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Old 02-11-2013, 03:47 AM   #1
chantelpowell90
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2003 ION-3 Sedan
Dizzy 2003 Ion3 transmission swap?

I have a 2003 Ion3 sedan. Thanks to my husband I've become really enthralled in modifying cars. He has put a tiny hood scoop on the right side of my hood, and modified the air intake. He has also lowered it about an inch or two. I've thought about selling my car (due to high mileage), but and here recently I have changed my mind and been thinking about keeping it. It has almost 287,000 miles on it with the original engine and transmission, and still going VERY strong. The transmission is automatic. What I'm wanting to do is change it from an automatic tranny to a manual tranny. My questions are:

1. How hard is it going to be to do this?
2. What all do I need to do this?
3. Do I have to replace EVERYTHING to do this? (Looking for a few replacement parts for the car I noticed some things were listed specifically i.e. rack and pinion for automatic and manual.)
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:35 AM   #2
MeanGreen
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2004 ION-2 Sedan
Default Re: 2003 Ion3 transmission swap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chantelpowell90 View Post
I have a 2003 Ion3 sedan. Thanks to my husband I've become really enthralled in modifying cars. He has put a tiny hood scoop on the right side of my hood, and modified the air intake. He has also lowered it about an inch or two. I've thought about selling my car (due to high mileage), but and here recently I have changed my mind and been thinking about keeping it. It has almost 287,000 miles on it with the original engine and transmission, and still going VERY strong. The transmission is automatic. What I'm wanting to do is change it from an automatic tranny to a manual tranny. My questions are:

1. How hard is it going to be to do this?
2. What all do I need to do this?
3. Do I have to replace EVERYTHING to do this? (Looking for a few replacement parts for the car I noticed some things were listed specifically i.e. rack and pinion for automatic and manual.)
1. Quite involved/hard
2. Transmission, BCM, Wiring harness, manual transmission pedal assembly, and many other misc parts, basically the entire engine bay of a manual ION
3. For the most part, yes
...
2004 ION 2 Sedan
-Autozone short ram
-FE5 Suspension with Pedder springs
-4300k Hi-lo HID
-OPTX green underglow
-35% tint all around
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:05 PM   #3
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2007 ION-2 Sedan
Default Re: 2003 Ion3 transmission swap?

There have been people that have tried this, the hardest part is getting the clutch switch to work. The swap itself is relatively straightforward, but getting the electronic side to work is another story. Not to mention you end up replacing a large chunk of the parts in the car to make it right.
...
2007 Saturn Ion 2
2003 Chevrolet venture lt

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.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:56 AM   #4
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2003 ION-3 Sedan
Default Re: 2003 Ion3 transmission swap?

Oh god. Yeah I don't think I'll try that then. I was wanting to do it, and one of my husbands friends who's a mechanic (apparently didn't know what he was talking about) told us all we'd have to do is the pedal assembly and get the tranny. That it was super easy and that was all we needed.

Another question (I'm not super car knowledgable. Just enough to know basically what's going on.) My engine and tranny does have almost 287xxx miles. Even though it runs and drives brand new I've been thinking of doing a rebuild kit for the engine and tranny. I've looked into them and found hundreds. I'm waiting to do it basically as a safety precaution. I don't want to get stranded somewhere by chance with my 15mth old son. I found that there are different levels to all of the kits and hundreds of different brands. Question is which one should I get and who is a reliable source to get one from? I am completely confused on all the levels, and everyone says their kit is the "best in the world." I dont want to spend money on junk.
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:22 AM   #5
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2004 ION-2 Sedan
Default Re: 2003 Ion3 transmission swap?

How I view auto parts...you get what you pay for!

As far as a "rebuild kit" goes, like what are you wanting to rebuild? Gaskets and seals or pistons/crankshafts/bearings or the whole shaboom?
...
2004 ION 2 Sedan
-Autozone short ram
-FE5 Suspension with Pedder springs
-4300k Hi-lo HID
-OPTX green underglow
-35% tint all around
-Kicker Audio all around
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:16 AM   #6
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2003 ION-3 Sedan
Default Re: 2003 Ion3 transmission swap?

