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Auto Theft Prevention/Both security systems tied together?


QUESTION: I asked a question weeks ago about my security light coming on randomly and I followed your advice about resetting that system. I read several questions and answers and I was under the impression that the security system at the ignition was completely separate from the alarm, remote door lock & unlock systems. But with the way my car is acting now, I'm thinking they are linked somehow. At times my remote (new battery) won't unlock the doors, only the dome lights come on. I use the key to unlock, then when putting the key into the ignition, I have to wait a few seconds with the key in the on position before any dash lights or system selfcheck starts, then I can actually start the car. The service vehicle soon and security lights both come on now and after having it scanned, no fault codes.This morning I got a real surprise when unlocking the car doors with remote the horn sounded continuously, not alarm horn blasts with flashing lights, this was with lights staying on and horn a constant blast, finally hitting the unlock remote button enough turned it off. No where in the manual does it say the alarm could have a constant horn blast and lights staying on....what kind of gremlin has crawled into my car...please help

ANSWER: Hello,

I don't remember answering your question specifically and I do not know what year, make and model we are talking about. However, the ignition transponder, or resistance circuit is a completely separate entity from the optional factory alarm with key less entry.

I don't get into factory alarm issues anymore because diagnoses can be disastrous even when at the vehicle.

Something is definitely not right here because the horn is supposed to act in staggered beeps and not to blare constantly. From the issues you are referring to, I would be considering a failed BCM (Body control module).

What makes this diagnoses even worse it there is redundancy here as to the starting of the engine. If not equipped with the alarm, one would know if the engine is not starting properly because of the ignition based device, but here you have either or and it is difficult to isolate.
When the dealers could not fix alarm issues, they sent them to us. I got so fed up with the lack of information and parts availability on relatively new models, I threw up my hands in disgust and quit working on these factory alarm issues twelve years ago!

The worst thing that ever happened was to let the manufacturer be in charge off offering security to vehicles, but the insurance industry extorted the manufacturers into this.

These factory alarms worked so well, that a thief could steal the car with the alarm blaring its horn and all they would do is cut the horn wires. They didn't care if the lights were flashing.

Depending on the year make and model, replacement parts are difficult to find because of discontinuation. The good news is 90% of the vehicles did not have this option. In theory, if you go to a junk year and get a BCM out of the car, it will not have the alarm functioning anymore and will eliminate your current problems. You would also have to reprogram the key less entry, which is simple to do as per the owners manual.

However, you may be forced to reprogram the transponder if so-equipped or bypass the vats if so equipped which would require you to read the resistance from the ignition key in the vehicle.
If a VATS, you will know immediately with an ugly black resistor chip embossed in the ignition key blade. Cadillac used VATS until 2000 when they went transponder except for 1997 up Catara.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Sorry about that, leaving out vital info wasn't bright. I have a '03 Monte Carlo SS. My initial question, weeks ago, was about my security light randomly coming on some some days at start up and not at all on other days. You advised me to the security reprogramming of 10min idle to reset the system. This helped out for a few weeks and then I was hit with the issues of the remote locks and alarm. Thanks again.

ANSWER: Hello,

Both the ignition and the alarm are two separate entities. Even though resetting of the computer eliminated one of your problems. The ignition will let the engine crank, and on many factory alarms, there is an additional starter interrupt. I loathe factory alarms if you could not tell. If it is supplied by the manufacturer, it is guaranteed to be inefficient and putting it in a rough way "JUNK!"

The information you now supplied helps. I answer many questions and it is difficult to remember specific questions.
This also eliminates a transponder or a vats. You have the other ineffective system GM offers-the PASSLOCK which is totally controlled by the computer sensing the rotation of the ignition lock. Another fine form of GM security, in which there is no security. Rotate the ignition lock in any manner and car is DTR (Down The Road).

