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Its weird, but it happens all the time. I will address a subject and the same subject shows up days later for another person. It may be like your problem, then I may not get a question on over heating for months and then all  a sudden I have 4 questions on the same subject. I just answered this question for another person last week!

OK, now to your problem: The most very common problem similar to yours is the junk VATS (Vehicle Anti Theft System), which by the way does not prevent theft.
That big Black ugly resistor pellet on your ignition key indicates this is a VATS system.
This system was first applied in the 1986 Corvette and used until 2005. Since when a person buys a computer and finds it to be obsolete as soon as they walk out the door, how electronically proficient can the VATS be after being used for 19 years?

There are 2 very tiny wires involved. One goes up the steering column and has a contact in the front of the ignition lock cylinder. Another contact is located there going to the wire running down the column. When the key is inserted, it connects both wires with the resistor chip in the key. When I say these wires are thin, they are much like the wiring used in land line phones.

Over time, these wires break inside the insulation, so you will never see where the wire is broken. If one goes to test these wires with an ohmmeter, the break will never be found because any movement of those wires has a tendency of reconnecting the break.

First, the way to get this car started temporarily is o tilt the column in different positions and try to start. If you are lucky, the engine will start like this. You may have to shift the trans to neutral and try starting in every column tilt position. Chances are that you will get the engine started.

If you take to a dealer, they will hit you $800.00 to replace the ignition lock and harness which will fail again in the future.

The VATS system is bypassed by use of an in line resistor bypassing the steering column wiring.
I recommend calling around o alarm stores and fining one that can bypass the system for you. It should cost about $60.00 and you will never have problems again.

Good Luck  

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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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