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Old 01-21-2011, 01:12 AM   #1
droggy
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2004 ION-1 Sedan
Dazed Manual Trans "Push-start" question

I own a 2004 ion and noted in the manual that one shouldn't try to "push start" the car by rolling down a hill, turning the ignition to on and then dropping it into second gear. Now given that this seems like a useful thing to be able to do (in case the battery dies or say you lock the wheels on ice and the engine stalls), I'm wondering:

Why is the car not push-start capable?
Is there a way of making the car push-start capable?

Thanks
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Old 01-21-2011, 02:14 AM   #2
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Default Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

The Manual probably states that for safety reasons as push starting a car is not the safest thing in the world to do. I could be wrong about this, but I have never heard of a car with a Manual Transmission that you could not push start.
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Old 01-21-2011, 10:02 AM   #3
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Default Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

ive always thought it is because it could wreck the catylitic converter.
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

Let's see now. From GM's point of view (L-I-A-B-I-L-I-T-Y), any suggestion of push starting a manual drive car down any slight decline opens up a huge area for lawsuits from those not too swift of mind and body. A car rolling down hill without power means no vacuum boosted power brakes so the brakes don't work too good. Never mind not needing brakes when you're trying to push start a car but the nimrod amongst us that has never done a push start before may not be aware of his brakes not working and may panic - too late as he rolls down the street into a tree/another car/child playing in the middle of the street/elderly person hanging out/drug dealer peddling pharmaceuticals/etc.. And don't forget we don't have power steering too. So the newbie trying his/her first push start may not realize that power steering is lost along with power brakes. Does anyone see a recipe for disaster in this scenario?

For the rest of us that learned how to do it right and thinks ahead (of all the wrong things to occur), push starting is a no brainer.

If the engine isn't running, no exhaust exists. In the absence of exhaust the catalytic converter is stone cold and not operating. Once an engine starts and runs, exhaust starts flowing through the catcon and begins heating the substrate (along with an external heater if used) until at least 600F is reached before it begins to start outputting any valid signals for use.
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Old 01-21-2011, 12:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

I can tell you from experience (instead of just guessing), that sometimes you cannot "pop" start these cars. in order to pop start these cars, you need to have enough power to try to start it normally. once it senses a failed start, it will disable passlock, and let you pop start it. if all the electronics fail during the start because of too little power, the computer cannot disable passlock, and you cannot start it, as you will not get fuel or spark.
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Old 01-23-2011, 06:36 AM   #6
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Default Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2006 ion2 View Post
I can tell you from experience (instead of just guessing), that sometimes you cannot "pop" start these cars. in order to pop start these cars, you need to have enough power to try to start it normally. once it senses a failed start, it will disable passlock, and let you pop start it. if all the electronics fail during the start because of too little power, the computer cannot disable passlock, and you cannot start it, as you will not get fuel or spark.

This is true, I tried to pop start my car when my passlock was enabled,(due to the infamous ignition switch problem) although I had no idea this is what happened since it was my first encounter. It happened at work in a warm hangar right after a wash. It would run/rumble for a few seconds, then die out.
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:31 AM   #7
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Default Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

Well, I know that any anti-theft system that's enabled and a security indicator is lit, its tellling me even push starting isn't going to work. Why anyone would even think that push starting can overcome Passlock or any aftermarket ignition/fuel kill system is beyond me......................I thought most people knew this.

The majority of push starting is presumed where there's still enough battery power to power the ignition system; all the dash lights light up during the power up self test and then turning off everything, leaving the battery, oil, seat belt and e-brake light on. This tells me that at least there's more than enough power to to run the EFI system with a push start. After all, isn't the EFI system effectively running @ignition ON time? Think about it. just because the engine isn't running doesn't mean the EFI system isn't...........the EFI system is just waiting for cps signals.............using the starter or push starting the engine...........
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Old 01-23-2011, 02:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

no. you need to be able to try to turn the starter without killing power to the BCM. you cannot just turn it to "on". at least from what I remember. then again, I could be wrong. last time I tried this was with my old ion. if I can find a decent enough road, next time I drive my car I will try this.
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Old 01-23-2011, 02:58 PM   #9
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Default Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

It isn't a matter of right or wrong as much as how we understand EFI and theft deterrent systems. Given the complexity of factory theft deterrent and now remote starting capabilities, turning ON the ignition is still done the same way its always been done. Looking at the logical method of our Saturns with the factory theft deterrent system, turning on the ignition system allows instantaneous starting while the power on self tests are conducted for each subsystem. Since Passlock requires the ecm/pcm, bcm, and tcm to corroborate valid password/fuel signals before allowing the security system to pass and allow starting, the security light staying off during start is the only key to tell anyone that the start will occur. If its ON or flashing during start then the fuel pw is disabled and either the injectors or fuel pump is disabled. Ions disable the starter circuit. This can only occur if the security light is ON during starting. If the security light is off this means the starter will be allowed to run and the engine should fire up. With Ions, starting is controlled by the bcm but as long as the security light is off the starter should be enabled.

