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Old 01-12-2003, 10:53 PM   #1
golftango
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Attention Problems with Ion

Has anyone experienced any problems with their Ion yet? My purchase date was 11/14 and I've had the following issues with less than 2800 miles:

Water pump leak, low coolant light on, replaced water pump

Exhaust leak/bad manifold gasket

Tires out of balance and out of allignment

5 sp auto trans is slipping between first and second gears (slamming into gear). Happend 3-4 times, dealer unable to duplicate.

I hope my Ion is not a lemon!

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Old 01-12-2003, 11:09 PM   #2
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Thats quite a few problems

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Old 01-12-2003, 11:54 PM   #3
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I've experienced nothing like that yet but I've only had mine a couple of weeks with about 700 miles on it. I've noted your comments and will keep watching. FWIW, when did you notice these problems in terms of mileage and what tipped you off to the alignment issue? Handling, tire wear, road noise ??????

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Old 01-13-2003, 01:53 AM   #4
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that is a lot of problems.

my ion has 3200 miles as of today.

got the oil changed at saturn on friday, and they did the 3000 mile runover thing, and everything was good. i've had none of those problems, or any other problems to speak of.

i haven't noticed any tire problems, either. i do notice that the car isn't as quiet when it's cold out, like right now, but that's been every car i've ever driven. except this chevy lumina that we rented for a trip once. it was almost 0 degrees out the whole trip, but you couldn't even tell that car was on. i was surprised, to say the least. it was a lumina from the last year they made them.
anyway, with my ION...
i took delivery on 12/2. looks like i'm outpacing you!

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Old 01-13-2003, 08:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by John8
I've experienced nothing like that yet but I've only had mine a couple of weeks with about 700 miles on it. I've noted your comments and will keep watching. FWIW, when did you notice these problems in terms of mileage and what tipped you off to the alignment issue? Handling, tire wear, road noise ??????
There was a vibration at highway speeds from day one and the car was pulling to the left. The tech confirmed this on a test drive. The low coolant light/water pump happened at 1600 miles and the trans issue at 2500 miles.

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Old 01-13-2003, 08:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by golftango
There was a vibration at highway speeds from day one and the car was pulling to the left. The tech confirmed this on a test drive.
Wow, the Delta platform has managed to copy the old Vectra/L-series steering vibration, unbelievable! Firestone tires, right? Let's hope for Saturn's sake that this is an isolated issue.

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Old 01-13-2003, 11:06 AM   #7
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Serious Problem!!!!

DO NOT but a BIG GULP in the the left front cupholder. You will not be able to put the gear selector forward enough to release the key.

STOP NIT PICKING!!!

The ION is fabulous and great in the snow ( I live in Toronto) and everyone loves it.

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Old 01-13-2003, 04:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by saturncanuck
Serious Problem!!!!

DO NOT but a BIG GULP in the the left front cupholder. You will not be able to put the gear selector forward enough to release the key.

....
The VUE doesn't have THAT problem.

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Old 01-13-2003, 04:23 PM   #9
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Yow! This post scares me! I'm dealing with the same thing with my jetta-from-hell (see the Off Topics post).

I hope Saturn corrects all these problems before they sell me my Quad Coupe.

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Old 01-13-2003, 07:59 PM   #10
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Actually, I don't consider this either "nit picking" OR "a lot of problems" considering it is a very early example of a nearly new from the ground up car.

Hopefully everything will settle out for you now. The only thing that I would consider as possibly serious would be any problem with the transmission. We have not heard of any transmission problems here. If it is a real problem it will get worse and you will know. Does this happen only when you are accelerating? I've seen auto transmissions shift noisily when I've accelerated near a shift point or after a brief hesitation in forward momentum. You may just be confusing the transmission electronics about whether you are slowing down or speeding up(?).

1) Is this your first Saturn?

2) How have the service staff been when you bring the car in for these problems?

Almost any new car can have a few teething problems, particularly in the first model year. There is a BIG difference between makes in how problems get resolved, however. When my Saturn was new I had a few problems like those you mention: The coolant light came on due to lost coolant (this was fixed with some pellets - which concerned me at the time - but 110K miles later there has been no further problem. I got a driver's side window rattle which was repaired (again, no further problem). I had a transmission leak (replacement gasket/no further problem). After about 3-6 months I really didn't have any more problems until I replaced the alternater at around 82K miles. Whenever I have had any problem with my car the response has been so quick and painless it has hardly seemed like a problem. My experience with my previous car was just the opposite, unreliable, plus poor service, and many many repeat visits for the same problems.

I hope that your ION gives you as much pleasure as my SW2 continues to give me after 10 years. Please be sure to let us know what your experience is!

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Old 01-13-2003, 08:57 PM   #11
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golftango,

I'm becoming increasingly concerned with the way my Ion downshifts. I have no problems while accelerating. The downshifts are rather hard to miss.

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Old 01-13-2003, 09:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by ducklet
Yow! This post scares me! I'm dealing with the same thing with my jetta-from-hell (see the Off Topics post).

I hope Saturn corrects all these problems before they sell me my Quad Coupe.
The issue with the trans slamming into gear has been occuring while accelerating slowly from a stop. It's happened three times last week, twice in one night, and has yet to happen again. I've had other cars with auto transmissions and what is occuring is not normal. Regarding the vibration/allignment, this was corrected, therefore not really an issue. They are Firestone tires I believe (16"). I wouldn't steer anyone from purchasing an Ion with these issues, I just guess that this comes with the territory of owning a vehicle in it's first year in production.

The dealer has been great as far as fixing my Ion. The only quirk I have is I purchased an extended warranty and the finance manager said verbatim "If you bring your car in for service, there will be a car waiting here for you to use". I found that translates to "we'll call Enterprise to pick you up and stick you in a Chevy Metro, and it will be covered if the repair is covered by your extended warranty.

