1999 Regal LS ignition problem

04-27-2012, 12:00 PM
We have a 1999 Regal ... we had been having issues not starting ( it appeared the battery was dead), the gauges at times would be erratic. We were directed to the ignition switch.
We switched out the entire column, with a different switch being part of that. Now the dash lights come on and all that but nothing to the starter, nothing is happening beyond what you would expect when the key is turned to the "on" position ....period. The security light is on... does the system have to set or "re-learned"...something like that?
My son has his senior prom tomorrow night and I'd really like to have this car running for him so your help is appreciated.

Thank you.

04-27-2012, 12:22 PM
I believe you have a PASSKEY security system in your vehicle. Does ignition key have a chip in it? If so, and you replaced the entire column, with the lock cylinder, then the theft module is seeing the incorrect key trying to start the car. The easiest thing to do would be to take your original key to the dealer parts dept, have them cut a new key with the chip that matches your original key, but cut it to match the key from the kew column. Or you can swap the ignition lock cylinders from one column to the other.

Tech II
04-27-2012, 12:37 PM
You switched out the whole column instead of just replacing the ignition switch? Little drastic don't you think?

Did that new column come with a key, or did you transfer the lock cylinder and wiring to it?

If you didn't chances are your new key doesn't have the same resistor on it(Passkey I or II), or if it doesn't have a resistor, but it has PK3 stamped on the ignition key, then it has to be relearned(takes 30 minutes)....

So, the ORIGINAL KEY in the column, was it reused by transferring the lock cylinder or are you using a different key that came with the new column? If a new key, is it the same type as the old one?

For example, if you have a new key with the new column, does it have a resistor on it like the old key? If yes, then you have to go to ANY GM dealer, and see if the resistance of the old key, is the same as the new key.....if it isn't, you need to have a new key made.....

If both keys have PK3 stamped on them, then it's 30 minute relearn procedure.....

You can't mix them...for example, if orig has a resistor, and the new has PK3 stamped, you have the wrong column....

Not sure of the year, but the other possibility is they are blank keys, and you have the PassLock system instead....if that's the case, it's another 30 minute relearn procedure.....

So the question is, what does the orig key look like, and what does the new key look like, if you didn't swap out the lock cylinder and key?

Tech II
04-27-2012, 12:39 PM
GMtech1, you beat me to it.....slow typer....

04-28-2012, 10:48 AM
Thank you. I did get a new key cut for it with the correct resister and it will start.

I was told by a auto parts guy that to change out the ign on these cars was a real pain and the easier thing to do is change out the column... while doing that I realized that it wasnt that big of a job... we live and learn right?

BUT, ... the initial problem was.... now and then the dash gauge needles would flip up and back while driving and the battery went dead (or appeared to) a couple times... I was told and saw online references to the ignition switch going bad and causing these issues. The car was driven last evening after the column change/getting the key issue corrected and the gauges did the flip thing again, so the ign switch changed nothing for that. Anyone have advice on this?

05-04-2012, 10:17 AM
Anyone have a direction to go on the gauge needles flipping on this Regal? Based on other info we had seen we figured changing out the ignition would cure it... it did not. It does sound like the gauges doing this is an issue with these cars. thank you!

05-04-2012, 12:11 PM
Sounds like the cluster is losing power or ground. Need to check the connections at the cluster. You can also turn the key to the "on" position and move the harnesses around that go to the cluster and see the the gauges act up.

05-05-2012, 06:21 AM
Based on your original post what was the status on your battery? Re-charged or replaced? I had a similar issue with '99 Regal LS last year. The gauges would act up like yours (reverse reading) when my battery went South. I replaced the battery.

BTW - I'm surprised you replaced the whole steering column based on the advice of a parts guy. :shakehead

I've replaced two ignition switch assemblies with no issues. See link below posted at our Buick Tips & Maintenance Forum.


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