VATS (Vehicle Anti Theft System) was introduced by GM on the 1986 Corvette because the Corvette had become the number one target of car thieves. Corvette thefts dropped so impressively after VATS was implemented that GM expanded the system in 1988 to the Camaro , Firebird, and Cadillac Seville...
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The Tech-Train 4004A interrogator has been out of production for several years, but it will be going back on the market early in 2008. Tech-Train was purchased by Lockmasters, Inc., in 2003 and has taken the original TT4004A interrogator, improved it and will soon be offering it along with the TT4002 VATS ByPass adaptor and a DVD on the VATS system. The new Tech-Train / Lockmasters interrogator is shown in photo seven. The Tech-Train / Lockmasters interrogator is a rugged unit that offers one of the best warranties in the business. For more information on the Tech-Train / Lockmasters interrogator contact Lockmasters, Inc. at (800) 654-0637 or at www.lockmasters.com.
Learning how to understand what the VATS system is saying
The VATS system can only communicate with you by way of a light on the dash or in some cases a text display on the dash. If you want to be successful, you need to learn how to interpret what the VATS system is trying to tell you. The light on the dash that the VATS system uses is usually called the “Security Light” because it usually says “SECURITY.” On some cars it may say “ANTI-THEFT” or just “THEFT.” If you know how to interpret the security light, you can tell a lot about what the VATS system is doing and save yourself a lot of time and trouble. Below is a simple guide to reading the security light.
If the light does not come on – This means that the system is not working. The problem may be a bad connection, bad wiring or a bad module, but until you get the security light to come on, you are wasting your time attempting to interrogate the vehicle.
If the light comes on and stays on as long as the ignition is turned on – This means that the VATS system is working and it read the resistor value you tried, but rejected the starting attempt because you did not use the correct value. When you see this response, you need to turn the switch off and wait at least three minutes before you try another value.
If the light comes on briefly and then turns off – This indicates normal operation with the correct key. The car should now start. If the car does not start, it is not because of the VATS system; begin looking of after-market alarms or other problems.
If the light blinks – This usually indicates that the vehicle has a factory alarm system and that the door is open. If closing the door causes the light to stop blinking, continue. On some vehicles, a blinking light with the door closed means the same as when the light does not come on – see above.
If the light comes on and stays lit even after the ignition is turned off – This feature is not found on many cars, but when you do find it you are in luck. The security light on these vehicles acts as a timer for you. When the light goes off, it is time to try the next value.
VATS TIPS AND TRICKS
The 1990 Corvette was the first vehicle to have the VATS function built into the main computer module (CCM). Initially this unit featured a variable time delay, but the feature was phased out before the end of the model year. On these vehicles, the time delay was slightly less than three minutes for the first four starting attempts within 60 minutes. After that, the delay was increased to 10 minutes per starting attempt.
VATS vehicles that have a manual transmission will not start, even with the correct key, unless the clutch pedal is depressed. This is why I don't even try to start these vehicles. I just watch the security light and when I find the value that causes the light to go out, I then start the vehicle.
The VATS system can control the ignition, starter, and fuel pump on any given vehicle. All of the systems that are controlled by the VATS system are disabled when the ignition is turned off. When the VATS system detects the proper key, it activates these systems. When the VATS system detects an improper starting attempt, these systems are already disabled. The only thing activated by the incorrect starting attempt is the time delay on the VATS module itself.
Only turn the key in the ignition once per starting attempt. On some cars, turning the key more than once will add time to the delay period. The maximum delay period if you turn the key repeatedly is about 10 minutes.
The heart of the VATS system is the ability of the computer to read a precise voltage drop. If the battery is discharged, the voltage going through the key will be reduced and the computer will never be able to get a correct reading. Always make sure that the battery is fully charged before you start an interrogation. If necessary hook up jumper cables or use a jump box to make sure you have full voltage.
The VATS-operated security system uses a modified ignition lock and key with a resistance pellet mounted into the shoulder.
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