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View Full Version : Passlock III, what is it and how does it work?


comcardi
08-27-2006, 07:54 PM
According to the owner's manual all Auras are equipped with PassLock III as standard equipment. It tells me there is a chip embedded into the key and I get the jist of how it works because my Chrysler had the Sentry system which is essentially the same thing. My question is, where is the chip in the key? On Chrysler products a key without a chip was alot thinner as opposed to a key with the sentry system. GM's keys do not appear to have any size difference, so either its a small chip or this system works differently than that of Chrysler's. Anyone with any knowledge of how this work, let me know, because I am curious.

P.S. -- I think this is the 1st Aura tech question :dizzy: :dizzy:

BobbyP
08-28-2006, 05:40 AM
I found your answers on a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration document... Nice system first used on the 2005 Cobalt.

GM stated that the Passlock III system uses a standard ignition key to rotate a specially coded ignition switch. The conventional mechanical code of the key is used to unlock and release the transmission lever and the steering wheel. However, before the vehicle can be operated, the electrical code in the ignition switch must be read and determined to match the value stored in the decoder module.

The electrical code in the ignition switch is provided by resistive elements enabled by the Lock cylinder. When a key with the proper mechanical cut is inserted in the lock cylinder and rotated from ``RUN'' to ``CRANK'', the resistive code will become readable by the decoder module. When the decoder module recognizes a valid code, it transmits a Vehicle Security Password via a serial data link to the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) to enable fuel flow. GM stated that there are 65,534 possible password codes. If the decoder module detects an invalid code, the Passlock III will send a Fuel Disable Password to disable fuel flow. The decoder module then enters a tamper state for ten minutes. During this time, the security light will flash, and any additional attempts to start the vehicle is ignored by the system.

BobbyP
08-28-2006, 06:05 AM
I got cut off before finishing my post... :upset:

Passlock III uses standard Saturn keys. No embedded chips are used.

The ignition lock ass'y sends a code to a decoder module when you turn the key allowing the fuel to flow for the engine to run... It requires a properly cut key to operate.

Some long term Saturn owners would be distressed over the anticipated life of the system. Passlock III subsystem and components are validated for a vehicle life of 10 years and 150,000 miles of performance.

hugh
08-28-2006, 02:19 PM
Saturn Aura New Model Features and Service Guide #06-00-89-040 issued on 10 Aug,2006,has following re the PASS-KEY 111 system.

First of all,note that they are not talking about the old Pass-Lock system.

Following is the info:
....".PASS-KEY 111 uses a radio frequency transponder in the key that matches a decoder in the theft deterrent module....which contains the logic and communicates through GM LAN to the ECM which is the immobilizer. They communicate using the BCM as a pass-through.".....etc,etc.

It would appear that under Pass-Lock,the code was sent from the ignition switch to the immobilzer after the correct key was inserted. Now under PASS-KEY the transponder(chip?) in the key communicates directly with the immobilizer(ECM),bypassing the ignition switch.

BobbyP
08-28-2006, 07:10 PM
Passlock III and Passkey III are different systems. I was just answering the question in the thread.

Passkey III does use RFID chip in the key.

Is Passkey III on ALL Saturns for 2007?

comcardi
08-28-2006, 07:23 PM
I hate to say it.....I truley hate to say it but I think I like the chip in key systems better. With this system it seems if you can turn the igition by regular or irregular means, the system will allow the vehicle to operate. Where as the chip in key system, if that chip is not detected, the system shut the car down, period. Now I understand why the Escalade is so vunerable to being stolen.

wolfman
08-28-2006, 07:46 PM
I hate to say it.....I truley hate to say it but I think I like the chip in key systems better. With this system it seems if you can turn the igition by regular or irregular means, the system will allow the vehicle to operate. Where as the chip in key system, if that chip is not detected, the system shut the car down, period. Now I understand why the Escalade is so vunerable to being stolen.

Wait till you find out how much those keys cost (about $75..uncut EACH) and that they MUST be programmed and purchased at a dealer....

comcardi
08-28-2006, 09:07 PM
Wait till you find out how much those keys cost (about $75..uncut EACH) and that they MUST be programmed and purchased at a dealer....

Very true, I wanted a spare key to my 300M and they told me 80 for the key and 35 to program and I was like, "Thats OOOKKKKKAYYYY!!!"

ke6sus
08-28-2006, 11:06 PM
Wait till you find out how much those keys cost (about $75..uncut EACH) and that they MUST be programmed and purchased at a dealer....

Hi, at my store I had a customer that wanted a key to carry in her purse, and the Aura key with PassKey III+ was about $35, cutting is free. She (on my advise for her purpose purchased an Ion key cut to the same to open the doors, but will be unable to start vehicle for $6.)

I have had to "program" a key for the PassKey III+ system and it basically involved start the car with the real key, then take it out and start the car with the new key and Voila! the the key is programmed.

