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Starting Disabled Due to Theft System


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I'm having problems with my 92 Seville STS. When I try to start it, it turns over, starts, runs for about a second, then dies. The display says "starting disabled due to theft system". I wait the 3 minutes until it says "start car" and it does it again. I have ruled out the ignition switch because I am getting 3k ohms at the module connector in the trunk, same as the key. A few days ago I tested the UTD module and it started up. Then I got the message "theft system problem car may not restart". It will start every time though. However, I disconnected the battery cable not too long after and when I reconnected it I got the "starting disabled" warning again, with the same issue. I went through the UTD module test again with no luck. I was testing the passkey module when I got it to start again. Now its back to the "car may not restart" message. I am really frustrated with it and I don't know what's wrong. I was thinking it might be the pcm, the passkey module, or the UTD module. I'm wondering if anyone knows what the problem might be and can point me in the right direction. Any advise would be greatly appreciated. I love this car and I just want to be able to drive it again.

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I would look at the resistor contacts on the key and see if they are worn. If so, take the key (and your registration card with VIN) to a Cadillac (or other GM) dealer and get a new key made.

I have a keychain with two car keys and a motorcycle key on it, with fobs for the cars, and it is heavy and swings a lot when I am driving. This appears to wear down the contacts. In the 12+ years I have had my car I have bought two or three new ignition keys for it. Once the dealer put in a new ignition lock, but now that I'm paying the bills I just buy the key. ;)

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-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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Thats what I thought it might be initially. So I tested the key (it read 3k ohms), then disconnected the plug under the column (it mesured 3k ohms), finally I crawled in the trunk and measured at the passkey module plug (3k ohms again). I did this while I had a friend cycle the key and it always read the same (3k ohms), no change while the key was turning. I was really hoping that was the issue but of course it couldn't be that simple. I also tried using a different resistor value across the connector (to simulate an incorrect key) and it didn't even try to turn over. That makes me think the passkey module is functioning correctly (in the starter enable circuit anyway) but I suppose it could be in the pulse circuit to the pcm. I did, however, test that by unhooking the passkey connector and testing voltage from the pcm on the dark blue wire (it read 5v), then I reconnected and measured the dk blue wire again (2.5v this time), both within specs. Thats why I'm pulling my hair out trying to figure this out. Does anyone think it may be the pcm? I can get one from a local salvage yard for $40 to try if thats a possibility. I appreciate any and all advise.

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  • 3 weeks later...

So I've just been driving my Seville, ignoring the "theft system problem" warning, when I finally got time to check some things. I knew I had a problem with disconnecting and reconnecting the battery as this would cause the car to go into the "starting disabled" mode. I decided to disconnect and reconnect the passkey module to simulate losing battery power. It still runs. Then I did the same with the UTD module. It still runs. So I took the PCM Batt fuse out and back and I get the "starting disabled" warning, and it doesn't stay running. This leads me to belive that the PCM may be the culprit. I have tried the resistor bypass and even the passkey module bypass and neither made a difference. I know I should probably just get another PCM to try but it's kind of a pain to remove and I just really don't have a lot of free time so advice is helpful and very much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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The FSM doesn't have a lot of theft system information for obvious reasons. However, from what I do know about the computer network in the late 90's Northstar system cars, most of the theft system logic is implemented in the PCM. The ignition key logic is in the dashboard module. What you have done is consistent with this but does not verify that the PCM itself is the problem.

I don't believe that we have run the OBD codes for your car yet. Check the link in my signature block for instructions on how to do that. Write them down and post them here. They will be of the form

BCM P058 CURRENT

or

IPC P134 HISTORY

The first three letters (if present) are an acronym for the module that threw the code. The code itself is a letter and three numerical digits. The letter is one of A, B, E, I, L, P, R, S, or T, and denotes the part of the car that is affected. The CURRENT or HISTORY tells whether the fault is currently being detected or was detected recently (within the last few weeks).

