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Old 09-07-2018, 09:18 PM   #1  
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VATS question

Recently went to start the car and I got nothing and security light stayed on with key on. after getting nowhere with it I came back hours later and the car cranks and fires like normal. Years ago my car (92 rs) would do this randomly and leave me stranded until I replaced many things ignition switch included. Car did fine up until yesterday. Im afraid I will likely have to change the switch again which I absolutely dread. Im curious though as to why the car will start hours later after getting nothing at first? Years ago I could always jump the car off each time and it would do fine for months sometimes years and randomly leave me stranded again. Ive been trying to figure this out for awhile just curious as to if anyone knows for sure why it intermentently fails to start when the lock system fails.
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Old 09-07-2018, 09:28 PM   #2  
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Re: VATS question

Could be an intermittent problem with the start relay. Remove the screws from the kick panel and keep a multimeter in the car to measure voltage output from the relay next time it happens.
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Old 09-08-2018, 07:37 PM   #3  
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Re: VATS question

Im assuming that relay is in the fuse block with the rest of them, I havent got the ole chilton manual out to look at them in some time. I wouldnt think the starter relay would cause the security light to stay on though would it?
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Old 09-08-2018, 07:41 PM   #4  
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Re: VATS question

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Could be an intermittent problem with the start relay. Remove the screws from the kick panel and keep a multimeter in the car to measure voltage output from the relay next time it happens.
it’s under the drivers side kick panel !
bottom of Post #2 is a image of the relay bypassed.
https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/elec...pass-vats.html
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Old 09-08-2018, 09:34 PM   #5  
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Re: VATS question

oh ok so thats the relay he meant. Ill be honest as old as the car is I may just swap out multiple things that could cause this issue that I havent previously done. Im game for just about anything as long as I dont have to change that stupid lock cylinder again. The thought turns my stomach.
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Old 09-08-2018, 09:47 PM   #6  
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Re: VATS question

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Im game for just about anything as long as I dont have to change that stupid lock cylinder again. The thought turns my stomach.
I just made a how-to thread for that too!
https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/susp...-rebuilds.html
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Old 09-09-2018, 05:19 AM   #7  
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Re: VATS question

I will check it out then when I get home from work. I done it once about 4-5 years ago so its a bit fuzzy. I remember trying to run that orange wire down the steering column was almost impossible for me to try and get it exactly the same route as the original wire was.
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:28 AM   #8  
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Re: VATS question

Do local parts places usually carry this starter enable relay? I checked some websites of local places here but did not see these on there.
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:51 AM   #9  
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:40 PM   #10  
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Re: VATS question

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Originally Posted by Tuned Performance View Post
Thanks,Im more than likely gonna replace this and check alot ot the wiring, hopefully on next day off. The car hasnt been drove or moved in weeks and ive been randomly turning the switch on each day to see if the no start would resurface and it finally did this morning. Security light stayed on and no power to starter, 15 minutes later it kicks right over. This seems a little different than the last time years ago it gave me problems. Back then it was Always after the car was drove and set for an hour or so, never from a completely cold start.
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Old 09-12-2018, 07:06 AM   #11  
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Re: VATS question

The PASSkey module decides when to turn on the security light. I would study the troubleshooting guide in the GM service manual for when that condition occurs and follow your nose from there.

https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/tech-general-engine/613497-1988-firebird-service-manual.html
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:34 AM   #12  
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Re: VATS question

Oh wow thats alot of pages. I got a chilton manual but it seems like it never fully tells you what you need to know just bits and pieces. The Passkey module is it something that can still be purchased if needed?
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Old 09-12-2018, 12:22 PM   #13  
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Re: VATS question

The stuff you're interested in begins on page 1511.

That service manual is probably the biggest gold mine you'll ever find on this forum. It took me many years to find it!
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Old 09-12-2018, 01:06 PM   #14  
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Re: VATS question

^ +1 on that. Made figuring out the wiring for my LS1 swap much easier (among countless other things). It's so much more in depth than any Chilton or Haynes manual could ever be. Whoever took the time to scan, and put together that pdf needs a spot in the "Thirdgen Hall of Fame".
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Old 09-13-2018, 01:11 PM   #15  
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Re: VATS question

So maybe im blind or just stupid but I finally got around to pullinig the kick panel off and looking around and I dont see that relay anywhere. I pulled that black gooey pad off aswell and its just an empty pocket with access to what looks like the hinge bolts. Is there somewhere else these things are located? Theres something that kinda resembles it much further up in the dash that I cant reach. kinda up and behind the fuse panel.
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Old 09-13-2018, 01:26 PM   #16  
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Re: VATS question


Should it not be in this general area?
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Old 09-13-2018, 02:01 PM   #17  
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Old 09-13-2018, 03:09 PM   #18  
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Re: VATS question

