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Ronnie, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Saturn
Satisfied Customers: 35832
Experience:  34 year as an ASE Tech
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I recently was given a 03 Saturn Ion that has sat years with

Customer Question

I recently was given a 03 Saturn Ion that has sat for 5 years with a no crank condition that I want to repair. I am told that about 5 years ago it started a to have a intermittent no start/not cranking issue, that was assumed to be a ignition switch problem. At that point the issue happened often and it continued after the ignition switch was replaced and found it to be a issue relating to communication between the BCM and ECM. They told me they swamped the BCM, ECM, & Dash Cluster with used parts from a identical car and it did not change the issue so they thought it was a issue with a short in the vehicles wiring. That is all the information I was given, and the car sat at that point taken apart with 2 BCMs 2 ECMs and 2 Dash clustes partially taken apart until I just received it.
I had hopes to recheck things myself now that I have time and determine if he was correct or not and properly diagnose/repair this vehicle. Many of the parts he had swamped in were replaced so I have 2 BCMs, 2 ECMs, & 2 Dash Clusters for the vehicle to test with. So far I reconnected a BCM, ECM, & Dash and charged the battery and attempted to start it. It gets power and dash lights up with a Power Steering error that I see is common from my research and it does not start or crank.
When the key is turned to on I get standard lights turning on and off on the dash including the passlock/security light comes on for 2-3 seconds and then turns off with the other lights which I am assuming is normal operating condition for it as it does not stay on or blink. When trying to start the vehicle their is no odd dash lights, and the passlock/security light stays off.
The only other thing I have noticed that seemed out of the ordinary is the right relay on the BCM labeled r02 clicks and gets warm when the door is open. I swamped this relay with one from the other BCM and the same thing occurred.
I do have decent tools, meter, cheap obd scanner, and solid electronics knowledge so I was hoping to figure this out, but I don't know this vehicles systems other then what I can find online, so I wanted to ask how I can diagnose the problem to repair it?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Saturn
Expert:  Ronnie replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I am a professional here at Just Answer. I have noticed that your question was not getting a response and thought I would see if you still need help with this.I apologize for the delay and I hope I can still assist you with this here.

Any time you replace the BCM and the ECM they have to be programmed for the car they are being installed in, you can not use a used unit from another vehicle as the programming will not be correct. I would start first with making sure the ECM and the BCM are programmed for your Ion.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I believe they were, but again he left both sets so the original set is there too. I know they had sent something out for programming, but I have no way to know what. How would I know if it is programmed or not? Would it do this issue if they were not programmed or would it be something else? If this no crank condition can be caused by that with no error on the dash related or no other symptoms I can swamp back in the other two units first and see if that changes things if you tell me it could do that?
Expert:  Ronnie replied 1 year ago.

The only way to know is to have them checked and this usually requires the dealer. The BCM can keep it from cranking . Are you able to scan the systems and see if there are any fault code setting?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Today I tried my OBDII reader. I have used my reader on multiple cars and never had it act like this. It does get power from the port fine and with the key off or in accy position it goes through it's linking protocols and fails to link. With the key in the run position it will go through its protocols and then lock a blank screen (still powered) every time about 3-4 seconds in at the same time a relay on the BCM clicks.I would add that I observed that relay on the BCM which is labeled R01 on left side of BCM clicks every 5-10 seconds or so with the key in the run position along with a simultaneous microsecond blink of dash lights / odometer readout (it is barley noticeable, but it blinks right when the relay clicks continuing every 5-10 seconds) I wasn't sure if that is meaningful, but I thought it was worth noting.Other then that when I was out there today I checked the 30 amp CRANK FUSE 46 and PCM CONT RELAY 31 under the hood and the fuse tested fine and relay looked fine. I swamped both with others and the issue was unchanged.
Expert:  Ronnie replied 1 year ago.

Sure sound to me like you may have a programming concern with the computer or the BCM or both.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your suggestion, but I would like to speak to a new expert.
Expert:  Ronnie replied 1 year ago.

Open the post back up for you now.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would add that I now tested swamping in the other BCM that was left with the car and it had different results. That BCM made the dash display "ERROR". When switched back to the other BCM the dash display returned to normal with a odometer reading, trip, and normal lights coming on and going off.I also tested the starter today by jumping the purple to the red wire on it and it did crank