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-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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The FSM doesn't have a lot of theft system information for obvious reasons. However, from what I do know about the computer network in the late 90's Northstar system cars, most of the theft system logic is implemented in the PCM. The ignition key logic is in the dashboard module. What you have done is consistent with this but does not verify that the PCM itself is the problem.

I don't believe that we have run the OBD codes for your car yet. Check the link in my signature block for instructions on how to do that. Write them down and post them here. They will be of the form

BCM P058 CURRENT

or

IPC P134 HISTORY

The first three letters (if present) are an acronym for the module that threw the code. The code itself is a letter and three numerical digits. The letter is one of A, B, E, I, L, P, R, S, or T, and denotes the part of the car that is affected. The CURRENT or HISTORY tells whether the fault is currently being detected or was detected recently (within the last few weeks).

Thanks for the reply. The codes I have are E052 history and E022 history. Thanks again.

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The FSM doesn't have a lot of theft system information for obvious reasons. However, from what I do know about the computer network in the late 90's Northstar system cars, most of the theft system logic is implemented in the PCM. The ignition key logic is in the dashboard module. What you have done is consistent with this but does not verify that the PCM itself is the problem.

I don't believe that we have run the OBD codes for your car yet. Check the link in my signature block for instructions on how to do that. Write them down and post them here. They will be of the form

BCM P058 CURRENT

or

IPC P134 HISTORY

The first three letters (if present) are an acronym for the module that threw the code. The code itself is a letter and three numerical digits. The letter is one of A, B, E, I, L, P, R, S, or T, and denotes the part of the car that is affected. The CURRENT or HISTORY tells whether the fault is currently being detected or was detected recently (within the last few weeks).

Thanks for the reply. The codes I have are E052 history and E022 history. Thanks again.

E052 = PCM memory reset (from disconnecting your battery)

E022 = Open TPS signal

Both irrelevant to your anti-theft issue.

Personally, my guess would be the PCM since it seems like you have ruled out the ignition itself, the key, and the passkey module.

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Is there anything special I need to do when replacing the PCM. My PCM has a removable PROM so do I need to put that on the new PCM? I don't know much about these types of PCMs but I think I should just be able to remove the old one and put in another with no problems or programming issues (if I get a used one that is). Thanks for the reply.

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I would wait to see if anyone else chimes in on this before you replace the PCM. Someone else may have another suggestion. Does the car still start?

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I would wait to see if anyone else chimes in on this before you replace the PCM. Someone else may have another suggestion. Does the car still start?

Since I removed the PCM fuse, it hasn't stayed running. It just runs for a second and dies. Thats what it was doing initially. I've gone through the same tests that made it run before with no luck this time (maybe I should have just left it alone :D ) The strange thing is that when I was going through the UTD and passkey tests, I didn't really do anything that I thought would have made it start. The two times I got it to work I was testing two different things. This lead me to believe it was a connection issue but I checked the connectors and the seemed fine. I don't know if the IPC would cause an issue like this. My wiring diagram shows only one wire for the security light coming from the UTD and a data line from the PCM (I assume for the trouble codes). I don't think that would affect it (but I suppose anything is possible at this point). Anyways, thanks for the reply.

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In the Northstars, there is a knock sensor module that snaps into the PCM that must be kepw with the knock sensor it is used with; they come as a set. Keep those together.

In most GM products, the PCM has the VIN encoded in it, along with most of the other modules. This is used to ensure that vehicle configuration is the same in all the modules, and in theft prevention. If the IRC has the wrong VIN in it, the radio won't work and there will be a DTC. I suspect that later models with OnStar versions that read the codes will tattle on you too. I don't know how much of this, if any, is in cars for the 1992 model year.

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-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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Be sure and use your old pop-out knock sensor module in your PCM.

Anyone with a 1997 model year FSM have any information about programming and individualization of PCMs? I'm flying blind here with my 1997 FSM and no direct experience with a 4.9 PCM.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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I have nothing handy, but I can do some digging at my father's shop tomorrow and see what I can find. If not a FSM, maybe he has something helpful for this situation...

I should probably look for something on my car while I'm there.

I'll let you know what I can dig up.

