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Homemade VATS bypass

T.M.808

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
146
Location
honolulu
Corvette
02 6 speed stage 2 clutch... 19"'mayas... 3"'drop
Aloha gang.
Finally happened. Sometimes when i got in my car, i would hear a click (solenoid),but no crank. After a couple tries,it would start up. Yesterday went out,heard some clicking while turnin key,nothing. Then the clicking stopped. My car has no VATS bypass,and the starter looks really old. I also can't open my hood. Hood tool arrives tomorrow. Tried to make one out of brass rod, but not strong enough.
So i can do any trouble shooting yet. I was thinking of making a homemade VATS bypass and trow it in just to see what happens. Anyone make one before? Thanks for any tips.

This is my first problem in 1 1/2 years i owned the car. 2 1/2 inch drop on 19 inch mayas...120,000 miles.
PhotoMoto_0059vet2.jpg
 

boomdriver

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Messages
1,888
Location
texas
Corvette
87 z-51
well, its NOT the VATS thats the problem.
VATS happens long before the starter solenoid ever gets a signal. VATS will not allow the solenoid to click and if VATS is tripped, it will not start up after a few tries....it takes around 12-15 minutes before the system resets itself.
You have a failing starter solenoid. There is no reason to disable VATS because it has nothing to do with the starter except that if VATS is mad, nothing will work.
I had this happen last year and it was extremely aggrevating to have the car not want to start where ever I went. The quick remedy was to tap on the starter with a metal tool of some sort. What happens is the contacts in the solenoid become burned and when it gets a signal from the key switch and has approval from VATS, it cannot throw the solenoids bigger switch, so nothing happens except maybe a click. I made arrangements to get a new starter installed and it suddenly stopped as quickly as it started. All I did was clean the connections on the solenoid and tighten the main post on there that was loose. Its been fine ever since.

There is a simple way to bypass VATS, but I won;t discuss it because I am a witness to the effectiveness of VATS and preventing your car from being driven off :~) It saved mine 3 times.

The hood trap.....thats frustrating. I go in thru the battery well. There is also a route thru the top around the hood seal by the wiper arm. Looking at an open hood will allow you to see how to shape a cloths hanger wire.
Also, there are several places that make and sell an emergency cable or wire attachment for opening the hood from the outside. usually they install around the upper hood seal and hide below the wiper arm. I almost got the hole saw out the first time....almost.

good looking C-4 BTW !
 

T.M.808

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
146
Location
honolulu
Corvette
02 6 speed stage 2 clutch... 19"'mayas... 3"'drop
Thanks for the kind words. I was looking for an opening thru my 5 spoke wheels,i was looking for the started to tap on it. I can't see it. I would sure love to be able to pop the hood and just tap it.lol.
I wish i could reach in by the wiper and grab the cable. But the cable has broken off the latch itself. So i have to try the tool and try to flip the latch. I took a brass rod to my friends house,measured and bent the rod using his 87 for the reference. When i slip the brass rod in,i can tell i'm at the latch, but theres just to much deflection in the brass rod. The latch has some decent tension on it. The tool will be here tomorrow. When i get the hood open,i'll check for voltage to the starter when turning the key.
On the plus side,at least it won't be too bad changing the starter,i have no pup cats, cats or resonator. And true duals.
 

boomdriver

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Messages
1,888
Location
texas
Corvette
87 z-51
The starter will likely show voltage at the solenoid, its the contacts inside the solenoid that corrode and burn. If it is not getting a signal then thats when its time to look at VATS. Then its usually time for a new ignition switch & key. If it clicks sometimes, thats a clue that the solenoid contacts are poor. Might even be a battery cable...check that when the hood pops.
I had to jack mine up and crawl under it to see the starter and find the solenoid...now I know where to reach under if it ever happens again...lol. I explained to the thing that the beatings would continue until it cooperated. I won. It feared my wrench more than my hammer....:~)

Someone with a good set of drawings should be able to tell you which wire to test in a better location. I know that the harness under the brake booster contains the wire that you want to check to see if the starter is getting a signal, I just cannot remember which one it is. Even IF it comes down to changing the starter, its 2 bolts, 2 wires and some aggrevation. The exhaust is often right next to or under the starter and sometimes prevents the chore from being a cake job..

On the tool, you have to grab the lever in the latch. The cable is often broken or the end has come off so pulling the cable won;t do it. And, you might get it in 2 minutes, or 7 hours. Its a mix of skill and luck. Looking at another c-4 and studying the latch is extremely helpful. Without doing that, its all luck.
 