I had service try to blow smoke at me and say blah blah blah, I am as skilled with the Tech2 as many of the technicians and there is no prompt for programming keys, only fobs. :p :p :p

comcardi
08-29-2006, 12:17 PM
I have had to "program" a key for the PassKey III+ system and it basically involved start the car with the real key, then take it out and start the car with the new key and Voila! the the key is programmed.

So PassKey III systems do have chips in them?????

fdryer
08-29-2006, 08:20 PM
In a word, yes. Think rfid's for pets, EZ-PASS, anti-theft devices embedded in clothing at retail stores and CD cases. All passive devices until within range of the transponder that excites the circuitry. It then transmits codes for the computer to verify. You've got the newest state of the art in anti-theft built into the key, a subminiature circuit.

BobbyP
08-29-2006, 09:21 PM
Saturn mailed me an emergency key in a vinyl pocket. The key doesn't have the black plastic grip molded around the metal part. The card with it said the key would open the doors, but not start the vehicle.

Turns out the emergency key operates my VUE with no problems. I suspect they mixed up my 2006 VUE with the new Passkey III system on the 2007's. My sister hasn't received an emergency key for her SKY yet.

comcardi
08-30-2006, 07:40 AM
In a word, yes. Think rfid's for pets, EZ-PASS, anti-theft devices embedded in clothing at retail stores and CD cases. All passive devices until within range of the transponder that excites the circuitry. It then transmits codes for the computer to verify. You've got the newest state of the art in anti-theft built into the key, a subminiature circuit.

Interesting.......GM basically found a way to shrink the circuity into the key without increasing the size of the key. On a side note my owner's manual indicates if your key has a cross inclosed in a circle at the top of the key right under the plastic molding, they key is "equipped" with circuity for PassKey III.

suwanneegal
07-08-2013, 10:21 AM
I just bought my first Saturn 3 days ago, it's a used 2007 Relay with the PASS-Key III system. Thanks so much for the above thread, it gave me real insight to it's problem. Here's my problem: intermitantly when I get in and try to start the car, it won't start up and I get the message "starting disabled" in the dashboard display, despite the fact that I'm using the official key.

I definitely do have the official key with the chip in it, it has the black plastic with Saturn logo at the top and also the letters "PK3" stamped on the metal part of the key.

There's no actual fix I'm using to make it work again, I just try again later and it works fine. So sounds like this key isn't always communicating the code to the system? This car is in otherwise mint condition, so I'm thinking that maybe this is why somebody traded it in? Any thoughts on what I can have checked out that might be causing the issue? Having read y'all's comments above, I doubt the actual key itself is the problem, or is that a bad assumption?

fdryer
07-08-2013, 09:43 PM
Unless a member with Relay specific information about possible Passkey-III issues with 'starter disabled' displayed can comment, you may have to resort to GM for service. Your descriptions seem be a technical issue and would require advanced troubleshooting using service manuals for reference.

onefunkar
07-08-2013, 10:02 PM
probably bad key. try reprogramming it (takes 10 seconds) or try new key. our gm dealer had aftermarket pk3 plus keys for about 15 bucks and are easily programmable yourself. each key puts out different code so car has to know that key. thus needs to be p[rogrammed. the plus mean also has rolling code. when car is shut off it gives that key a random code. next time the key is used to start car it must recognize key and that the key knows the previous random code given to it when it was last used. almost zero problems with immobilizer keys comparred to many probleams with pass lock keys which do pretty much nothing.

fdryer
07-09-2013, 12:37 AM
As I understood it, rolling codes apply to the remotes and not Passlock or Passkey (rfid). Since Passlock uses a discrete resistor value and Passkey uses a fixed rfid code, both are considered fixed values. Different ways to recognize each one but all for theft deterrent handling.

suwanneegal, I have Relay info for model year '05 if you don't mind a different model year. Its presumed Passkey is the same for most years so info should be the same. Private message me with an e-mail address for reprints of the service manual. Include model so I know who gets what info. If not interested, a subscription to alldata.diy or local library having free access can provide the same info.

greenman
07-09-2013, 01:48 AM
occasionally, having a second transponder key for another vehicle on the key ring can confuse the exciter module. otherwise, I agree...likely a bad key. passkey programming instructions are in the owner's manual.

onefunkar
07-09-2013, 08:57 AM
pk3 keys have transponder inside key. pk3 plus has same thing but has added rolling codes to the key. the old passlock system if i had a key made i could drive your car away. with immoblizer keys you could not. passlock just needs any key in. only theft benefit is cant hotwire car.

fdryer
07-09-2013, 09:44 AM
Learned something new with pK3+. I did know that Passlock only needs a plain key to operate/bypass Passlock. Many at the beginning didn't know this and was a great theft deterrent back then. It wasn't advertised about the ease of bypassing Passlock so easily. As long as the common thief isn't aware of Passlock bypassing then theft deterrent works.