By the way, he's working on a 1992.

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Oh, I almost forgot. The other day when I had the "starting disabled" message. I noticed that when I turned on the key, the "outside temp" reading on the climate control portion of the IPC had two hyphens (like this "--") instead of the actual temp numbers. The "inside temp" reading displayed numbers for a few seconds, then also changed to hyphens. When I turn the key off then back on, it does the same thing. The display has always worked otherwise so I thought that was rather curious. I don't know if this has any significance, but I'm throwing it out there. Thanks again

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One last thing -- the only codes you reported were ECM (PCM) codes. If you were using an aftermarket code reader, it wouldn't report body, chassis, or network codes, only those that related to emissions (PCM, or E and P codes). If you haven't used the procedure for getting them on the DIC without a code reader using the A/C buttons, you should do that and post any additional codes that you find before you tear into the PCM.

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-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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One last thing -- the only codes you reported were ECM (PCM) codes. If you were using an aftermarket code reader, it wouldn't report body, chassis, or network codes, only those that related to emissions (PCM, or E and P codes). If you haven't used the procedure for getting them on the DIC without a code reader using the A/C buttons, you should do that and post any additional codes that you find before you tear into the PCM.

I used the DIC with the A/C buttons and I only had those two codes. I would think that a code reader would bring up all the codes, so I guess it's a good thing I didn't buy one for this huh. Thanks for the info.

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Of course, some code readers will bring up all the codes. But, for under about $150, you will only get the emissions-related codes. If you go for the PC-based code readers you can get just about everything the Tech II does, but those go for about $500 and up. There are a lot of them out there that will bring up more codes, but I don't think that you can read data and change overrides and such for under about $500. And, with the FSM and a little caution, anyone can bring up all the codes, read some of the data, and change the overrides (which are the way the car's options and configuration is coded in the modules).

The lack of more codes tells a tale here. Getting the P052 (E052), PCM Memory Reset, means that the battery has been out recently, but you usually also get the B552, BCM Memory Reset Indicator, or other codes showing that volatile memory has been lost, too. Also, if you are getting DIC messages about the security system, there should be codes that reflect why the message was sent, such as P058 (E058), PASSKey Control Problem. If the codes aren't getting to the DIC, there should be network codes. And, you aren't getting outside or inside temperatures, and you aren't getting any codes on faults or network problems there, either.

This could be spurious codes (see below). The first thing I would try is to reset all the codes from the DIC (NOT by disconnecting the battery) and see what comes back. Then, I would check the connectors under the hood to the PCM and elsewhere I could see for dirty, salty, or loose connectors. If the behavior persists and codes come back, then look at what was happening, or what had just happened, when the problem started. For example, if you were driving on a wet road that had been salted for awhile and it just happened while you were driving along, take the car to a car wash. If you left the car for a couple of days and the problem began when you started it Monday morning, check the cables and battery first. If you jump-started another car or started your car with a jump-start and there was an arc before you got the cables right, you may or may not have a problem with popped electronics.

I've seen weird irrelevant codes in cases where the battery or battery cables are bad, and the battery voltage drops very low when you start the car but everything looks normal otherwise. You may or may not throw a code for low system voltage when this happens. So, I would look at the battery cables and grounds. In particular, pry the three connectors out of the red insulator on the positive cable battery terminal and clean between them. You might also have the battery checked for imminent failure that isn't obvious.

Another thing that can cause strange electrical problems is pressure-washing underneath the car, although these go away after the car dries out and you can reset all the codes and they won't come back unless they are "real." Possibly a similar thing can be caused by driving on an icy salted roadway for an extended period of time, then parking the car outside where the frozen salty ice stays on the bottom side of the car -- and its wiring. If this is an accurate description, a trip through a car wash can clean out the salt and ice.

A third thing that can cause this is jump-starting the car, or another car from your car, and accidentally hooking up the battery cables backwards, even for a split second (big arc!). Or, using a fast charger that puts 18 Volts or more on the battery while the battery is in the car. These incidents can pop electronics all over the car, incuding one or more of the modules (e.g., PCM, DIM, BCM, etc.).

