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96-97 RKE


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Hi all, I have owned 4 96-97 cadillacs and all 4 have had the same problem with the RKE. It sucks,

My current 96 Deville and 97 Seville both have the same problem,

The RKE range is about 5 feet if you are lucky.

It seems you have to hold and point the remote just right toward the trunk area to get it to work.

I have replaced batteries, replaced remotes, you name it Ive tried it, and I even tried the foil trick behind the membranes on one rmote and it didnt help at all.

The remotes physically work great and it all seems to be a range problem with the vehicle.

I have contacted dealers and technicians and although it seems to be eextremely commonn nobody has a solution.

I absolutely loove the 96-97 Cadillacs and the RKE is the only problem I ever have with them.

Athough I believe this has been brought up on other occasions I figured it would be worth another shot

GM FAN FOREVER

Nice, clean, luxury= fine automobile

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I don't have the problem.

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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make the anntena longer on the unit behind the back seat

could you be more specific. This is possible on the 96-97? I have heard of this but not alot of info.

GM FAN FOREVER

Nice, clean, luxury= fine automobile

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It almost has to be "SOMETHING" with the antenna...

Maybe it is being "SHIELDED" by something in the trunk...

Look at it... and if possible, make it longer and bring it up closer to the back glass.

I know mine is not a 96/97... but I love the range on mine...probably close to 75 yards in a flat parking lot.

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the 96-97 were their own kind. 95 was different and 98+ was different. trunks are empty.

dont know where the antenna is to try to extend it. I think it is up on the deck pnel but am not certain. Might be in the RIM(reaar integration module)

GM FAN FOREVER

Nice, clean, luxury= fine automobile

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It's the nature of the beast. My '97 was the same way, but it didn't bother me much. 5' or 50', as long as the door was open when I got to it the end result is the same.

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My 96 didnt have that problem either it worked from about 25 feet

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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I know the feeling rockfangd... My 98 Tahoe has exactly the same condition. When I got it in 99 it wasn't great, but would work form 50 ft. at least. Over the years it has diminished to about 10 ft. max. I have tried new batteries, cleaning all the contacts in the fob etc. to no avail. It sucks when you are walking away and realize you have to walk back to lock your vehicle!

One funny suggestion that someone gave me, and it does seem to slightly extend the range... Don't laugh... Hold the remote up against the underside of your chin when pressing it! Don't know why, but it helps! :blink: I suppose you are using your body as an extention of the signal? ;)

Edited by sprucegoose

'09 Cadillac CTS-4 3.6 direct injection, 128 K mi.
'15 Chevy Tahoe LTZ, 5.3i V8, 125 K mi
'70 Firebird Formula 400, Bored+.04, RAIII heads, M21 4spd., in-process restoration!

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I think some of it depends on the dealer that serviced the new car. My dealer sold a lot of Cadillacs and understood them. When my fuel pump went bad, they just said get it in here ASAP; I don't know if I waited for it but I do not recall any inconvenience. They did give me an Escalade as a loaner a time or two but I don't like to drive trucks, no matter how nice or how powerful. I think that they use hot new models as loaners to tempt you to trade when you have a service issue.

When I asked about a performance chip, they "reprogrammed" my PCM and changed the design point from comfort/smoothness toward throttle response and feel. They probably extended the antenna on my RFA module while they were putting in the OnStar.

The OnStar did describe my cars' color, Dark Cherry, to the OnStar database setup people as "PURPLE."

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 know the feeling rockfangd... My 98 Tahoe has exactly the same condition. When I got it in 99 it wasn't great, but would work form 50 ft. at least. Over the years it has diminished to about 10 ft. max. I have tried new batteries, cleaning all the contacts in the fob etc. to no avail. It sucks when you are walking away and realize you have to walk back to lock your vehicle!

One funny suggestion that someone gave me, and it does seem to slightly extend the range... Don't laugh... Hold the remote up against the underside of your chin when pressing it! Don't know why, but it helps! :blink: I suppose you are using your body as an extention of the signal? ;)

lol sorry the chin trick doesnt work for me. It is very embarassing when I try and try to lock the car with the remote and I have to kep my eyes glued to the lights to watch them maybe flash. Sometimes i have to open the door and manually lock them, Even opening the trunk is a chore lol

GM FAN FOREVER

Nice, clean, luxury= fine automobile

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When sensitivity between a transmitter and receiver gradually decreases over a long time, there are three things to look at: RF signal strength, transmitter tuning or waveform encoding, and receiver tuning or waveform encoding.

