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Old 03-20-2018, 07:05 AM   #1
ferret7824
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2006 ION-3 Sedan
Default New guy needs pointed in right direction.

Hi guys,

So my situation is different than most of y'all's. I inherited my '06 Ion-3 when my mother passed away. It was literally her go to church on Sunday and stop at store on way home car. (I literally just replaced the original Firestone tires due to dry rotted at 39,300 miles)

So I've been reading about intermittent misfire / Hesitation. Mine has the 2.2l with all factory parts (even the battery is still OEM origional)

They're is no ryme or reason on when / how it happens. It will occasionally throw the code for excessive knock retard. And once a year ago even had #3 cyl misfire.

I did a compression test and all cylinders are within 1% of each other so I know that's not it.

So where do I start? Since the car is 12 years old should i just start replacing all of the sensors, plugs and coil pack? I know I don't have near the miles that are required but I'm thinking of just pure age of the items.

The car will eventually go to my daughter in 13 years but I'd kinda like to get this sorted out a little bit sooner lol.

Like the title says... I know these issues have been resolved for higher milage cars but don't know where I should begin in my case.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give.
Scott

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Old 03-20-2018, 07:22 AM   #2
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2004 L-Series 3.0L Wagon
Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

New Spark Plugs and Fuel Filter would be a good start.

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Old 03-20-2018, 11:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

Once new plugs are in, go for a drive. A long one and have an alternate plan if the engine suddenly becomes anemic. If this car was used for Sunday only drives and stopping by for groceries, were these drives locally? Local drives may never allow the engine to reach operating temps and remain there (driving more than 20 minutes). This may show as carbon deposits on plugs that would burn away on highway drives. What are compression numbers? Another issue is fouling the catalytic converter with short trip driving. If the engine doesn't heat up and stay hot, the catcon can also foul up, blocking exhaust flow. If you're lucky, a long highway drive may allow the engine to reach operating temps, burn off carbon deposits in cylinders and let the catcon heat up long enough to burn off any deposits that collected. Just a regular outing for about an hour, perhaps several drives. The engine and exhaust system may clear out by itself resulting in a return to smooth idle and normal car operation. If not, more diagnosing is needed.

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Old 03-21-2018, 05:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

Need to do another compression test since my 3yo daughter decided to use my notepad and that page is gone.

Sparkplugs will be Friday since I had to put wife's suburban in the shop yesterday.


Attached are screenshots I took this morning on the way to work. Hopefully it will help diagnose my problems. First picture is @75mph on flat ground second is under a load going over an overpass.

So am I correct in my thinking that even though it is an exteremely low milage vehicle that looking at the age of some of these parts they may need to be replaced (sensors are cheap).

I was also looking at antifreeze... I've heard mixed stories about the orange antifreeze in our vehicles. (Since my mom is no longer with us I can't ask about maintenance history so I'm assuming the worst and nothing has been done).

Antifreeze is good for 5 years before it starts breaking down... on a 12 year old car should I put this on my list of maintenance issues to do? It is still bright in color and doesn't have a hint of brownish tint yet.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Screenshot_20180321-043025.jpg (96.5 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Screenshot_20180321-043124.jpg (94.6 KB, 9 views)

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Old 03-21-2018, 10:17 AM   #5
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Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

