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Old 09-10-2013, 06:44 PM   #1
ramsdellcp
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Default Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

Hello everyone, long time lurker, first time poster.

I've had my 08 Vue since it was new, it's 5 years old now with 92K miles. Have had to replace the front passenger side wheel bearing, no other repairs made on the car. No accidents.

About a year ago I started getting issues with the battery. Out of the blue the battery would be completely dead overnight, no interior or exterior lights left on to cause it. I would recharge the battery and the car would be fine then about 8 months later the battery would be dead again. Around the same time I started having issues with starting the vehicle. I would turn the key but all I would hear is a "click" from the engine bay. After several attempts of turning the key, the car would finally start. The starter sounds healthy and is able to start the car in less than a second.

The latter problem has gotten increasingly worse sometimes not starting for a good minute of trying to turn the key. As this problem got worse, other electrical problems started to pop up. The first was intermittent A/C & Heat. The fan for the A/C and Heat would turn off and on while the car was driving. Eventually the A/C would turn on and off when the key is not even in the ignition!

At the same time this happened, I also noticed that every time the A/C turned on/off I could hear the compressor in the engine bay engage and disengage. Also, as this went on the car would ring it's seatbelt bell as if the car was being turned on for the first time, after the seatbelt rings ended, the A/C would turn on then about 20 seconds later turn back off. Then the whole thing would cycle after a random amount of time where the seatbelt bell would ring again and the A/C turning on shortly after that. The car now rings its seatbelt bell and cycles the blower for the heat/ac vents as if a key was turning on the car and there isn't a key in the ignition!

I've tried some basic troubleshooting and have found out this so far:

1. not based on making left or right hand turns.
2. is not effected by usage of radio. radio is unaffected and remains on during the cycling of the A/C and seatbelt alarm
3. Check engine light has been on for about a year (just don't have the money to take it in the mechanic)
4. ABS and traction control lights have been on since about a year after I bought the car

If anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears! I'm hoping I can fix this problem myself and save a bundle that I can't afford!

Thanks for your time,

Chris
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramsdellcp View Post
Hello everyone, long time lurker, first time poster.

I've had my 08 Vue since it was new, it's 5 years old now with 92K miles. Have had to replace the front passenger side wheel bearing, no other repairs made on the car. No accidents.

About a year ago I started getting issues with the battery. Out of the blue the battery would be completely dead overnight, no interior or exterior lights left on to cause it. I would recharge the battery and the car would be fine then about 8 months later the battery would be dead again. Around the same time I started having issues with starting the vehicle. I would turn the key but all I would hear is a "click" from the engine bay. After several attempts of turning the key, the car would finally start. The starter sounds healthy and is able to start the car in less than a second.

The latter problem has gotten increasingly worse sometimes not starting for a good minute of trying to turn the key. As this problem got worse, other electrical problems started to pop up. The first was intermittent A/C & Heat. The fan for the A/C and Heat would turn off and on while the car was driving. Eventually the A/C would turn on and off when the key is not even in the ignition!

At the same time this happened, I also noticed that every time the A/C turned on/off I could hear the compressor in the engine bay engage and disengage. Also, as this went on the car would ring it's seatbelt bell as if the car was being turned on for the first time, after the seatbelt rings ended, the A/C would turn on then about 20 seconds later turn back off. Then the whole thing would cycle after a random amount of time where the seatbelt bell would ring again and the A/C turning on shortly after that. The car now rings its seatbelt bell and cycles the blower for the heat/ac vents as if a key was turning on the car and there isn't a key in the ignition!

I've tried some basic troubleshooting and have found out this so far:

1. not based on making left or right hand turns.
2. is not effected by usage of radio. radio is unaffected and remains on during the cycling of the A/C and seatbelt alarm
3. Check engine light has been on for about a year (just don't have the money to take it in the mechanic)
4. ABS and traction control lights have been on since about a year after I bought the car

If anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears! I'm hoping I can fix this problem myself and save a bundle that I can't afford!

Thanks for your time,

Chris
Chris ... don't give up - I'll find time over weekend to check possibilities.
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:34 AM   #3
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

Can this be as simple as a worn out battery (original, now 5yrs old?)?
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Old 09-13-2013, 02:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramsdellcp View Post

I've tried some basic troubleshooting and have found out this so far:

3. Check engine light has been on for about a year (just don't have the money to take it in the mechanic)
4. ABS and traction control lights have been on since about a year after I bought the car

If anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears! I'm hoping I can fix this problem myself and save a bundle that I can't afford!

