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Old 04-03-2016, 05:46 PM   #1
KronKyrios
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Dizzy 2003 Ion, lots of electrical failures all at once

I installed a new mirror on my 2003 ion. I adjusted the mirror, at first it adjusted properly. Then I reached the end of the adjustment and held it there for a second, and all of a sudden I lost my AC, radio and the blinker, and of course, the power mirror. I also found out the hazards wont work, and the power windows won't work. Also, the dash told me to service power steering, which is electrical on this car. I am sure there are other things that don't work but it's obvious something happened with the mirror that caused all of this to go out.

Oddly, though the radio doesn't work the clock on the radio does. And, though the blinkers don't work,the brake lights do.

I disconnected the mirror. I checked all the fuses. Pulled and reseated all the relays. Swapped the relay relating to the PCM with the one from the rear defogger. I disconnected and reconnected the battery.

Any ideas?

Ken
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Old 04-03-2016, 06:20 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2003 Ion, lots of electrical failures all at once

Which mirror? Left, right, rear view?
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2003 Ion, lots of electrical failures all at once

It turns out I missed a bad fuse on my visual inspection. I didn't find it until I was double checking them with an ohm meter. It was the 7.5A BCM ELECT fuse in the interior fuse compartment. I just used the 7.5A cruise control fuse to get going again. I will have to get some more fuses tonight.

This has been solved, but I am curious where you were heading with your question, Fdryer. I have read many of your posts over the years and have a great deal of respect for you, but I can't figure out what difference it would make which part of the electronic system the overload came from. Please enlighten me with your thought process.

BTW, It was the passenger side mirror which i had just replaced with one i had picked up at a Junkyard. Now, I am going to just leave the power connector disconnected because i don't need to adjust it that often.

Ken

P.S. another odd thing was that, when the problem first started, I still had my dash lights and Guages, but somewhere in the troubleshooting, I lost those as well as anything else I could do that required electrical... except the clock on the radio still worked fine.. and the car still started and ran fine.

Last edited by KronKyrios; 04-03-2016 at 07:42 PM. Reason: additional information
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2003 Ion, lots of electrical failures all at once

While some questions may seem oblique, off the wall, electrical circuits are not. Depending on specific info not provided, I ask specific questions so I don't waste time finding wiring diagrams only to be informed later that misinformation was given......... As you found out, finding a blown fuse on your own without anyone knowing any more info also prevents me from guessing which diagrams to look up. Fuses are specific to electrical circuits so better descriptions lets me search better.
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2003 Ion, lots of electrical failures all at once

OK, not solved. Now that I replaced that fuse, the car will not crank. It acts like a battery with insufficient power (no click, no crank, dash lights go out when trying), so I hooked up jumper cables to another car until it reached 14v. I am still getting a battery warning light on my dash.

Rechecked fuses relating to ignition, crank, and run.

Last edited by KronKyrios; 04-03-2016 at 09:29 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2003 Ion, lots of electrical failures all at once

I should mention, I drove it across town in the poor condition stated above. That's why I thought dead battery. I figured the alternator didn't charge it all the way home.

Also my ignition recall has been fixed

I didn't do the cruise control thing until I got home, is the any way the cruse control could keep the car from starting?

Going to try disconnecting the battery, how long do I need to leave it unhooked to reset the. .. PCM was it?
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2003 Ion, lots of electrical failures all at once

Either the original problem and fuse replacement created this new problem or its a separate issue. Removing the cruise control fuse to use it to restore electric mirror function isn't preventing this no start problem. Did the 7.5 amp BCM fuse blow again? The bcm has a large role in several areas, the most important is to make a security check, Passlock, with turning of the ignition switch to allow or disallow engine starting/running. Power is supplied to the bcm in several fuses and blowing one of them may have caused this no-start issue.
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:17 AM   #8
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Default Re: 2003 Ion, lots of electrical failures all at once

I checked all the fuses with BCM,ECM, crank and ignition in the title. I tested most the other fuses by turning on systems. I can presume the fuse works if the system works, right? I Will have to check the rest tomorrow evening.