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The Passkey module is it something that can still be purchased if needed?
No, the pass key module is not something that you can buy new. You can only buy new keys. Used vats are worthless unless they come with its original key. No records were kept at GM of what vats unit or vin requires what key. In the past year I have spent more time learning about pass key modules and troubleshooting them then I want to know. Basically it was a HUGE waste of my time. My conclusion was that it's a wonderful system when it works. It's simple enough to understand and troubleshoot. However, after twenty years of resistance building up in the electrical system the system will start to go and when you reach that point you are better off removing the system by doing a vats bypass in the ecm and buying a generic car alarm to take the place of the vats as a starter kill.
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Old 09-13-2018, 03:09 PM   #19  
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Re: VATS question

I stumbled upon that post a few hours ago. Iíve looked around about as much as I can with the drivers underdash piece in place. I guess Iíll pull that off and see if I can get any higher. It seems odd if itís that far up and every one else has it behind the kick panel.
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Old 09-13-2018, 03:29 PM   #20  
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Re: VATS question

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Originally Posted by Tuned Performance View Post



post #22 on this link. Looks as if it used a spdt relay 30/40 amp.
https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/chevrolet,1992,camaro,5.0l+v8,1035818,electrical-switch+&+relay,anti-theft+relay,3012


https://m.ebay.com/itm/RELAY-12-VOLT...pe!90011!US!-1


Last edited by Tuned Performance; 09-13-2018 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 09-13-2018, 05:13 PM   #21  
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Re: VATS question

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I just took all that junk off underneath, still cannot find either of those style relays. I traced orange wire from the lock cylinder into fuse block but I cant tell where it goes after that. Theres a connector on the side far up which I thought may be it but it doesnt look like a relay now that im alil closer to it. I took some pics on my cell phone. Ill upload them in a bit>
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Old 09-13-2018, 05:19 PM   #22  
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Re: VATS question




This thing at the top looked like it at a glance
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Old 09-13-2018, 09:43 PM   #23  
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Re: VATS question

I’m not seeing it in any of the pictures. Is there anything next to the flasher.
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Old 09-14-2018, 04:13 AM   #24  
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Re: VATS question

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Iím not seeing it in any of the pictures. Is there anything next to the flasher.
You mean the area where the turn signal and hazard flasher buttons are on the column? I dont recall seeing anything near there. There are a few things like open connectors down there one is on the same wire set as the obd connector and maybe to small ones down there that I have no clue their purpose. They are kinda just hanging around and not mounted anywhere.
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Old 09-14-2018, 10:32 AM   #25  
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Re: VATS question

Since the VATs light stays on at the time the engine won't start, you are wasting your time digging out the start relay and such. The issue is the VATs module isn't reading the key correctly.

If the 'chip' contacts in the key are worn you could get another key made. Or do the resistor bypass method.

RBob.
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Old 09-14-2018, 04:39 PM   #26  
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Re: VATS question

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Since the VATs light stays on at the time the engine won't start, you are wasting your time digging out the start relay and such. The issue is the VATs module isn't reading the key correctly.

If the 'chip' contacts in the key are worn you could get another key made. Or do the resistor bypass method.

RBob.
dont think the contacts are worn I could be wrong though. This key is only 4 years old and the car doesnt get driven much. At this point Im kinda irritated that I cant find the relay because I know it has to be there somewhere and I already purchased a replacement for it just as its one of the many things Ill probly be changing out. Also I thought to do this resistor bypass method you must first locate the relay then add the resistors in somewhere in the wiring for it. Maybe Im mistaken on how that method works.
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Old 09-14-2018, 04:51 PM   #27  
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Re: VATS question

Read the link that Tuned Performance gave you.
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Old 09-15-2018, 09:38 AM   #28  
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Re: VATS question

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dont think the contacts are worn I could be wrong though. This key is only 4 years old and the car doesnt get driven much. At this point Im kinda irritated that I cant find the relay because I know it has to be there somewhere and I already purchased a replacement for it just as its one of the many things Ill probly be changing out. Also I thought to do this resistor bypass method you must first locate the relay then add the resistors in somewhere in the wiring for it. Maybe Im mistaken on how that method works.
It could be the contacts in the key, it could be the contacts in the cylinder. Take a reading of the resistance across the key, Then find the little two wire connector at the base of the steering column, disconnect the connector. In the picture below the column side is the two wires in the orange protective sheath.


Insert the key in the cylinder and take a resistance reading of the connector that comes from the steering column/ignition switch. If both readings are within spec of one of the resistance values then (at least VATS wise) the problem is not with the key, ignition cylinder or column wiring. If those readings are good I would keep searching for the starter relay. I believe that mine was tucked way up high between the fuse box and kick panel and may have had some tape or foam on it, just like Tuned Port posted in the other thread he referenced. If when you find the relay it still isn't getting power (it shouldn't be but check anyway) you can point the finger to the VATS box. Then do as I posted earlier.

