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Old 10-28-2013, 08:27 AM   #1
r2thomas
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2004 ION-3 Sedan
2004 VUE 2.2L
Default 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

2004 ION Manual Transmission
124k Miles

Repairs? Brakes, Rotors, Oil, Fuel and 12 Oct 2013 New Radiator (broke the old one and overheated).

New Plugs and Oil Change after the Radiator.
New Fuel Filter with the Oil Change.

No DTC's currently
Coolant Indicator ON

Car starts poorly some of the time. Today was one of the poor days, where it started, loped and stoped the first try (no touching the accelerator during the attempt). Second try same think. Tried a little more open on throttle and got no attempt to fire the third time. Fourth all the way down to clear rich condition. Got a backfire (yes that is what it sounded like) and ten a rough loping start with no smothing out until run up the accel slowly and rpm caught up.

smoothed out. Cool wet morning. (45 degrees, foggy)

shutdown and restarted an hour later. Started first try but was rough idle and revved it up and it smothed out.

Exhaust plumes when it starts hard have a fuel smell, and it works fine most of the time, and always in warm weather.

PM for Timing Chain not done yet.
Valves/heads never worked.
Coil Packs original

Battery replaced 2 years ago. It gave us a lot of trouble starting but symptoms seemed different.

Help or suggestions?

Afternoons it runs fine. Car does short hops (5-6 miles each way to/from work in city traffic for 5 days a week)

Have inexpensive Code reader.

Basic tools but no lift. Medium to simple instructions followed gladly

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Old 10-28-2013, 12:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

Quote:
Originally Posted by r2thomas View Post
2004 ION Manual Transmission
124k Miles....Repairs? Brakes, Rotors, Oil, Fuel and 12 Oct 2013 New Radiator .....New Plugs and Oil Change after the Radiator.....New Fuel Filter with the Oil Change....No DTC's currently....Coolant Indicator ON

Car starts poorly some of the time. ...... Exhaust plumes when it starts hard have a fuel smell, and it works fine most of the time, and always in warm weather......Afternoons it runs fine. Car does short hops (5-6 miles each way to/from work in city traffic for 5 days a week).......
Short trips every day means oil changes needed sooner since overnight condensation never boils out of a slightly warm engine. Driving longer than 15-30 minutes tends to thoroughly warm up engines while boiling out condensation collecting in all short trips. A tell tale sign is a creamy sludge build up around the oil cap some have reported - every one mentioning it was found to be short trip drivers. Once a week driving, an hour or so will keep moisture out of the engine/exhaust system otherwise oil sludging can occur with gradual corrosion damaging metal parts in long term use without modifying oil change intervals. If you have and use the oil life monitor then it should be alerting you to earlier oil changes. Another issue with short trips can be build up in and around the throttle. Cleaning gummed deposits may help.

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Old 10-29-2013, 06:46 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

Well guess I spoke too soon.

Got DTC P0341 yesterday but even though we did not use the reader to clear it the code cleared itself when the car went out to dinner.

REALLY hard start today.

Any suggestions?

In the old SL2 it would have been replace the temperature sensor, and do new plugs and wires.

This one has new plugs, but I have no clue how to tell about good or bad packs.

The P0341 notes I read were mostly the old SL2 suggestions about spark and such.

IS IT THE SAME for the ION?


Thanks

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Old 10-29-2013, 09:27 AM   #4
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Default Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

yup, replace the temperature sensor for a camshaft position sensor code... no.

the 200x-2006 l61 2.2L ecotec uses a unique setup. it has a 2 coil "coil pack" and an ignition control module, with each coil firing two cylinders at a time (called a waste spark ignition system). the coil pack, plugs, and control module all work as an ignition system AND a camshaft position sensor.

what plugs did you put in it? you have a bad camshaft position sensor, replace the coil pack and control module.

...
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Old 10-29-2013, 03:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

Quote:
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Well guess I spoke too soon....Got DTC P0341 yesterday but even though we did not use the reader to clear it the code cleared itself when the car went out to dinner....REALLY hard start today.....This one has new plugs, but I have no clue how to tell about good or bad packs......The P0341 notes I read were mostly the old SL2 suggestions about spark and such. .....IS IT THE SAME for the ION?
Yes it is as each model uses similar ignition systems except your coils and icm are sitting on top of the engine. This tends to cook things.......some have failures in one or the other component. If the (implied) misfiring is random with the check engine light turning off on its own then this may be another issue of short trip driving - moisture/condensation on ignition parts.