There are one or two fear mongers in the S-series forums still pushing a dead agenda against Dexcool. I have it my '03 L300 with 102k miles. No one has issues with Dexcool because it's still used in every GM model today. The fear mongers ignore the fact that GM had compatibility issues when Dexcool debuted in the '90's where it reacted to head gaskets and caused a major back lash of lawsuits. Dexcool formulation hasn't changed but engines did since around model year 2000, 18 yrs ago. No Dexcool issues since. Mine's been changed twice with zero change in color, attesting to its ability for five years or 120k miles service. Your Ion just needs a system flush and new coolant whether you stay with Dexcool or not. Be aware, Dexcool is made for the long haul, five years. Other brands may not last and you have to be aware of it. Dexcool was the first to offer five years/120k miles until its patented formula lapsed to allow everyone else to manufacture its equivalent. Prestone was seething about this and they have their equivalent with almost everyone ordering the same long term coolant. Your choice but the engine just be flushed completely before using other brands of coolant. What made Dexcool is the fact that aluminum heads are prone to corrosion from dissimilar metals like iron engine blocks so coolant had to be formulated to run in several metals - brass radiators until aluminum replaced it, cast iron heads until aluminum replaced it and cast iron engine blocks with aluminum replacing it. Dissimilar metals create chemical reaction that can cause severe damage and coolant can act as electrode to promote chemical reactions. Dexcool addressed it as GM made evolutionary changes in engine metallurgy. A symbiotic relationship.

Don't replace parts on a whim unless your wallet is fat and don't care. As suggested, new plugs are a start along with a long drive to see how the engine runs afterwards. Worse case scenario may require a new catcon, if damaged from sitting unused, new ignition control module. Other than plugs, cleaning throttle body may help. New air, oil and filters too.

Last edited by fdryer; 03-21-2018 at 10:31 AM..

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Old 03-23-2018, 10:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

Some great advice so far. Start with the cheap stuff like plugs, fuel and air filter.

You may also want to run the VIN by a dealer to make sure that all the recall items have been taken care of.

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Old 03-23-2018, 11:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

Recalls... Yeah... Power steering and ignition have been fixed on the recall

Hopefully this weekend I'll get to work on it and knock some of this stuff out

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Old 03-24-2018, 01:00 AM   #8
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Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

You can visit the website below and determine if there are any other outstanding recall repairs and verify which ones GM has recoreded as having been repaired. Have the VIN with you when you start the inquiry.

http://www.gm.com/owner-assistance/saturn.html

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Old 03-24-2018, 03:14 AM   #9
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Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

Please clarify. Does the engine actually sound like it's running bad/misfiring or does it sound/act fine and you are just getting troublecodes?

There is a TSB (attached below) for 2006 Ions w/2.2L where certain codes are thrown, but no noticeable drivability issues exisit & engine runs fine. A revised ECM calibration is the fix.

2006_Ion_2.2L_false_troublecodes_reprogram_ECM_TSB_05-06-04-073_12-07-2005.pdf

I would definitely replace the coolant ASAP. I would also replace the battery as a preventative measure. At 12 years old it will likely fail soon anyways. The spark plugs should be inspected, but are probably fine as they will have double platinum electrodes (assuming the AC Delco 41-981 factory plugs are still installed). I wouldn't replace any sensors unless you can confirm they are bad. I would check the integrity of the wiring under the hood. Pay special attention to ground connections on the engine/trans connecting stud near the oil filter housing.

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Old 03-24-2018, 09:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

The #3 cylinder misfire (0303) popped up again today.
So replaced the spark plugs and cleaned the MAF sensor and throttle body today.

MAF looked like new.

The throttle body was black.

Spark plugs had little abnormal wear (looks like it was arcing to side of electrode (will post pics of them in the morning)

Took it for a test run on the interstate and dared not go above 2500rpm. Before the work today I averaged 75mph @ 2500rpm. Today I could barely hit 70mph @ 2500rpm. and there was a lot of hesitaton. No trouble codes popped up (pending or current). Tomorrow fuel filter will be replaced, grounding straps will be taken loose, cleaned and ready attached.

I'm stumped on hesitaton.

Is the ignition control module that attaches to the coil pack grounded where it attaches to the coil pack or a separate ground through the wiring harness?

Thank all of you for the great information I have gotten so far. I know I must sound like an idiot asking some of the questions I have and I imagine there will be more to come

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Old 03-24-2018, 10:12 PM   #11
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Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

Two grounds for the icm. One is engine block ground via mounting hardware and electrical ground on pin-E.