Thanks for your time,

Chris
See fdryer post - verify condition of battery and all red and black cable connections. Either battery or cables can provide current to latch start relay but then refuse to "carry" 200 amps needed to turn starter.

Many auto stores will check reason for service light at no charge. That data can save time and money in long run.

The ABS/TCS light is commonly caused by connections in rear part of Vue. There's a connector in that area also related to fail-to-start condition.

I'll post screen shot of one service bulletin and need to find the other. Connector X408 is implicated in both.

Send email address by private message (left click on my screen name) if you'd like the complete service bulletin.
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Old 09-14-2013, 10:26 AM   #5
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by far2grumpy View Post
See fdryer post - verify condition of battery and all red and black cable connections. Either battery or cables can provide current to latch start relay but then refuse to "carry" 200 amps needed to turn starter.

Many auto stores will check reason for service light at no charge. That data can save time and money in long run.

The ABS/TCS light is commonly caused by connections in rear part of Vue. There's a connector in that area also related to fail-to-start condition.

I'll post screen shot of one service bulletin and need to find the other. Connector X408 is implicated in both.

Send email address by private message (left click on my screen name) if you'd like the complete service bulletin.
far2grumpy you have been extremely helpful!!!! The x408 connector had serious corrosion and shorts from what i assume to be water damage. 3 pins had shorted out and left a good amount of carbon residue on the connection terminals. I am so estatic that after a year of problems that you have been able to help me out with this. I'm in the process of splicing and soldering all of the wires for this plug right now. Will post up pics with results as soon as I finish it.

far2grumpy - I am so appreciative of this, something that you didn't have to do but you did it b/c obviously you like to help people out so I'd like to return the favor. do you have anything on amazon.com that you would like me to purchase for you as a gift as my way of saying thanks? perhaps a automotive tool/device you've been eyeing for a while - let me know!

thank you so much again!!
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

I've ran into a bit of a road block. I've spliced all the wires and soldered them but I still have the same electrical problems. I was so sure this was the problem since plug had shorted terminals. while splicing i noticed that there are two pins without it's female pair, they are pin #1 and #10. they seem to be dead ends a place to put a wire. one is red and the other black. I think they are positive and negative leads, do these need to go anywhere?
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Can this be as simple as a worn out battery (original, now 5yrs old?)?
thanks for the response fdryer, the battery was replaced last year
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Old 09-14-2013, 01:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

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far2grumpy you have been extremely helpful!!!! The x408 connector had serious corrosion and shorts from what i assume to be water damage. 3 pins had shorted out and left a good amount of carbon residue on the connection terminals. I am so estatic that after a year of problems that you have been able to help me out with this. I'm in the process of splicing and soldering all of the wires for this plug right now. Will post up pics with results as soon as I finish it.

far2grumpy - I am so appreciative of this, something that you didn't have to do but you did it b/c obviously you like to help people out so I'd like to return the favor. do you have anything on amazon.com that you would like me to purchase for you as a gift as my way of saying thanks? perhaps a automotive tool/device you've been eyeing for a while - let me know!

thank you so much again!!
I don't deserve your thanks - much less a gift - since problems still exists.

A later post confirms problems are present - and you asked about pins 1 and 10.

I've attached pin-out data for connector X408 indicating these pin are populated for LE5 (2.4), LY7 (3.6) and LZ4 (3.5).

I'm searching for where they may go - I thought perhaps AWD - do you have?

I've also attach extract for data-bus connection. X408 is in lower right corner and you'll note pins 6 and 7 either go to a rear clutch (AWD) or they're looped back by a 120 ohm resistor.

If you don't have AWD you should confirm this resistor is present (use ohm-meter) between these pins since any open - or unexpected resistance in data circuit - can cause problems.
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Old 09-14-2013, 02:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

I confirmed many of the wires in X408 are routed to/from AWD Rear Clutch Module, if so equipped.

It appears to me - if you don't have AWD - there should be six active wires in X408:

3 and 4 are left-side ABS
6 and 7 are High Speed LAN + and - (looped back by 120 ohm resistor)
8 and 9 are right-side ABS.

