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Old 11-28-2008, 09:29 PM   #1
Smoothcat
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2005 ION-3 Sedan
Default Ion Engine Trouble

I haven't really found an answer to this by searching. And I'll also preface this by saying I am not very keen when it comes to technical matters involving engines, so please, keep it in Layman's terms for me.

I'm wondering if anybody can give me any ideas on what's wrong with my '05 Ion. This all started about a month ago, Halloween night to be exact. I noticed a funny "clicking" sound when I accelerated at low speeds. I ran some fuel system cleaner through the car and didn't pay much attention to it. Everything seemed to be okay.

Skip ahead about two weeks, and I'm driving home from work to hear the noise again, along with the Check Engine light coming on. Took it to AutoZone and they said it was a knock sensor. I'm usually a cautious person, so I took it to Saturn of Chattanooga the next day for them to have a look at it. Meanwhile people I know are telling me it sounds like the lifters. SoC looks at the car, runs an engine flush, and tells me they are 90% sure the problem is fixed. Over the next week I hear the noise one time, but otherwise the car seems to be fine.

Last week I am visiting my parents 200 miles from Chattanooga when the Check Engine light comes on again, along with the noise returning - and much worse this time. Also, the car seems to be very hesitant to accelerate at all. On my way back to 'Nooga I stop at Saturn of Huntsville to let them have a look. They agree it's the lifters, and I decide to have them replace them today.

So I go to pick the car up today and pay about $500 - with only 48,000 miles on the car they agreed to wave the cost of parts, so I paid labor. On the 60 mile drive back to my parents' house everything seems fine until I stop at a gas station. When I crank the car, the noise has returned, the light is back on, and the hesitation in acceleration is back. I am just... confused.

So Saturn has agreed to take the car back in on Monday, and give me a vehicle to drive back home to Chattanooga until they figure out what the problem is. Does anybody have any experience with this same issue? Is there something simple I (and the dealership) might be overlooking? Or is this something major that is going to cost my family some Christmas gifts from me? Should I even take it back to the dealer or try something else? Should I call GM and curse them until I'm blue in the face?

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

...
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Old 11-28-2008, 10:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: Ion Engine Trouble

my 2 cents. a sound like that and the knock sensor reading can mean preignition or detonation, both detrimental to the engine. preignition is when the cylinder gets hot spots because of a problem and ignites the fuel/air mixtue before the piston reaches the top of the cylinder, putting a lot of stress on the engine. detonation is when the fuel and air in the cylinder explodes insead of burning, also puts a lot of stress on the engine. either one of these will destroy your engine if let go for long enough, but will surely cause some damage even short term. It could also be your rockers are bad, but there is no known problem with the valve train on these engines, so lifters, valves, all that should be good.

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Old 11-28-2008, 10:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: Ion Engine Trouble

It actually sounds like the knock sensor is either bad or you have a fuel or air sensor problem. The knock sensor is detecting knock which comes from timing changes. The computer will adjust fuel and air depending on atmospheric readings from certain sensors. If one of those sensors begin to fail, it throws a false indicator at the engine control module, thus making it adjust the fuel and air mix incorrectly and also advance timing incorrectly, causing knock. Well once the knock sensor detects knock, it tries to retard timing, thus lack of power (what you were feeling). I say you got a sensor on the blink. Wish I could help more, but I'd tell them they need to be looking at sensors. The knock isn't your lifters (obviously since they are new and doing the same thing), it's knock from your timing being advanced too far for whatever reason.

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Old 11-28-2008, 10:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Ion Engine Trouble

Dang, I was typing that as you replied. Good one! lol

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Old 11-28-2008, 10:17 PM   #5
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Default Re: Ion Engine Trouble

All of this sounds like valid theories to my untrained ears. I guess what makes me mad is, from the sound of things the lifters are likely not the problem. Yet, that's what both dealerships just assumed (when I told them that's what people had told me). I have potentially spent a lot of money for something that isn't even close to being the problem. Shouldn't the dealerships know to check for some of these things you guys are mentioning?

Very frustrating.

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Old 11-28-2008, 11:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: Ion Engine Trouble

yes, all of this is a possibility, but the valve train on these engines is pretty much bulletproof (it'll handle double what our engines make HP wise). you should be frustrated, because these are the most likely causes, not the lifters.

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Old 11-30-2008, 11:31 AM   #7
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Default Re: Ion Engine Trouble

Have they performed an oil pressure test on this vehicle?

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Old 12-23-2008, 06:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: Ion Engine Trouble

I have been having a knock sensor problem also. Without expressing my frustration (smile), does anyone know where the knock sensor is located if I try to replace it on my own? Appears it should be easy.....disconnect the electrical switch, unscrew the sensor, screw in the new one, connect the electrical and done. Or, I completely misunderstood and it will be harder than that? Thanks for any feedback.

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Old 12-23-2008, 08:48 PM   #9
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Default Re: Ion Engine Trouble

support the car on jackstands, remove the starter motor, disconnect the electrical connector, then the retaining bolt.

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