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Old 02-18-2008, 01:57 PM   #1
Mabs
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Default Electrical Issues

I have a 2005 4 cyl Vue with 30,000 miles. I purchased the car used from a Saturn dealer in May of last year. I am running into some really baffling electrical issues just as the warranty expired.

Once, the security system went off by itself with no reason i,e,. not unlocked using the key manually. The lights and alarm went off and disconnecting the battery cables did not work the first time, but the second time when I left it disconnected over night it seemed to fix the problem. Now fast forward a month and this is the current issue.

Three times now, my car has refused to start. The battery tests as good but the charge is not getting through. I have no power locks, no interior lights, the car is entirely dead.It will not respond to being jumped, It has inadvertantly started on its own twice now after sitting for a couple of hours. Its not the fusable link apparently because the car has started with no intervention after a couple of hours.

I am at a loss. I had to take the car in three times within the first two months of ownership in order to get the ac to work. The dealership wants $300 just to diagnose the problem. $300 will pay a non dealer mechanic quite a few hours of labor and quite frankly, I'm kind of done with my Saturn dealer due to the fact that it has taken several attempts to fix the ac problem. Also, this vehicle has cost me more in the first year of ownership than any other vehicle I have ever owned- inlcuding my old BMW that seemed to live at the mechanics. According to my service advisor, there have been no service bulletins and they haven't seen this problem before.

Has anyone experienced a similar problem? Do I just have a lemon and should I just dump it and be done with it? This is my first Saturn, which I purchased because I had several friends have good luck with Saturn. Unfortunately, this will probably be my last Saturn, proably my last American made vehicle too.
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Old 02-18-2008, 02:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: Electrical Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mabs View Post
I have a 2005 4 cyl Vue with 30,000 miles. I purchased the car used from a Saturn dealer in May of last year. I am running into some really baffling electrical issues just as the warranty expired.

Once, the security system went off by itself with no reason i,e,. not unlocked using the key manually. The lights and alarm went off and disconnecting the battery cables did not work the first time, but the second time when I left it disconnected over night it seemed to fix the problem. Now fast forward a month and this is the current issue.

Three times now, my car has refused to start. The battery tests as good but the charge is not getting through. I have no power locks, no interior lights, the car is entirely dead.It will not respond to being jumped, It has inadvertantly started on its own twice now after sitting for a couple of hours. Its not the fusable link apparently because the car has started with no intervention after a couple of hours.

I am at a loss. I had to take the car in three times within the first two months of ownership in order to get the ac to work. The dealership wants $300 just to diagnose the problem. $300 will pay a non dealer mechanic quite a few hours of labor and quite frankly, I'm kind of done with my Saturn dealer due to the fact that it has taken several attempts to fix the ac problem. Also, this vehicle has cost me more in the first year of ownership than any other vehicle I have ever owned- inlcuding my old BMW that seemed to live at the mechanics. According to my service advisor, there have been no service bulletins and they haven't seen this problem before.

Has anyone experienced a similar problem? Do I just have a lemon and should I just dump it and be done with it? This is my first Saturn, which I purchased because I had several friends have good luck with Saturn. Unfortunately, this will probably be my last Saturn, proably my last American made vehicle too.

Check out this thread, and see if it fits your description.


http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...entry+problems
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Old 02-18-2008, 02:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Electrical Issues

Nope, thats not it. That was the issue with the security system freak out a couple months ago, but this is a different issue. The security system resolved itself after leaving the battery cables off over night. There is no power at all, no interior lights, no nothing. On the three occassions that this has happened it has been raining which makes me think it might be a condensation/moisture issue. The battery has been tested, the connections tightened, all fuses checked, etc.

I really am bummed because I do like many aspects of my Saturn but reliability issues are kind of a no go for me.
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Old 02-19-2008, 02:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Electrical Issues

That old post is very interesting and brings up some "design" issues. Why would you want your car to alarm with the proper key inserted into the lock? Yes, maybe somebody could steal your keys and try to steal your car, but they'd probably have enough smarts to know how the system works too. If you're wearing Winter gloves, sometimes it's just easier to use the key than to try to push a dinky button. Why in the world would you want your %&^)&_* horn to honk every time you arm or disarm your locks?!!! Do you know how annoying that is for your neighbors when it's early morning or late at night?
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Old 02-19-2008, 02:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: Electrical Issues

Electrical gemlins are the most difficult to diagnose, as if the vehicle is not misbehaving at the time it is in the shop, chasing down the culprit becomes a matter of trial and error. (Pretty much just plain dumb ass luck more often than not) My only suggestion is (if possible) the next time this issue manifests itself, a mechanic (perhaps arrangements can be made with a nearby local shop?) needs to be brought to the car while the problem is occuring, and not the other way around. Do that and the issue will be discovered. (It is usually something stupid like a loose connector in a harness or loose / corroded ground splice pack connector.)
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Old 02-20-2008, 03:25 AM   #6
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Default Re: Electrical Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mabs View Post
.....
Three times now, my car has refused to start. The battery tests as good but the charge is not getting through. I have no power locks, no interior lights, the car is entirely dead.It will not respond to being jumped, It has inadvertantly started on its own twice now after sitting for a couple of hours. .....(
You mentioned it happens after a rain? Hmmm, I remember an issue being discussed with the harness connector down in the driver's footwell area (left side near door) that can become corroded (I.e. intermittent connection). Apparently rain gets in there for the odd lucky soul and causes problems. You could try to search the threads...no idea what keywords you should try....
Good luck.
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Old 02-20-2008, 05:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: Electrical Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mabs View Post
Three times now, my car has refused to start. The battery tests as good but the charge is not getting through. I have no power locks, no interior lights, the car is entirely dead.It will not respond to being jumped, It has inadvertantly started on its own twice now after sitting for a couple of hours. Its not the fusable link apparently because the car has started with no intervention after a couple of hours.