We don't have a good tool handy to most people for checking the signal emitted from the fob, but we'll assume that if the fob is all good the signal strength is OK. I think it's not likely that the RFA module degrades with time, and if it did there is not much we could do about it other than buy a new one - which I have never heard of being done for any reason. Likewise, waveform encoding and decoding isn't something that hardly any of us can look at, and in any case would likely be in a single small chip and wouldn't degrade. So, what can we do about the fob?

The fob has gradually improved over the years in several areas, particularly in sealing and in contacts for the buttons. When my car was new the contacts became intermittent until it was obvious that the fob was flaky and a new battery had no effect, and the dealer replaced it for free. My wife's 1999 Pontiac fob seems identical inside except that the case sealing seems tighter by design; there is a tiny neoprene gasket going around the periphery. Thus it seems that improvements in the fob seem to be toward improving resistance to moisture and dust.

My wife's fob (and others that I have known) have had their fobs suddenly lose range, which was traceable to having one or more of its buttons pushed while in the pocket or purse or on the desk in a pile of keys and such, and the battery was nearly dead.

Bottom line: Get a new battery, and look on the packaging of the battery to make sure that it is not out-of-date. While the fob is open, clean it out with a Q-tip. If you see any corrosion or sticky dirt at all, wet the Q-tip with WD-40 or contact cleaner. Check especially the battery contacts and the button contacts, unless they are encapsulated in neoprene. Make sure that the seals are clean before you snap it together. If that doesn't do it, get another fob, program your car for it, and try that one.

Yes, I saw Dinozo use the fob-on-the-chin trick on an episode of NCIS, calling it the using-the-head-as-an-antenna trick, to find an unknown car in a lot using a fob. I've tried it, and found that it about doubles the range of my fob.

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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The chin trick didn't do thing for me when I tried it.

Maybe it depends on how many fillings you have in your mouth! Lord knows I have a bucket-load of those guys, including like 5 crowns now! LOL :D

'09 Cadillac CTS-4 3.6 direct injection, 128 K mi.
'15 Chevy Tahoe LTZ, 5.3i V8, 125 K mi
'70 Firebird Formula 400, Bored+.04, RAIII heads, M21 4spd., in-process restoration!

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I have a few pics to post, this might ring a bell for some, I hope it helps

GM FAN FOREVER

Nice, clean, luxury= fine automobile

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For me, the chin trick makes the difference between having to go out in the rain to lock/unlock my car or to do it through a building door.

I hold the big end against my chin (actually, a millimeter or two from it - I have a beard) and am holding my forefinger bent across the big end on the back, with my thumb on the button I want to use.

Of course, my RFA apparently had its antenna uncurled/arranged/extended or whatever by the dealer when it was new because I don't have a short range problem in the first place. If you have a short range problem, doubling the range my not help enough to notice. If you have the short range problem, either always or creeping up over the years, you may get relief by finding the RFA antenna and rearranging it.

The RFA module is behind the rear seat, accessed from the trunk. It's below and slightly to the left of center, looking from the rear, below the radio module. There may be a couple of relays between the radio (radio amplifier and/or radio interface module (RIM) depending on which radio you have) and the RFM. I'm going by Figure 76 on page 8A-201-41 in the 1997 FSM. If somebody has been in there and has a photo, that would be better.

From the trunk, pull down the trunk liner and look at the back seat with a flashlight and find the RFA and its antenna. The factory default, or the dealer's preference, or the preference of a previous owner might have been to minimize the range of the RFA, in which case the antenna will be curled up, laid along one of the two steel braces for the back seat in a big V, or otherwise arranged to minimize sensitivity. Make sure that it is unfurled and laid out in a straight line, arc that is a half-circle or less, or V-pattern as far away from sheet metal as you can. Use tape to hold it down if you need to; try to avoid taping it to a solid metal surface such as the radio module or one of the V-braces.

