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VATS - How do you control this???



Hello fellow Vette owners! How's it going? I have a question I hope someone can answer. Ever so often (it seems to always be when I'm in a hurry) my darn car does not want to start. The previous owner says it's because of the VATS system. That really ticks me off because you have to wait 2 minutes before it will start. Is there any quick fix for this, or do I just have to deal with it. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks! Greg-in Bama (Email) Greg
Welcome To The Corvette Action Center Greg-in-Bama!

I certainly hope you find what your problem is, I've been battling that for years now! ;)

I've replaced switches, relays, starters, checked all the wiring and bypassed the VATS with the kit from MAD.

Every so often, as you say - when I would rather not be delayed, it refuses to start. Luckily, mine is a manual trans car and not automatic, I've simply pushed it when I ran out of patience.

Which, in my case, would indicate that it is not a VATS related problem, because it fires right up when ya push it. :confused

GOOD LUCK! :upthumbs
VATS reply

Hey Keith, thanks alot. I'll try that. I just bought the car a few months ago and the previous owner told me about that and said it was no big deal. Ha, it's driving me crazy!! A girlfriend of mine had it happen to her, and thank God I have another vehicle, I had to go across town and start it for her. She said she kept trying to start, so for every time she tried to start it (she said about 4 or 5 times) that added another 2 minutes each time. But we got it. It's a good car, but man.... I'm going to try that. Thanks alot Keith!
On my92 I had random problems with the VATS. Keyless entry didn't come out until 93. So the car needless to say was opened with the key for many years. Something funky with the door lock or sensor makes the car enter its security mode. Sometimes it would beep the horn other times the started wouldn't work. I had my freind hook up a keyless entry system. Since I've been using the remote to lock and unlock the car I haven't had that problem. Just a thought...
Keith, look to the left column when you reply to or post a new message. See where it says Smilies are ON, right between vB code is ON and [/u] code is [b]ON[/b]? Click it for a list. ;)

VATS reply

Thanks Racer78 a.k.a. Ken! Or is it vise versa!! Ha!.....for that cool story of your Camero. Yea, if I had a 4+3 it wouldn't be a problem, but the auto...Now, you think I might have a problem in the wiring? If it is, like someone else said in here earlier, just find those two wires near or running up/into the steering column and bypass them?! Later...Greg
if you bypass the wires at the bottom of the column you have to add a resistor of the same value as the key just putting the wires together will not let the car start as the ecm or vats module sees a value of 0 ohms need to use a vom and check the key value :w
Oops, thanks for pointing that out Steve. I guess that part sorta got lost with all the other gab we had going. :L

VATS help

Keith, forgive me for my stupidity, but what do you mean when you say to jumper those two wires between the connector? Jumper them to one another or what?:crazy Greg
VATS fooling

Ohhh, now I see! ;) That does make sense. It's like having the key in all the time, huh?! I think you already said that but, now I understand. Thanks buddy! Have a good one!!!!! Greg

Thanks Keith, but you know...I was looking at those wires under the dash and I thought, maybe I'm not letting the diode in the key do its job. Its got to read the key, travel through the wires to the controller, signal that its ok, and clear the ignition switch for normal start. Well, here's what I've done the past couple of times I wanted the car to start right away... 1) cleaned the key with my shirt. 2) inserted it into the switch with pressure. 3) holding it in, still with the same pressure, for 3 to 4 dings. You know, the key-left-in-ignition-switch dinging sound every car makes these days. Well, so far, so good. Maybe now I won't have to mess with anything! But, only time will tell. See ya! :cool Greg

Hey that's right! Knock on wood. I've been in it most of the day and it has started every time! Now for the dash cluster flickering problem......................:puke

I had an 87 that drove me crazy for a while. Cleaning the contact surfaces on the key pellet is good. GM had some problems with the plating of the contact surfaces in the ignition switch that is in your column. When you clean the key, you are enhancing one of the contact surfaces resulting in a higher rate of valid reading of the key pellet resistance. Unfortunately, the other half of the completed contact, the one in the ignition switch, will continue to deteriorate. You might reconsider bypassing your ignition switch. Most Radio Shack personnel will gladly measure the resistance of your key, on the spot.

Now the value of the key will vary some, and most likely Radio Shack will not have the exact value.
However, there is a tolerance designed into the circuit. I have attached a text document with the codes, values, tolerance, etc. That might help in your resistor selection.


Good idea. However, one thing to consider is that GM only allows about 4% tolerance on the plus side of the pellet resistance. If you use 5% resistors from Radio Shack the possibility exists that, one it will not start at all. Worse yet if it is close to the edge, that on a hot day or cold night the temperature coefficient will cause it to drift out of range and you will be stuck. At least until a change in the weather. I would recommend that you obtain 1% metal film resistors for your VATS bypass. Radio Shack can order most of the required values. For the ones that Radio Shack does not carry, Digi-Key or Jameco carry complete selections of 1% metal film resistors for about quarter each.

vats reply

c5phil, thanks a bunch. You're very knowledgeable. Thanks again.

I would just be concerned that it is working now, but it still
might drift out of spec. On the other hand it will probably last
a 1000 years no probelemo.


You are most welcome, Sir. You and CACC are welcome to
use it for what you wish.


I hope it helps, keep your eye on that ignition switch.


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