Problem with Power Loss when Starting

Tiny
SHADOW104747
  • MEMBER
  • 2007 SATURN VUE
  • 3.5L
  • V6
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 80,000 MILES
Hi, I have a 2007 Saturn vue 3.5 v6 FWD and it just started having a power loss issue sometimes when I start it up the past couple weeks. It starts up just fine and the engine continues to run. But I lose dash lights, radio power, electric power steering, and also the dome light goes out with the door open. That's just what ive noticed loses power so far. So when I turn the key to the starter position everything temporarily goes dark like it's meant to but when I release back to the run position everything comes on for a split second but goes dark again. Sometimes it all starts blinking on and off. So I turn it back off. After a few more tries turning the key off then back on then starting it again everything stays on and works fine. Only usually happens in the morning but has happened more than once in the same day. Turning to the run position, waiting a few seconds, then starting seemed to help avoid the problem but failed today when trying to start. Tried replacing ignition switch, checked all fuses, and disconnected battery to try and reset the computer. Installed a new alternator about a month ago but don't think that has anything to do with it seeing this just started a week or 2 ago. Any thoughts?
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Monday, September 22nd, 2014 AT 1:28 PM

17 Replies

Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Have you tried tightening the 7mm bolts in the underhood fuse box to see if there loose?I seen those loose they hold the connectors tight against the underhood fuse box terminals.
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Monday, September 22nd, 2014 AT 1:41 PM
Tiny
SHADOW104747
  • MEMBER
Just did. Didn't seem to be loose. Tightened them a little further anyway.
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Monday, September 22nd, 2014 AT 2:04 PM
Tiny
SHADOW104747
  • MEMBER
Any other ideas?
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Monday, September 22nd, 2014 AT 2:11 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
If your loosing electric steering then I would be unplugging all the underhood fuse box connectors and flip them over and look for open terminals you will see the difference they will be wide open compared to closed like the rest of them.
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Monday, September 22nd, 2014 AT 2:22 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Also battery, cables and battery leads to underhood fuse box are clean and tight?Ground cable to body is clean and tight?
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Monday, September 22nd, 2014 AT 2:24 PM
Tiny
SHADOW104747
  • MEMBER
K, I took apart and checked all connections. They were good. I took apart the harnesses and checked the terminals. None were bent open far enough not to make contact. Some had a bit of a white haze on them like corrosion so I scraped them a little with a small screw driver best I could. Also I plugged the harnesses in and unplugged them an extra time just to wear on the metal terminals. So I'll let you know if it helped and it happens again! Thanks
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Monday, September 22nd, 2014 AT 4:20 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Your welcome also under the the drivers forward kick right in front of the sill plate as you enter the car I have see water leak in there and corrod the terminals in the inline connector.
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Monday, September 22nd, 2014 AT 4:38 PM
Tiny
SHADOW104747
  • MEMBER
Hey sorry its been awhile. Just been dealing with the same problem still. Realized its only doing it when its cold enough outside cause it happens every morning now and fear its going to get worse as it gets colder. Tested the voltage the other morning with the symptoms happening and I got a reading as high as 19.2 volts. As soon as the problems went away the voltage dropped to 14.4. That made me think the alternator I just put on was bad. So I exchanged it for a new one at autozone and put it on. That was yesterday and when I started the car this morning it still has the same problem. I did some more research today and one of the things Also what if the alternator I replaced has a power cycle when its cold the ecm/pcm or bcm doesn't like so it shuts off to protect the electronics.
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Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 AT 4:44 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
The high charging voltage I would be concern with though. It could be a bad ecm you said the voltage runs high for how long then calms down?Also is it setting any codes in the computer? Have you checked for codes yet? It should be setting a code if the voltage gets that high.
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Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 AT 9:50 PM
Tiny
SHADOW104747
  • MEMBER
The voltage runs high when all power is lost. As soon as everything came back on and stayed on the voltage dropped to normal charging levels. One day the check engine light came on but next time we shut the car off and started it again it was gone. If theirs no check engine light can there still be a code in the computer? If so there wont be anymore though cause I just had the battery disconnected the other night to swap out alternators. Tried something new this morning. Since its only happening when its cold enough we figured we would try and warm the parts we think it might be first with a heat gun before we try starting it. So this morning I warmed up the alternator before trying to start the car and I can't be sure if that's it cause it wasn't ''extremely'' cold this morning but should have been cold enough, the car started up just fine with no power loss and no excess voltage. I'm going to repeat heating the alternator before starting the next couple mornings and see if I get the same result. Or if it was just a fluke. Now I know its kinda early to speculate but if it does turn out that warming the alternator before starting the car avoids the power problem, how cold the cold weather be affecting it?
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Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 AT 7:21 AM
Tiny
SHADOW104747
  • MEMBER
If so also im wondering if the aftermarket alternators might produce power (power cycle) a little different when its that cold vs warmed up that the Saturn Vue doesn't like so until the alternator warms up its stuck over producing power on a runaway effect while the computer doesn't know how to correct it so it shuts everything off to protect the electrical circuits. Idk just a theory.
Thanks for the help this far.
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Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 AT 7:31 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
The aftermarket alternator should work just like the factory one as far as charging goes. Also even with the battery unhooked the computer still stores codes. The cheaper scan tools usually cant read those but the more expensive ones can.
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Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 AT 7:03 PM
Tiny
MRCAVINESS09
  • MEMBER
Honestly saturntech9 is wrong about the aftermarket alternator being compatible because saturn was a funny car company and never let maney people know much about how the did things the alternator has to be factory gm alternator made for saturn the voltage regulator is built into the alternator an its just going to melt the fuse box over time because it has no way of controlling the amount of power being recycled back into the battery an car its kinda a safty protocol to keep from burning up the vehicle and another way for them to ensure we alway come back to buy parts because nothing else will fix this problem ibeen working on cara since I was 5 an im 24 I have seen alot of crazy designs an builds an I own a 2006 saturn vue I bought for my mom with the 2.2 its all garbage I payed 200 for it with only 93359 miles an haven same problems
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Monday, December 5th, 2016 AT 6:43 AM
Tiny
MRCAVINESS09
  • MEMBER
But factory alternator is the solution an the only way to fix it I took the one back to autozone an explained the problem an why it wasnt compatible and ordered the factory an I havent hac a problem in a year
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Monday, December 5th, 2016 AT 6:49 AM
Tiny
MRCAVINESS09
  • MEMBER
Shadow104747 go with your first thought an change alternator back to the factory version you are very smart dont listen to these people there always wrong I will guarantee you that is the only problem if you have any more questions anyone an want a honest answer ask if I xont know about it I wont respond im not the one to carry on a conversation about the stuff I dont know
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Monday, December 5th, 2016 AT 6:58 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
I worked for Saturn for over 16yrs and I'm factory trained on the Saturn vue and had to go back to vue training when they started using the Honda engine in 2004 so no I wouldn't know much about the Saturn's lol. There are some bad aftermarket alternators out there for sure.I put a aftermarket alternator in my 1999 Saturn Sl2 it needed 8 months had to replace it again.I got a triple tested alternator out of the box for a 2006 Chrysler town and country. The pulley was frozen wouldn't spin.I just did a 2005 Nissan Altima's replaced the rack and pion when turning the steering wheel it was clunking right out of the box. Those are just a few examples of what I have been thru. So to say parts quality has gone down would be a under stament.
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Monday, December 5th, 2016 AT 7:10 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Also was the alternator you replaced on the Saturn vue with a 4cylinder?
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Monday, December 5th, 2016 AT 7:12 AM

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