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Key cylinder replacement

This is a discussion on Key cylinder replacement within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Hi, has anybody done the full key cylinder replacement. Taking off the air bag etc..? Would like a few tips ...

  1. #1
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    Key cylinder replacement

    Hi,
    has anybody done the full key cylinder replacement. Taking off the air bag etc..? Would like a few tips if possible. what type of tools and such. Thanks, Dave

  2. #2
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    key cylinder replacement

    HI,
    Has anyone done the full key cylinder replacement? Taking off the airbag etc..? I might bypass the vats system . But I would really like to replace the key cylinder . Wondering what type of tools for the air bag and procedure. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks, Dave

  3. #3
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    I sure would like to know too. I try to do all repairs myself. The VATS reader went out on my ignition cylinder and left me stranded, this was before I knew how common this problem is. A tow to the dealer and 500$ for labor, cylinder and 2 new keys later

  4. #4
    Junior Member WS6 > SS's Avatar
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    I was lucky my security light came on intermittantly which was caused by my ignition! Dealer picked up the tab and 2 new keys.

  5. #5
    Electrical Engineer KMdef9's Avatar
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    Since I was too much of a chicken sh1t at the time, I took my to the stealership for $250.

    By passing the vats is significantly easier and cheaper. I think I would go that route if it happens again.

    I was also told that the ruining of the ignition cylinder can be due do a heavy keychain. So if you do replace it, keep your keys light after the fact.

  6. #6
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    Just bypass VATS. I wouldn't mess with the air bag unless you can get a GM service manual.

  7. #7
    Spaz is My Mentor SMWS6TA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2001NBMZ28 View Post
    Just bypass VATS. I wouldn't mess with the air bag unless you can get a GM service manual.
    Disconnect the battery for 30 mins minimum. This will let the charge dissipate. Then carefully disconnect the airbag connectors. Just be careful. Remove airbag. Once you have change the cylinder you can hook up to make sure it works, but make sure you disconnect it again prior to putting on the airbag.

    Done it 3 times on my old Firebird and have not had any issues

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    Moderator Cutlass's Avatar
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    you can bypass the security system instead of replacing the ignition cylinder if you want to. Search "VATS Bypass" on this site and you'll find a write up

  9. #9
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    Like said above bypassing the VATS is the easiest.

    Depending on where you live I would CAUTION doing that. I had an 89 rs that was the first year for VATS. It was broken into and they tried to steal it. The only reason they didn't get the car is because of the VATS.

    People will argue that a good thief can get past the VATS and that is true but your average thief is an idiot and I think the odds are in your favor that they don't have resistors sitting in there car theft kit

    I replaced the VATS on the RS a year before they tried to steal it. The hard part was feeding the wire from the lock cylinder back down the steering column. That car did not have air bags though.

    Good Luck!


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    You dont need to disconnect the battery to remove the airbag. There is usally two bolts on the back side of the steering wheel that need to be taking out and then pull the airbag foward from the steering wheel to get to the wires. Once you have located the wire connector for the airbag (usally in a Yellow loom) find a good ground like the center of the steering column (where the nut hold the steering wheel on) and and ground yourself to it while unplugging the wires for the airbag. I am a locksmith and I have done this so many times on lots of diffrent cars and trucks and havent ever set off an airbag. In many of the locksmith classes I have taking they have talked about this and they always tell you to ground yourself to remove any static charge that you might have in you. I think that Snap-on or one of the tool guys sale or used to sale a grounding strap that you hook to yourself and then a good ground on the vehical you are working on for doing work like this. Make sure you are grounded good when hooking the airbag back up and you shouldnt have any problems. Remember that you are doing this on your own free will and not becuse I told you to or becuse anyone else on here told you to do it. Good luck.

  11. #11
    Moderator Cutlass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by olskwl79 View Post
    Hi,
    has anybody done the full key cylinder replacement.
    BTW I have done this many times. Its kinda involved for a beginner but certainly not impossible. Any tools you might need can be found at sears. You'll need a steering wheel puller kit with a lock plate compressor tool (you can buy these 2 seperately.) You'll also need a torx screw driver(can't remember the size) and mechanics wire (to help pull the wiring through the steering column. I should do a detailed write up on this with lots of pictures next time I replace one.

  12. #12
    Member bberretta's Avatar
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    The two bolts in the back of the steering wheel are torx (maybe a 20 or a 25). You'll also need a steering wheel puller and a lock plate compressor. You could also use a cir-clip tool, but a couple of flat-head screwdrivers do just fine. It's not a bad job to do with the right tools.

  13. #13
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    Almost forgot- attach some high strength fishing line to the wire before you pull it up, that way you have a line to pull the wire back down.

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