I have a 2003 Saturn Ion Quad Coupe 3. It has a starting problem that no one seems to be able to pin point. I have spent hundreds of hours researching this problem on the internet but the answers seem to be all over the place. I spoke with the Saturn corporate office (prior to Saturn closing) and they failed to give an exact fix to the problem and offered me $100 to get it repaired. Unfortunately no one knows what exactly the problem is or how to fix it. Here’s what occurs: I put the key in and it fails to turn over. From there, nothing will energize for approximately 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the car starts right up without any further problems. In the research I found, a lot of people have replaced the ignition switch but then come to find out that it failed to solve the problem as well. It has had diagnostic testing and no code shows up indicating a problem. The bulletin out from Saturn #04-08-45-005D fails to help either. General Motors seemingly does not have a fix for this widespread problem. This is increasingly becoming problematic as I have been stranded in multiple parking garages late at night.
Will the headlights turn on during this 10 minute no-start period?
Yes. All in instrument lights and headlights work. The car just fails to start.
Does the engine turn over when you turn the key to the start position??
Is the yellow security light on when this happens? All the stuff I’ve found allude to a passlock problem. Apparently you can cut a wire to disable it, but I would be hesitant to do so. I think a trip to your authorized saturn service center (cause saturn is kaput) is in order.
Here are the three things that can be preventing the engine from starting. The park/neutral safety switch, the starter relay, or the computer which controls the starter relay coil control.
You can try turning the ignition switch so the dash lights come on and then step on the brake pedal. Place the transmission into neutral and then try starting the engine. If the engine starts the park/neutral safety switch is the problem. If not, then the starter relay circuit should be tested for proper operation. If that shows no problem, then the computer/circuit is failing to energize the starter relay coil.
Or you could have an old-time mechanic hot-wire the starter with a spring-loaded toggle switch…
No the engine does not turn over.