2006 ion2 is pointing to the icm/coil pack as P0341 (cam position error with no cam sensor) does imply ignition related problems. Short of replacing one or both, removing and inspecting each may show wear and tear where some TLC may help. High voltage coil packs may display carbon arc traces as high voltage jumps thru plastic to engine ground instead of jumping a spark plug gap. Corrosion on electrical connections cleaned up may help to reduce or eliminate random P0341's before replacing parts.

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Old 10-31-2013, 11:11 AM   #6
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Default Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2006 ion2 View Post
yup, replace the temperature sensor for a camshaft position sensor code... no.

the 200x-2006 l61 2.2L ecotec uses a unique setup. it has a 2 coil "coil pack" and an ignition control module, with each coil firing two cylinders at a time (called a waste spark ignition system). the coil pack, plugs, and control module all work as an ignition system AND a camshaft position sensor.

what plugs did you put in it? you have a bad camshaft position sensor, replace the coil pack and control module.
Plugs Iridium autolite.

Car did not start at all yesterday. Replaced coil pack and icm at same time since it was in a public parking structure. Started but still not quite right. Started again this am with difficulty.

So now what?

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Old 11-02-2013, 07:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

With new ignition system parts ruling out spark misfiring, this may be fuel or throttle related. A fuel pressure check and/or cleaning the throttle may help narrow this problem down.

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Old 11-03-2013, 06:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

Well we did have the fuel filter replaced since the fuel rail was a bit low pressure.

I noticed that we seem to have pressure in the coolant reservoir even when it is not "hot".

I thought this might be the a symptom blow by at the head gasket, but firing up the engine with the cap off did not imitate a geyser by spraying coolant.

The car is losing coolant over a four or five day period, and we can't find the leak.

Any ideas how to find the leak? I will see what we can do to clean the injectors.

All the codes gone, but it is still VERY unpredictable and hard to start some days.

I am still seriously without a clue what to do.

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Old 11-03-2013, 07:34 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

a plume of black, fuel smelling smoke upon startup would possibly indicate leaking (dirty?) injectors

...
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:51 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

A coolant or fuel problem can be examined better if you can use tools dedicated for them; a fuel pressure and coolant pressure gauge. Both may be loaner tools from Autozone or Pepboys if you're not interested in buying equipment. A fuel pressure gauge is less expensive to buy and seldom used but it gives an instantaneous reading to remove any doubt as well as provide troubleshooting help to answer many fuel related questions otherwise its guessing. The coolant pressure tester is an expensive set and not worth buying but if a loaner is available with adapters to fit the coolant container then by all means borrow the set. Coolant testing is basically pumping up the cooling system to 15-20 psi and then inspecting the entire cooling system - a cold engine is easier to troubleshoot leaks than a warm engine. Without using a cooling system tester, examining the cooling system carefully can reveal where a leak occurs.

I have an old fuel pressure gauge bought many years ago and seldom used it. It was used recently recently just to check fuel pressure on my car against service manual specs. Guessing is not an option when attempting accuracy for troubleshooting or just checking to see if the old tools are still in working condition. To give you an idea of how old my fuel pressure gauge is; it came with a short length of pressure line with a fitting to use on test valves. I had to remove this line and use a "T" fitting with hoses and clamps on a car I drove that didn't have fuel test valves............a gauge that isn't dropped will last almost forever. Using this pressure gauge allowed me my first DIY repair on my first EFI engine that was fuel related, pointing to a slightly worn set of contacts controlling fuel pump operation. Without it I was lost troubleshooting an intermittent problem. It got loaned out to someone that needed it and was returned undamaged.

Last edited by fdryer; 11-03-2013 at 08:59 PM..

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Old 11-03-2013, 09:00 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2006 ion2 View Post
a plume of black, fuel smelling smoke upon startup would possibly indicate leaking (dirty?) injectors
Smoke on start up is white not black.

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Old 11-08-2013, 05:53 PM   #12
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Default Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

Last night no start again.

Coolant reservoir gets pressure even when it is not hot.

Does not show bubbles when cranking. Losing some coolant.

Almost desparate enough to let the Hendrix Chevy folks do the diagnostics at $175 minimum.

Specific question: The service manager said that often the heads will be warped instead of just a head gasket, and because of the emissions here they really can't be machined (0.008" max before NOx makes the engine scrap). Can this possibly be true?

I just can't seem but to feel like he thinks I wear a skirt and he can cheat me.