Last edited by Tibo; 09-15-2018 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 09-15-2018, 10:39 AM   #29  
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Re: VATS question

Good lord. Just bypass the start enable relay and burn a new PROM with the VATS disabled. It's super easy. Someone like TunedPerformance could set you up with a PROM pretty easily I'm sure.
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Old 09-15-2018, 08:32 PM   #30  
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Re: VATS question

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It could be the contacts in the key, it could be the contacts in the cylinder. Take a reading of the resistance across the key, Then find the little two wire connector at the base of the steering column, disconnect the connector. In the picture below the column side is the two wires in the orange protective sheath.


Insert the key in the cylinder and take a resistance reading of the connector that comes from the steering column/ignition switch. If both readings are within spec of one of the resistance values then (at least VATS wise) the problem is not with the key, ignition cylinder or column wiring. If those readings are good I would keep searching for the starter relay. I believe that mine was tucked way up high between the fuse box and kick panel and may have had some tape or foam on it, just like Tuned Port posted in the other thread he referenced. If when you find the relay it still isn't getting power (it shouldn't be but check anyway) you can point the finger to the VATS box. Then do as I posted earlier.
Thanks will definetely do this tommorow morning, assuming hurricane whatever hasnt flooded my garage out smh. I didnt even think about checking resistance at the connector. I guess if it was slightly out/in specifications that may cause it to intermittently not start.
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Old 09-15-2018, 08:37 PM   #31  
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Re: VATS question

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Good lord. Just bypass the start enable relay and burn a new PROM with the VATS disabled. It's super easy. Someone like TunedPerformance could set you up with a PROM pretty easily I'm sure.

I really hate to have to have a chip burned since I just dropped some money on a new one from TBIchips not to awefull long ago BUT I'm not opposed to doing it if thats what it takes to keep it going and enjoy it. If I dont figure something solid out pretty soon I will look into this. Either way at this point I'm determined to eventually find that relay lol, its kinda irritated me not being able to locate it.
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Old 09-16-2018, 07:36 AM   #32  
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Re: VATS question

@Tibo ok heres the readings. New key reads 0.681 ohms, Old key from 92 reads 0.683 ohms, switch on with key inserted the connector varied from 0.681-0.688 ohms with it changing everytime I cycled key on to off. Also I noticed with connector unplugged security light did not come on at all with key in switch, not sure if thats normal or what.
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Old 09-16-2018, 09:51 AM   #33  
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Re: VATS question

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@Tibo ok heres the readings. New key reads 0.681 ohms, Old key from 92 reads 0.683 ohms, switch on with key inserted the connector varied from 0.681-0.688 ohms with it changing everytime I cycled key on to off. Also I noticed with connector unplugged security light did not come on at all with key in switch, not sure if thats normal or what.
https://www.thirdgen.org/tech/images...tanceTable.jpg

According to the table, your readings are spot on for #3 so you can rule out the key, ignition cylinder and steering column wiring. Double check the VATS fuse. If you wanted to continue then the next thing to try would be to check the resistance between the two pins at the VATS connector. Also check the appropriate grounds at the connector for +power and ground. If it is seeing the correct ohms and receiving + and - then it's safe to say your VATS box is dead. The VATS box is not easy to get to. I can't recall if you can get to it from the passenger side foot well, removing the dash pad and getting to it from the top or if the dash has to be removed... I would see about finding the starter enable relay and contacting TunedPerformance for a quote.
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Old 09-16-2018, 08:22 PM   #34  
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Re: VATS question

I dont think it necessarily dead yet just possibly on its way their quickly. Its still at the point where it just randomly wont start then will 10 minutes late. I need brush up on my multimeter use since its been ages since Ive had any electrical problems like this then Ill check that stuff.
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Old 09-16-2018, 08:36 PM   #35  
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Re: VATS question

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I dont think it necessarily dead yet just possibly on its way their quickly. Its still at the point where it just randomly wont start then will 10 minutes late.
Assuming that the cause is VATS related, I wouldn't wait around until its 100% dead. You'd be mad at yourself if it died on you in a parking lot somewhere and you had to now pay a tow truck.
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:54 AM   #36  
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Re: VATS question

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Assuming that the cause is VATS related, I wouldn't wait around until its 100% dead. You'd be mad at yourself if it died on you in a parking lot somewhere and you had to now pay a tow truck.
I dont plan on letting that happen again. Years ago when I changed the lock cylinder it would randomly do that mess in parking lots. Im going to leave it in garage for now until I verify the problem and fix it. I think I will look into just bypassing it and do some research today on what all I need to do.
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Old 09-17-2018, 12:49 PM   #37  
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Re: VATS question

@Tibo when you said check resistance at the VATS pin you mean just probe the pins at the connector that plugs into the orange steering column wire correct? I shouldnt show any resistance or minimal unplugged I would think, But after checking I have checking Vats connector it has 10.31M ohms showing on the multimeter. Im not sure if Vats fuse should show voltage with key on but its showing 0 volts.

