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Chrysler Repair/'98 Sebring Convertible: anti-theft problem


QUESTION: Roland---

Same problem as a guy in Aug, 2011. Car briefly starts, but turns itself off in seconds, as if anti-theft activated. After four or five attempts, there is no longer any sound at all when the key is turned. So far, sometimes after a nice "rest," the car has eventually started, but I have no desire to be stranded in the middle of the jungle. The car is in Mexico, and the key-pad lock-unlock hasn't worked in years. Please advise. Thank you very much.


ANSWER: Hi Randy,
What you describe is symptomatic of the vehicle theft security system not being disarmed properly. The passenger-side door also has a key lock which disarms the system so when you have this behavior try to lock/unlock the passenger door using the key. It may well be that the wire from the driver door lock is "open". If that other door lock doesn't prove an alternative then the best thing to do, other than fixing the wiring problem, it to never set up the alarm system. The way to do that is to never use the door key, the power door locks, or the key fob to lock the vehicle. Instead only use the mechanical push buttons on the inside of the doors to secure the doors as you are leaving the vehicle. You should be able to verify the status of the system by means of the LED light on the top of the dash. If it is illuminated then the system has been armed...and you would be wise to avoid doing that under the circumstances.
Please read the PS (below) and respond to it.
Thanks for doing that.

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

QUESTION: Roland---

Now the car is tired of my fooling around with it, and refuses to turn over at all. Battery not a problem. Sometimes the LED light is flashing, sometimes it's not---depending on what fooling around I've done most recently. Is there any way to totally disable the anti-theft system (or, as the geeks would say, "uninstall")? I suspect that if I take it completely out of the picture things might be better. Since the car is always parked with the top down, anyway....
Thanks for any further ideas you have.


Hi Randy,
The only way to circumvent the vehicle theft security system is to never activate it, and you do that by only using the mechanical pushbutton locks on the doors. If you also have a sentry key immobilizer system (the engine starter key would have a colored plastic cap then that too is an issue that will prevent the engine from being started. Until you get both the vtss disarmed and if you have the SKIS system that being operational via a valid key, you won't be able to operate. Does your key have the colored plastic cap?
The best thing would be to look in the owners manual if you have it. If not, I can copy the pages from the '98 service manual and postal mail them to you.
The system is hard wired into the vehicle so you can't uninstall it. You can only try to never activate it once you have the car running.
Thanks for the rating, nomination, and kind remarks. You can do all those again for this answer if you choose to.

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Roland Finston


Free fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

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I have do-it-yourself experience (50+ years) and a library of 100 1982-2011 Chrysler factory shop manuals and 20 multi-manual Chrysler Corp. CD's.

I was voted "Top Expert" 2010-2015, here at AllExperts, and have answered 20,000+ questions.


Five decades as a 'do-it-yourselfer' on domestic and imported cars.

Yahoo Autos Group called The Chrysler Lebaron Club (co-moderator)

Advanced degrees in Physics/bruised knuckles

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"Top expert" of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 here at Allexperts. Quickest "average response time" at Allexperts (currently no. 1).

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