General Maintenance & Repairs - Security Light / Car Not Starting




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97Firechiken
05-21-2011, 12:50 PM
Hello,

I have searched many threads on this forum in regards to the security light issue / car not starting, and have tried many solutions to fix the problem.

My car is a 1997 Firebird
3.8 V6
4L60E Automatic Transmission
Only modification is an Edelbrock Cat-back exhaust system, other than that the car is 100% stock.

The issue:

-Security light came on about 3-4 months ago, solid not flashing.
-Car drove perfect for those 3-4 months, no check engine lights or anything like that. No drivability issues at all. Kept driving the car and didn't think anything of it.
-Three days ago I left school at 3 pm, and drove home fine, no problems. I tried to start my car later at 6:30 PM to go to work and it would not start.
-All fuses checked
-No fuel pump noise
-Starter motor inoperative
-No warning lights at all when the key is in the "on" position, just the security light. Still solid, it has never flashed.
-Interior lights, radio, power windows still work fine.

I have read about and tried the resistor method, I managed to get the security light to turn off but the car still will not start. No dash warning lights, no fuel pump, no starter motor.

I have tried leaving the key in for 10 - 15 minutes to try and get it to "read" the key. I have done this several times and it has not worked.


From what I have read, it may be the ignition switch that has gone bad. Am I correct in my assumption? All signs and symptoms seem to point to this. I would like some input before I fork out the cash for a new ignition switch. I am a full time student and unfortunately don't have tons of extra spending money to try and solve this problem. I am desperately in need of my car to be running next week for school.

Any input, help and suggestions are greatly appreciated!

-Gregg


samson_420
05-21-2011, 01:15 PM
Bypass the VATS and see what happens.


Or it just feels bad that it's a v6 in a v8 world. . . .LMAO

97Firechiken
05-21-2011, 01:22 PM
Bypass the VATS and see what happens.


Or it just feels bad that it's a v6 in a v8 world. . . .LMAO

Bypassing VATS = Resistor method?

Or is this incorrect?

I really don't feel like messing with the wiring in my car because I will somehow find a way to mess up!

And don't be hating on the V6, this is the first problem my car has given me in nearly two years of owning it.


bigj2717
05-21-2011, 01:38 PM
Yes bypassing the VATS is the resistor. It takes less then 5 minutes and all you have to do is unplug the connector and slide in the resistor. There's not really a way to mess that up

skorpion317
05-21-2011, 01:48 PM
The OP already said he bypassed VATS.

When the security light comes on solid, it means it's not reading the correct resistance from the key. If it flashes, it means the circuit is open.

How did you check the fuses? Did you just visually check to see if they were blown, or did you test them for continuity? A continuity test is the only way to make 100% sure the fuses are good. I'd also check the relays.

If everything checks out OK, it might be the ignition switch.

TurbopigB4C
05-22-2011, 12:37 AM
How close did you get to the resistance of the key with the resistor you put in? It needs to be pretty close and I always solder the resistor and don't just place it in the connector. Measure resistance at the small white wires on the big connector and if it is open that means one of them broke right at the cylinder.

97Firechiken
05-22-2011, 05:20 PM
We had the resistance very close to what my key measured, I don't think that was the problem.

I lightly tapped the top and bottom of my steering column and managed to "reconnect" something inside. My dash warning lights are all back on, and the fuel pump primes, but my security light is now flashing constantly. The motor still will not turn over. I think this more or less definitely narrows it down to the ignition switch, correct?

I phoned a parts store and the earliest they can get a new ignition switch in is sometime later on this week, I will hopefully have it installed by next Saturday.

TurbopigB4C
05-22-2011, 06:37 PM
Lock Cylinder..... not the switch more than likely. The ignition switch should not set the security light. Measure resistance between the two tiny white wires under the dash. If they are open you need a lock cylinder or to successfully bypass the passlock system. Also try to just leave the key on without cranking it for ten minutes and see if the security light stops flashing and turns off. That is how to reset a lot of the GM passlock systems.

97Firechiken
05-24-2011, 11:16 PM
Updating the thread:

Removed the old ignition lock cylinder and replaced with a new one.
One of the two wires on the old one was frayed right in half, the other well on its way.
Got a new key cut with the resistor in it and the car is now running.

