Jul 312019

Saturn SC

My car often shakes when I’m on the freeway in a pattern, then stops. Unless I’m using cruise control, then it doesn’t happen at all. What could this be?

Most common reason would be the tires. They can be out of balance or have a busted belt. See if you feel it more in the steering wheel or in the seat. Then rotate the tires front to back and test. If it moves then you know for certain it is in the tires.

No Crank, No Start 2004 Saturn Ion – SOLVED

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May 052019

Saturn Ion

I have a 04 Saturn Ion, manual transmission, 2.2 ecotec engine. I have a no start, no crank issue. At first it was only occasionally that it wouldn’t crank, but lately it has become more frequent. When turning the key there is no sounds/clicks, just nothing.

Being a manual I am able to start the car with the push start method and after starting it runs fine. But after tuning it off it won’t crank again.

I have checked that battery and it’s only a year old and fine. I have also replaced the ignition switch and reset the pass lock.

What else could be causing this issue?

Faulty Starter would be the most common cause of this issue.

The video shows another cause that may be the root of the problem. Turns out there is a ground wire that is inside the starter wiring harness that tends to become brittle and break.

Code P0420 2005 Saturn Ion-2 2.2 L 4 cylinder

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Nov 152017

Saturn Ion

Code P0420

Engine light came on. We get two codes, both showing P0420. Since this code came up twice, does this mean that the catalytic converter needs to be replaced? Or should I try replacing the downstream oxygen sensor first?

The most common reason for code P0420 is a failed catalytic converter. The code appears because the sensor has detected this failure. Now of course you would want to rule out that the sensor is functioning. This can be done with a scan tool by looking at the voltage readings. You might want to rule out the less expensive options before replacing any parts.

Saturn Code P0420

Description: Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold Bank 1

P0420 Probable Causes:

  1. Sensor or solenoid faulty
  2. Connector terminal contact is damaged or corroded
  3. Wire harness – Check harness for correct voltage, open, short to ground or short to voltage
  4. Update control unit software – Check for the latest control unit update
  5. Powertrain or Engine Control Module faulty
  6. HO2S sensor contamination/damaged
  7. Exhaust leaks or restrictions
  8. Catalytic converter damage
  9. Catalytic converter improper operation

2002 Saturn SL series shift cable problem

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Nov 022017

Started losing gears

I bought this car about a month ago, about 2 weeks ago I started losing gears, 2nd and reverse. I had a friend look at it and it is the gear shift linkage cable. So he cut the cables that were already broke in order so it will slow down the process until I had the money to fix it correctly. Which he told me he could do and it would only be about $30.00. But he wanted to take it to his car mechanic friend who has his own business in mechanics. Well we did. He gave me a $475.00 estimate. My friend made a comment to me about losing all my gears at once and being stranded.

Well not even 12 hours later after his mechanic was looking at it, I lost all gears. And the friend that said would fix it is now telling me to have it towed to his mechanic friends shop and have him do it. After he said he would fix it for me. I’m just a girl and easily taken advantage of. My friend even said that I could be taken for a ride. Everything just seems fishy to me. Anyway, is it just me being paranoid or can it happen like that and is that a correct estimate?

Shift Cable Replacement Cost

It is common for the shift control cable to fail and need to be replaced. The labor time involved for replacing the shift cable is 3.0 hours according to Chilton Manual. So if the mechanic is charging $100 per hour, you are looking at $300 labor plus parts cost. Here is the cable you need. I double checked to make sure it is the proper cable for your specific car. It carries a cost of $44.

Shop Automotive

Now it is normal for a shop to charge a mark up on parts. The shop would probably want double so we will say about $88 for the part. Now we are up to $388.00. Then you add in some shop supplies and possible a diagnostic fee(which you don’t need done because you already know what is wrong with it) if applicable. Still the $475 seems a bit high for the job unless it includes a stiff tow charge.

You may want to call around to some different shops and get some quotes for the job. Remember to get the QUOTE, not ESTIMATE in writing before you agree to have the work completed.

