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Old 01-17-2007, 11:30 PM   #1
bloney24
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Question Changing ION ignition switch

I have rebuilt a wrecked 2003 Ion sedan. It has been having the usual starting problems in cold weather. Since the car is a salvaged car, the ignition switch is not under warranty. Can someone give me detailed instructions on replacing the switch? Thanks.

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Old 01-18-2007, 02:44 AM   #2
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Default Re: Changing ION ignition switch

Rmove the upper steering column bezel. (pull up)
remove the lower left bezel (7mm)
Remove the ign switch. (t15 torx IIRC)

Install reverse of removal.

To relearn passlock, turn the key to run, then turn back to ACC. Leave like that for 10 mins, do again, then do again. Takes about 30 mins to complete. When 3 cycles complete, turn off car completely for at least 30 seconds. then start car.

Also, if car is a stick, make sure to push clutch when attempting to "start" at beginning of each cycle.

...
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Old 01-18-2007, 11:12 PM   #3
ksion15
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Default Re: Changing ION ignition switch

[QUOTE=Bigdaddy94sc2;981446]To relearn passlock, turn the key to run, then turn back to ACC. Leave like that for 10 mins, do again, then do again. Takes about 30 mins to complete. When 3 cycles complete, turn off car completely for at least 30 seconds. then start car.

not trying to step on any toes or anything, but you turn the key to start, and release it to run, then wait 10 minutes, etc...

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Old 02-16-2007, 10:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: Changing ION ignition switch

I had the same starting problem symptons as posted. I thought that key was funny and seemed somewhat related during one of my non-start episodes, but dismissed it, assuming the contacts were being made and no chip. One Saturn ASE pointed out that the grease used may be a failpoint.
After changing the starter twice, (I got one from a boneyard for $25 and thought this must be bad also) (once this week in the Fairfield Inn parking lot in Chicago at 5:00pm, 8 degree's F), then having this problem again in Cleveland this morning, thank God and you guys for this thread. The dealer quoted me around $205 for this procedure. I will attempt to replace it myself and hope that re-learn mode goes well. Will post for with results

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Old 02-17-2007, 06:20 PM   #5
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Default Ignition Switch Replace Success!!!

Just posting regarding the successful replacement of ignition switch on my 03 Ion2.
Thanks again for techs who posted instructions and even Sunnyside Saturn Service in Cleve. for advice (that was unexpected).

All went as described except the key switch cycling. Turning it to run until passlock light comes on then releasing and waiting till passlight goes out, 10:00min. The key needs to be clicked back to acc - one slight notch after passlock goes out, then cycled forward again and released, etc. this kind threw me at first as I was afraid to turn it back any during the sequence and wasted 20 min turning it forward again without the passlock energized, duh!

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Old 02-07-2008, 09:51 AM   #6
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Default Re: Changing ION ignition switch

Does anyone know if this works for a 2006 ION-2, Saturn is saying I have to have them program it with a computer.

Thanks in advance?

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Old 02-07-2008, 09:14 PM   #7
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Default Re: Changing ION ignition switch

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigred92 View Post
Does anyone know if this works for a 2006 ION-2, Saturn is saying I have to have them program it with a computer.

Thanks in advance?

Welcome to the Board.


Being a 2006 is it not still under warranty? If not then you can do the 30 minute passlock relear after replacing the switch. The 10 minute relearn is done with the Saturn programming system.

...
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Old 02-08-2008, 09:08 AM   #8
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Default Re: Changing ION ignition switch

Thanks, I appreciate that, could not find any references to a 2006, but lots of 2003's and 2004's. You guys are very helpful here, my girlfriend will be happy.

Thanks.

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Old 02-18-2008, 11:05 AM   #9
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Default 2005 ION 1 ignition switch/passlock relearn

Good morning...after the key got stuck in ignition lock last October, I attempted to remove the lock, but I was unable to. So, I just used a screwdriver to start it until I could find a lock for it. Yesterday morning, it started up as usual. Later, I replaced the ignition lock and then it wouldn't start. I bought a Chilton manual and performed the re-learn procedure three times and it still wouldn't start. Also, the manual mentioned something about a security message being displayed for ten minutes. I never saw a "security message". I saw the normal dash lights come on when the key would be turned. There's the little message box on the bottom of the instrument panel that displays the trip mileage and the oil life, but I never saw any security message in there either. Help! Thank you for your time.

