grin severe wear, these problems seem to point to the bcm. Examining all connections to the bcm may reveal something but be sure battery power is disconnected. All electronics modules have live memory for storing temporary error codes. Electrically, every module isn't powered off so disconnecting battery negative is the safe way to working on expensive electronics.

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Old 10-22-2019, 07:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2007 Ion Alarm/horn starts blowing by itself

Do you think body control modules are still being made for my car (2007 Ion)? And I certainly wouldn't be doing the work; I'd have my trusted tech do it.

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Old 10-22-2019, 07:42 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2007 Ion Alarm/horn starts blowing by itself

Try searching around online. Rockauto, ebay, etc. Not every GM dealer stocks them but can buy them from other dealers if necessary and worth a call if you can't find them. Repair shops have their methods to locate parts too. The three main problems - determining if this is a bcm failure then finding a new replacement requires programming from GM. Mileage is transferred from present odometer reading and any options. Remotes won't work on replacement bcms and must be programmed by GM or anyone with GMs Tech II scantool and access to GMs website for any updates in firmware. There's one alternative members here have taken advantage - buying used ecm, pcm and bcm.

Used modules from donor vehicles have some issues but are near perfect replacements at lower costs. Passlock, GMs theft deterrent program operates with the ecm/pcm and bcm. When replacing a module, marrying the replacement module to the other one on the vehicle requires a 30 minute relearn procedure at home. GM does it in 10 minutes with their scantool. New bcms are programmed with mileage taken from the odometer. Used bcms retain mileage and cannot be altered due to anti tampering laws. Most owners aren't concerned if the donor bcm has higher mileage than the original.

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Old 10-22-2019, 07:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2007 Ion Alarm/horn starts blowing by itself

If the BCM does prove to be at fault, with the reprogramming that will be necessary, would you say the easiest/quickest way would be to have a GM dealership perform the work?

...
-------------------------
2007 Saturn Ion 2 Sedan 57K miles
2.2L engine
5-spd manual trans

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Old 10-22-2019, 11:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2007 Ion Alarm/horn starts blowing by itself

GM service manuals state new body control modules are programmed. This assumes GM using their scantool in a dealer setting. GM is in the best position as they have support far superior to anyone attempting to make this a diy project.

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Old 10-23-2019, 10:22 AM   #10
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Default Re: 2007 Ion Alarm/horn starts blowing by itself

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeHarrison View Post
If the BCM does prove to be at fault, with the reprogramming that will be necessary, would you say the easiest/quickest way would be to have a GM dealership perform the work?
Yes.

However, I'd check a few things before assuming the BCM itself is to blame. The BCM really doesn't fail very often in these cars. Usually, a simple wiring fault or low battery voltage is to blame for weird anomalies like you are experiencing.

The ground connection near the battery is often a weak point. Remove the ground ring terminal from the battery mounting bracket and make sure you have a good, clean connection there. You may need to sand some of the paint off the bracket. I had to do this to both Ions I've owned.

Make sure the terminals attached to the positive stud at the underhood fuse panel are clean.

Check the wires in the driver's door jamb for breaks.

Check all the door jamb switches and the wiring near them. The wiring going to the front door jamb switches is may be corroded - especially if you have a sunroof and it is leaking or had a leak at one time.

...
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2007 Chevy Equinox LT 194K miles
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Old 10-23-2019, 05:59 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2007 Ion Alarm/horn starts blowing by itself

Thanks, Ruley. I certainly don't mean to dispute what you say. I can understand some sort of wiring fault being the cause of several different issues, but a low battery voltage? If the battery voltage is low (and the battery is four years old), wouldn't the battery lamp on the instrument cluster be lit? When I start the car (which cranks fine and starts after only a second or two), the battery lamp lights for a couple of seconds and then goes out.

I don't have a sunroof, but I did check the driver's door jamb: that harness is still completely encased in its rubber boot. The rubber feels like new; not at all dry. Of course, I can't tell if there's a short inside the boot.

But I will absolutely pass your suggestions along to my tech. Many thanks. I appreciate your input!

...
-------------------------
2007 Saturn Ion 2 Sedan 57K miles
2.2L engine
5-spd manual trans

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Old 10-24-2019, 01:49 AM   #12
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Default Re: 2007 Ion Alarm/horn starts blowing by itself

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeHarrison View Post
Thanks, Ruley. I certainly don't mean to dispute what you say. I can understand some sort of wiring fault being the cause of several different issues, but a low battery voltage? If the battery voltage is low (and the battery is four years old), wouldn't the battery lamp on the instrument cluster be lit? When I start the car (which cranks fine and starts after only a second or two), the battery lamp lights for a couple of seconds and then goes out.

I don't have a sunroof, but I did check the driver's door jamb: that harness is still completely encased in its rubber boot. The rubber feels like new; not at all dry. Of course, I can't tell if there's a short inside the boot.

But I will absolutely pass your suggestions along to my tech. Many thanks. I appreciate your input!
Unfortunately, the battery light (along with the rest of the gauge cluster) is controlled by the BCM. It will operate as intended if the alternator is bad but the battery still has a enough charge to keep the engine running, but if the battery has a really low charge it may not work as intended. Computers in general just don't work well when they aren't getting the power they are designed to operate with.

Another place I would definitely check for a bad connection is at the starter solenoid. This is where the positive cables from the battery, alternator, and underhood fuse block are all connected together. This area commonly gets really corroded on these cars - especially if you live in an area that applies salt to the roads in the winter.

...
2007 Ion 2 Quad Coupe 5-speed manual 182K miles
2007 Chevy Equinox LT 194K miles
2018 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L 41K miles

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Old 10-24-2019, 12:57 PM   #13
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Default Re: 2007 Ion Alarm/horn starts blowing by itself

Thanks for the additional info. I have an OBD code reader and, when using it the day after the panic alarm began tripping, it had no codes to report. Does that help pinpoint things any better?

...
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5-spd manual trans

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Old 10-24-2019, 01:23 PM   #14
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Default Re: 2007 Ion Alarm/horn starts blowing by itself

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeHarrison View Post
Thanks for the additional info. I have an OBD code reader and, when using it the day after the panic alarm began tripping, it had no codes to report. Does that help pinpoint things any better?
No, it doesn't really help narrow things down. Again, just be sure to check all the main connections I previously mentioned because they are all common failure points on these cars.

...
2007 Ion 2 Quad Coupe 5-speed manual 182K miles
2007 Chevy Equinox LT 194K miles
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Old 10-24-2019, 02:44 PM   #15
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Default Re: 2007 Ion Alarm/horn starts blowing by itself

I'll give my techs everything you suggested. Thanks!

...
-------------------------
2007 Saturn Ion 2 Sedan 57K miles
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5-spd manual trans

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Old 10-24-2019, 07:26 PM   #16
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Default Re: 2007 Ion Alarm/horn starts blowing by itself

Quote:
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..... I have an OBD code reader and, when using it the day after the panic alarm began tripping, it had no codes to report. Does that help pinpoint things any better?
Beware of OBD II readers. Most generic readers decode almost every 'P' code. Generic readers only decode emissions related issues, the ones that turn on the check engine light and fails state emissions inspections in states following federal emissions regulations. In general, if the check engine light is OFF, the vehicle already meets emissions requirements before having an inspection. If the cel is ON, it means the vehicle won't meet emissions inspection (fails inspection). There are other error codes not decoded by generic readers; 'B' 'C', and 'U' codes. There are two indicators related to vehicle error codes; the engine and wrench symbol. The wrench indicator isn't emissions related but does indicate body, chassis or network error codes. Better (more expensive) readers can decode errors when the wrench light turns on.

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