Non-Starter (part four in a series)

Here we go again. It was probably the coldest morning of the season so far.

No crank, no start.

Xy was pissed, and I can’t blame her. It was her turn to drive for the carpool. Two co-workers were depending on her. Fortunately they were able to switch it up at the last minute.

Of course, a short time later, the car started up — no problem.

Having read a bunch of internet forum posts about this, I’m convinced some weather condition improperly triggers the Passlock anti-theft system. However, aside from the cold-morning pattern, the problem is so frakking random that it’s frightening.

There’s at least one guy who advocates using a bypass/override module. These modules are designed for people who want to use a remote starter, but in theory it should solve our problem even without a remote. I’ve found various models online, like the Omega IB-PLJX. Only $23. I think I could install it myself.

I’m hesitating for two reasons. One, I want to hear what the guy at the dealership might have to say. I’m waiting for him to call back. Two, I’ve been searching the net for a success story, and I can’t find one. I’ve seen plenty of people ranting about this problem — They oughta have a recall! We oughta sue! I’ve seen a number of people theorizing about the bypass module solution. But no one is bragging about actually having done it, and that makes me leery.

10 thoughts on “Non-Starter (part four in a series)”

  1. I’ve got some suggestions for you and your problem B. First of all, in theory that module should work for ya. Second, the guy at the stealership, I mean dealership will just try to lure you in to have some diagnostics run to conclude that you need everything but a new car. Have you been on the SaturnForum (http://www.saturnforum.com/)? I have always found these types of forums to have the most reliable information about just about any problem you can think of. If you can find exactly the same situation you’re having.

    For $23, I’d buy that module and see what happens. It would be cheaper than taking it to a shop!
    Best of luck!

  2. Can you get it into neutral? If you can have you tried starting it in neutral? That works on our old beater.

  3. Try calling “Car Talk” Saturdays on NPR — it would be a blast if you could get on the show and maybe they could solve the problem.

  4. I’ve got a 97 Cavalier that has had passlock issues. In my case, the car would crank, but will not start. If you spray starting fluid (ether) it will run while the ether lasts.

    My mechanic replaced the ignition switch the first time, then the next time (after misdiagnosing an expensive fuel pump) bypassed the Passlock. There is a method where, (while it is working) you splice in an appropriate value resistor, no longer relying on the one in the switch or key.

    From what I understand, for any of the bypass systems to work, you have to install them while the car is working. Once it quits, it gets much more complicated.

    I’ve had dirty battery terminals be intermittent like that.

  5. I’m a total non-geek, but I was wondering — if the problem only happens when it is cold, and goes away when it warms up — i.e., later in the morning, would it help to “warm up” the problem area in the car with something like a hair dryer? Not a cure to be sure, but maybe it would help in the short term.

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