Shift Cable Replacement

(best viewed in Google Chrome or Firefox)

2003 Saturn Ion

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Oct 022017

2003 Saturn Ion

Overfilled transmission

This goes out to any “True Mechanic Worth His Work” My name is Regina. I’ve always learned about cars from Daddy growing up being his “Little Grease Monkey” so I am basically a learning shade tree mechanic.  My fiance’s car that he purchased had transmission problems front seal leaking, filter clogged and overfilled transmission fluid. Solenoid overheating. I replaced the seal changed the filter that was clogged and noticed that the bands that would shift it from 2nd to 3rd were kinda stretched. I told him to baby it and shift smoothly and slowly until I could get it in to someone that has more experience than my own shade tree mechanic skills.

It was running smoothly

It was running smoothly as long as he didn’t rough drive it. Three weeks after this he said he came home and ran over a pretty big hole about 1/2 mile from home but noticed it still was in alignment and drove fine the rest of the way. The following morning on way to work the engine wouldn’t rev up to shift properly and he had to put the pedal half way down and when it shifted it was like being on a motorcycle at a stop sign and trying to start off in 2nd shift. By the time he made it home it was more like 3rd. He said once he got going in 3rd it seemed okay but would lose power easliy and especially on incline.

Does ANYONE think it’s the bands and how cheaply could I get it going just for another month until I can afford to have it fixed or junked and get another one as it’s my source of transportation as well other than my bike ??? Please help a desperate girl elbows deep in Grease and living  paycheck to paycheck Thank you guys so much.

With the engine unable to rev at least you know the transmission was not slipping. If the transmission isn’t shifting it could be related to the VSS – Vehicle Speed Sensor. The best first approach would be to connect a scan tool and review the codes(transmission codes) to see if and what has been flagged.

2000 saturn ls2

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Aug 212017

2000 Saturn Ls

The engine turns on in the start position. 12 volts stays on to the starter instead of run. Had replaced ignition switch and remains the same. Is the problem on the TR switch or the ignition lock housing?

Maybe some faulty wiring or bad connections. Use the provided wiring diagram to help assist in checking the wiring.


AC problem blowing hot 08 Saturn Vue

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Jul 182017

2008 Saturn Vue

AC problem blowing hot

08 Saturn Vue 3.6 engine has an AC problem blowing hot at stoplights. Mechanic diagnosed it, replaced the expansion valve and radiator fan assembly and performed evac and recharge to no avail. Mechanic is unavailable right now. Any ideas on what else could be the culprit?

Sounds like they were on the right track as far as thinking the high speed fan wasn’t functioning. A new fan was installed but I wonder if the issue is in a high speed relay or something. Lets pull up the Cooling fan wiring diagram and take a look.

Cooling fan wiring diagram 2008 Saturn Vue


It looks like there might be a couple of relays in there that you could swap around for testing.

Air Conditioning System Description and Operation

A/C Cycle

Refrigerant is the key element in an air conditioning system. R-134a is a very low temperature gas that can transfer the undesirable heat and moisture from the passenger compartment to the outside air.

The A/C compressor

The A/C compressor is belt driven and operates when the magnetic clutch is engaged. The compressor builds pressure on the vapor refrigerant, which adds heat to the refrigerant. The refrigerant is discharged from the compressor through the discharge hose and is forced to flow to the condenser and then through the balance of the A/C system. The A/C system is mechanically protected with the use of a high pressure relief valve. If the high pressure switch/sensor were to fail or if the refrigerant system becomes restricted and refrigerant pressure continues to rise, the high pressure relief will open and release the excess pressure refrigerant from the system.

Compressed refrigerant enters the condenser in a high temperature, high pressure vapor state. As the refrigerant flows through the condenser, the heat of the refrigerant is transferred to the ambient air passing through the condenser. A cooling fan assists in the airflow especially when Parked. Cooling the refrigerant causes the refrigerant to condense and change from a vapor to a liquid state.

The condenser

The condenser is located in front of the radiator for maximum heat transfer. It is made of aluminum tubing and aluminum cooling fins, which allows rapid heat transfer for the refrigerant. The semi-cooled liquid refrigerant exits the condenser and flows to the Receiver/Dehydrator(R/D).