At first blush, from just reading text messages on a forum, my first bet would be the battery or battery cables. Also, that one is free because even if you buy a new battery, you need one anyway. My second thought would be to wash the car and see if it is all just short circuits from salty water being thrown up under the car.

Unless you get a deal on a module cheap, don't just start throwing money at the car. The PASSkey problem could be caused by the DIM (dashboard integration module) or the PCM, with the other problems looking more like the DIM. But, everything is just too weird to make any decisions just yet.

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-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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After I initially had the problem and got it running again I had to disconnect the battery to fix the VSS and rear bank O2 sensor wires. I was having an intermittent problem with the speedometer not working and getting a rear bank O2 sensor code (I don't remember the number right off hand). Since the VSS and rear O2 sensor wires are in the same harness I looked there and the bracket that holds the harness in place had worn through the insulation on both VSS wires and one of the O2 sensor wires. After that I was having the "starting disabled" message for the second time. When I finally got it to run again I tested a few things and disconnected the battery so I could make sure I wasn't going to have the same problem. However, I had the same problem and here we are.

Kind of a long story but that's my reasoning for disconnecting the battery (maybe helpful info to someone also).

The open TPS signal makes sence too because my car has been idleing at between 1300 and 2000. A little higher than usual. I just haven't replaced it because of bigger problems.

But back to the problem at hand. I reset the codes and checked again. This time I got code E012. I rest the codes again just for the heck of it. After that I got code E065. I reset again a couple other times and kept getting code E065.

You mentioned problems with the battery and the battery has been going bad. Now I have to put it on the charger to give it enough juice to turn the car over. My charger doesnt go to 18 volts, just 6 volts and 12 volts with amp settings from 10 to 200 amp. I have to admit that I have used the 200 amp setting on this car but only after I started having problems. I hope I didn't add to the problem. I've never jump started this car though, only used the charger. Tomorrow I'm going to check the battery connections and buy a new battery. That seems like a good place to start anyway. You also mentioned three connectors on the positive battery terminal. On my car there aren't any connectors on the positive terminal. It's just a cable.

I can get the PCM at a local salvage yard for $40 but I don't know about the other modules. I'll price the DIM too.

Based on your advise I'm going to start with the battery and battery connections and see what happens. If I can get it to a car wash I'll wash it too and see if that helps.

Thanks for your help.

P.S. I've also gotten used to my interior lights going on and off for no reason and therefore I forgot until now. Whenever I'm either in the car without the key in the ignition or outside of the car I would notice the lights turning on and off sporadically. I thought at first it was because I was close to the car with the key fob but I've noticed it when I haven't had it anywhere close to the car (miles away).

Anyways, just another thing I remembered that may or may not help in figuring out this problem.

Thanks again.

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I don't know about the 1992 model year but Northstar battery cable positive terminals have three wires coming from them, one to the alternator, one to the starter, and one to the main Maxifuse block. My older cars had one large cable going to the starter and a large wire, not really a cable, going to the car wiring harness. In my OEM Eldorado battery cable (and in most 90's battery cables we talk about here) the three cables aren't crimped into a single connector, there are three connectors sandwiched inside the red insulator. I got a new one in 2002 and all three wires were crimped together in one connector, but in the OEM battery cable and in others we have discussed here, corrosion could get between the terminals inside the red insulator. Since most people didn't know that there was more than one terminal in there, sometimes mysterious problems happened. So, pry your connector(s) out of the red insulator and make sure that you have all the corrosion cleaned out of it, whether it is one, two, or three terminals in it.

If your battery is going, you can't trust any of the codes. If the battery voltage drops below nine volts during starting, the modules won't work right and the result is strange spurious codes. As long as this is happening you are not going to have much luck working on your car using the OBD codes as a guide. I suggest that you get a trickle charger or battery maintainer that maxes out at less than 10 Amps and leave it on all the time you aren't driving your car to keep your battery topped up. Since it's really cold out there and you aren't driving the car, the battery may be OK and the trickle charger is all it needs.