As long as the power on self tests pass, the ignition system is effectively running (in place despite the engine not running) and if Passlock isn't ON then push starting can be done. If a car won't start because the battery is too run down to power the starter, this doesn't mean there isn't enough power to run the EFI system; the battery, oil, seat belt and e-brake lights are on and waiting for the starter to turn the engine over. The EFI system has been running since the igntion was turned ON but the engine isn't rotating yet. So push starting just eliminates the starter. Security (Passlock) already allowed starting (the security light's off) so its either normal starting with a good battery or push starting manually. The ignition is ON and just waiting for the engine to actually rotate. There's always enough battery juice for a push start; every car that killed a battery was still push started only because the EFI system needs way less current to run than any starter. As long as battery voltage comes back to anywhere near 12v a manual transmission car can be push started.
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

Quote:
Originally Posted by droggy View Post
I own a 2004 ion and noted in the manual that one shouldn't try to "push start" the car by rolling down a hill, turning the ignition to on and then dropping it into second gear. Now given that this seems like a useful thing to be able to do (in case the battery dies or say you lock the wheels on ice and the engine stalls), I'm wondering:

Why is the car not push-start capable?
Is there a way of making the car push-start capable?

Thanks
I don't have an ION. However I pushed started my 1992 SC in the past. The battery was too dead to actuate the starter motor. So I opened the door, pushed it to ?? mph then hopped in and pressed the clutch pedal, put it in gear, released the clutch pedal and it started up. Then I drove to Saturn to have the alternator replaced. I recall that the battery was good, but the alternator wasn't fully charging it.
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:41 PM   #11
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Default Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

s series doesn't equal ion. and, fdryer, passlock would be the limiting factor. if passlock doesn't play in "on", that would stop you from starting it.
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

Correct, as long as Passlock or the security light isn't ON after all the normal self tests are done (its presumed a no-start preceded this event ending with a dead battery unable to power the starter) a push start is possible as the last resort before calling AAA.
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:56 PM   #13
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Default Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

Not to get too off topic, but one thing I did notice is when the passlock is active, the clock light stays lit until the 10 min. reset is done. I have a new switch, but I figured, I'll wait the 10 minutes, until I can't stand it. It doesn't seem to happen that often though.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:37 PM   #14
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Cool Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

Good discussion guys. Thanks.

The other thing I was wondering about then... If I'm driving on the highway and brake suddenly, find myself on ice so the wheels stop and I don't realize the engine has stalled.... when I let go of the brake and plan to continue my driving.... I'm gonna find that I've gotta put in the clutch and crank the starter before dropping into a gear?

I just ask this because I've driven a simpler car for years and I recall locking up the wheels on the highway in the winter, and then just letting go of the brake and continuing on my way.
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:08 AM   #15
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Default Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

You are either very young or not familiar with manual transmissions or automatics. Anytime the engine stops guess what lights up? I'll let you think on the answer as you go start up the car and............. create a dead engine situation; open the hood and pull the injector fuse, fuel pump fuse or fuel pump relay. When the engine dies go look at the instrument panel. And what lights are on? When you see those same lights turn on at anytime whether standing still, idling or at highway speed, all you have to do is look straight into the i/p to let it tell you the engine died. Guess what you see when you turn ON the ignition (no start) and wait for most of the i/p lights to turn off? And one other hint to look for; the tach needle will drop dead to zero. There are enough i/p indications to tell you if the engine dies. You just need to learn to see and expect certain lights to turn on. I'll give you two hints; the O-- light and B------ light are the two main indicators to tell you the engine's not running. When the engine's running they're off. Simple if you learn to understand what "idiot" lights mean.

If you cannot follow up with the hints I gave you then you may not know what to do with the scenario you described. Once you understand what lights turn on when the engine dies you'll be prepared to deal with a dead engine when it stops while still traveling along at speed. All you're going to do is simply let out the clutch and the dead engine will turn over from the car moving. Just as if the car were push started except now you're at speed. If done before the car slows down you can stay in the same gear otherwise if this is on slippery snow/slush/ice conditions, it may be more dangerous to try an engine start by letting the clutch out. This can exaggerate a skid or sliding car even more, so it may be wise to hold the clutch in and allow the car to slow down while steering it off the road. Every situation requires thinking ahead and snap decisions sometimes requires prior experience or tremendous hind sight to know what to do.

Hopefully by the time you have this scenario, the engine will not die because you kept up with maintenance so the engine will just drop down to idle rpm until you blip the throttle to rev the engine up before letting out the clutch. If you find yourself in a worst case scenario as you described and the engine dies, ice conditions is not the time or place to decide on what to do as you'll have your hands full trying to keep the car steering straight before even thinking about a restart. If you're way ahead and know what's going on and not sliding or skidding, you may have a chance to try turning the ignition key to START. There are no hard rules to go by as every situation has to be considered carefully. Its easy to be an armchair quartetback and throw out answers. Its tougher to be the quarterback in the middle of a game or when the described scenario actually occurs and you have to make decisions. Its easier said than done...........................
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:47 PM   #16
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Default Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

short answer, it will start back up once started if it stalls after you kill it because you weren't paying attention and stopped all four wheels from spinning at speed.
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:36 PM   #17
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Default Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

I have passloc, it doesnt prevent pop starting. BUT your abs will not work until you start the car without the wheels moving. This also goes for shutting it off while moving and then starting it with the key (wewt for wideband getting grumpy after big bumps ).
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:50 PM   #18
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Default Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

once again, you have an s series, not an ion.
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:51 PM   #19
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Default Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

Quote:
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once again, you have an s series, not an ion.
actually I was referring to the cavalier, which is quite a bit more similar to your ion than you'd expect.
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Old 01-26-2011, 01:48 PM   #20
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Default Re: Manual Trans "Push-start" question

only by the engine and transmission. the computers are all different, iirc.
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