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Cadillac Repair/1992 Cadillac intermittant start/cranking


QUESTION: Cadillac sometimes will turn over and start. Other times when you turn the key to on, the security light stays on and it won't crank even though everything else works.  When it works, I turn the key to on, wait a couple of seconds for the security light to go off and then I hear a single click coming from the engine compartment.  Could there be a bad relay that sometimes sticks and that is why sometimes it won't crank?

ANSWER: Hello,

Notorious for problems in the steering column wiring leading to the ignition lock cylinder the VATS (Ugly resistor chip in ignition key) is most likely the answer. Cadillac charges $700 for a new ignition lock cylinder/Harness. Its best to bypass it and be done with the problems.

The easiest way is to call auto alarm stores and ask if they have a VATS bypass kit for remote start. These are extra and cost the store nothing. You will not be putting remote start in, just bypassing the VATS. They will install the correct resistor and bypass the steering column ignition lock cylinder. Should cost around $60. This should end your problems.

Good luck!

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Last spring I bypassed the resistor chip.  The problem seesm to occur when I take a run to the store or gym and only let the car sit for less than an hour.  If it sits for more than an hour, then the problem doesn't occur.

ANSWER: Hello,

Thanks for the follow up. Sounds like a bad starter from your description.
On starters having internal problems when warmed up, we used to strike them a couple of times and engine would start. Brushes stick causing a problem shut off warm and no problem with a cold engine.


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


It is getting stranger. This morning at 7am I went out to start the car. The temp was in the low 50s (Arizona).   The security light stayed on and it would not clicks or anything. I had to run to a Tennis meet so just left it and took our other car. I just now (1:40pm)(72 degrees)went out and turned the key.  After 2-3 seconds the security light went off.  I turned the key to start and it turned over and started.


The first disadvantage I have is that I am not with the vehicle at the time it is acting up. Possibly the resistor you had installed is coming loose at its connection. This vehicle may have the optional factory installed alarm as well giving you the problem. I would suggest trying to obtain a factory service manual through Ebay or Craigs list. What makes all this even more difficult to diagnose is the fact that these problems do not happen all the time.
To find out of the vehicle is equipped with a factory installed alarm, you can get the options list by contacting a dealer and giving them the VIN.

I have gone off your descriptions, but when intermittent, I am like you in which I am left guessing. I do not get into factory alarm issues because they were very troublesome to diagnose when the problem existed.
I truly wish I could give you a standard answer, but there is none for your situation. I suppose we can eliminate a starter problem for now with the security light coming on and disabling the starter. This could be a connection issue, a bad printed circuit in a factory alarm module. I simply do not have the answer. I have addressed the known issues which is as far as I can go.

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Rob Painter


Alarm system questions cannot be answered on this forum. These systems are not what I can answer. Without being physically at the vehicle and not knowing what kind of electrical service has been done on the vehicle, there is no possible way to give an accurate answer over the internet. My expertise is in Ignition/key based anti-theft systems. These issues include GM VATS (resistor chip in key blade) PASSLOCK (MRD)-ignition lock rotation based, no special ignition key and the PKIII Transponder (computer chip in key) systems. These systems are not alarm based and are integral with the starting of the engine. This is why I cannot diagnose alarm problems without physically looking at the vehicle: Alarm systems are a completely different annimal than ignition key/lock based anti-theft system. Many alarm questions come from vehicles 10 years old, and since older, many hands that had been involved over the years.I am an expert in all GM factory (ignition/key based)systems. Alarm system questions pose to many situations beyond my knowledge as to what has been done to the vehicle over the years. Some guy may have actually wired the stereo into the alarm system. Who knows? Over my past 30 years in vehicle wiring repair, I have seen unbelievable wiring disaters done by guys that consider themselves "mechanics." I have seen stereos and alarms intalled using surgical tape. I have seen modules burn up, un-fused circuits, wiring jambed between the doors and even lamp cord used for a starter kill. To answer alarm questions over the internet without examining the vehicle is like asking; What does it take to remove a dent?


Education/Credentials-ASE certified. 11 years with a GM dealer and 17 years with a repair facility dealing with only the repair of theft recovered vehicles.

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