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Cadillac Repair/battery replacement/memory loss


QUESTION: In the event that I have to disconnect the battery in my '13 CTS-V wagon to replace or load test it, do repairs, check for parasitic loads or whatever, what memory loss issues do I face? Throttle, theft, radio, window control, clock,seat position are some that come to mind. I know to disable the OnStar battery.

Do you advise disconnecting the battery when doing repairs?

Should I obtain a memory preserving device? There are the 9 volt batteries that plug into the lighter port and the 12 volt kind that plug into the OBD2 data link socket. Which work and are there any pitfalls?

ANSWER: Hello,

Thank you very much for your rating. es, your CTS-V would be one of my dream vehicles. Not tring to mke you feel insecure, but most after market alarms are a waste of money because they are onl as good as the installer. Since my background is in the repair of stolen theft recovered vehicles, I think like a thief. Most installers have no clue as to how a specific vehicle is stolen, leaving a breach in the security. On Star like any tracking system has limitations that are obviously not adverized.

I took on the Ford engineers in the Ls Angeles case Greines v Ford in which I defeated the "virtually unstealable Ford Securilock" with one wire. Not only that, but I shared my process with my peers and they all replicated the process successfully on all Ford trucks and SUV's giving the process a 0 error rating. Ford is deceptive as well calling their system PATS (Passive Anti Theft System) which is basically an expensive engine disable. The system does not prevent theft.

What I would highly recommend if you are located in a state like Texas where you can protect property and like in my case have a carry license, have a pager installed in the vehicle. Done properly, no bells or whistles and gives one the opportunity to confront the thief.
Please remember, I am not a lawyer and don't give legal advice. I am just suggesting as to how I protect my vehicles.

This is one of the best questions that I have ever seen and it is obvious that you have researched information on this subject.

It is always advisable to disconnect battery power when performing electrical repairs and electronic component replacement, however there are pitfalls that are commonly not considered by most including by technicians and the general public. One that comes immediately to mind is the PK III transponder ignition based theft deterrent. A discharged battery or disconnection can cause the vehicle's computer to lose it's electronic key memory. This applies to a mechanical ignition lock with the chip in the key, or the smart key version that has a starter button.
In such an instance, I sure would not have a dealer touch the vehicle because their pricing for reprogramming is marked up very high compared to that of the locksmith, that will come to the vehicle with a Tech II or after market equivalent electronic scanner to reprogram the encrypted key to the computer.
As for the equipment you are referring to, I personally have not used it, but I have heard about these products and they do make sense in order to prevent the memory loss of components already programmed into the vehicle.

I have been answering questions here for 15 years and a very common question s that when one has a discharged battery or the battery had been reconnected, the transponder vehicle's engine will no longer start and in essence the key memory is erased.
This can be very costly to most because the first thought is to have the vehicle towed to the dealer. After all, the dealer, must know the vehicle better than anyone else. Unfortunately, after years of dealer complaints from consumers being ripped off because dealers are notorious for parts changing on a guess, without ever correcting the initial complaint, as well as their pricing being out of line.

I commonly recommend that the car owner have a factory service manual for their specific vehicle. You may be able to obtain an on-line version for around $30 for a year located at In fact, the manual may recommend a specific brand of the product you are referring to in order to prevent memory loss. Using this manual, lets you imitate exactly what the dealer is supposed to do in any type of repair to the vehicle.

You may wonder as to why I am not up on the product you are referring to. The reason is this: I have retired as a technician almost 10 years ago and only stay current with the electronics on vehicles to 2013 as it relates to how to defeat anti theft systems and steal vehicles.

This answer may sound peculiar, but I have served as a rebuttal expert witness as an expert on auto theft, forensics and forensic analysis of vehicle fires qualifying in 19 states and federal court in both civil and criminal arenas for the last 18 years.