There are several ways of diagnosing hesitation with multiple checks to find a problem. A fuel pressure check with a pressure gauge, borrowed from Autozone/Advance Auto. A compression gauge, also borrowed, can give you info for all four cylinders. A reader can help display baseline info for engine off, cold idle, warm engine and during acceleration. If the catcon became damaged from little use, a simple and very effective test would be removing the exhaust manifold O2 sensor (before the catcon) for an alternate exhaust path and starting/driving around the block. It will be noisy and a soup can diverter may be needed to direct hot exhaust gases away from nearby plastic that will melt. If a catcon is damaged, it can be block exhaust flow erratically but an alternate exhaust hole provided by O2 sensor removal can allow the engine to breathe with renewed power.

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Old 03-25-2018, 01:18 PM   #12
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Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

I'm working on grounds now. The one from the head to the block was pretty corroded with aluminum oxidation so I'm gonna clean that up.

Where is the block grounded to the frame? I see that motor mounts but no more grounding straps unless I just haven't had enough coffee yet.

Compression was good. Going to have to go get test or again since daughter tore up my results. I believe they we're we're around 180psi +/- 2% (wife said she remembers the numberbut180 since she was doing the writing as I was doing the work) I figure them being close to the same was good enough for me.

So I just hooked up the scan tool to the car. I'm confused...

Is the TPS intergrated in the throttle body? With key on engine off it's reading 39.2%. push petal to the floor and it only opens up to 88.2%. when you let off the accelerator it drops down to 13.9% then creeps back up to 39.2%

I took the intake off and verified that unless throttle is pressed it stays in the closed position.

Any ideas?

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Old 03-25-2018, 01:54 PM   #13
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Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

First is with throttle closed second is with throttle open and engine off
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File Type: jpg Screenshot_20180325-135012.jpg (163.3 KB, 7 views)

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Old 03-25-2018, 09:24 PM   #14
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Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

1-In general, chassis and engine grounds are from battery negative cable to chassis then another cable from chassis to engine block. Follow negative ground from the battery. These are the two main grounds. Battery positive splits into two main cables, one to main engine fuse panel and the other to the starter.

2-180 psi on all four cylinders is great and good enough to forego a second compression test unless your daughter wants to take notes.......

3-Drive by wire systems; electric/electronic throttle, ecm and electronic pedal.

The two images has me confused but there may be an explanation for the three values in each image. I'm not certain of the 18% closed(?) throttle command but my guess is when ignition is turned on, this 18% reflects not a closed throttle but cracked open based on engine coolant temperature and other sensor info. put another way, throttle is never fully closed so an initial throttle opening is determined by the ecm based on various sensors, more throttle opening for cold engine startup then gradually closing down as the engine warms up to a something around 10%-15%. EFI means the entire engine is controlled by the ecm - all we can do is press the gas pedal and this tells the ecm how much to open or close throttle. This takes care of the first value.

The other two values either give a clue to possible throttle position sensor issues or they're correct. To make this as confusing as possible, dual position sensors are used in throttle and pedal for safety against any possibility of a runaway engine. If any one of the four position sensors fail or wear out, the ecm knows (based on parameters) to either activate reduced power mode and/or issue an error code alerting to throttle or pedal issues. Not only are position sensors at risk but wiring and connections are part of diagnosing problems with drive by wire systems. Now for the confusing part.