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Old 11-08-2013, 07:13 PM   #13
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Default Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

There are many variables not discussed since all anyone here can do is ponder/speculate/make prognostications/SWAG on what's going on. Going back to the first post with radiator replacement coupled with this new information may suggest a blown head gasket. For all intents and purposes, no one here cannot be any more than 'armchair quarterbacks' since no one is standing where you are and seeing what you see. Some of us guess better than others with less mistakes made. One of the issues with any repair shop or dealer (in this case GM) is their reputation - a business runs on the ability to make money. Some places are dead honest and make a community all the better for it as it supports many issues going beyond running an honest business. And then there are the unscrupulous in business with no ethics, out to make as much money as possible with deceitful practices to gouge anyone and everyone that drives into their facade with total disregard to whether or not a repair is made to correct a problem.

A blown head gasket may be what you are seeing - the coolant pressure rising with a cold engine? If this is correct, connecting a coolant pressure gauge can help verify it. White smoke is always overnight condensation and occurs during cold humid morning starts and quickly disappears as the engine warms up as the exhaust system heats up to boil out moisture. If white smoke continues after engine warm up and coolant is lost then a leak is occurring. Whether coolant leaks into a cylinder or from a worn bearing in the water pump, a leak is a leak.

Whether or not machining is required hasn't been determined. How does anyone know a warped head is causing a head gasket issue? Removal and checking by machine shop testing determines this, not by saying so. And you can find out about state emissions requirements by simply finding your state DMV and what emissions requirements are needed. If this shop has more expertise than the average GM dealer then they may know much more and be correct. If you feel less than full trust in their opinion then you still have choices to make.

You already asked for diagnostic services. There's always another shop for a second opinion. An independent that doesn't own a franchise with high overhead costs paid by anyone supporting them like you. Everyone pays for dealer overhead costs. Independent shops don't have them so can charge more reasonable rates for everything. Finding an honest repair shop is everyone's goal. Just my 2-cents.

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Old 11-08-2013, 08:30 PM   #14
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Default Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

it's possible the head being machined will put emissions out out of spec, emissions are a finicky thing, but these people could also be blowing smoke up your but.

I was at a dealership getting my mom's van looked at, and there was a woman ahead of me. the guy at the guy at the counter said :I can't just hook the scanner up and know what's wrong, I have to do a bunch more tests first. for example, if it's code P0304, there are 304 reasons that light could be on." yes, that's exactly what he said, and yes, I have a messed up memory (this happened months ago). if it wasn't the only shop in town qualified to fix my mom's van, I would have informed the woman she could easily go down to advanced auto and get the problem diagnosed for free, but I couldn't then ask them to fix this car and trust them.

I could go on this rant much longer, but I digress, forst you need to find out what's going on. have you performed a compression test? a leakdown test? if the coolant reservoir pressurized just during these tests, you know you have a problem. if the head is indeed warped, you might be best off with a new/used head, anyways, just to be done with it, but that's your call. you can also get a second opinion directly from the machine shop on if they think machining the head will spike the NOX emissions.

...
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Old 11-08-2013, 09:19 PM   #15
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Default Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

i say lets start with the basics.. since these are newer plugs pull them one at a time and keep in order..what we are looking for is a orangy tint to the porcelin tip of the insulator..i wouldn't buy a blown headgasket as the ecotec uses a metal gasket..i would agree with a warped head, the fact you lost a radiator supports this theroy .a warped head leak compression pressure during the heat up expansion and shut down contraction of the head/headgasket/block during the ambiant to 228 peak when the tstat opens then down to 210 or so till shutdown and 8hr cold soak...a simple test you could try is run the car up to temp.burp the cooling system(open the cap and make it atmospheric pressure. the add a coolant pressure tester or put the cap back on and run for 1/2 hr or so at idle with a few 1-2 min runs to 2500 rpm...then see if the hoses get hard or the system hisses as you take the cap off again.... a warped head/blown gasket will start to buid pressure very quickly a good system shouldn't due to you didn't open it till after it got to 220 degrees so the coolant is already expanded..only a 10 mile or so roadtest should build maby 5-10 lbs pressure after that... as far as resurfaceing a head as long as they don't go over 4 or 5 thousanth it should be fine an after 20+year at this as a engine/trans gut at gm dealers i know of no aleged(0.008" max before NOx makes the engine scrap). all surfaceing does is reduce the chambers volume slightly..and i have never heard of it only afecting the nox reading only. also we use a machine shop out here who has done all our 2.2&2.4 eco tech head sufaces with no problems...and he has to let us know how much was taken off for the warrenty story...but i digress.