I've attached pin-outs for the clutch connector - the contact numbers bear no relationship to X408 numbers but you can track each wire by the Circuit Number (550 Ground, 2140 Battery Positive, 5986 Serial Data Comm Enable, etc).
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Old 09-14-2013, 04:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

I tried testing the resistance between pins 6 and 7 which came up with a reading of 0.00. Of the pins that were fried when I originally looked at it, it was pins 2 and 3 that were practically melted. I notice pin 2 is connected to the serial data communication circuit and was wondering if there was another area to check for shorted wires that could have resulted from pin 2 in the x408 connecting melting?

Some good news - my traction control works now, able to turn it on and off. ABS light is still on however. check engine light is also on, going to take it to a autozone and have them scan it tomorrow and see what codes show up.

I have XE 4 cylinder with FWD.
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Old 09-14-2013, 05:53 PM   #11
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

Quote:
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I tried testing the resistance between pins 6 and 7 which came up with a reading of 0.00. Of the pins that were fried when I originally looked at it, it was pins 2 and 3 that were practically melted. I notice pin 2 is connected to the serial data communication circuit and was wondering if there was another area to check for shorted wires that could have resulted from pin 2 in the x408 connecting melting?

Some good news - my traction control works now, able to turn it on and off. ABS light is still on however. check engine light is also on, going to take it to a autozone and have them scan it tomorrow and see what codes show up.

I have XE 4 cylinder with FWD.
Having a list of codes could be a big step forward.

I've attached path for x408 Pin 2 - you'll note its some level of voltage and is tied to other key systems (see diagram - x408 - pin 2 is near lower right corner).

Since pin 2 was tied to pin 3 (ABS sensor voltage) there are a few possibilities floating around. On the other hand the BCM and EBCM are generally pretty well protected from external harm.

I'm not sure what to think about the 0.00 ohm reading between 6 and 7. Did you read with the connector uncoupled? If you read 0 ohms looking downstream (away from front) it could indicate the tan (7) and tan/black (6) wires are shorted.

I would snip wires from 6 and 7 and connect a 120 ohm resistor between the contacts (carbon or precision - wattage 1/4 watt or bigger - should be available at Radio Shack).
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Old 09-14-2013, 06:49 PM   #12
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

i took the reading after i cut all the wires and soldered them together removing the x408 connector altogether. I basically put the ohm reader probe on the solder joints of 6 and 7.
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Old 09-14-2013, 08:34 PM   #13
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

While far2g goes the technical route, I try for the easy stuff............. What's alternator output at the battery terminals when idling? Output should be at least 13v, more like 14v+. Loose drive belt?
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Old 09-14-2013, 09:03 PM   #14
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

Quote:
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i took the reading after i cut all the wires and soldered them together removing the x408 connector altogether. I basically put the ohm reader probe on the solder joints of 6 and 7.
That resistance could be result of reading back through other components hanging on the data-bus. I don't have one so can't verify.

Hopefully, there be good information after the AutoZone visit. Any code starting with "U" indicates a data-bus problem.

You might have to isolate the new connection to make sure wires aren't shorted.
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:56 AM   #15
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

Finally went to Auto Zone to get the codes:

p0010
p0013
p0053
p0054
p0449



The first two have to do with a cam sensor solenoid according to the tech. Was wondering if this would have any effect on the inconsistent starting in my vehicle. If not, was wondering if it is something that you would consider a top priority to fix and why. The car when it is running, runs well.

I feel I should also noted that shortly after splicing the X408 connector pins together the traction control began working again for about 2 days, then the traction light came back on. After having the codes read, both the traction control and the ABS now work correctly. I just find it bizarre they would fix themselves long after the X408 connector was fixed.


I feel like there is still another short to hunt down somewhere since the same problems I was having before are all still present.

Thanks again for your help.

Chris
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:14 AM   #16
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramsdellcp View Post
Finally went to Auto Zone to get the codes:

p0010
p0013
p0053
p0054
p0449



The first two have to do with a cam sensor solenoid according to the tech. Was wondering if this would have any effect on the inconsistent starting in my vehicle. If not, was wondering if it is something that you would consider a top priority to fix and why. The car when it is running, runs well.

I feel I should also noted that shortly after splicing the X408 connector pins together the traction control began working again for about 2 days, then the traction light came back on. After having the codes read, both the traction control and the ABS now work correctly. I just find it bizarre they would fix themselves long after the X408 connector was fixed.


I feel like there is still another short to hunt down somewhere since the same problems I was having before are all still present.

Thanks again for your help.

Chris
Chris ... its good to know ABS and TCS are behaving as expected.

For the other issues - there are a few hints of an intermittent problem with the electrical system.

