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Old 02-28-2010, 01:06 PM   #1
aimeesnyder
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Default REALLY frustrating coolant issue

Hi,

I'm a frustrated owner of a 2004 Ion 3. The issue I'm having started at 97,000 miles.

As soon as my car reaches its normal operating temperature, my COOLANT warning comes on. My coolant levels are fine (checked by myself, a friend, a mechanic, and a dealership.). I'm not overheating. Everything is normal except the warning. I'll press the button to make it go away, but it will continue to periodically flash at me for my entire journey.

So here's the frustrating part:

Took it to BOTH the Chevrolet dealership in town (who took over Saturn's repairs once the dealership closed) and an independent mechanic. Both of them said that there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with my car. No coolant issue. No tank issue. No sensor issue.

I don't believe that they are looking hard enough. Something HAS to be wrong.

I don't have the extra money floating around to just start replacing parts until my car stops beeping at me. It doesn't seem to be doing any damage to my car, so really, its just an ANNOYANCE.

Please help. WHAT should I tell one of these mechanics to do to make it stop??? (other than just simply disconnecting the warning. Because none of them will do that.)

Thanks so much,

Aimee

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Old 02-28-2010, 01:24 PM   #2
2006 ion2
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2007 ION-2 Sedan
Default Re: REALLY frustrating coolant issue

well, it can be a temp. warning or the level warning, but it sounds like you're getting the level warning. this sensor is integral to the coolant overflow tank, and needs to be replaced as a unit, you are not the first to have this issue, and every car I've dealt with seems to have this sensor go at some point in it's life. this is not a hard part to replace, you or one of your mechanically inclined friends can do it in under 30 minutes.

...
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2003 Chevrolet venture lt

trifecta dealer for the U.P. and WI. There is no two door ion. Proudly driving one of the last saturns produced before gm killed the brand.

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Old 02-28-2010, 01:35 PM   #3
mars1100
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2003 ION-3 Quad Coupe
Default Re: REALLY frustrating coolant issue

there is a plug somewhere near the front of the car by the fan, make sure it is plugged in. (i don't know exactly where it is as i did not fix it)
This happened to me on Friday and Saturn plugged it and cleared the codes for me, before they closed shop.

Good Luck

...
2003 ION Quad Coupe
5 Speed

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Old 02-28-2010, 03:12 PM   #4
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: REALLY frustrating coolant issue

(1) Radiator Surge Tank
(2) Coolant Level Switch Connector

Tried overfilling a little bit more than needed? Sometimes the simplest accomplishes the most.

You can always remove the reservoir container (as recommended in the other forums with good results) and slosh HOT water mixed with some dishwasher detergent to rid the container of built up scum that may be causing the float mechanism within to stick. This may be causing the low coolant light to turn on.

As a last resort the low coolant electrical connector can be unplugged and a wire/paper clip inserted into the connector as a short to turn off the low coolant light. This does mean that you'll have to pay more attention to keeping the coolant level filled but if no coolant is ever lost, the level can be checked at the same time as the oil level.
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Old 03-03-2010, 01:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: REALLY frustrating coolant issue

With the older Saturns you removed the expansion tank and cleaned it out with warm water and shaking dish soap then rinse clean and reinstall. I think there is even a youtube how-to video on doing it.

...
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Old 03-03-2010, 06:34 PM   #6
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Default Re: REALLY frustrating coolant issue

I just went through the same exact thing, once again it was the sensor.

To help you determine the coolant warning problem, see if you have a local auto parts store that will scan your car for free.

We have AutoZone parts stores around my house and they will do a code scan of your vehicle for free. Lucky for me, no codes are good codes. So, the only thing left is a sensor going bad in the Radiator Surge Tank.

I perform the same steps mentioned by other members (fdryer, 2006 ion2 and mars1100), filled the tank with warm water, put a small amount of dawn dishwashing liquid in it. Slosh the mixture around for five minutes then let it stand for a few more minutes. Then rinse it really well, repeated the rinsing if necessary to ensure there is no soap residue left. In most cases this will fix the problem however its only a short-term fix, not permanent fix.

Side Note: When I was disconnecting the wire from the sensor, I found a lot of corrosion in the socket connector... this corrosion can also give false readings on the coolant. Later I found out that a small crack had happened at the point the sensor is inserted into the tank and this also explained the small coolant loss I was experiencing.

The Radiator Surge Tank was replaced and the coolant warning is no more.

I hope my experience helps you.

...
One very sad 2003 ION-2 Sedan

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