How would my career apply to you or anyone else with a vehicle with a factory anti theft system installed? The answer is simple: The SIU (Special Investigation Unit (SIU) will assign these vehicle theft claims (if the car is reported stolen) to Charlatans known as "Forensic Locksmiths/examiners" who will in essence state in a report for the carrier that the vehicle was last driven with a key of the proper type, inferring the insured's key. According to the experts and the insurance companies, a transponder equipped vehicle is impossible to steal, which is a misrepresentation of fact right there because the ignition based transponder was never designed to prevent theft. The truth of the matter is that these days, the more reliance on electronics for security, makes the vehicles even more vulnerable to steal.
You or anyone like you, once the forensic expert points his ambiguous deliberately misleading report as it relates to the theft of a vehicle with a so called "anti theft" system, the insured is aggressively investigated and an apparent financial motive is manufactured causing the claim to be denied, which can cause the insured;s life to be turned upside down! It can get worse and the insured can be prosecuted for insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, arson if recovered burned and filing a false police report. All felonies! All because the insured owned a vehicle with a factory installed anti theft system!
Yet someone like me, could have a majority of all these vehicles in 60 seconds or less! Yours included!
Our firm has expert witnesses, consultants to attorneys. We have no competition nation wide, because if ever even thinking of opposing an insurance company, cuts all ties with carriers and they will not send these reported stolen vehicle assignments any longer.
Personally, I retired from being an expert witness in January of this years and serve in even a more crucial position to insureds.
I serve my clients representing them under Power of Attorney which gives me many of the same powers of lawyers. I have served in this position for three years and have a 100% settlement rate, because carriers are not foolish enough to have a non-attorney beat a seasoned defense team. I expose their experts as the frauds they are who commonly are the only ones that have access to the evidence from the vehicle for their carrier client. They commonly destroy, manufacture, evidence. They submit reports on vehicles they state were last operated with a key of the proper type, even though the vehicle was never recovered! Their reports give opinions and conclusions on evidence they never retained, or physical evidence that simply did not exist in the case of a stolen being recovered burned.
I hope any reader does not feel this is a rant. It is just an educational story to demonstrate real life, and no insured will realize it until they are the victim of a stolen vehicle, which can make them a victim of their insurance companies and even a victim of the criminal justice system.
These forensic locksmiths/examiners feed on the ignorance of auto theft and forensics of the juries, judges and attorneys. After all with the self-appointed title of "Forensic" combined with their experience as a locksmith (not a thief) and the attorneys not knowing what questions are needed at cross exam to cause them to self-impeach, the deck is stacked against the insured.

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

QUESTION: Thanks for your suggestions. Here in New Jersey only the thugs carry weapons. My Vagon is garaged in a low crime area and, as I said, when I take it out, it's rarely out of my sight. Cars must be harder to steal, by amateurs, at least, because thieves are resorting more to towing and car jacking, at least around here. I don't think the pros are so interested in a rare car like mine. as parts are not much in demand. I do back into parking spots and leave the car in gear to discourage towing. I must say it draws a lot of attention

Loss of this car would be devastating. Only about 400 CTS-V manual wagons have been produced with only a couple dozen in white. They can only be ordered for the next month and are virtually non existent used. It's truly a "dream car." Car&Driver called it a ridiculous concept - combines performance,luxury,and utility. They went on to say it's the best car America ever produced or ever will produce. The fastest production sedan on a road course in the world at a bargain price. Road&Track just listed the wagon among the coolest cars of the last 50 years, worldwide. Easy to mod.. Cam, sc pulley,intake and exhaust buys another 100 hp and the car is built to take it. Get one now while you can. Your never too old. I'm 70.

Thanks for the advice. I'm still researching the battery issue. The factory manual has few warnings but some on the forum mentioned memory issues.

Hi Oliver,

Well, I am right behind you at 62 years old, however because of my "noble cause" fighting insurance companies in the very fraudulent industry of forensic locksmithing, and 18 years of unbased personal and professional attacks when serving as a very good rebuttal expert witness opposing slimebag, unethical defense attorneys and liars, my passion has cost me everything financially.
I have a book I am currently finishing exposing the con used by insurance companies to deny a theft claim. The only way I could ave a dream car like yours is steal it, and unfortunately, I am dogged by morals instilled by my upbringing.

Of course, I could be very rich just sharing my knowledge with thieves, but can't bring myself to do that either.
Instead, I live a very humble life assisting the little people against the insurance companies. The realization of knowing I have had a positive impact on so many lives I guess is my reward. Even on this site, I have volunteered my assistance to those that needed help with their vehicles for the last 15 years.

I feel my book is extremely interesting because it shows the lengths the insurance defense teams and the crooked experts have gone to, in order to destroy me personally and professionally. I have set so many legal precedents in my field, it would make one's head spin! This is why I gave you the warning. If the car is stolen, you are a victim once. The insurance company will make you a victim twice. And if you are really unlucky you can be a victim a third time if charged. So much damn arrogance and ignorance in our court system. Common sense does not play a role. A locksmith gives himself the title of "Forensic" and all of a sudden, the court believes everything he says. Even if he has no physical evidence to support his conclusions!

The things to stop me are amazing. A 12 month federal investigation launched on e based on a deposition I gave. Case closed after I did a 15 minute deposition with the DOJ! Putzes!
Because of the exposure of the carrier's exclusive forensic assignments of vehicle examinations, I set a precedent having a hand served subpoena from California on a $12,000 nothing civil case to Wisconsin, basically turning the California case into a Wisconsin civil case with all the litigants in California, courtesy of Judge Michael T Judge of Oconto, Wisconsin. I had one day to supply 40 years of information!
It goes on and on. If the did this to me, just what does everyone think their carrier with the cute TV commercials will do to them?

By the way, this is not a rant, but a preamble to my book and to demonstrate that anyone with a vehicle with an anti theft system that does not prevent theft leaves all insured's guilty for owning an "unstealable" vehicle.

Enjoy your dream car. I sure would!

God Bless!  

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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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