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[SOLVED] 1994 Camaro VATS/PassKey

This is a discussion on [SOLVED] 1994 Camaro VATS/PassKey within the Automotive Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Another recent thread got me thinking about this again and since it was a rainy weekend I decided to try


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Old 05-11-2008, 01:34 PM   #1
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Another recent thread got me thinking about this again and since it was a rainy weekend I decided to try to clear my dash "security" light. My car starts and runs fine but the annoying security light is on steady. Been like this for a year.

So I did some basic troubleshooting. I found the connector that links the ignition cylinder to the VATS module and checked continuity of the cylinder side of the ciruit with the key in. The ohmmeter should have read the same value as the key pellet but instead it showed an open circuit. OK, looks like bad cylinder contacts or a broken wire.

So leaving the connector unplugged I got a resistor the same value as the key and connected it to the VATS module side of the circuit. Nothing changed. Car starts and runs fine, security light on steady.

So I checked the voltage on the VATS module connector and with the key in start or run there was 12v there. So it seems like the VATS module is functioning in that it is driving the circuit to check the key resistance.

I even tried some way out of range resistors to see if VATS would keep the car from running. No change, it ran fine with security light on.

I'm at a loss. And no, I don't want to just unplug the security light bulb. Too hard to get at. Plus I'd never know when the car might just go into full blown security mode and stop running.

Anyone ever work on one of these and have some ideas?

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Old 05-12-2008, 08:44 AM   #2
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Doing some more research I discovered that as I thought, if the key cylinder circuit fails open (as opposed to getting a start attempt with the wrong value resistor) the PassKey module goes into something called "fail-enable" mode which basically acknowledges that the circuit is broken and allows the car to start and run with any key that fits the cylinder.

So now, with a resistor of the correct value spliced in it becomes an exercise as to how to reset the PassKey module to normal and hopefully clear that "security" light. Unfortunately I have not found anything that describes such a procedure. I have tried disconnecting the battery for 10 minutes but that didn't make a difference. Perhaps I just need to drive it for awhile?

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Old 05-12-2008, 11:40 AM   #3
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Browse around here www.camaroz28.com/forums/ VATS issues pop up quite frequently.
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Old 05-12-2008, 04:36 PM   #4
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Got it. The basic reset procedure that works for a real PassKey security fault works to reset from fail-enable, too. Just turn the ignition key to "on" and leave alone for 10 minutes, then the security light goes off, then start the car. With the resistor in place the car starts and runs fine and the accursed light is off!
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Old 05-12-2008, 06:24 PM   #5
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Congrats.
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Old 05-13-2008, 04:07 AM   #6
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Oh, just a correction for anyone else having this issue. I corresponded with the owner of the Shoebox Camaro website and he pointed me towards the verbatim service manual procedure. When recovering from VATS PassKey fault-enable mode the key needs to be on for 1 minute not 10. When I tested mine the first time I let it go for 30 seconds or so before shutting it down to reconsider. So bottom line, 10 minutes worked but alls you need is 1 minute.
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Old 05-13-2008, 07:01 AM   #7
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Shoebox is a good resource for F-body owners.
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Old 05-13-2008, 11:08 AM   #8
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Yes, I have used shbox a lot over the years. It's a tremendous resource and much better than the Haynes manuals. I just wish something like that was available for S-10 Blazers/Pickups!

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