Vats or bad starter? (95SS) - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Vats or bad starter? (95SS)

My car won't start. No crank, no solenoid clicks when the key is turned to the crank position. Fuel pump primes.

Battery was low but not dead so I tried to jump start it with my other car. No change. I left a battery charger on it for the rest of the day and still no change.

I have noticed that the PASS KEY FAULT light is blinking constantly. It never stops. I never noticed that before but they car has never not started on me before either.

I checked all my battery/ground connections and everything looks good. I also whacked the starter a few times for good measure but it did nothing.

My car has an alarm with auto start installed. The alarm seems to work ok. Doors lock/unlock as normal. All lights and accessories inside the car work like normal.

I checked my key resistance and came up with a #15 key which is supposed to measure ~11.3k ohms to ~12.3k ohms and my keys measure 11.76k/11.78k and the resistors used for the bypass for the remote start measure 11.72k so I think I'm good there.

The car doesn't start in park or neutral. Reverse lights work like normal.

I can hear the relays for the auto start clicking under the dash but the car does not crank at all. Laying under the car and hitting the auto start button I can't hear any sounds coming from the starter at all. Starter itself doesn't look corroded or otherwise damaged.

Doing some research and asking a few people all I'm coming up with is ignition switch/circuit or the NSS. The auto start doesn't work either. Would that not bypass the ignition switch and start the car anyway?

I have the FSM and it was also recommended to me to check for schematics but I can't read these things (I also have no idea what SEO is or how to know whether or not my car has it):

Right now I'm lost. I can follow instructions if I know what I'm looking for but I can't read wiring diagrams. I would like to avoid having to have the car towed to a shop and incur the cost of whatever is wrong. I haven't changed or done anything to the car. I last drove it about 3 weeks ago and I had no problems whatsoever. In that time something has gone awry and I have no idea what could be causing it or how to fix it.

Is it possible the TDM or TCM or whatever it is has taken a **** on me? Is it worth investing in something like this:

NEWROCKIES Inc. Passlock Bypass disables the ENTIRE system.

Or is there anything else it could be?

I found a new starter locally so I bought it because it was the only one left but I don't want to install it until I know for sure mine is bad. The blinking pass key light is what's making me think it's not the starter.

Thanks in advance

Last edited by TGO; 01-27-2017 at 05:30 PM.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-28-2017, 08:51 PM
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Location: Canada
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When I Google Caprice SEO Wikipedia says SEO is Special Equipment Options. They do not use a VATS key. You say you have a VATS key so you should not have a SEO car (ie 9C1 cop car). Check your trunk sticker if the VIN is right on the sticker.

If you get a test light and clean a spot on the engine block you can touch the block and the battery cable stud (big wire) on the starter. You should get a light.(same as if you touch both battery terminals) If there is no light check ALL battery cables. If you get a light on the first test touch the block and push the probe onto some copper that the yellow wire connects to. Do not pierce the wire as this will start corrosion (unplug/disconnect if you have to). Be careful when you try the next bit. Get some one to try starting the car you should get a light when this happens. The remote starter should be tried as well. If the yellow wire will not light the test light you would be wasting your time replacing the starter as you have a wiring problem to fix first.

You say the VATS light is blinking. My 94 service manual says a blinking VATS light requires a lock cylinder and wire harness test. With a remote starter install I can not trouble shoot what might have been done to mess up the wires but if the VATS gets the wrong signal blinking light and no crank is normal.

You can follow the purple/white and white/black wires to a plug on the column. On a stock car you will find a plug that connects the wires (orange?) to the lock cylinder. With a remote start you may find a relay tied into this for the remote starter. You could try unplugging the factory connector between the VATS and the lock cylinder. If the VATS sees no connection it should let the car start. You could also probe the cylinder side with the key in and verify you get key resistance.(connector unplugged only). Unfortunately most installers will put the relay on the VATS side of the plug so you can not do the simple VATS unplug test.

but I can't read wiring diagrams
When you say this I usually recommend that you find a good automotive/electrical shop. Few alarm/stereo shops have guys that can diagnose. They are taught to install quickly. The wrong place will cost you a lot and make more problems. A good tech would have you going in a hour unless the starter needs replacing.

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-28-2017, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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Problem is resolved with much help from ROCKO350.

Issue was theft deterrent module failure.

Performed full VATS bypass and the car is back up and running. Thanks!

I've documented my ordeal in the PASS KEY II sticky:
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