I'm not new to bugs and quirks, my other car is a VW. Enough said (although I still love my VW).

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Last edited by golftango; 01-13-2003 at 09:54 PM..

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Old 01-13-2003, 10:05 PM   #13
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Devil

Hey, GolfTango, I've got a beautiful, brand new 2003 VW Jetta that you might like to purchase!

If you don't buy an extended warranty, does that mean Saturn dealers won't give you a loaner when your car's in the shop while under warranty? That SUCKS, if that's the case.

Does the Ion use a significantly different transmission from other models? Why the "new breed" problems?

'Nuther question: is it possible to request a different kind of tire when you buy an Ion? (*anything* but Firestone, please!)

--nervous ducklet

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Old 01-13-2003, 10:41 PM   #14
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to answer one question, the only way i know of to replace the firehawks is to buy replacement tires when you get the car.

or, if you had an L series with lots of suspension problems, you could get them to replace those with expensive toyo tires to try and "fix" the problem, only to have the problem remain, and you get better tires out of the deal. albeit a screwed up suspension, still.

but yeah, the auto in the ION is a different one for GM. it's made by asisn (i'm spelling that wrong, i think), a japanese supplier that also makes transmissions for porsche and audi.

so it should, i theory, be a good tranny. that may be a dud tranny, though.

i would recommend you keep on the dealer about the downshifting problem. they will eventually have to check it out even if they can't "duplicate the problem"

transmission problems are almost always intermittent until the thing totally dies. just ask anyone with a 87-97 taurus. you KNEW it was going to go, but they wouldn't fix it, because it never did anything bad while in the garage or in the dealership's hands.

i had a friend who went to the dealer, complaining about the transmission jerking, they said it wasn't, and 3 miles from the dealership, the car refused to shift out of first at a redlight. that transmission never made it to second gear again. all the saturn dealers i have experience with are much better to their customers.

that's one thing i can tell you, ducklet. if you bought a saturn, you'd find the people treat you with a lot more respect than the average VW/Honda/Toyota dealer. maybe it's because they have to, but maybe not.

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Old 01-13-2003, 11:33 PM   #15
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Funny you should mention Audi, benpatient -- I just read this post on the VW site. WARNING: it's R-rated, so watch out, you young Saturn owners!

I don't think Audi's are known for reliability. Don't know about Porsches.

With that Car & Driver article:
Quote:
"This [the Ion] is probably the most disappointing American car in a decade...Discordant and unharmonious styling that comes together as a orgy of chamfers, cutlines, Royal Gorge door gaps...and kit-car panel fits...The dinky, insubstantial steering wheel filled with a gigantic airbag makes it look like something out of a go-kart...The steering feels unintuitive and demands that the driver make constant course corrections."
What are the "door gaps" mentioned, and is steering really a problem?

As for the styling orgy, I dig it!

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Old 01-13-2003, 11:48 PM   #16
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The new ION 3 I tested Saturday also "slammed" into gear especially on downshifts.

Once had a 66 Plymouth that shifted like this. Of course, it was normal since this car was an ex CHP cruiser special with a high pressure lock up Torqueflite coupled to a 440 Mopar. What a snarling beast that was.

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Old 01-14-2003, 01:25 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by ducklet
What are the "door gaps" mentioned, and is steering really a problem?

As for the styling orgy, I dig it!
The door gaps they're refering to are the ones between the panels. They are bigger on Saturns to give the polymer room to expand and contract with buckling. It's always been a gripe about Saturns.It doesn't bother me at all though,especially knowing my car will remain rust and dent free for years.I'll take panel gaps anyday.

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Old 01-14-2003, 02:00 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by ducklet
'Nuther question: is it possible to request a different kind of tire when you buy an Ion? (*anything* but Firestone, please!)

--nervous ducklet
The firehawks are decent tires. They do reasonably well in wet/winter weather. They're alot better than the Affinities you'll find on the SLx/SWx. One note though, do not completely rule out Bridgestone/Firestone (same company). Tires such as the Bridgestone RE950's are excellent all-season tires. Even the stock tires on the 1st gen Saturns were pretty good. Firehawk SH30's were they? I always forget the designation on those.

Matt

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Old 01-14-2003, 12:30 PM   #19
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yeah. i think SH30 is right. i remember when we had to replace them, and we found out how much they were, we decided to let bs/fs go and get another brand.

porsches are known to run forever with relatively no upkeep. most 911s even from the 60s are still out and about. well, they need more attention than say a camry, typically, but they're thoroughbred sports cars, and there isn't another exotic with anything approacing the reliability. go to edmunds.com, i think it was, and read their long term test updates on a ferrari they managed to snag, and you'll see what i mean. a car shouldn't die on the way home from the ferrari dealership with 20 miles on it.

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Old 01-15-2003, 01:03 AM   #20
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Quote:
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yeah. i think SH30 is right. i remember when we had to replace them, and we found out how much they were, we decided to let bs/fs go and get another brand.

porsches are known to run forever with relatively no upkeep. most 911s even from the 60s are still out and about. well, they need more attention than say a camry, typically, but they're thoroughbred sports cars, and there isn't another exotic with anything approacing the reliability. go to edmunds.com, i think it was, and read their long term test updates on a ferrari they managed to snag, and you'll see what i mean. a car shouldn't die on the way home from the ferrari dealership with 20 miles on it.
Not in my experience.

Porsche's require lots of upkeep. They are not the kind of cars that you can use as a daily driver and go to 130K without lots of attention...but who cares...nobody is looking into a 911 as a commuter car to replace an aging S series.

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