Anyone who has a similar problem as I did in the future, I recommend you check your ignition lock cylinder!

Thank you everyone for your help and input!

TurbopigB4C
05-24-2011, 11:45 PM
Glad to help. Almost all security lights on the Camaro is a broken wire at the lock cylinder.

97Firechiken
05-26-2011, 08:17 PM
Updating again:

Car ran fine for 24 hours, started and driven 4 times.
I went to start it in a parking lot and... nothing. Left me stranded and I had to get the car towed home. It was running perfectly fine 20 minutes before, no warning lights, no problems.
So, when I tried starting it:

No fuel pump prime.
No starter motor.
No dash lights (Nothing at all, no security light either)
No "dinging" when the key is turned forward.
Radio, interior lights and power windows still work fine.
All fuses checked.
Removed the battery to reset the car/computer, didn't help.
Checked the key and ignition wires for resistance, both showing 2.37 thousand ohms.


I have removed the steering wheel and internal steering column parts to get to the ignition cylinder again. Everything appears fine, it turns forward and backward. The wires are still intact. I am at a loss and ready to torch the car for insurance money.


Does anyone have any ideas as to what could be wrong now? Could the ignition cylinder be faulty? The parts store most likely will not take it back as it has been installed.

TurbopigB4C
05-26-2011, 10:39 PM
You will get the same concerns as your having if the battery cables are loose/ bad ground to the battery. When it acts up get under the car and touch the two terminals together with a screwdriver. If the engine cranks you likely have a misadjusted / or bad ignition switch. I doubt its the cylinder because the cylinder does not tell the car to go to accessory and crank the ignition switch does. With the cylinder out put the key in it and try to crank the car with a screwdriver in where the cylinder goes.

97Firechiken
05-28-2011, 05:57 PM
Jumped the starter and the car turned over fine.

Currently in the process of checking the ignition switch / replacing the ignition switch.

I'll update the thread when I have more info.

97Firechiken
05-30-2011, 08:20 PM
Replaced the ignition switch.

All the dash lights come on, and the security light turns off.
Radio and all lights work.

When I turn the key to the "start" position the ABS and LOW TRAC dash lights come on, then turn off after a few seconds... Turn the key to on and ABS, LOW TRAC are illumintaed again... wait, they turn off... turn the key to on, ABS, LOW TRAC.... etc.

No fuel pump, no starter motor. Bypassing VATS isn't working.

Suggestions?

lovin myls1
05-31-2011, 04:07 AM
97firechicken,sounds like you took care of any theft deterent issues since the light goes off after the 5 second power up when key goes on.When the key is turned to START,voltage is sent to small purple wire on starter.To find the actual cause of this problem you NEED to know if that 12 volts is present - if not ,it could be the neutral trans switch(stops car from turning over if not in neutral) or theft deterent relay.
This can be solved--but you need to know how to use a voltmeter.So if you do,let me know if the voltage is there at purple wire connection on starter during START-the results will let me direct you to the next voltage test point to find the cause of the problem,Good Luck

97Firechiken
05-31-2011, 05:27 PM
97firechicken,sounds like you took care of any theft deterent issues since the light goes off after the 5 second power up when key goes on.When the key is turned to START,voltage is sent to small purple wire on starter.To find the actual cause of this problem you NEED to know if that 12 volts is present - if not ,it could be the neutral trans switch(stops car from turning over if not in neutral) or theft deterent relay.
This can be solved--but you need to know how to use a voltmeter.So if you do,let me know if the voltage is there at purple wire connection on starter during START-the results will let me direct you to the next voltage test point to find the cause of the problem,Good Luck

No voltage in the purple wire when the key is turned to "START".

Where is the neutral trans switch? My car has an automatic transmission.

Where is the theft deterrent relay?

Could this be a BCM issue?

All help very much appreciated, thank you!

lovin myls1
05-31-2011, 06:31 PM
Trans switch is usually mounted near gear shift lever so, when in park, switch is closed but we can check that at the relay.I think you will find relay in underhood electrical center#2-labeled starter.Pull it out it should have four prongs on it.The four holes the prongs go into should have some labeling -A1,A2,C1 and C2.When the key is turned to start(and trans in park) there should be 12volts from ground to the prong hole C1 and prong holeC2-If there are no volts at C1, it's a bad ignition switch.If none at C2,then its a bad neutral switch.If both have volts get back to me.

