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Old 02-18-2011, 10:17 PM   #1
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Unhappy Oddball electronic/security problem Help?

My wife had (has) a problem with our 2001 Regal GS that I can't for the life of me figure out. This afternoon when she left work to come home, she says she put her key (the funky ones with the chip in them) in the ignition and it went CLICK. Then nothing. So she went to take her key out and it wouldn't give it back to her. No amount of coaxing, wrestling, cussing, yanking, etc would release the key. She called me for help (gee, thanks) and by the time I got there 15 minutes later she was able to open the door (the interior lights came on) and remove the key as if everything was perfectly normal. I then handed her my key which she proceeded to try with no success and then the car wouldn't give THAT one back. All this time there is no ignition buzzer, no interior lights, no instrument cluster, NOTHING. Oh, and it took me prying the little cover off under the column and releasing the interlock before it would give my key back. During this whole process, it also locked itself and would not respond to either keyless remote. I had to drive all the way home, find the door key, and drive back in order to open the doors. By this time we were both ready to leave the keys on the dashboard and abandon the thing right there in the parking lot.
As it is, the car is still in the lot in an unreponsive state. Catatonic even. Neither of our keys will make it do anything, the interior lights do not work, the remotes do not work, and it won't give either ignition key back without triggering the little button under the column. The battery seems fine, and the lights did come on that one time but no ignition response at all.
For the record, it has started and run flawlessly. Always. Never had any kind of issue at all. And the battery is a DieHard Gold with 800 cranking amps and a full charge.
Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to be sure to explain everything.
Does anyone have any ideas on this? My current plan is to drive over to her office in the morning and try it to see if anything happens. If it'* still acting up, I have NO clue what could be the problem. Automotive electronics are absolutely not my strong point.
TIA
Steve
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:21 PM   #2
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I would start with disconnecting the battery cables and clean them up real good, then reconnect the cables and try that.
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:26 AM   #3
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you may need to clean the other ends of the batt and ground cables too. they sometimes get as bad as the ends that go on the battery
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Old 02-19-2011, 10:40 AM   #4
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That might explain a "no-start" or the appearance of a dead battery condition, but what about it not letting me take the key out of the ignition and then locking me out of the car?
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:14 PM   #5
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W bodies are notorious for having ignition switch issues. This is a bigger issue because all the car'* power travels through the switch. Yeah, not the best design.

If the cables etc are tight and clean at the battery, I would start to think toward the ignition switch or body control module.
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Old 02-19-2011, 06:21 PM   #6
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Well, I just spent the better part of 2 hours f**king with the car, and I think it'* possessed...
Here'* a run-down of what I tried:
Remove and check both cables from battery -- positive was a little corroded, not too bad, but I cleaned it off anyway
Removed and checked every one of the "maxi-fuses" (fusible links) -- all good. All fuses good too
Poked and pried at both battery cables to make sure everything seemed tight (it did) and checked battery output -- 13 volts at the posts. Checked main ground for continuity -- OK
At this point, for laughs I pushed the lock button on the remote and it honked at me. WOW! Maybe I fixed it!
Jumped in the car, put the key in the ignition, and turned it to start. The engine started to crank over, then nothing. And it held onto the key like before.
At this point, I disconnected the battery again, fooled around with the cables some more, put it back together, and got a little bit of a spark as I connected the negative cable to the battery (did positive first). Again, the car responded through the remote with lock/unlock but nothing with the ignition. Not even a click this time.
At this point I hooked up the jumper cables to my Astro and let it take a charge for about 15 minutes. I left the car door open, but at no time did the interior light come on and nothing else in the car indicated that there was any voltage present. The Astro was putting out well over 15 volts and I confirmed voltage levels at the posts on the Buick so I know the jumpers were doing their thing. I tried to start it one more time and still nothing so I closed everything up and came home to post this.
As a last thing before I drove away, I hit the "lock" button on the remote and the horn peeped at me as if nothing was wrong. Still being easily fooled by its sick game, I jumped out of the van and tried to unlock the car to try one more time but the remote would not respond.
It seems to muster up the energy to do one thing and one thing only every once in a while, but nothing else.
I'm ready to bail on this thing. Very frustrating...
Does anybody have any insight? If it might be the ignition switch, is there a way I can test it to know? I priced a new one @ $85 at the FLAPS, and the module is $141. I'm not in a position to go spending big chunks of money on a blind search...
Thanks
Steve
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