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Old 02-10-2021, 11:11 PM   #1
silverslp
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1998 SL2
Default Stalling Issue

My sister bought a 2005 Saturn Ion about 3 years ago. Right away, we noticed that the fuse for the horn was pulled, so we put it back in. Shortly thereafter, she complained of the horn/alarm going off sporadically and the dash cluster gauges randomly not working.
About a year ago, she complained of the car stalling on the highway. Once she shut the car off, it would restart and all seemed fine.

Last night as she was coming home from work, the car stalled on the highway 4 times (15 minute commute). I picked the car up tonight to store it at my house, and it also stalled on me 3 or 4 times but starts right back up. There are no check engine lights, etc. On the dash, however when the car stalls the battery light comes on.

This is obviously a very serious problem and I don't want her driving the car anymore. The ignition recall has been completed and there are no open recalls available. I am wondering if this is a grounding issue? Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance!
...
2002 Saturn SC1 - 175k Miles - Manual Trans.
2005 Saturn Ion 3 - 115k Miles - Auto Trans.
1998 Saturn SL2 - 185k Miles - Auto Trans.
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Old 02-11-2021, 03:47 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Stalling Issue

This may or may not be in sequential order of diagnosing this peculiar problem. The instrument panel indicators and lighting are driven by the body control module (BCM) with the exception of abs and airbags. They have their own module and turn on/off their indicator light.

1-main power for the car; battery, battery cables and their connections in the trunk (one red cable feeding the engine/interior fuse panels and starter, two engine grounds - battery to chassis and chassis to engine block. Ions have
a REMOTE start terminal to clip a jumper cable to this red marked terminal next to the engine fuse panel. Check to be sure this post isn't loose as it connects the long red battery cable from the trunk mounted battery to the engine fuse panel and starter cable.

2-GMs security, Pass lock, is part of the BCM. Security is in one of several modes; off, blinking once every few seconds (armed and ready for any theft attempt), flashing quickly after a theft attempt as it disables the starter from operating and may disable part of the fuel injection system, and on to indicate Passlock detected an internal problem, disabled itself from interfering with everyday starting/driving with zero anti theft protection. With zero security light indications at any time means Passlock is not the problem. Using the remote to Lock/Unlock enables/disables Passlock security.

3-some preliminary checks may be needed to help diagnose this frustrating problem. Main power as mentioned previously, examining if water infiltrated wiring connections, damaged/loose connections in the engine bay, any modifications made such as remote starting, aftermarket sound system, wiring repairs, loose wiring chafing against sharp edges to cut into insulation and momentarily grounding signals/voltage, etc.
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Old 02-11-2021, 05:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Stalling Issue

Much appreciated. I am not well versed with electrical repairs and feared it was likely a ground and/or wire harness issue. I will add, the car is 100% stock. No remote start or audio upgrades. She did hit a snow bank that caused extensive front end damage last winter, but no symptoms occurred from then until now. Parts I replaced included: both headlights and brackets, radiator, condensor, front left fender, front bumper bar & cover, wheel well liner and a couple other small, plastic items 🙄. Air bags did not deploy.
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2002 Saturn SC1 - 175k Miles - Manual Trans.
2005 Saturn Ion 3 - 115k Miles - Auto Trans.
1998 Saturn SL2 - 185k Miles - Auto Trans.
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Old 02-11-2021, 06:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Stalling Issue

Front end damage can sometimes leave residual problems down the road. When replacing parts with electrical connections, do you remember seeing any damaged wiring, chafing with insulation sliced on sharp metal edges to peel insulation and allow short circuiting to occur? Electrical problems may occur from damage so carefully revisiting your past repairs may be a clue here. Factory wire harnesses are taped and clamped everywhere to reduce vibration from creating chafing in areas to strip away insulation to bare wires shorting on bare metal. It only take one hidden wire to create electrical gremlins. Even a partially damaged wire break may cause electrical problems.

My brother borrowed my wagon some years ago and rear ended someone in the heat of summer. No damage to either vehicles. The following winter and the radiator leaked. It took several months before the radiator failed. I believe the two vehicles meeting together (with zero initial physical damage) accelerated my radiator failing. This occurred years ago and I think the side tank ruptured - plastic side tanks crimped onto aluminum radiators.
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Old 02-14-2021, 07:19 PM   #5
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Default Re: Stalling Issue

UPDATE!

I checked the connections to and from the battery. All seems well. I've been having trouble getting the car stared in my driveway now. It will turn over, catch like it's started for a second, then die. I'll wait a bit then try this again 4-5 more times and it will start right up. No lights on the dash, other than the battery light when the car dies.

Now, another event has presented itself. While in park, if I slowly rev the RPM's up and back down, the car will stay running. If I punch the RPM's up around 3k, then take my foot completely off the gas, the car dies. It repeated this phenomenon 4 or 5 times. My sister said the first time the car did this to her, she was on the on-ramp to a highway.
...
2002 Saturn SC1 - 175k Miles - Manual Trans.
2005 Saturn Ion 3 - 115k Miles - Auto Trans.
1998 Saturn SL2 - 185k Miles - Auto Trans.
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Old 02-15-2021, 09:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: Stalling Issue

UPDATE #2:

Started the car in my driveway. Same symptoms as above, 2 stored codes....

P0300 - Random misfire
&
P0340 - camshaft position sensor A circuit bank 1
(Ignition coil on top of block was replaced last year, along with plugs & wires).
...
2002 Saturn SC1 - 175k Miles - Manual Trans.
2005 Saturn Ion 3 - 115k Miles - Auto Trans.
1998 Saturn SL2 - 185k Miles - Auto Trans.
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:46 PM   #7
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Default Re: Stalling Issue

Any further ideas based on my updates? Thanks in advance.
...
2002 Saturn SC1 - 175k Miles - Manual Trans.
2005 Saturn Ion 3 - 115k Miles - Auto Trans.
1998 Saturn SL2 - 185k Miles - Auto Trans.
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Old 02-19-2021, 06:07 PM   #8
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Stalling Issue

*Mileage?
*Fuel pressure ever checked? Autozone and Advance Auto have free loaners.
*Fuel filter replaced@100k miles?
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Old 02-19-2021, 09:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: Stalling Issue

Mileage: 147k. MPG? Unknown as it's my sister's and she doesn't keep track.

Fuel pressure has not been checked.

Car was purchased with approximately 110k miles. Fuel filter replacement unknown (doubtful).
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2002 Saturn SC1 - 175k Miles - Manual Trans.
2005 Saturn Ion 3 - 115k Miles - Auto Trans.
1998 Saturn SL2 - 185k Miles - Auto Trans.
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Old 02-19-2021, 11:54 PM   #10
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Stalling Issue

Try a fuel pressure check since you have no record of fuel filter replacement and do not know if there's a fuel pump issue. Guessing can become costly in several ways.

The 2.2L engines are known for ignition control module failures (the finned aluminum module sitting in the ignition coil pack). More ICMs fail than coil packs so keep this in mind. You can search forums for cars and suvs using the same 2.2L engine for background info on common failures.

There are simple methods to check for spark and fuel if you're comfortable troubleshooting when the engine dies or fails to startup, the time to test for fuel and spark.
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