T.M.808

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
146
Location
honolulu
Corvette
02 6 speed stage 2 clutch... 19"'mayas... 3"'drop
To my suprise, the hood tool came. It was about 6:45pm,got the hood top pop in less than 5 mins. Put the battery on the charger for a couple hours,just to be sure. Reinstalled battery,tapped starter, nothing but clicking. Dash and alarm panel lite up. There was a couple times i didn't hear clicking. I'll be able to look at it again in the morning. Were should i put the voltmeter to look for the starter signal? I think i know where,just need to make sure. My friend has my manual. Thanks. :cool
 

boomdriver

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Messages
1,888
Location
texas
Corvette
87 z-51
well,l glad that you got the hood open! Thats a good start.

I do not know which wire to test under the hood. You'll have to check the small wire on the solenoid to see if its getting a signal, but if it was clicking it was definately getting a signal.
Don;t be bashful when tapping it...bang the solenoid if you can get at it.
Maybe even tap the end of the big terminal on the solenoid, just beware of sparks and accidental grounding. LOTS of sparks !

Like I was saying yesterday, someone thats got a good set of drawings could direct you to an easier wire to check, something that you can get to and see. its lots harder on the starter.
 

T.M.808

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
146
Location
honolulu
Corvette
02 6 speed stage 2 clutch... 19"'mayas... 3"'drop
Good point on the clicking, must be getting a signal. I gotta say, looks like it could be the origanal starter. I'm thinking of just going ahead and replacing it. If it's not the problem now (i think it is), it will be soon.lol Car has been well taken care of. Clean,wires in pretty good shape, fusable links all good, grounds pretty clean, plastic all good.
 

sstearns2

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2008
Messages
95
Location
Camarillo, CA
Corvette
1990 convertible, red/tan/tan, 6 speed
It might just be a bad battery. If you hear the solinoid clicking then it's working, but there's just not enough juice to turn the starter. I'd try jumpstarting it from another car or just replace the battery if it's more than 4 years or so old. Also, the starter power cable connections could be corroded.

Anyhow, good luck. At least it's a consistent problem so you know when you've fixed it!

Cheers,
Scott
 

boomdriver

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Messages
1,888
Location
texas
Corvette
87 z-51
Thats very true....If the battery is tired and not putting out enough amps to throw the starter solenoid then the click is all that you're gonna hear. It seems like everytime I take a battery in to a store to get it load tested, its ALWAYS bad...lol. Not sure if they just want to encourage a sale or if I just run 'em to death.
But, its worth checking out. If a jump from another 12v battery makes it crank over and start thats a sign of a bad battery. Charging should be checked too.

Good point Scott !
 

T.M.808

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
146
Location
honolulu
Corvette
02 6 speed stage 2 clutch... 19"'mayas... 3"'drop
What volts is your dash display showing when this is happening?
The battery is 3 years old. I took it out this morning. Put it on the battery charger for about 3 hours.Battery seems strong. All lights come on bright when the door is open, when i hit my key fob (keyless entry), door locks lock quikly and the lights all flash twice brightly as normal. On my volt meter, i read 12.8v at the battery. 11.9v when the key is on. I didn't have time to jack up the car, car is lowered 2 1/2 inches,so i couldn't put the meter on the starter connections. Thanks for your guys help..
 

T.M.808

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
146
Location
honolulu
Corvette
02 6 speed stage 2 clutch... 19"'mayas... 3"'drop
Just went ahead and ordered a starter. If thats not the problem,it will be soon. Will be in friday morning. Weird when the hood is open and i try to start it,i atually hear 2 clicks. The second one sounds like an injector click/pop.
 

T.M.808

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
146
Location
honolulu
Corvette
02 6 speed stage 2 clutch... 19"'mayas... 3"'drop
well...... got the new starter. Took about 15 mins to put in. Go to start car, same exact problem. Tried about 10 times nothing. Pulled the theft fuse (NOT the vats fuse), reinstalled and the car fired rite up. This doesn't even make sense as the battery was disabled all day long. There should be no difference in pulling a fuse, or disconnecting the battery to reset system,or am i wrong?
 

boomdriver

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Messages
1,888
Location
texas
Corvette
87 z-51
That won;t reset the VATS.