The passlock light does not come on after the test but I did the reset trick anyway without success.

Is there a handy list of everything that passes through the bcm, so I can check all those fuses first?

Last edited by KronKyrios; 04-04-2016 at 12:25 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 04-05-2016, 06:07 AM   #9
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Default Re: 2003 Ion, lots of electrical failures all at once

No check list exists for the bcm. Unless you were hiding under a rock for some time, every car with EFI, abs/tc/esc, airbags, OnStar, steering wheel controls, auto climate control (hvac), xmission control, etc., are all about electronics including more cars using electronic drive by wire throttle. Just asking for a list of what electronically occurs during bcm operation will need an above average knowledge of electronics, software, flow charts and maybe an engineering degree or four otherwise the majority of us diyers look to the tried and true method of KISS (keep it stupidly simple). There's always the occasional diyer trying plug n' play methods and find out this can bite anyone not familiar with 'integrated' EFI systems with theft programs like Passlock/ Passkey-III, etc..
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Old 02-19-2018, 11:29 AM   #10
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Thumbs Up Re: 2003 Ion, lots of electrical failures all at once

I am reviving this old post to provide an update. After my last post here I did a ton of searching and only found one other guy who had this same problem. It was almost the exact same situation, but instead of a mirror from a junkyard, it was the factory installed mirror. Everything else, including all the dash lights staying on after the key was removed was identical to my problem. He had a mechanic get it running and the problem came up again when he went to adjust the mirror a second time (DOH!)

He never did get a clear answer or reply with a solution.

(search = Charlie5loadclr ion bcm = on Google and you will find the post I found)

Anyway, I figured it must have needed a reset, so I tried everything I could to reset the computer. Unplugged the battery and held the positive and negative cables together for a minute, tried leaving them off overnight, left them off for three days. Every time, same thing... no crank, no click, dash lights go out. I must have tried the 30-minute passlock reset 4 times.

I finally gave up and just let the car sit in my driveway.

It sat for about a year before I finally went to the junkyard to buy another BCM. Now, I did my research, I knew I couldn't just swap the BCM without getting it reprogrammed at the dealer. And I had read a number of horror stories about GM dealers not even knowing the proper procedures for reprogramming these, now that Saturn doesn't have any of their own dealerships any more. People were talking about spending $300-$2000 for service and not getting their car running in the end.

Swapping the BCM was never the plan. My father is an electronics whiz and he said he might be able to swap parts from a working BCM to mine. He said it should be a part near the blown fuse. All he would have to do is trace the line back from the fuse and check the first few parts.

So, I got the BCM, and dismantled it (OMG those things are hard to get apart). I told him my troubles getting the junker BCM open and he said since it was so difficult, he wanted to try some other things first. The first thing he did was smell the one that came out of my car. If a part had blown, it would probably still have an odor, even a year later. Since he didn't smell anything, he asked me to put it back in the car.

He wanted to see if the starter would fire by applying voltage to it directly, and whether the car would run if I turned the key at the same time (The battery had been fully charged for this).

When I turned the key, it fired up and ran! He hadn't touched the voltage to the starter yet!!

:

WTH?

I hadn't done anything to it but let it sit for a year!

The only thing I can figure is that the computer never actually reset before that, even after sitting for 3 days with the battery disconnected, somehow it held a charge.

Well, I did unplug and re-plug in the BCM. I hadn't done that before letting it sit. Maybe that was it, but I don't see how that would be different than discharging the battery. It could have been a bad connection, but having had a clear trigger for the original problem, it is hard to imagine a faulty connection was coincidental to it, especially with another person having the exact same "unrecoverable" issue with the exact same original trigger.

Anyway, everything has worked fine since then.
Happily driving my ION once again!!

Last edited by chronkyrios; 02-19-2018 at 11:43 AM.
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