Furiously Frustrated in Fresno

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Old 02-19-2008, 10:05 AM   #10
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Default Re: 2005 ION 1 ignition switch/passlock relearn

Quote:
Originally Posted by IsntThatOffal View Post
Good morning...after the key got stuck in ignition lock last October, I attempted to remove the lock, but I was unable to. So, I just used a screwdriver to start it until I could find a lock for it. Yesterday morning, it started up as usual. Later, I replaced the ignition lock and then it wouldn't start. I bought a Chilton manual and performed the re-learn procedure three times and it still wouldn't start. Also, the manual mentioned something about a security message being displayed for ten minutes. I never saw a "security message". I saw the normal dash lights come on when the key would be turned. There's the little message box on the bottom of the instrument panel that displays the trip mileage and the oil life, but I never saw any security message in there either. Help! Thank you for your time.

Furiously Frustrated in Fresno
Omg...
Sounds like your problem is that you replaced the wrong part.

Ignition Lock Cylinder IS NOT the same thing as the Ignition Switch!
IgLockCyl is where you stick the key, or in your case, the screwdriver. IgSw is a square black box that is under the plastic bezel on the underside of the steering wheel, held in place by a couple screws and some plastic clipped in.

Sometimes when you mess around with the IgLockCyl, it triggers the Passlock to disengage the startup of the car because the car thinks you're trying to break in and steal it! Passlock = passive anti-theft system, which is triggered by outside sources. (I had the same thing happen to me when I got the locks replaced in my car; it seized up on the locksmith and wouldn't start, and even though I knew what was going on, I promptly blamed him for breaking my car. )

I never bought a manual to replace my switch. I used the how-to on this site and called up my dealership to walk me thru the procedure. But honestly, go to your dealership and tell them you need a new Ignition Switch, and find a locksmith (or your dealership as well) and tell him you need a new Ignition Lock Cylinder because who knows what damage you did shoving a screwdriver in there.

And seriously, stop posting online that you can jam a screwdriver into the ignition to start the car. Way back in 2003, the Saturn SL's were the most commonly stolen cars because of that. We don't need a repeat.

...
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***
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Old 02-19-2008, 04:48 PM   #11
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Default Re: Changing ION ignition switch

I have a quick question...my 04 Ion has just started having this starting problem,glad I checked this board instead of running out to buy a battery for no reason. I've read many of the threads describing this, and it seems like it comes back to a grease problem in the switch ?...not sure if thats true or not. But if it is, before i go buy a switch, is it possible to remove the switch, open it up, clean it and regrease it with a light silicon grease? I've cleaned and regreased ignition switches on other cars, and was wondering if anyone has tried.

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Old 02-20-2008, 01:10 PM   #12
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Default Re: 2005 ION 1 ignition switch/passlock relearn

Quote:
Originally Posted by QCs_R4_Girls View Post
Omg...
Sounds like your problem is that you replaced the wrong part.

Ignition Lock Cylinder IS NOT the same thing as the Ignition Switch!
IgLockCyl is where you stick the key, or in your case, the screwdriver. IgSw is a square black box that is under the plastic bezel on the underside of the steering wheel, held in place by a couple screws and some plastic clipped in.

Sometimes when you mess around with the IgLockCyl, it triggers the Passlock to disengage the startup of the car because the car thinks you're trying to break in and steal it! Passlock = passive anti-theft system, which is triggered by outside sources. (I had the same thing happen to me when I got the locks replaced in my car; it seized up on the locksmith and wouldn't start, and even though I knew what was going on, I promptly blamed him for breaking my car. )

I never bought a manual to replace my switch. I used the how-to on this site and called up my dealership to walk me thru the procedure. But honestly, go to your dealership and tell them you need a new Ignition Switch, and find a locksmith (or your dealership as well) and tell him you need a new Ignition Lock Cylinder because who knows what damage you did shoving a screwdriver in there.

And seriously, stop posting online that you can jam a screwdriver into the ignition to start the car. Way back in 2003, the Saturn SL's were the most commonly stolen cars because of that. We don't need a repeat.
You know...I really shouldn't have to explain myself. But, when what I said gets taken way out of context, it becomes necessary. I did replace the right part. I know what an ignition lock is and what an ignition switch is. I used to work as an assistant mechanic for seven years. When the key broke off inside the keyway, I tried to get the cylinder out of the lock so I could at least find out what might be hanging it up. But, I couldn't get it all the way out. So, I left it that way until I could fix it. The only way I could start the car was by using a flat-blade screwdriver. I did not, as you say, "jam" it in there. I have a little more sense than that; I have been a locksmith since '88. At the time, I wasn't in a postion to just go out and purchase a new switch. It was a Sunday night, I was angry, frustrated and being in the throes of a divorce, I just was not in the mood for it.

