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Cadillac Repair/1994 cadillac deville


QUESTION: My 1994 caddy has spark to the distributor-a new distributor-cam sensor-module-coil--but will not fire. It shows no codes. It has juice to the distributor. I have tried the other key--but to no avail.

ANSWER: Hello,

This question is similar to one I received over the last 3 weeks, but it may be from another person, so I will answer accordingly.
First of all, it does not matter which key you use in this situation, because the so-called anti-theft is not in this equation. I am about to go into a public education mode on all this factory security junk. It's not a rant, but a full blown education on these systems.
Short and sweet for you--if you had a problem with the ignition key or the VATS, the engine would not crank, which is not your complaint!

You have told me you have primary power to the distributor, but you did not state if you have secondary ignition power. Is there spark at the spark plugs? Get back to me on this.

Now, for the education to the public about the GM VATS and other systems, auto theft and forensics---

The most common issue with the GM VATS is that the very thin wires running up and down the inside of the steering column break inside the wire insulation. Any movement to the wires like tilting the column, will put a broken wire together and the engine will crank. The cheapest and easiest way to repair is to have the system bypassed at and alarm store, because the dealer will charge north of $800.00 to replace the ignition lock and harness, which will fail again because of inferior design. Better yet, GM does not even make the locks and keys for their vehicles. In a case like this, Cadillac is a middle man with a stiff mark up. A locksmith gets the locks and the keys from the same contractor and charges half of what the dealer does.
GM, Ford, Chrysler ignition locks and keys were all made by the same sub-contractor in Milwaukee. I have been in that plant many times!

The VATS (Vehicle Anti Theft System)is a sorry piece of garbage that GM employed in many of its vehicles form 1986 to 2005. Most are aware that software on a computer has vulnerabilities all the time and that is the purpose for anti virus programs. The VATS is very low tech, requiring a specific resistance from the ignition key (That big ugly black resistor chip installed it the key).
GM's upgrade from 1986 performed in 1992 was to eliminate one resistor value because it was too close to another. In 1986 in the Corvette, there was the choice of 15 resistors. This number changed to 14.

Like the Ford PATS (Passive Anti Theft System) the name was deliberately misrepresented by the manufacturer. One would assume that a name "Anti Theft System" would prevent the vehicle from being stolen. There is only one problem as it relates to this premise. Not one of these systems from the factory was ever designed to prevent theft.

In Fact, in the late 90's Ford stated the PATS was virtually "Unstealable" and could not be defeated. Everyone, dealer mechanics, locksmiths,insurance companies, law enforcement all believed this ruse! I studied a factory service manual in the Los Angeles case Greines v Ford and found an assembly flaw looking at this style system and how as a thief I would defeat it. On 10/10/2000 I applied my theory of bypassing one relay, since I was very familiar with relays from installing alarms and options. To my surprise without prior rehearsal, my bypass worked, illustrating that everyone believed the hype from the manufacturer and simply was not true!
It is one thing if I could defeat the system on one vehicle with one wire, but for my own sake, I needed more.
I supplied my bypass to a forensic auto tech, only by letting him see a video made for the court and no further information. This way he could do a blind test on his own. He bypassed three different Fords on vehicle while being taped by an insurance carrier. He found my bypass to steal these PATS equipped vehicles worked on all three and the bypass was valid. I supplied the information to another forensic tech. He successfully bypassed three more vehicles again on video, making my process again, valid. A forensic locksmith that examined reported stolen vehicles determining the last key used, frantically contacted me because the insurance carrier that had videoed the first test was very concerned. This competitor stated he had to re evaluate all these examinations he performed. He even gave me a signed document stating he would give me full credit for the bypass. He lied! However m bypass worked for him a well. In fact, my bypass of this anti theft system had a 0 error rate,meaning each and every truck and SUV with this system was vulnerable to theft within 60 seconds!
What is funny, even up to 2014, these goofs calling themselves forensic locksmiths working for insurance companies to accuse the insured of having the last key used in a reported stolen vehicle, use the exact same process of using aluminum foil to block the transponder signal from the ignition key (Ford Parameters and not the proper way to test a transponder system)on all vehicles, as well as checking the power distribution center for bypass. Interestingly, the process I employed was strictly for 1997-2003 Expeditions and 1998-2003 Ford trucks and 1998-2001 Ford Explorers. With no credit, evidently I set the examination standards, that are currently taught now. In other words, these forensic locksmiths have no clue as to electronics and electrical systems here, and just apply an event for a specific vehicle and use the process as one size fits all.

The GM VATS I defeated as well, just like other systems. I am not narcissistic here. It is just that I have been exposed to auto theft since 1980 and for 17 years have been involved in the repair of over 10,000 theft recoveries.
Unlike locksmiths very limited to their locksmithery that will opine as to how they would steal a vehicle (who cares), I have not come across a vehicle that I could not steal! I am a professional car thief that only demonstrates how to steal a specific vehicle in court!

Daimler Chrysler sub-contracted my company to defeat their steering columns.

There has always been the question as to how I know more than a factory engineer designing an anti theft system. Well, engineers build a system on theories based on information by convicted car thieves and how they think vehicles are stolen. They have no hands on experience as to the methodology employed by car thieves. Using information from a convicted car thief, just tells you he wasn't very good, he got caught!