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'm having trouble making sense of the photograph while looking at my FSM drawing. It appears that your fuses are at the top left, and, reading the fine print in my FSM disgram, I discover that it is drawn from the *front* of the car, as if the seat back had been removed and the drawing was made from a phonograph taken from inside the cabin. Thus it's backward from what you and I see when we take the seat back out.

It looks to me like the RFA is the black box where the two pieces of white tape come together on a piece of metal. The loose wire to the left a few cm is probably the antenna.

I hope you are not taking things out and unplugging them. You can access just about everything you need to without removing anything from the trunk.

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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For me, the chin trick makes the difference between having to go out in the rain to lock/unlock my car or to do it through a building door.

From the trunk, pull down the trunk liner and look at the back seat with a flashlight and find the RFA and its antenna. The factory default, or the dealer's preference, or the preference of a previous owner might have been to minimize the range of the RFA, in which case the antenna will be curled up, laid along one of the two steel braces for the back seat in a big V, or otherwise arranged to minimize sensitivity. Make sure that it is unfurled and laid out in a straight line, arc that is a half-circle or less, or V-pattern as far away from sheet metal as you can. Use tape to hold it down if you need to; try to avoid taping it to a solid metal surface such as the radio module or one of the V-braces.

This is the biggest piece of info I have ever heard on this. I have had the liner off in the trunk before and have never even noticed anything like that lol. I will look in the morning and post my findings with a pic

GM FAN FOREVER

Nice, clean, luxury= fine automobile

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Sometimes "no distance" will jam a receiver. Try it at 5 feet - just standing behind the car - with the trunk lid up.

The next step is to resynchronize the fob with the RFA. This is because the RFA uses rollover codes and if things get too far out-of-synch the fob won't work. This is your protection against people who use scanners to record your fob, and against inadvertent unlocking by others who by a long stretch of odds happen to have the same fob base code as yours.

From the 1997 FSM, page 9K-5, the process or resynchronizing the RFA with your fob is:

  • Press and hold the TRUNK button and within one second, press and hold the LOCK button.
  • Continue to hold both buttons for approximately seven seconds and then release.
  • If the transmitter was out of synchronization, it will now function properly.

If that doesn't do it, either you have the wrong fob for the car, the battery is dead, or the fob is bad. If the fob has ever worked, change the battery with one that you know is fresh (check the expiration date on the packaging) and clean it out inside with a Q-tip, dampened with contact cleaner where appropriate, and try re-synchronizing again. The fobs for the 1997 model year use a CR2031, + side down.

If the fob has never worked with this car, you can try programming the RFA for that fob. This involves a detailed procedure that selects an override code for the RFA using the car's diagnostic mode. If you need that, holler back and I'll post it. It's been posted on Caddyinfo before so you might just do a search on "RFA transmitter reprogramming." It's on pages 9K-4 and 9K-5 of the 1997 FSM.

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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Sometimes "no distance" will jam a receiver. Try it at 5 feet - just standing behind the car - with the trunk lid up.

The next step is to resynchronize the fob with the RFA. This is because the RFA uses rollover codes and if things get too far out-of-synch the fob won't work. This is your protection against people who use scanners to record your fob, and against inadvertent unlocking by others who by a long stretch of odds happen to have the same fob base code as yours.

From the 1997 FSM, page 9K-5, the process or resynchronizing the RFA with your fob is:

  • Press and hold the TRUNK button and within one second, press and hold the LOCK button.
  • Continue to hold both buttons for approximately seven seconds and then release.
  • If the transmitter was out of synchronization, it will now function properly.

If that doesn't do it, either you have the wrong fob for the car, the battery is dead, or the fob is bad. If the fob has ever worked, change the battery with one that you know is fresh (check the expiration date on the packaging) and clean it out inside with a Q-tip, dampened with contact cleaner where appropriate, and try re-synchronizing again. The fobs for the 1997 model year use a CR2031, + side down.

If the fob has never worked with this car, you can try programming the RFA for that fob. This involves a detailed procedure that selects an override code for the RFA using the car's diagnostic mode. If you need that, holler back and I'll post it. It's been posted on Caddyinfo before so you might just do a search on "RFA transmitter reprogramming." It's on pages 9K-4 and 9K-5 of the 1997 FSM.

My remotes call for CR2032, is that what you meant?

GM FAN FOREVER

Nice, clean, luxury= fine automobile

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