I drove the car around like that for a few months until I finally found an ignition lock for it and replaced last Sunday morning. When I tried the "relearn" procedure 3 or 4 times and it still would start, that's when I posted my message of frustration. When I was trying the relearn, I wasn't getting the "security message" on my instrument cluster like my Chilton manual said I would. So, that was my first red flag. I searched the internet and foyund all kinds of helpful info.

BUT...I have suceeed. Which why I came on here today, to proclaim my victory over this infernal glorified Geo. I bought a switch yesterday and tried the relearn and it worked!! Thanks to all of those that didn't answer my post and instead I get a misguided browbeating.

2005 Saturn Ion for sale....very cheap

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Old 02-20-2008, 03:51 PM   #13
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Default Re: 2005 ION 1 ignition switch/passlock relearn

Quote:
Originally Posted by IsntThatOffal View Post

2005 Saturn Ion for sale....very cheap
I won't attempt to quote or answer the rest of your post, but I am around your location. If you are serious let me know. I have a 2004 that I am very happy with, so let me know.

...
1998 SL Bought in Nov 06' w/ 115K 22MPG, Currently 165k 30MPG (city)

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Old 02-20-2008, 04:29 PM   #14
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Default Re: Changing ION ignition switch

Quote:
Originally Posted by timwilliams View Post
regreased ignition switches
This problem is pretty consistent with it's reasoning. Old switches and cold weather with the saturn just dont mix.

I mean, try cleaning it and see if it works, or do what most of us did, get it replaced and go on about your merry way!

0.02

kev

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Old 06-10-2008, 10:46 PM   #15
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Default Re: Changing ION ignition switch

Hey everyone. It's been a while since I've posted in these forums, but I wanted to say thanks for the advice in this thread.

About 2 months ago, my 2003 ION failed to start as my wife and I were leaving a restaurant. The starter would either fail to turn over or the engine would fail to fire as if the fuel injectors were failing to provide fuel to the engine. I tried to restart several times over a period of about 10-15 minutes and the engine finally fired.

Fast forward two months. I was pretty sure that it was just a fluke until it happened once again, making me about 15 minutes late for work.

I did some research and (of course) found these useful posts in the forums, regarding the subject, and found (literally) *hundreds* of other comments on the web about this. I decided to take the plunge and spend the $33 on a new ignition switch, because it seemed like the most obvious candidate since the symptoms that others were having were exactly like mine. The dealership wanted more than $200 to correct the problem (I asked about fixing the switch rather than pay to have them diagnose it). So off I went with a new ignition switch to see if it resolves the problem.

I'd like to add a few details to the posts from the other folks here.

1. First of all, getting to the T15 torx screws can be really difficult (notably the one in the back). You may want to expect to need a *very small* socket set or something that is low profile. You will not be able to use a torx bit that is attached to a driver.

2. In my case, the old ignition switch was "stuck". I had to put my key in the ignition and wiggle it / turn it just enough and then the switch popped right out.

3. After installing the new switch, the reset procedure *MUST* be performed EXACTLY the right way. If you fail to follow the steps, your 30 minutes will turn into an hour or more of constantly trying to reset the passkey system.

I would like to provide some clarity on the EXACT steps that appear to have been required, since some posts might be a bit vague or there may be several ways that it is suggested to do this.

I. Try to start the engine (first time). It may or may not fire the starter. If you have a manual transaxle (like I do), be sure to hold the clutch in when you try to start the car. After the start fails, *LEAVE THE KEY IN THE "RUN" POSITION* for 10 minutes. During this 10 minutes, the passkey icon (the lock) will flash every half second or so. After *EXACTLY* 10 minutes, it will stop flashing.

II. Second time - Once it has stopped flashing, turn the key to the "ACC" position, which is halfway between OFF and RUN. Wait about 10 seconds. Turn the key back to the RUN position (depressing the clutch, if it is a manual) and try to start it. The passcode light will flash again for yet another 10 minutes. When it stops flashing, continue to the next step.