The modules may not work right if the system voltage gets over 15 Volts and over 18 Volts may damage them; I'm calling these figures from memory and others may correct me a Volt or two. I think that it is hard to put 200 Amps into a good battery without going over 15 Volts, which may or may not throw spurious codes. A battery that is not healthy and is also extremely cold that has 200 Amps shoved into it will quite likely go over 18 Volts. If you feel the need to do that again, disconnect one of the battery cables first; your charger manual should say to do that. Since the behavior of the car hasn't changed, you probably haven't popped anything major. I would check all the fuses, though.

I would NOT assume that you have bad modules and start replacing them on a system that has problems you don't understand. The modules need to be programmed with the car's configuration and that's next to impossible if you have electrical problems that prevent them from operating properly. The fist thing to do is to get the battery squared away, THEN clear the codes and see what comes back.

P012 (E012) No Distributor Signal

P065 (E065) Cruise - Servo Position Signal Failure

I'm guessing that the theft control somehow resulted in the E012 code. The E065 likely means a cable or wiring problem to the throttle servo on the cruise control. If this DTC is CURRENT when you aren't using the cruise control, it's probably shorted.

I don't know what's up with the interior lights but this may go away when you get your battery fixed or keep it charged. This is the kind of thing that can happen if the battery voltage drops below 9 Volts while the car is sitting, particularly if the BCM is not in the sleep mode. Something that would cause that, other than a radar nearby making your RFA (fob electronics in the car) do strange things, would throw codes. I think a radar would throw codes, too, if it got the RFA to react.

I suggest that you belay replacing the modules and get the battery and cables squared away as Job 1, get a trickle charger to keep it in tip-top shape until you get back on the road and turn that duty over to the alternator, then reset the codes from the A/C buttons and start over.

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-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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The open TPS signal makes sence too because my car has been idleing at between 1300 and 2000. A little higher than usual. I just haven't replaced it because of bigger problems.

I understand you have other issues to deal with, but trust me, don't let this one go. Mine too had a high idle problem and I put it off for weeks...the high idle turned into erratic idling and stalling. My spark plugs ended up fouling out. In my case it was a matter of cleaning and adjusting the Idle Speed Control motor to correct the high idle issue, but by putting it off it caused other problems. I wish I would have done it sooner. I believe yours would have an Idle Air Control instead of the ISC, but they both do essentially the same thing. Save yourself the long-term issues, and look into it as soon as you can.

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Ok. I got a chance to look at the battery cables today. There are three wires on the positive cable. Sometime in the future I'll have time to pry them out and clean them up. I've been pretty busy lately with work and school and haven't had a chance to spend time on the car. I'm also going to replace the TPS. I've already had erratic idleing and stalling so I'm gonna take Carla's advise and replace it before I get fouled spark plugs (hopefully it hasn't already happened). Anyway, when I get time I'll be able to do some work on the car. Thanks for the help.

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Ok. I got a chance to look at the battery cables today. There are three wires on the positive cable. Sometime in the future I'll have time to pry them out and clean them up. I've been pretty busy lately with work and school and haven't had a chance to spend time on the car. I'm also going to replace the TPS. I've already had erratic idleing and stalling so I'm gonna take Carla's advise and replace it before I get fouled spark plugs (hopefully it hasn't already happened). Anyway, when I get time I'll be able to do some work on the car. Thanks for the help.

I don't know for sure that my high idle caused my plugs to go bad, but I found out after I changed them that they had only been in the car for about 30,000 miles...and when I pulled them they looked like they had well expired their 100,000 mile recommendation. I suspect the high idle may have had something to do with it, but I am having MAP sensor issues as well...so I hope I don't end up having to fork over another 50$ for spark plugs soon. Still it's better to be safe than sorry.

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Still it's better to be safe than sorry.

That's what I'm thinking. It needs replaced so I might as well do it.

On a different note. I was thinking about getting my PCM flashed to have the passkey portion removed. It's just a thought at this point and I was hoping to get another point of view on it. Thanks for any thoughts.

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