Well, the alarm is rest the same way, or you can try this. Lock the doors with the door lock button when getting out of the car. (Leave the driver's window down so you don't lock the car and can't get back in). Unlock the door with the outside lock using the key. That is another way GM used to reset the alarm.
That may take care of the problem. Otherwise it is junk yard time to find a BCM (hopefully unalarmed). You can determine this by supplying the VINS from the junkyard you are trying to get a computer from. Give the VIN(s) to a dealer and they can supply you with the option list of that car and you will find if the vehicle is or is not equipped with a factory installed alarm. Most aren't because it was an $800 option. All had key less entry and it is easy to reprogram. You will need to do the 30 minute reprogramming again with the replaced computer because GM used 10 different (R) Resistance codes for the rotation of the ignition lock.

I just don't want to see you shelling out all sorts of money to a dealer for nothing.

Let me know how it works out!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks again...I'll let you know how things pan out. I found a website that "guarantees" to by-pass GM's passlock, VATS and all those systems with an available to purchase module. I was curious if you have ever heard of this and if in your opinion if this product seems valid. I know you wouldn't endorse something without using it first, but I'm just curious base off of what you know about these GM systems, if you think a module can bypass everything like it claims to.


Don't waste your money. the 555L module for remote start is commonly used, and then you need remote start. You could search the GM technical bulletin #26 May of 1999 and it will do the same thing for your car, but the PASSLOCK is not the issue here!

This is a factory alarm issue! You will not have gotten rid of the problem you now have.

You could try the 30 minute thing again as well, but I can guaranty the same thing they do, however when it does ot fix the problem, too bad--

I know what I am talking about and have been working on GM vehicles since 1974.


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Rob Painter, ASE, CFL, CFEI


My background in auto theft is extensive. I have been directly involved in the repair of over 10,000 theft recovered vehicles. I also do insurance investigation as to how a vehicle was last operated. My clients are insurance companies and attorneys. Was featured in the A & E auto theft documentary "Stealing Wheels" July 26, 2000. Has consulted with Daimler Chrysler steering column engineers to make their steering columns harder to defeat. Holds patent # 6,039,140 for 8 different variations to protect air bags from theft.