97Firechiken
06-01-2011, 09:31 PM
My car is now put back together and running and driving with no problems.
Hopefully my no-starting problems are solved, thanks to all that helped!

jred_82
07-09-2011, 09:56 PM
What did you end up fixing the second time around? I am having a similar issue.

FiredUpZ28
07-10-2011, 09:50 AM
I didn't see it mentioned but any time you have a VATS issue, the best thing to do first is to make sure the key is clean.

jred_82
07-10-2011, 12:18 PM
I fixed mine this morning after I hauled it back home last night. It was the ignition/lock cylinder that others have had problems with. I bypassed it via the resistor method under the dash. Everything is back to normal now. I will fix it the right way one of these days by replacing the cylinder.

rowdydog
03-11-2013, 07:08 PM
I have a 2001 camaro 3800 and my security light is flashing. I had no warning at all just the battery was dead. I put a brand new battery in it and the security light is still flashing when key is on all the lights comes on at first click of switch when I turn it all the way dash lights goes out except ces light and the security light keeps flashing.AFTER i release the key dash lights comes back on.Any Ideas?

dreww
03-11-2013, 11:50 PM
Rowdy,
I just went thru this. It was one of the vats wires to the ignition cylinder had broke. I think my vats was disabled at one point (but not tuned out). Even with it disabled, this wiring break sent the car into default vats status (I.e. theft).
Parts price was zero...labor was getting the steering wheel off and broken down to the ignition cylinder to solder a wire back together

RJDio
03-12-2013, 12:51 AM
Rowdydog, obviously you have been researching the fix and came upon this site, that is a good thing, I'm sure you have an idea how to fix now. It is a simple fix but requires a little bit of knowledge of voltmeter, or a little bit of nerves to walk into a radio shack and ask them to measure the resistor pellet on your key. Once you or they measure the key, make a note of it, then buy a pack of assorted resistors. String a few together until you have the same resistor value (maybe they can help). I'd solder them together, but you just have to twist them together and electrical tape them. Now follow instructions in the following vids to install the VATS bypass resistors. This needs to be done anyway to older GM cars, even if it isn't your total problem. Don't take it to dealer for expensive repair and hold off on taking ignition apart until you see if this works. PM me if you have any questions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m804amtkQjE&list=UUaxxQQijM5tcMCdaSZoglDw&index=37
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0_qoJSQnrs&list=UUaxxQQijM5tcMCdaSZoglDw&index=36

AmDWs6
03-12-2013, 09:06 AM
my brother "HAD" the same problem, he got stuck at fuel station and just called my father to get em.
fixed the car in less than 10 mins.

i disconnected the battery both nodes (+ & -)
to make the computer reset
i noticed turning the key won't do ANYTHING
its like you did nothing
so, i started beating the hell out of the steering wheel and pulling it left & right up & down and when i pulled it to the left and turned the key... it worked.

RJDio
03-12-2013, 10:32 AM
my brother "HAD" the same problem, he got stuck at fuel station and just called my father to get em.
fixed the car in less than 10 mins.

i disconnected the battery both nodes (+ & -)
to make the computer reset
i noticed turning the key won't do ANYTHING
its like you did nothing
so, i started beating the hell out of the steering wheel and pulling it left & right up & down and when i pulled it to the left and turned the key... it worked.

Nice! :guns: temporary fix! So many people I know have been stuck in a GM car, due to car key pellet worn down, INCLUDING ME!!! Can you imagine our wives, girlfriends or daughters getting stuck in a rough spot because their freakin GM key won't work??? this should have been a recall issue, is flat out dangerous and I'm sure has lead to robbery, or even death of an unfortunate driver. First thing I'd do when buying a used GM car is bypass the VATS!

AmDWs6
03-13-2013, 01:50 PM
Nice! :guns: temporary fix! So many people I know have been stuck in a GM car, due to car key pellet worn down, INCLUDING ME!!! Can you imagine our wives, girlfriends or daughters getting stuck in a rough spot because their freakin GM key won't work??? this should have been a recall issue, is flat out dangerous and I'm sure has lead to robbery, or even death of an unfortunate driver. First thing I'd do when buying a used GM car is bypass the VATS!

