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Old 05-02-2021, 08:57 PM   #1
Luddite
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Default 05 Ion Passlock Help

05 ion 2.2 auto.

Replaced ignition switch because it stopped starting last week during a a hard rain.

A year ago it stopped starting and I did the “cut white wire while running” trick which worked for a year, and then it stopped starting again.

Im stuck now. Cant get the passlock light to go out when im doing the key re-learn process. I’ve done the whole process a couple times now, unhooked the battery over night, locked and unlocked the doors with the fob, still no luck. I had the white wire cut but I’ve reconnected it now before doing the key re-learn.

Someone said to put a resistor in two of the wires to the ignition switch but that shouldn’t matter with a new ignition switch unless something is out of wack with the ignition cylinder. I would do anything to bypass/delete passlock right now though. This car is just my work hoopty.

Do I have a BCM failure? Do I need take it to someone with a tech 2?
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Old 05-03-2021, 12:24 AM   #2
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Default Re: 05 Ion Passlock Help

1-Stopped starting as in zero starter sounds/engine doesn't crank or starter cranks the engine but the engine won't fire up?

2-Review your owner's manual or search threads within these forums for Passlock security modes. If I'm not mistaken, Passlock security has four(4) modes; off, blinking slowly, flashing quickly, and on. You can search GMs website for free access to owners manuals too.

a)Remotes Lock doors/enable Passlock with the security indicator blinking once every 2-3 seconds.
b)Pressing Unlock unlocks doors and disables Passlock, turning security indicator off. When the ignition switch is turned to the On/Run position, all indicators turn on then off (including security), leaving seat belt, oil and battery indicators on (security off). After starting, oil and battery light turn off. Seat belt light depends on driver fastening seat belt before or after starting.
c)If a theft attempt triggers security when it was enabled, Passlock security flashes, disables the starting circuit preventing starter and injector operation and cycles horn and lights. There's also tamper mode where unauthorized attempts to open a door when security is enabled (blinking indicator) triggers Passlock to disable the starting circuit and injectors with security flashing along with horns and lights. After three minutes, horns and lights stop but flashing security remains. When this is discovered, the remote won't turn off Passlock but ignition is simply turned ON for 10 minutes until security stops flashing. Then cycle the ignition switch off before trying to start. This resets Passlock.
4)If Passlock security detects a fault within its program from incorrect mods or damage occurring to Passlock sensors, Passlock disables itself from interfering with starting and operating the car. The security indicator turns on and remains on.

The bcm has Passlock programming and receives remote signals to enable or disable Passlock security. The 30 minute relearn procedure is needed when ecm, bcm, ignition switch or Passlock sensor are replaced.

From your descriptions, the security indicator remaining on should mean Passlock failed its self tests and disabled itself from interfering with starting and driving. If your starter does crank the engine but engine won't fire up, this may be either a fuel or ignition system problem and not a security issue.
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:16 AM   #3
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Default Re: 05 Ion Passlock Help

No cranking from the starter. No noises. I think I could hear a click on the first start attempt when going through the 30 min re-learn procedure. Battery is fully charged. Battery connections are clean. All wires to the ignition switch are connected.

I can rig up a jumper on the starter to manually turn it over and see if it starts, in case I do have a starter relay issue.

The passlock light is flashing normally when I close the doors and lock it with the FOB.

It goes off when I unlock the doors prior to attempting to start.

When I turn the key to start the passlock light comes on and stays on constant. "Security" does not flash on the dash. It just shows the odometer or trunk open.
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Old 05-03-2021, 10:36 AM   #4
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Default Re: 05 Ion Passlock Help

I don't see an edit button so let me expand on the details in my original post.

2005 Saturn Ion, 2.2L, automatic, 140k miles, VIN number shows no current recalls. I am located in south-west PA.

No problems with ignition cylinder, never put a bunch of stuff on my key ring.

This car sat for years because someone couldn't figure out the rough idle/stalling at a stop light. I bought it, cleaned the throttle body, gave it the normal tune up parts, and it's been a great car. Had to re-wire most wires in the drive door jamb because they were cracked and locks/windows were not working. Power mirrors still don't work.

In January of 2020 the car started to intermittently experience the passlock issue - turn the key and no starter. I found the "cut the white wire" hack and I cut it while running to stop the random no cranking lockout. Passlock light has been on solid while running since then.

Last Thursday it was raining all day pretty steady. I started my car in the morning and drove to work in the rain. At lunch time I went to drive to get food and the car would not crank to start. Solid passlock light. At the end of the work day the car started and I drove home. I didn't mess with anything that night.

The next morning the car wouldn't crank again. Same thing. That night I swapped the ignition switch with one in a red box I had bought from Advance or O-Reilly's back in 2020 thinking I might need it. It had been sitting on the shelf since.