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Old 09-17-2018, 03:08 PM   #38  
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Re: VATS question

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Originally Posted by J-money View Post
@Tibo when you said check resistance at the VATS pin you mean just probe the pins at the connector that plugs into the orange steering column wire correct?
It sounds like you have already verified the correct resistance at the connector at the base of the steering column so next would be to check with the key in check the resistance between the appropriate pins at the connector that connects to the VATS box which is located on the passenger side between the dash and firewall. If you have the appropriate resistance present then the issue is either the box itself or that it's not receiving power or ground.
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Old 09-17-2018, 03:57 PM   #39  
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Re: VATS question

Okay I misunderstood you on that my bad. Not sure if I will have a chance to work with it more today but Iíll for sure get to the vats tomorrow and look at it. When I was under it today I 💯 did not see the starter relay lol at least not one that looks like any Iíve seen in these pics. Just out of curiosity though if it fails what symptoms does it show? From what I understand now it shouldnít be my issue since the security light is on at time of no start. Would that relay cause a no start situation similar to mine just with the light staying off?
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Old 09-17-2018, 04:17 PM   #40  
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Re: VATS question

If the starter enable relay fails. This results in a no crank situation. I’m really surprised it’s not in the typical location.
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Old 09-17-2018, 05:00 PM   #41  
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Re: VATS question

It would be a no start where you wouldnt hear the starter make a click noise or anything correct. Also kinda beside my fuse panel against the left side of the car there is a black electrical box with a wide connector running to it. the connector has like 6 wires running into it. 2 peach 1 orange and maybe 2-3 gray ones i think, what does this thing do?
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Old 09-17-2018, 05:07 PM   #42  
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Re: VATS question

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It would be a no start where you wouldnt hear the starter make a click noise or anything correct.
Correct, you wouldn't hear anything. If you did hear a click that would indicate that the starter is receiving power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J-money View Post
Also kinda beside my fuse panel against the left side of the car there is a black electrical box with a wide connector running to it. the connector has like 6 wires running into it. 2 peach 1 orange and maybe 2-3 gray ones i think, what does this thing do?
​​​​​​​I thought that was for your power locks.
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Old Yesterday, 02:38 PM   #43  
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Re: VATS question

You probably are right I removed it today and the car wouldnít start. 2 minutes later with it still removed it crunk right up 🤦*♂️ . Now Iím stuck at the same point with the starter relay and this relay has broken mounting tabs.
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Old Yesterday, 02:39 PM   #44  
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Re: VATS question

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Old Yesterday, 02:54 PM   #45  
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Re: VATS question

Ok so I didnít get as much done on it today as I planned (had some things to do with the cavaliers) but Iíve done a lot of reading before I attempted to locate the vats box. From what Iím reading you have to remove the dash pad and the dash itself to gain access to the vats box. That sounds like a bigger job than I previously thought. It sounds like eventually the vats module itself will likely fail and Iíll have to come up with another solution seeing as you canít replace it.

So the more ive research the more questions I have. So if my module is bad then itís pointless doing the resistor method because that just fools the module assuming itís working right. Iíve seen these ďvats bypass modules for saleĒ do they actually take the place of the faulty module? Or they basically just a more expensive version of the resistor mod? All of them I seen look a lot different than each other but from what I see they just install to the connector under the colum.
Someone else here posted that I go through the method of having a chip burned with the vats deleted. At first I didnít wanna do this seeing as the current chip isnít old at all but Iím getting irritated with it at this point. The computer isnít hard to access so I could have a new chip in and ready to roll quickly but from what I can tell I have to do something with the starter relay( which I cannot locate) to make it bypass.
Can someone clarify for sure if a new chip will just plug in and take care of vats completely or do I need to still locate the relay and do modifications to it?
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Old Yesterday, 07:07 PM   #46  
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Re: VATS question

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Can someone clarify for sure if a new chip will just plug in and take care of vats completely or do I need to still locate the relay and do modifications to it?
A new chip will bypass vats on the the ecm side but you would still have to contend with the relay.
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Old Yesterday, 07:41 PM   #47  
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Re: VATS question

That figures. I think my 4 year old may have helped me locate it. She must have got the angle of light at a angle I couldnít. I found a relay electrical taped on the back side of a harness much much further up than the floorboard. I just happened to barely see the dark green wire. After unhooking it it will not start or starter click whether the security light is on the dash or not now. It looks like a regular relay though


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Old Yesterday, 08:58 PM   #48  
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Re: VATS question

That looks like the culprit to bypass it I think you jumper the two larger wires. Green to yellow.
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