The R/D contains desiccant that absorbs moisture that may be in the refrigerant system. The R/D also acts as a storage vessel to ensure that a steady flow of liquid reaches the Thermal Expansion Valve (TXV). The refrigerant exits the R/D and flows through the liquid line to the TXV.

The TXV is located at the front of dash and attaches to the evaporator inlet and outlet pipes. The TXV is the dividing point for the high and the low side pressures of the A/C system. As the refrigerant passes through the TXV, the pressure on the refrigerant is lowered. The TXV also meters the amount of liquid refrigerant that can flow into the evaporator.

Refrigerant exiting the TXV flows into the evaporator core in a low pressure, liquid state. Ambient air is drawn through the HVAC module and passes through the evaporator core. Warm and moist air causes the liquid refrigerant to boil inside of the evaporator core. The boiling refrigerant absorbs heat from the ambient air and draws moisture onto the evaporator. The refrigerant exits the evaporator through the suction line and back to the compressor in a vapor state, and completes the A/C cycle of heat removal. At the compressor, the refrigerant is compressed again and the cycle of heat removal is repeated.

The conditioned air is distributed through the HVAC module for passenger comfort. The heat and moisture removed from the passenger compartment condenses and is discharged from the HVAC module as water.

2003 Saturn L300 V6 3.0L fuel problems

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Jun 212017

2003 Saturn L3002003 Saturn L300 V6 fuel problems?

I’m at a loss. We assumed with no fuel pressure & cranking but no start. After checking the fuse & relay for fuel & everything checks out fine. The wires look good, new fuel pump. Attempted the relearn procedure, new battery still no start or pressure. I swapped the ac relay with the fuel relay & got the gauge to register one time but after that still no start. Checked all fuses in & out of car as well as relays.

The car sat for 6mths without a battery before I got it but had all the fuel problems before that. Scanner says no communication ensure key is on…

Does anyone have any ideas? Thank you!

Just to cover a few basic things first. Did you put fresh gas in the tank after replacing the fuel pump? and was the fuel filter replaced at the same time? Once the fuel filter is replaced the fuel system needs to be primed.

How to prime the fuel system

  1. Cycle ignition key on and off, holding the key in the “ON” position of 5 seconds and then back to “OFF”. This is repeated at least 10 times.

The reason for this is the fuel pump relay only stays on for a second or two. By cycling the ignition key we effective operate the fuel pump long enough to build adequate pressure.

4 Things an Engine Needs in order to Run

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Mar 112017

4 Things an engine needs in order to runMy 2000 Saturn SL2 will crank but wont turn over. I changed fuel pump and filter, crank sensor, ETC sensor, starter, spark plugs are good. A few months ago we changed the ignition coil. Why wont this car start?


4 Things an Engine Needs in order to Run

  1. Spark
  2. Fuel – fuel pressure and fuel injector pulse
  3. Compression
  4. Timing – All of the above at the right time

Knowing the 4 things an engine needs in order to run lets us know what to look for. Or better yet look for whats missing. If you know you have spark you may try spraying starter fluid in the air filter. If the engine tries to run on the starter fluid you know the problem is fuel related. And now you can concentrate on the problem system. When the engine doesn’t want to start on starting fluid the next step would be to confirm no spark at the spark plugs.

Engine still won’t start

I have created a handy no start diagnostic chart for just such an occasion.

Check Engine Light On

Of course if the check engine light is on it would be a benefit to know why. For your vehicle though a scan tool will be needed.



Won’t Turn Over 2006 Saturn ION

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Dec 132016

2006 Saturn IonBought car no key, had to change out steering column got new key. Won’t turn over or start.


Check for battery positive at the “S” terminal on the starter while someone holds the ignition key in the “START” position. If you see battery voltage, replace the starter. Otherwise you will need to trace the wiring to determine why it is not getting voltage. I’ll provide a wiring diagram for the starting system. It may be a good idea to double check your work to make certain you did not leave something disconnected.