Vats is designed to be able to disable the ECM, starter, ignition when tripped. Once tripped it has a minimum self-reset time of 6 minutes I think it is. Usually more like 12 to 15. How long that time IS, is ONLY known to the VATS module. It is different every time. IF you attempt to start the car before it resets, the "off" cycle will reset for another 6 to 15 minutes.
Pulling the fuse or disconnecting the battery will not reset VATS. Only time can do that.

From the first time that the key is turned and nothing happens, how many minutes before it does start? if it might be as long as 6 or 7 min, and you have not turned the key during that time, it might be the VATS.
The thing is that if VATS is tripped there will be NO clicking, no nothing. The ECM is cut off and the ignition is dead. The starter enable from the ECM is broken so there will be no signal of anykind at the starter solenoid. IF VATS is triggered, nothing happens. Just dash lites. Thats all.

Is that clicking loud enough and strong enough to be coming from the starter solenoid? Its still very possible that the voltage at the solenoid is too low. The solenoid is just another switch that requires lots of amperage to engage. The key switch cannot handle that kind of power so its relayed to the starter solenoid and anything less just won;t make it move.

Do you have a spare key that you can try? VATS problems are 75% wear of the key or the key switch or both. Sometimes a different key helps. Sometimes its the switch thats so worn that nothing will work. Inside the key switch there are 2 little metal tabs that touch the key pill when it enters. Its pretty simple, but if the pill does not contact the tabs right or they are tarnished or dirty that will trip the VATS. The VATS gets its info before you turn the key, so if anything besides the correct key-pill is in that key switch and turned, it'll set the VATS. If the correct pill is in there then all is well and things happen when the key is turned.

I'm still thinking its something else because of the clicking and if you are trying the key 10 times one after the other and it finally starts, thats not VATS.

Bad ignition switch maybe? Thats actually mounted toward the bottom of the steering column and operated by a rod from the key switch area; and they DO wear out. The ign switch has several contacts that have to meet each other and sometimes they just wear out.

Try to notice the time between no start and when it will crank over. If thats less than 6 minutes then VATS is almost certainly ruled out. If its more, like just keep on turning the key till it cranks, thats a poor ign switch or some other point of contact in the starting circuit.
 

gmjunkie

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 11, 2004
Messages
4,545
Location
Old Fort NC/Vero Beach FL
Corvette
03 Z-51,78 L82 Coupe
grounds,Grounds,GROUNDS!! Inspect and CLEAN "ALL" grounds,I mean EVERY Frigging one of them!!You have a High Resistance or Non Existent GROUND!!:thumb :thumb

:D
 

boomdriver

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Messages
1,888
Location
texas
Corvette
87 z-51
yep....as usual, get underneath the car and look around the 10 o'clock position (driver side) on the trans bellhousing. you should see a collection of wires on a bolt. Those are your system grounds.

To find the power sources and fusable links (ends get corroded and dirty) look for a post under and behind the battery. This has the system "hot" wires with a fusable link. Being so close to the battery they get very corroded and even break inside the insulation.

Chasing down a phantom electrical issue like this can be frustrating, I know.
 

gmjunkie

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 11, 2004
Messages
4,545
Location
Old Fort NC/Vero Beach FL
Corvette
03 Z-51,78 L82 Coupe
yep....as usual, get underneath the car and look around the 10 o'clock position (driver side) on the trans bellhousing. you should see a collection of wires on a bolt. Those are your system grounds.

To find the power sources and fusable links (ends get corroded and dirty) look for a post under and behind the battery. This has the system "hot" wires with a fusable link. Being so close to the battery they get very corroded and even break inside the insulation.

Chasing down a phantom electrical issue like this can be frustrating, I know.
ALL need checked,Not just the ones on the bell housing!There are several,Batt to Chassis,Batt to Block,Chassis to Block,there are grounds everywhere on these cars,All can cause Electronic components do Weird Sh*t!~!!:thumb More than 90% of the time I find High Resistance and Non Existent Grounding causing No Start,Poor Performance and Electrical problems!!:thumb
Of coarse I don't usually get to check them out first thing till everybody's Dad,2 Brothers,5 Uncles and a Brother In-law has changed $1000. worth of parts!!:boogie:boogie:boogie
 

T.M.808

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
146
Location
honolulu
Corvette
02 6 speed stage 2 clutch... 19"'mayas... 3"'drop
Thanks guy's. I'll start checking all the grounds. Have started the car 10 times since last nite. Fires on the first crank everytime. I checked the fusable links this morning with a quik visual. The post and connectors are in great shape with no corrosion. Start checking/cleaning grounds later today.
Thanks again.
 

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