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1997 Z28 won't start

3971 Views 16 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  SABL
hi...I'm looking for some help getting her started...I take her off the road in the winter but I start it once a week, it started one week and don't start the following, I hear the fuel pump kick on, my security light stays on, but it been on almost since I bought it, somebody told me that this is most likely my problem but I'd like to check this somehow if somebody knows how

Thanx in advance

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Does the starter engage when you turn the key to start it? If the started doesn't work when you turn the key to start it, it's most likely the security system, known as VATS. One simple thing you can do is clean the key really well. Especially the pellet on the key. It might work, but it's a longshot.

Go to and look around. Lots of posts about the security light and no start. You'll also find ways to bypass the system.
thanx bruiser, I'm already a member at, and I got a few post most suggesting that it is the VATS i'm trying to find these bypasses
Hey Tstrike, here is a link to the PassKey II bypass for a 1995 Z28. Not sure exactly which PassKey version a 97 has but hopefully this will help. I did this on my 1994 many years ago and it worked great. One trick I learned was to test the key resistor with your meter then take the same meter to Radioshack and buy a resistor that reads closest on the same meter, regardless of what the listed resistance on the package. This takes meter variations out of the equation. Good luck and post back if it works.
Just an aside... I read your post again and you said the security light had been on for a long time and the car started and ran OK. That's how my Passkey failed. If it fails while the car is running it goes into a fail safe mode where the security light stays on but the system is offline. Basically it knows the car was started legitimately, then registers that the PassKey module lost connection to the key cylinder at shutdown. In this case the car continues to start but the security light will stay on. I did the bypass merely to make the light go away.

The point of this is if your experience before this was similar you current problem may not be Passkey. Can't hurt to try the bypass, though, as I suppose whatever fault the PassKey system detects could have been intermittent and subsequent failure mode might not have put it in fail safe.
Thanks for your help Ray, I'm going to try the bypass, but first I'm going to try a new key, ppl tell me that might work, then I'm going to try the bypass, I found somebody online that makes a plug in modules, because I leary on cutting my wire
Does the starter work when you try to start the car?
if you have one of these cars you know before it starts it makes a high pitch whining sound which I always thought had something to do with the starter, I'm going to work my way down to that too...but first I'm starting with the key because the resister is loose and I could use a spare key anyways
Starter noise?? Has nothing to do with the key/resistor issue but it got my attention. My son has a '95 Z28......

A few years ago I did not have the time to change his plugs and wires so he took it to a dealer. Brought it home and said the starter sounded did sound bad. I had him call the dealer and ask if the mechanic removed the starter to get to any of the plugs....the answer was that the starter would not have been removed to do the work. I doubt my son got an honest answer.....I had a few GM shims in the parts bin and reshimmed the starter (no shims were present when I started) and the problem was solved. Still haven't changed the plugs not sure if starter removal makes the job easier. The only thing I have done on the car is brake lines....great fun when the line from the ABS control to the rear decides to rust out!! Next project is to check all 4 calipers....the kids says they are seized. Waiting for warmer weather for that project....and it is almost here...:laugh: No hurry....the car hasn't been out of the garage for months. The tires don't wear out...they dry-rot due to non-use. I don't think he's put 500 miles on it in the last 2 years.......that's hard on a car IMO.
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Well yes, the starter does have to do with the VATS system. The starter will not operate at all if the security system is not operating properly. The starter would make no noise if the VATS has shut the car down. Or that's what happened to my Firebird when the pellet went bad. Fortunately, I had a spare key that worked, and had another key cut. There might be situations where the starter works, but VATS has shut the fuel off or something.
From what I've read online and from ppl have told me, yes the pellet could be the main problem and my pellets been loose since day one, I order a new key should here this week, it could be the easy fix, and thanks Bruiser for reconfirming this. then it will be the VATS bypass, after that the ignition module THEN, if it get's a reading the starter
The high pitch whining sound you hear is probably the fuel pump. If the new key doesn't work and you I would just do the bypass. It is a piece of cake. Good luck.
oh no...I can hear the fuel pump too, this from the engine bay
Unless they changed things, you will not hear the fuel pump from under the hood. Fuel pump is the last thing you want to have to replace. If it's like the '95 it has the pump in the tank......can you say, "unbolt and drop the whole rear axle"?? If it ever happens again there will be an access cut in the hatch area of my son's Z28.
?? I'm confused at your statement, the fuel pump is in the rear of the car, over the fuel tank...I've already replaced the fuel pump, years ago....the whining noise is in the engine bay
Sabl was just agreeing that the noise can't be the fuel pump if it is indeed coming from underhood.
oh no...I can hear the fuel pump too, this from the engine bay
Think I got it.......You can hear the fuel pump but the noise you are talking about is coming from under the hood. I was equally confused.....:laugh:
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