III. Third time - Once it has stopped flashing, turn the key to the "ACC" position, which is halfway between OFF and RUN. Wait about 10 seconds. Turn the key back to the RUN position (depressing the clutch, if it is a manual) and try to start it. The passcode light will flash again for yet another 10 minutes. When it stops flashing, continue to the next step.

IV. After you have done this 3 times, over a period of exactly thirty minutes, turn the key to the OFF position. Wait for 30 seconds. Do not get impatient, because one wrong move could cause this to fail! After 30 seconds, the car should start. Rejoice that you've saved $200. Curse Saturn for such ****** engineering, and the fact that you will be repeating this process every few years as others have experienced (guess I'm lucky to only deal with it now)


------


It's a shame that this is such a prevalent problem and yet Saturn does not acknowledge it as a defect that would warrant a recall. Certainly this could be considered a safety problem if someone's car would fail to start (typically in cold weather, but mine was bad in Spring temperatures). This is a problem that will ultiamately affect EVERY ION out there - assuming that the parts were not changed in 2005 or later. We know for certain from what we've been reading that 2003 and 2004 IONs all eventually have this problem. It may simply be too early to tell if the later versions are the same.

I think that Saturn should do the right thing and correct this problem for all ION owners. To them, it's only a $20-$30 part at retail price (but to them it costs but a fraction). And though labor is not free, a service tech can reprogram this much faster than it takes us with the 30 minute reset. In total, a technician could do this whole process in 15-20 minutes with the right tools.

But how many people have paid full price for this repair already? What about those that have had to have it fixed 2 or maybe 3 times. There is no excuse for this. It's a defective part and the hundreds of posts on the web confirm this. Perhaps we're all just speaking to the wrong people about this?

Some have urged others to report this to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ . Others suggested writing letters directly to Saturn management about the problem.

Granted, my ION has been pretty good to more for 5 and a half years so far (only had to replace an Oxygen sensor, wheel bearing, and have a few other minor things repaired - all last year) until this occurred. But I can't help but to feel that there are all sorts of little out-of-warranty problems that will be soon creeping up on ION owners if they haven't already. The little things are happening all at once, in my case.

I guess I am fortunate that I've been pretty fortunate that I'm only out of being late to work by about 15 minutes, $33 for a part, and some time to install it. But others have had to deal with this problem to a much greater extent.

Anyway, thanks for sharing the information about this fix. I just wanted to share a few extra details and my experiences with it. I apologize for being so verbose, but I guess it's just been a long time since I've posted in these forums and I hav a lot to say.

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Old 06-13-2008, 02:18 PM   #16
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Default Re: Changing ION ignition switch

Ok, great replies aside from some flagrant sarcasm, but I am ok with that.

I took my ignition off for awhile while I was ebaying for a cheap one to put on. Maybe by luck I bypassed the Passlock system so it would drive, but the "security light" is always on as well as the "service" light. Well I got my new ignition and key in the mail, and I installed it (3rd one). Still drives, but the Security light is on.

How can I do the same steps for a security reset, if mine starts? Thanks in advance.

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Old 08-04-2008, 09:11 PM   #17
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Question Re: Changing ION ignition switch

would a remote starting system bypass the switch problem?

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Old 10-05-2008, 05:24 PM   #18
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Default Re: Changing ION ignition switch

Not sure if anyone is watching this thread, But I just wanted to let you know that I purchased the ignition switch from the Saturn Dealer in Chattanooga-near me-and put it in today. It costs about $40 after tax. I sat in the driver seat and did exactly what was stated above. It was a tight fit to get that torx bit in there but I managed to get both screws undone. 10 minutes x3 wait 10 seconds exactly before doing it again and then 30 seconds at the end. I sat there with a stopwatch just so I would get it right and it worked on the first shot! Thanks a lot to those who have put up the info so I could save $$$ on this fix!!! I was quoted over $200 to have it done at the dealership. Thanks once again!!!!

Tony in TN

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Old 10-05-2008, 05:37 PM   #19
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Default Re: Changing ION ignition switch

good to hear

...
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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.

Last edited by 2006 ion2; 10-05-2008 at 05:45 PM..

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Old 12-07-2008, 09:32 PM   #20
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Default Re: Changing ION ignition switch

I am not disputing it, but I don't understand the need for a reset procedure after replacing the ignition switch. My 2004 Ion does not have a key with an RFID chip inside.

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