I disassembled the old ignition switch to see how it worked and if the tabs were bent but everything appeared ok.

The first time I tried to re-start the car after swapping the ignition switch the car started and after I let it run for a minute I shut it off. I don't recall if the white wire was reconnected at this point or not. The battery had not been disconnected.

I tried to start the car again and no cranking.

From there I tried the 30 minute re-learn procedure. I think I have done it 4 times now. I know the last two times I have done it with the white wire connected, and I have unhooked the battery overnight before each of the last two attempts.

For the procedure I am turning the key to start, holding it for 2 seconds, back to ON for 10+ min, off for 10+ sec, and repeat for 4 times, with the passlock light staying solid and the display never saying "security". I'm not touching the brake pedal at any point or closing the driver door, if it matters.

Last night I unhooked the battery, tossed a charger on it, and I am looking to start with a clean slate after work today.

I will check all fuses and swap the starter relay with another one to rule it out. I can jump the starter as well. I know I have heard some clicking when turning to start but it wasn't consistent.
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Old 05-03-2021, 01:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: 05 Ion Passlock Help

*When replacing the ignition switch in Ions, Passlock relearn is a must because of an embedded resistor that's read as part of security tests during startup.Swapping ign switches with or without the white wire cut/reconnected may create more problems with security interfering with starting.

Cutting the white wire with engine running, security turning on and remaining on indicates Passlock detected an internal failure of its circuitry (cut white wire), disables itself semi permanently. Starting and driving without passlock theft deterrent was possible until recently. There's some confusion whether or not Passlock is the problem.

When you reconnected the white wire, I think it should have been reconnected with engine running, the reverse of what you needed to deactivate Passlock). I'm guessing at any other time, reconnecting it would suggest Passlock detected the reconnection, confused and either allows factory security to work again, remains disabled with light on or flashes quickly while disabling starting and injectors. The factory security system is for the most part reliable and trouble free. Unfortunately, the ignition switch with embedded resistor) in Ions are designed for low voltage (5v, not 12v) with wipers and contacts, over greased in original switches. IOns are the first Saturns to have low voltage starting instead of conventional 12v starting circuits. Having a low voltage starting circuit means electronics is used with additional complicated wiring as the ign switch sends a low voltage signal to the bcm that checks for the resistor value in its security check before sending a signal to the ecm. The ecm sends a start signal to the START RELAY coil, closing a set of contacts to send 12v to the starter. You can search for wiring diagrams in these forums. The excess grease led to a recall because of excess grease separating the wipers from contacts, triggering security to lock out starting. If the ignition switch wasn't prone to intermittent inside connections, security would not be a problem.

As is, the security light remaining on suggests Passlock is not the problem with zero starting. This may be a battery, battery cables, their connections or worn out starter issue. Each should be examined to eliminate them as possible problems. Testing the starter is a good way to determine if the problem points in one direction or the other.

Starters can be tested easily, bypassing the starting circuit. A fully charged battery (be sure its good or have it tested at your favorite auto parts store) with both battery cables free of corrosion from the trunk to engine bay (relies on the long red positive cable from trunk to engine fuse panel). There's a red labeled cover on the red cable from trunk to fuse panel as a stud. This allows a jump start connection to this post, described in owner's manual as REMOTE START post - connecting a red jumper cable to it, negative jumper cable connected to engine block. This post terminates the red battery cable to the fuse panel and another cable from this stud feeds power to the starter. This stud also feeds power to the fuse panel. If its loose, power may be intermittent to main fuse panel and starter. Examine it carefully. If necessary, disconnect battery negative first in the trunk before messing around with this remote start terminal. The stud is long to accommodate a booster cable connection.

If battery, cables and connections are good, testing the starter can be done. A screwdriver or heavy duty push button with wires and alligator clips will work. Locate the starter, be sure the car's parking brake is pulled, shift in Park position. A screwdriver shorting the large starter terminal with two wires (battery cable and smaller gauge fusible link wire) to the small terminal with a purple) wire should power the starter up immediately. A spark may be see as the starter solenoid draws 5+ amps of current. A remote start switch sold by auto stores may be easier; clipping to large starter terminal with battery cable and small terminal. Push the button to close contacts. Screwdriver or pushbutton switch do the same thing - sending 12v to the starter solenoid to power it up as it pulls out the starter gear to engage the flywheel on the engine while closing a set of heavy duty contacts inside the solenoid to send battery power to the starter motor. The starter should run immediately to crank the engine. If the ignition switch is ON the engine should startup. If OFF, the starter should run and crank the engine. All you're doing at this point is testing battery, connections and starter. If a boost battery is connected to the REMOTE START stud and engine block, the starter is tested with wiring between remote start stud and starter. Battery negative is always connected to the engine block. Testing starter bypasses the starting circuit only.