ROB PAINTER, ASE, CFL, CFEI Forensic Vehicle Component Analyst Diplomate, Board Certified Forensic Examiner ASE Certified Auto, Collision, Med/Hvy/Duty Truck Technician Certified Forensic Locksmith Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator Certified Forensic Auto Theft Examiner Certified Auto Theft and Fraud Expert P.O. Box 190 Big Bend, WI 53103 Phone (414) 698-9696 Fax (262) 662-1352 As per federal court rules of evidence (702) (Daubert) my testimony has qualified me as: Auto Theft and Fraud Expert Forensic Vehicle Analyst Fire Origin and Cause Expert In the trial transcript of Holiday vs Progressive Insurance Company (March 12, 2002?Eugene, Oregon) with Holiday being my client-named ?the expert for experts.? BUSINESS EXPERIENCE Founder of the ?Forensic Institute of Auto Theft Analysis? (January 2002). This is the training school that will set the standards in determining the last operation of a reported stolen vehicle-burned or unburned. Much of my testing and procedures have been accepted as the guide for the forensic community. 1986 opened Auto Recovery Specialists Inc., providing exclusive repair of theft recovered and vandalized vehicles. The initial concept of the business was to return vehicles to their original shape before the theft, vandalism or fire. In 1987 bought the rights to the theft deterrent known as the ?Chicago Collar?. Duties include complete component replacement: dash, stereo system, interior, locks and coding, rebuilding steering columns, repairing and installing vehicle security system components (factory and after market), engine components, body repair, glass replacement, repair and service of air conditioning components, brake and suspension repair, and replacement, wiring harnesses etc. to return vehicle to pre-theft condition Complete reconstruction. During the past 17 years directly involved in the repair of over 10,000 theft-recovered and fire damaged Personally examined and rebuilt thousands of steering columns on both import and domestic vehicles Internationally acknowledged as expert in auto theft including court, consulting with insurance companies, attorneys and law enforcement. Consultant on steering columns, locks, stereo systems and vehicle security for Special Investigation Units for many large insurance carriers during the past eight years. Consulting services include but not limited to: How a vehicle was last operated (with or without keys in burned or unburned vehicles), Origin and Cause of vehicle fires, and vehicle defects. Provides services as a consultant and researcher to attorneys and insurance companies, and private industry throughout the US in cases related to vehicles. Has worked with crime prevention officers throughout the US establishing training programs designed to protect the public from becoming victims of auto theft. PATENT: 3/21/00 issued patent# 6,039,140 for 8 different variations of airbag anti-theft devices. PUBLICATIONS Currently authors articles and test reports on an ongoing basis for SIUs and the forensic/vehicle fire industry. Published author: (1,297 slide training course) Auto Theft/ Fraud Training Course) ?The Modern Forensic Approach to Auto Theft Investigation.? (January, 2001) Author: ?Variables to Be Considered In Vehicle Fire Investigation after Suppression.? (Insurance publication-November 2001) Author: ?Ford Magnesium Steering Columns and the Results to Ignition Components after a Fire?. Article for peer review from the fire and forensic community. (November 2001) Author: ?The Truth About GM VATS.? (Article) (November 2001) Author: ?The Truth About GM PASSLOCK TM? (Article) (November 2001) Author:? Auto Theft Investigation: Hollywood vs. Reality? (Article) (February 2001) For the John Cooke Fraud Report. Published author: (Manual) ?Forensic Vehicle Fire/ Arson and Auto Theft Investigation? (October 2000) Published author: (Article) ?Petty Claims? for the John Cooke Fraud Report (October, 1998) Published author (Manual) ?AUTO THEFT: LET THE TRUTH BE KNOWN!? (1998) (Previously distributed by Barnes & Nobel) Co-authored the investigation manual, ?Surreptitious Entry & Auto Theft & Burn & the Investigator.? (1999) Authored test questions on the subject of steering columns and vehicle security for CFL designation to be given by the International Association of Investigative Locksmiths. January, 2000 Published author: (Manual) ?Saginaw Steering Columns-What Has Not Been Told? Training manual for fire investigators. (March 2000) Published (Article) ?Beyond The Lock? (May 2000) Published Author: (Article) Fraud Defense Network-August, 2000 Edition-?Melting Steering Column Tests.? Published author: (Test Report) ?Burned Toyota Steering Column Testing to Determine How Last Operated?. Tool marks and procedures. (December 1999) Currently at the FBI Crime Lab in Washington DC and the US Army Crime Lab in Atlanta, GA for peer review. ACCOMPLISHMENTS Defeated the ?unstealable? Ford Securilock transponder system for a court case 10/10/00. They said it could not be done! Primary designer of a state of the art ?bait? car for a police department to catch car thieves. Worked with The National Highway Safety Transportation Administration and discovered a potential fire hazard on a vehicle and determined origin and cause of under hood fires on this type of vehicle. Featured as ?Auto Theft Expert? in the A & E auto theft documentary ?Stealing Wheels? that aired July 26, 2000. Contacted by Sears and Edelman Marketing to be a national spokesman for an anti theft device for vehicles. (November 1999) Invited to provide evaluation and consulting to steering column engineers at Daimler Chrysler Corporation in Auburn Hills, MI (10/19/99-10/22/99). The purpose of this project was to demonstrate how steering column locking mechanisms could be defeated without the use of a key and how to reinforce the columns against theft. Court Qualified as an Auto Theft Expert and my videos of defeating columns were also accepted by a Cleveland, Ohio Court in October 1999 as a valid piece of evidence. Contacted by Disney Touchstone Pictures for technical assistance in making the movie ?Gone in 60 Seconds? (March 1999) CONSULTANT FOR FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONS ? Former contributor for The Insurance News Network (Auto theft and prevention) includes heading a forum for the public on how to protect their vehicles for 3+ years. ? Former editor and consultant for the public on matters involving auto theft and prevention 2000-2001 on the web at ? The Insurance Career Center (Auto theft and fraud). ? National Association of Investigative Specialists (Auto theft and fraud) ? Expert Find (Auto theft and fraud} TECHNICAL EXPERIENCE ? ASE (National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence) Certified in Auto: brakes, steering and suspension, engine repair, manual drive train and axles, air conditioning. Med/Heavy duty truck: gasoline engine repair, electrical/electronic components. Collision: elec.....

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