Another problem with these factory anti theft systems is that they are almost never updated! In 1997 GM came out with the PK III transponder system on the Buick Road master. They are still using the same system currently along with all the same vulnerabilities!
The after market alarm manufactures found a problem in 1994 with their key fobs for locking and unlocking the doors. The codes could be read by a code grabber. They fixed this by using encryption in which the codes would constantly change. It took the new car manufacturers another three years before they fixed this problem with their vehicles.
In 2013, NBC ran a piece in which Long Beach, CA were stumped because they had video of thieves unlocking these code hopping systems with their own remotes! Duh! Does anyone think that because thieves just gave up in 1998 when the code grabbers were obsolete?
Its like a radar detector. Once a radar detector is made, the cops have equipment to electronically see the radar detector. Then the new radar detector goes stealth. Then the cops can spot them.
Its a cat and mouse game.
Unlike my opposition as an expert witness, I work for all sides. Their limitation is only a one side view! This is the reason, I have made the insurance forensic experts look like idiots in court and why I am hated and feared! Always one step ahead!

About our company A&R Forensics:

We commonly serve insured's either consulting or offering expert witness testimony about auto theft and forensics on an auto theft, in which the insurance claim has been denied.

Another service we offer is to represent the insured under Power of Attorney during an auto theft investigation, or for an Examination Under Oath, as well as denial.
We have a 100% success rate with no court intervention due to my reputation and the fact that I can demonstrate deliberate deception on the part of the hired forensic locksmith, who's report gives the general conclusion on a reported stolen vehicle that it was last driven with a key of the proper type. This statement is used to infer the insured has misrepresented the claim. That is only because the expert uses a "forensic" title and because people don't think any farther than that. Of course we asked the simple questions. Which keys qualify as a key of the proper type other than the insured's? How about a thief's key? Was a key needed at all to steal the vehicle? If these experts truly used the scientific method as they espouse to do, then exactly which specific key was last used? Since ignition keys are double sided and fit into the lock in either direction, then which side of the specific key was last used?

It is so common for the forensic locksmith to testify on evidence he never retained. The courts because of lack of knowledge, have let these experts do this. Why should we take the expert's word on what he purportedly observed? What about physical evidence, like the ignition lock?
They will also testify on transponder anti theft systems that have been destroyed by fire when the vehicle is recovered burned! How can they testify on physical evidence the could not examine? Insured's get convicted on this crap!
The criminal defense or plaintiff attorneys know nothing about auto theft and forensics and argue the law in these cases. Of course that is what lawyers do, however these theft investigation and denials are predicated on a blatant, deliberate and with malice deception of facts on the part of the forensic expert and yet the attorney without experts or consultants is most likely going to lose the case for his client!
I currently have a criminal case in which the prosecution's start witness examined a reported stolen, recovered burned vehicle. He states he found a dent puller with a broken bolt in the vehicle.
He states the fire must have destroyed the ignition after stating that it appeared as though someone had been tampering with the driver's floor debris before he arrived. He then stated in his report that the other half of the broken bolt in the dent puller may have been in the ignition to rip it out before the fire. He went on to state that his firm was not aware of any way the transponder system could be defeated and that by forcing the ignition, would have disabled the transponder system. To sum all this up, the expert in this criminal trial is speculating as to if the blot that was broken from the dent puller had been used in an ignition lock he did not have on an anti theft system that any locksmith, dealer mechanic or thief could generate a functioning transponder key for without a transponder key programmer, on a system that could be bypassed that has 1997 technology in a 2009 vehicle! His conclusion is that the vehicle was last driven with a correct key. The question then would be; exactly which insured key would that be? Which side of the double sided correct key? Isn't a key made by a thief a correct key? Was the vehicle towed in which a key was not even needed?
The fact that all the electronics for the transponder anti theft system were destroyed by fire was not a consideration by this expert.
Yet, my clients have been charged with insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud!

This can happen to anyone, in which a guy using the title of "forensic" is now believable on innuendo serving as fact!!!

         Copyright 2014 Rob Painter. All rights reserved.

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

QUESTION: Thank you for your advice. As for secondary power--no-it has no power to the plugs. It has been in two shops==one got it to run-but no injector firing-now it has no secondary firing.


Without being at the vehicle, it is almost impossible for me to diagnose the problem. I am slightly confused though. You tell me that you have no secondary power to the plugs, but then you also tell me you had no power to the injectors. Two separate problems. One is spark. One is fuel. Either one will prevent the engine from running.
Just because the vehicle does not display diagnostic codes, does not mean there is not a problem in the BCM (Body Control module-computer).
Has anyone connected a Tech II scanner to diagnose the problem? The Tech II should be able to diagnose what is going on. Without it, the tech is just chasing ghosts and replacing parts on a guess.
If you have multiple issues I would seriously be considering a bad BCM. The BCM is integrated into the injection system, the cam sensor and any other sensor on the engine.
In older vehicles it would be simple to diagnose. Not on these highly computerized engines.
As for correlation to what may be wrong, what happened before the problem appeared? Driving down the road and quit running? One day engine would not start? Was something such as a stereo installed recently?

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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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