Actually both my brother and i like the fact that its soo screwed up yet still works .. its like asking for a security code to be entered for it to start.

you can even leave the car open with the keys in the ignition and feel sorry for the robber that you actually go and show him how its done :D

wlsmoku
03-19-2013, 08:56 PM
thanks for the vids RJDio - helped a lot and made this fix extremely simple!

Fred Holz
12-03-2013, 05:19 PM
I am having a problem like this also, I replace the key switch, and now car will not crank by switch, so a put a starter button, the car starts but shuts off after 3-4 seconds, the light is flashing, can someone explain how to do the bypass for the stupidest of readers, im not much on electrical, I need to know the how to gage the power input out put where what setting on meter as much details as you can give would be great, I am a single disabled dad of two so I need to keep cost down as much possible, thank you in advance Fred..

JOHNNY59
12-03-2013, 05:53 PM
the search button is your best friend! here you go.


http://ls1tech.com/forums/general-maintenance-repairs/1360381-gm-passkey-bypass-vats-how-video.html

rsrevil347
03-08-2014, 12:04 AM
Nice! :guns: temporary fix! So many people I know have been stuck in a GM car, due to car key pellet worn down, INCLUDING ME!!! Can you imagine our wives, girlfriends or daughters getting stuck in a rough spot because their freakin GM key won't work??? this should have been a recall issue, is flat out dangerous and I'm sure has lead to robbery, or even death of an unfortunate driver. First thing I'd do when buying a used GM car is bypass the VATS!

After you replace the key, will the security light go off on its own or is there a "special" way to rest it?

Majestic9C1
03-08-2014, 10:44 AM
my security light has been on since I got the car.. runs and drives fine.. will probably get it turned off/tuned out when I get my car tuned

rsrevil347
03-08-2014, 06:20 PM
my security light has been on since I got the car.. runs and drives fine.. will probably get it turned off/tuned out when I get my car tuned

is that something that can be done with a predator or hp tuner?

Majestic9C1
03-08-2014, 07:24 PM
is that something that can be done with a predator or hp tuner?


I have a Predator tuner and I didnt find anything about the Vats in the program..

I know HP tuners can do it..

bboyferal
03-09-2014, 12:52 PM
This thread is reigniting my hatred for the GM Passkey system... Where are those designers now, on a beach sipping margaritas?

Tolley's94z28
03-19-2014, 07:38 AM
This thread is reigniting my hatred for the GM Passkey system... Where are those designers now, on a beach sipping margaritas?

Yep, that's why I bypassed that shit!

WhiteBird00
03-19-2014, 10:26 AM
is that something that can be done with a predator or hp tuner?

I have a Predator tuner and I didnt find anything about the Vats in the program..

I know HP tuners can do it..There isn't a tuner in the world that can tune out VATS in 4th generation f-bodies. That's because tuners work on the PCM but VATS is in the BCM and the BCM is not tunable. The best you can do with an HP tuner is tell the PCM to ignore the missing fuel enable signal from the BCM when VATS is activated. That does not resolve the problem of the starter relay being disabled.

You could use the tuner to make the PCM ignore the missing fuel enable signal and then rewire the starter relay to have an independent coil ground that doesn't rely on the BCM but you'd still have the annoying SECURITY light in the cluster. The best way is still to use resistors to bypass the key pellet sensor and keep the BCM happy - it's easy and inexpensive.

chrysler kid
03-20-2014, 04:00 AM
Since this thread has been bumped from 4 years ago I will just add my .o2 for future searches to make sure the bases are covered

The security light will stay illuminated or flash to tell you there is a problem in the system. To the guy driving around with his security light on you are very foolish, they car could leave you stranded literally the next time you try to start it

The problem is with the wiring inside of the key cylinder that contacts the resistor which is in the key. If you are lucky your key resistor may just be dirty and you can clean it off and start the car. However to have this issue fixed correctly you would need to pay for a new ignition cylinder which would come with a new key which at las check was $250 ish dollars at the dealer plus another $200 to install.

Measure the resistance in the key and put it into the socket under the column with the yellow wire. If you are just sliding the resistor into the socket be sure you are 200% sure it is in the pig tail correctly as if it is loose it will not fix your problem.

The security light took about 15 minutes of driving to go away if I remember correctly

Hitting the column with a hammer or bashing it can lead to other problems obviously