All position sensors use a 5v reference. One sensor output will be 5v while the other may be the opposite, 0v or 2.5v. As each sensor is rotated (from closed or slightly cracked open) the values change; the 5v value decreases while the 0v value increases. These opposing voltage values are fed back to the ecm to ensure the throttle plate is where its supposed to be. The pedal has the same circuit but acts as the master to tell the ecm how much throttle is needed. The continual pedal and throttle movement is carefully choreographed by the ecm while it ensures all values are within a specific range at any given pedal/throttle position otherwise it knows something's not right and automatically defaults to reduced power mode to prevent an engine runaway yet still allow the driver to limp home or at least get off the road to make the emergency call. Sometimes shutting off the engine and restarting resets a temporary fault but doesn't guarantee a repeat event that may occur at any time. EFI systems means more sophistication in electronics and requires more expertise/education in electronics as well as familiarity with EFI system problems. Your problem can have either a simple solution or difficult one. I'm neither an expert nor neophyte on EFI systems.

4-The difficulty in reading scanned data is not having baseline data for reference. Baseline data would be with a normal engine in running condition, logged with engine off stats, cold engine stats, warm engine stats and speed stats. Each event is saved to a log for review at any time. I logged these values of my car when it was in running condition to anticipate any issues that will occur so I can compare values. One perfect example of using this data was comparing a member's maf sensor data with mine to reveal a faulty sensor. Having baseline date already recorded allows for future reference when problems occur.

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Old 03-25-2018, 10:06 PM   #15
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Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

No actually that makes perfect sense. This poor car has sat way too long. I'm afraid that any sensor using a reostat type control (gas petal & TPS) may have suffered the same oxidation/corrosion that the ground to the head may have expierenced. The car sat at my sister's house for the last 2 years untill I convinced her to let me have it and put it back on the road.

The drains for the sun roof we're completely clogged and when it rained water was running into the cabin of the car, leather was almost hard... and the mildew... That took almost a month to clean

So I figure this will be a long process.

I'm just having a hard time wrapping my brain around some things (fly by wire systems )

I know on my suburban when the TPS is closed it shows 0.0% and WOT it shows 100%. But it also has the idle air control valve where I'm assuming this Ion doesn't have that either lol.

Just got finished replacing the fuel filter so I'll see if it acts any differently on the road in the morning.

And I agree it would be nice to have a baseline to start with instead of going backwards to get to an unknown baseline

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Old 03-25-2018, 10:39 PM   #16
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Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

Actually, if someone in this forum with an Ion and scanner that can record data as I suggested, it can help........

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Old 03-27-2018, 09:48 AM   #17
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Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

My 04 would be different since it is not DBW so I am not sure that would help if you think it is throttle related.

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Old 03-27-2018, 11:04 AM   #18
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Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

WrightMan, your Ion using a conventional non dbw throttle and any data offered will be different. Yours uses a single throttle position sensor. Dbw throttles use two for redundancy/safety in case one sensor becomes faulty, triggering a default program to reduce power, preventing any chance of a runaway engine. The data needed for comparison would be from another Ion owner with a similar dbw throttle and data collected from a reader. Your single throttle position sensor will give data but cannot be used for comparative purposes in this case. It can be used for comparison to other Ions using the same single tps.

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Old 04-03-2018, 10:34 PM   #19
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Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

ferret, something to keep in mind for the future is the fuel pump recall. I didn't have the 2.2L engine in mine when I had the work done but I thought the recall covered all engines, not just the 2.4L. When you smell fuel while standing outside the car, the fuel pump (located within the fuel tank) will need to be replaced. Below is the first link the came up on a quick Internet search:

https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/...-g5-saturn-ion

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Old 04-04-2018, 01:45 PM   #20
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Default Re: New guy needs pointed in right direction.

I checked my VIN# and it shows that I've done all of the recalls except the power steering.

Sorry for not keeping y'all updated. I've been working 7-12's. 3pm-3:30am. Not much time for working on cars.

I finally took it on a long drive this last weekend.
I haven't seen any more error codes pop up but still have an odd hesitaton from 60-85. (fast as I could get it up to because of traffic)

It seems to run better in cooler weather than when it's warmer weather or when engine has warmed up.

This is making me wonder if it mat be a sensor issue?

With the throttle body being so black could the inside of the intake be that dirty as well? Would giving it a good cleaning out possibly help?

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