Here's what I think you've encountered so far:

1. Engine intermittently fails to turn-over. However, you apparently always note one or more clicks when key turned to start - (the click indicates security module, BCM, ECM and transmission circuits are operating as expected - see attached START circuit diagram).

2. Diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) are being set for intake and exhaust camshaft sensors: (a) intake cam CMP actuator (P0010) and (b) exhaust cam CMP actuator (P0013).

3. DTC's are (or have been set) for failed oxygen sensor heater circuits for pre-cat (P0053) and post-cat (P0054).

4. DTC has been set for failed EVAP canister vent solenoid circuit (P0449).

Fdryer previously suggested a battery problem - which is sounding better as we learn more.

You could be experiencing a large voltage sag when starter cranks ... this not only fails to provide sufficient start current but also reduces power to ECM low enough to cause a few DTC's.

I would clean and inspect all battery cables at battery, engine and starter motor and replace any with a hint of internal corrosion (bumps or bulges in insulation).

You might consider having a parts store do a battery load test - its becoming common for new batteries to fail much sooner than expected.

I use a voltmeter to test electrical system sag - my meter "saves" low and high excursions for period I have on. I attach across the battery + and _ terminals and once I apply load (crank engine) the meter tells me how low the voltage went.

I have four older (Honda-power) 3.5 Vue's in my family and it appears any sag below 8.5 to 9 volts when cranking should be investigated.
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:25 PM   #17
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

thank you again for your help far2grumpy. I will have the battery load tested at the shop tomorrow morning (thank you fdryer).

I was doing a major interior detailing this morning and during that cleaning I noticed that if I lock and unlock the doors via the driver's side power lock switch the seatbelt alarm and light would turn on briefly. I figured this might be worth mentioning for future reference for other 08 owners.

I have to confirm this next part with more tests but...

I noticed the car starts right up if I lock the doors via driver's side power lock switch before attempting to turn the ignition key. has worked the last 3 times, will continue to test and report back on any changes to this cycle.
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:40 PM   #18
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
While far2g goes the technical route, I try for the easy stuff............. What's alternator output at the battery terminals when idling? Output should be at least 13v, more like 14v+. Loose drive belt?
Thanks for the troubleshooting tips fdryer, when taking a reading of the alternator output, where should i put the probes of my multimeter? i see you said at the battery terminals, does this mean to put the probes on the cables connecting to the posts or the posts themselves, does it matter?

I have a cricket sound coming from the engine maybe this is the belt? The loose drive belt you mention, is that the belt that connects the alternator to the engine's crankshaft? sorry for ridiculous questions, I just really have no experience with this kind of work.

I was just wondering, why would a weak battery cause the ac/heat system to cycle on and off while the car is running?

thanks for your time,

chris
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Old 09-21-2013, 07:04 PM   #19
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

On each battery post are the battery cables connecting power to the car. Measuring directly on the two battery posts will give you readings with engine off for battery voltage and when the engine is running for alternator output, supplying power for all the electrical demands of a car while slowly charging the battery. The difference in voltages reflects the battery on standby and when the engine's running to allow the alternator to output higher voltage. The higher voltage is needed to recharge the battery. The battery, battery cables and their connections are key to correct power distribution.

A squealing belt may indicate a stretched belt and/or worn out belt tensioner. Squealing belt sounds means all the accessory driven items (power steering pump, water pump, alternator, and a/c compressor) won't have engine power to turn them as each tries to hold the belt from moving. The engine crankshaft pulley is always turning and if a loose belt is slipping, squealing occurs between belt and crankshaft pulley. Pressing down on the belt with your fingers is a simple way to test belt tension. Deflecting the belt more than an inch means the belt and tensioner is in question. Approximately 50 lbs of tension is used to keep the belt taut. Leveraging the belt tensioner to replace a belt will show how much force is exerted on spring loaded belt tensioners.
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:18 PM   #20
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2008 Unusual Electrical Problems

Hi fdryer,

I finally had to break down and bring it in to the dealership to fix the problems. For a week i would wake up to a dead battery and in -20F temps it's very frustrating.

Everyday for a week i get a call from them telling me they need to fix something else, here is the rundown:

first day: ignition switch and bcm - $750
Second day: ism - $300
third day: ripping apart interior looking for shorts
fourth day: they say cluster needs to be replaced

right now the total is $1750 and I'm at my wit's end with the expense. do these seem like logical things to replace based on my problems?

also, new problems have arisen - the car now starts by itself with just the key in the acc position
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