That is what I do not know. I don't know what should be done, if anything. I was think the whole shaboom. My issue is I don't know a reliable place to buy one from, who makes good ones, or if I would be better off just buying a new engine. Granted theres nothing wrong with mine. It starts everytime (knock on wood), it runs fine, I still get amazing gas mileage. I'm just worried of the high miles. I bought it off an insurance company, it was a company car they drove to claims, and I was told 85% of the miles are all highway. I paid 200$ for it bc the person on the way to a claim hit a deer and it busted the driver side front fender, headlight, and busted the horn. Nothing wrong with it, they just bought a new car to replace it. I don't know enough about cars to know if I should let it go till something happens, or if I should put the money forward to prevent something from happening.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:22 PM   #7
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2004 ION-2 Sedan
Default Re: 2003 Ion3 transmission swap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chantelpowell90 View Post
That is what I do not know. I don't know what should be done, if anything. I was think the whole shaboom. My issue is I don't know a reliable place to buy one from, who makes good ones, or if I would be better off just buying a new engine. Granted theres nothing wrong with mine. It starts everytime (knock on wood), it runs fine, I still get amazing gas mileage. I'm just worried of the high miles. I bought it off an insurance company, it was a company car they drove to claims, and I was told 85% of the miles are all highway. I paid 200$ for it bc the person on the way to a claim hit a deer and it busted the driver side front fender, headlight, and busted the horn. Nothing wrong with it, they just bought a new car to replace it. I don't know enough about cars to know if I should let it go till something happens, or if I should put the money forward to prevent something from happening.
As far as a rebuild would go, first see if you have any compression loss (do a compression test) if you find one or more cylinders are low on compression I'd imagine pulling the engine, tearing it apart, replacing things like all the gaskets and seals and rings, inspect all the rotating assembly to make sure it's in good condition, rebuild and torque everything to spec and you should be good. Replace any other parts as necessary while tearing it down, replacing all belts and hoses...but I mean this would really be necessary if you found any problems...if you're doing it out of precaution I'd say maybe you've lost faith in the car that is running just fine and maybe should just scrounge up for either A. a new car or B. another ION with lower miles
...
2004 ION 2 Sedan
-Autozone short ram
-FE5 Suspension with Pedder springs
-4300k Hi-lo HID
-OPTX green underglow
-35% tint all around
-Kicker Audio all around
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:32 PM   #8
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2003 ION-3 Sedan
Default Re: 2003 Ion3 transmission swap?

Okay I'll chrck all that out this weekend and see if i find anything. I love my car. Ive looked into getting a new car but I havent found one I like as much as my Ion. Im just nervous of the miles. The highest miles I eve had on a car 114,xxx on my cavalier.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:27 PM   #9
MeanGreen
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2004 ION-2 Sedan
Default Re: 2003 Ion3 transmission swap?

I'd be happy to sell ya my '04 Sedan with 111K on it for a nominal fee lol
...
2004 ION 2 Sedan
-Autozone short ram
-FE5 Suspension with Pedder springs
-4300k Hi-lo HID
-OPTX green underglow
-35% tint all around
-Kicker Audio all around
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:58 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2003 Ion3 transmission swap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chantelpowell90 View Post
Okay I'll chrck all that out this weekend and see if i find anything. I love my car. Ive looked into getting a new car but I havent found one I like as much as my Ion. Im just nervous of the miles. The highest miles I eve had on a car 114,xxx on my cavalier.
ions are 300K+ mile cars, there haven't been too many failures on here that I would consider a legitimate reason to junk an ion, I think most that were junked were because of people unwilling to fix cvt transmission issues in early coupes, or people's ignorance in what a car's worth.
...
2007 Saturn Ion 2
2003 Chevrolet venture lt

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.
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:35 AM   #11
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2003 ION-3 Sedan
Default Re: 2003 Ion3 transmission swap?

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Originally Posted by MeanGreen View Post
I'd be happy to sell ya my '04 Sedan with 111K on it for a nominal fee lol
Lol. I love my Ion. I just got it all painted flat black. I even got the stock rims painted flat black. It's basically all black. Even the tires. I bought ones without the white writing on them haha. Only downfall is the amount of heat it aborbs in the summer.
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:41 AM   #12
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2003 ION-3 Sedan
Default Re: 2003 Ion3 transmission swap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2006 ion2 View Post
ions are 300K+ mile cars, there haven't been too many failures on here that I would consider a legitimate reason to junk an ion, I think most that were junked were because of people unwilling to fix cvt transmission issues in early coupes, or people's ignorance in what a car's worth.
I don't want to junk my Ion. I love it! I'm just one of those people that I always worry about something happening, and when it comes to the mileage on my car I worked myself up into a panic basically waiting for something to happen to it. I want to keep my car as long as possible which is why I started looking into rebuilding and replacing a lot of things. I searched online before joining this site, and most were not too optimistic about the car. The more negative I read when I found stuff on them made more nervous. Before being on this site most sites said if the car makes it to 100k you're lucky.
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