According to my service advisor, there have been no service bulletins and they haven't seen this problem before.
1-How do you know the battery isn't charging when you state that the charge isn't getting through? Measured the voltage at the battery terminals? That's how most mechanics/technicians account for any battery having a charge or not and not by the lack of power anywhere. A lack of power can also mean poor battery cable connections from badly corroded terminals or simply loose connections. Having absolutely no power anywhere still means a power and/or power distribution problem that points to the battery, cables, and their intimate physical connections to distribute the power throughout the vehicle electrical system. The fuse panel(s) are next in line for power distribution before the electrical system sees any of this power. When a car can't be jumped, this still boils down to the cables that supply the current to the electrical system. Do you begin to see a pattern here? Battery, battery cables? This also implies that the alternator/belt drive system is working properly unless those two issues needs to be addressed. The alternator for proper output voltage with the engine running and the belt tension for tautness to allow all the belt driven accessories to turn properly.

2-How did it start inadvertently on its own twice? All by itself? Or do you mean YOU started it by turning the key? Let's not get melodramatic if you're requesting help and assistance otherwise you'd better tell a better lie as I'm all ears when it comes to bald face lies and imaginary goings on. I like a good tale as well as any other member but please leave out the drama unless you're very good at spinning tales entertaining us while describing real problems, not imaginary ones. Some members like my distorted points of view on some of my posts only because I try very hard to distort reality just for the moment and come back to focus on the problem at hand, separating the two. If the car "inadvertently" started on its own (I hope you mean YOU were able to start the car) this goes back to the battery and cables again. Now, there is another possibility that you may not have stated; the car turns over but the engine never fires up, occurring occasionally. Is this the issue? If this is the issue then its a whole different ball game altogether!? A crank position sensor problem (CPS).

3-A fusible link doesn't have anything to do with whatever is wrong with your car as it only protects the alternator and battery from either an electrical internal short to itself or a ruanway alternator charging circuit outputting more than the rated amperage of the fusible link, approximately 30 amps. By having the car start and run implies that the fusible link isn't blown as the battery will not be charged and eventually won't continue to run the car as the battery supplies all the current to the car's electrical system until the battery runs down completely, never able to power anything or start the engine again. A loss of the fusible link is a one way ticket to killing the battery, period. The alternator, after engine starting, supplies all the power to the car's electrical system while charging the battery simultaneously and the battery can be theoretically removed when the engine's running, as some have demonstrated, but not good for the electronics if something goes wrong. Simply disconnecting one battery cable for a moment while the engine's running proves the point.

4-If a service advisor admits to never having seen this problem before, two things comes to mind; inexperience on the part of the advisor and questionable whether this service shop can find the problem that may cost you when it may be better to find another more experienced service center or a good local repair shop experienced in electrical problems that doesn't seem to be out of the ordinary at this point. Just my 2-cents.
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Old 02-29-2008, 10:01 AM   #8
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Default Re: Electrical Issues

I hardly think there was any melodrama or falsehood in my original post but what ever- I'm still having issues with this car.Obviously, I was able to start the car after it failing with the proper key. I did not think that had to be clairifed so distinctly.

I am still having the issues when it rains. We have not been able to source the problem. Everything has been checked by my significant other who is not a mechanic, but is in fact an electrical engineer and yes, he does have the proper test equipment and yes, he does know what he is doing.

I took it to the dealership and since the car was behaving properly at the time, they were unable to diagnose the problem. They did cut me a deal and I was only out $200. All of my service thus far has been handled by the dealership as I thought that since they work on nothing but Saturn's, they would be best equipped to handle any issues.

All terminals on the battery are fine. The alternator is fine. The battery is fine. No blown fuses or any evidence of corrosion is visible. I truly am baffled by this.
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Old 02-29-2008, 03:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: Electrical Issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by mellissam View Post
You mentioned it happens after a rain? Hmmm, I remember an issue being discussed with the harness connector down in the driver's footwell area (left side near door) that can become corroded (I.e. intermittent connection). Apparently rain gets in there for the odd lucky soul and causes problems. You could try to search the threads...no idea what keywords you should try....
Good luck.
That would be my Vue

@Mabs
If the problem always happens after your Vue gets wet (rain, automatic car wash, etc.), have your service tech do a water test on the vehicle to see where water is leaking in the vehicle's interior. Has the windshield ever been replaced by you or a previous owner?
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Old 03-01-2008, 11:44 AM   #10
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Default Re: Electrical Issues

Quote:
The lights and alarm went off and disconnecting the battery cables did not work the first time, but the second time when I left it disconnected over night it seemed to fix the problem.
Why not just push the unlock button on the keyless entry transmitter? Or put the key in the ignition and turn it on? Both will silence an alarm.

Maybe I missed it somewhere up there, but does this vehicle have some sort of add-on remote start and/or security system?
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Old 03-01-2008, 08:40 PM   #11
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Default Re: Electrical Issues

Sorry Mr. Horsepower, I failed to clarify. Of course I tried using the button on the keyless. I also started the vehicle with the key and then turned it off. A reasonable person would of course try these methods first. I am a very reasonable person.
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