Try this and see if main power - battery, cables, connections and starter are in good working condition.
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg Ion remote jump starting.jpg (132.3 KB, 3 views)
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Old 05-03-2021, 09:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: 05 Ion Passlock Help

Jumped the starter with key on. Nothing. Tapped it with a hammer and it started.

Sigh.

Always check the stupid stuff first.

At least I learned some things about passlock.
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Old 05-03-2021, 10:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: 05 Ion Passlock Help

Presuming this test verified a worn out starter and replacement needed, after replacing it, restarting should go uneventfully. Hopefully you retain your Passlock bypass setup unless its still confused, preventing the starting circuit from operating.
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:06 AM   #8
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Default Re: 05 Ion Passlock Help

Started the car this morning. No problem.

Turned around to get something I forgot at home. Turned the car off and when I went to re-start I got no crank again.

This time the passlock is flashing when I turn the key back to ON from start.

I probably should of left the white wire disconnected but I left it connected when I buttoned everything up last night.

I'm going to pick up a starter today, then if needed do the re-learn procedure, since the passlock light was flashing this time.
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Old 05-04-2021, 10:57 AM   #9
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Default Re: 05 Ion Passlock Help

I cannot tell you that disconnecting the white wire is a way to defeat Passlock but it did work for several years. Upsetting Passlock when starting became a problem with reconnecting the wire and swapping ignition switches without performing a security relearn, this most likely awakened it with the flashing indicator. It was asleep. Waxing poetic aside, you're addressing two problems; a worn out starter and inadvertently awakening/restoring Passlock security at the most inconvenient time.

It would be easy for me to advise you to try getting the engine to startup then disconnect the white wire to return your car to a security free condition you enjoyed before but this may not happen as easily the first time it was done when the starter wasn't faulty. With a flashing security indicator telling you the starting circuit and injectors are disabled, replacing the starter should come first then two alternatives are possible to address security; trying the ten minute tamper mode reset or a thirty minute Passlock security relearn procedure.

After starter replacement, you can try resetting security (tamper mode) by turning on ignition, not starting while security flashes and leaving ignition on for 10 minutes+ until security stops flashing then cycle ignition switch off. If security stops flashing, Passlock is in tamper mode, you the owner knows this by waiting the required time patiently then following up by turning off ignition. Cycling ignition off then turning on ignition, observing if security doesn't flash should tell you Passlock reset and you can try starting. If all goes well and startup occurs without security flashing, you should be able to disconnect the white wire again to deactivate Passlock. Security may turn on (without blinking or flashing) its indicator at this time or on the next ignition switch cycle and remain on as you did a few years ago to deactivate Passlock. If resetting tamper mode doesn't work with security still flashing after waiting 10+ minutes with ignition on then you'll have go thru the 30 minute Passlock relearn procedure.
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Old 05-05-2021, 09:04 AM   #10
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Default Re: 05 Ion Passlock Help

New starter doesn't come till tomorrow. Last night I did the key re-learn procedure and the car started, then I disconnected the white wire again, though I have a feeling I could leave it connected if I wanted to with the switch being new.
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Old 05-05-2021, 12:30 PM   #11
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Default Re: 05 Ion Passlock Help

I think you've made progress instead of wading around in mud.
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Old 05-05-2021, 04:54 PM   #12
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Default Re: 05 Ion Passlock Help

For anyone who landed in this thread looking for passlock / passkey / VATS help, here is my data on the resistor values. My shop sells a kit with 10 of each intended for repair shops, but you can just order one each of the resistors straight from Mouser.com and try them one at a time.

#---RESISTOR#----CODE-OHMS
1. MF1/4DC4020F NONE 402
2. MF1/4DC5230F CN 523
3. MF1/4DC6810F FW 681
4. MF1/4DC8870F GP 887
5. MF1/4DC1131F KA 1130
6. MF1/4DC1471F N5 1470
7. MF1/4DC1871F UN 1870
8. MF1/4DC2371F XB 2370
9. MF1/4DC3011F GA 3010
10. MF1/4DC3741F NP 3740
11. MF1/4DC4751F FY 4750
12. MF1/4DC6041F C5 6040
13. MF1/4DC7501F XY 7500
14. MF1/4DC9531F KB 9530

Here is a technical overview of the VATS system on my Dropbox:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/s3uln7lq08...rview.pdf?dl=1

Here is my VATS kit BOM on my Dropbox:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/iykm693ybx...20BOM.txt?dl=1

Also--first post, hello world. We are picking up an 07 Ion 2 today. I will make a separate introduction post.
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