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Old 11-08-2013, 10:24 PM   #16
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Default Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

Their concern is if the nox rises high enough to fail emissions, not simply that the shop won't let them due to this alleged issues. A local machine shop should be able to answer this, as they would have heard of customers falling emissions after their work.

...
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Old 11-11-2013, 07:42 AM   #17
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Wrench Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

Quote:
Originally Posted by satlite440 View Post
i say lets start with the basics.. since these are newer plugs pull them one at a time and keep in order..what we are looking for is a orangy tint to the porcelin tip of the insulator..i wouldn't buy a blown headgasket as the ecotec uses a metal gasket..i would agree with a warped head, the fact you lost a radiator supports this theroy .a warped head leak compression pressure during the heat up expansion and shut down contraction of the head/headgasket/block during the ambiant to 228 peak when the tstat opens then down to 210 or so till shutdown and 8hr cold soak...a simple test you could try is run the car up to temp.burp the cooling system(open the cap and make it atmospheric pressure. the add a coolant pressure tester or put the cap back on and run for 1/2 hr or so at idle with a few 1-2 min runs to 2500 rpm...then see if the hoses get hard or the system hisses as you take the cap off again.... a warped head/blown gasket will start to buid pressure very quickly a good system shouldn't due to you didn't open it till after it got to 220 degrees so the coolant is already expanded..only a 10 mile or so roadtest should build maby 5-10 lbs pressure after that... as far as resurfaceing a head as long as they don't go over 4 or 5 thousanth it should be fine an after 20+year at this as a engine/trans gut at gm dealers i know of no aleged(0.008" max before NOx makes the engine scrap). all surfaceing does is reduce the chambers volume slightly..and i have never heard of it only afecting the nox reading only. also we use a machine shop out here who has done all our 2.2&2.4 eco tech head sufaces with no problems...and he has to let us know how much was taken off for the warrenty story...but i digress.

OK. Not leaving a stone or wrench unturned:

Plugs are new with a little white residue on the electrodes. No orange, no oil, no unusual appearance. No variation Left to Right.


Coolant pressure. There is a story there about the test equipment. Another post. System holds 9-12 lbs for about 2 hours cold. Some leak down (1 psi or so)

System bumps up quickly to 12 psi on start of the engine (5-10 minutes) and does not seem to go much higher. Cold first then this one for test order. Engine held the 10-12 range for another hour after shutdown.

In the runs with the cap, NONE of the hoses got "hard". They did stiffen up from the initial empty state. "hard" meaning can't deform them with Gorilla hands.

Next suggestions?

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Old 11-11-2013, 07:52 AM   #18
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Attention Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

COOLANT PRESSURE TESTING

When I went to AutoZone for the test equipment loaners, first of all the MT300 box does not contain the screw on adapter we needed. Another trip.

The adapter in the separate box scewed on the top of the coolant reservior fine, and had a radiator style neck sticking up. When I started pumping, I built no pressure initially.

Confused, I went looking for a problem with the seal and found a 1/4 inch overflow tube that normally the Saturn Cap would seal below, but the adapter left wide open.

Pulled the tube up (it is only about 3 inches long) and used duck tape and tie wraps to make the tube into a plug. Kink and tie wrap, then seal one end with tape. Tie wrap the other end to the vent neck so that the pressure won't blow it off at 12 psi. Bubble check to make sure it seals since the tests take FOREVER.

Finally, laugh when your daughter tells you "Duck Tape will fix that".

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Old 12-04-2013, 09:31 PM   #19
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2004 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

Well, it finally came to the "Dreaded" HEad Gasket. Coolant was escaping via the exhaust.

Done over Thanksgiving and things seem to be OK right now. Heads machined and all.

Did get a Code 0420, Not sure what that one is, and since it did not run at all for a week or more, reset and going to drive it some more.

Does anyone know what the NOx code would be if we get one?


Thanks

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Old 12-04-2013, 11:15 PM   #20
NickL30
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2004 ION-3 Quad Coupe
Default Re: 2004 ION Trouble on Initial Start for Day

Posted by Fdryer on another thread.

DTC P0420 Catalyst System Low Efficiency


1-An engine misfire
2-High engine oil or high coolant consumption
3-Retarded spark timing
4-A weak spark
5-A lean fuel mixture
6-A rich fuel mixture
7-A damaged oxygen sensor wiring harness

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