theft codes on 97 Sunfire

08-19-2006, 01:12 PM
Gonna try and summarize this, as its a REALLY long.

Saturday my 1997 2.4L Sunfire SE convertable ran fine, went to a few stores, no problems. Sunday morning, drove it 6 blocks to the conveince store, sat in the car while friend ran in, tried to start it back up, and it would rotate, but not start. Realized I wasn't hearing the fuel pump prime, and assumed it had gone out after checking the fuses and relay. It sat for 2 days at the store before being towed, where I was then told by the reapir shop it was "definetly" the fuel pump. I brought them parts I got cheaper at a parts store, and they were just beginning to drop my fuel tank at that time. Upon going to see if my vehicle was ready yesterday, I was told that they were trying to re-program my car's computer, but it was refusing to 'learn'. When asked how they were able to "definetly" diagnose the fuel pump problem (wasn't the computer working then?) without dropping the fuel tank, they gave me some b.s. about the mechanic being GM certified. They then told me that my computer wouldn't communicate when trying to diagnose the fuel pump problem, and they suspected there was a problem with it then (but never told me in the 4 days they'd had it, or when I called to let them know I was on my way in to pick it up). I contacted them this morning, and was told that the car's computer is giving them 5 theft codes, which they are unsure if they can clear, and I may still need a new computer for the car. I'm a single mom who is also helping to support her disabled parents on a fixed income, and I really can't afford the fuel pump repair, much less a new 'puter for the car. So here's my questionS:

1) is it possible for both the fuel pump and computer to go out simutaneously (as they originally wanted me to beleive)?

2) If the computer wasn't responding, is it possible they misdiagnosed the feul pump problem all together, and it was fine, just 'locked out' somehow by the anti-theft? I was assuming the anti-theft was activated while it sat unattended for 2 days prior to being towed, which wouldn't explain why it wouldn't start after the quick trip to the store.

3) How the hell can I get the theft codes cleared and not have to buy a new computer for the car?? I do not have a chip in the key-- just a standard silver ignition key to this vehicle (just purchased used in June).

Thanks and sorry its so drawn-out!

08-20-2006, 08:20 AM
To try and answer your questions in order, am not an expert but I've been thru alot with my cars before;
1) I've never heard of the PCM being ruined at the same time as a fuel pump failure. It is possible they damaged the PCM when diagnosing the problem if they didnt take the necessary precautions.
2) It is also possible the anti-theft is the main problem. I would call a GM dealer and ask them how to clear those codes before paying this mechanic you're dealing with. I know other codes get cleared when you remove the battery for like 5 minutes and them put it back, maybe it will work also for the theft codes, am not sure. You can also try one of those code readers which give you the option of erasing the codes but a good mechanic will have this tool and if this guy can't fix it, Idk what to say.
3) I think I answered it on 2

My suggestions since I have the book for your car. I own a 97 Sunfire not SE tho.
You said the car rotate but didnt start. Well according to the book, this is the order to diagnose the problem.
1-Fuel tank empty
2-Battery Discharged(engine rotates slowly)
3-Battery Terminal Connections Loose or Corroded
4-Leaking fuel injection(s), faulty fuel pump, pressure regulator, etc
5-Worn, faulty or incorrectly gapped spark plugs
6-Broken, loose or disconnected wiring in the starting circuit
7-Broken, loosse or disconnected wires at the ignition coils or faulty coils or ignition module
8-Defective crankshaft sensor or PCM
9-Broken timing chain
I have the codes for our car but they're diagnosis codes not theft codes. If they can give you the code I can probably tell what it is if it's in the book.

08-21-2006, 09:15 AM
Thanks for the reply, altough I don't think it helped In all honesty, I feel this place is giving me the run around, being female and all. They seem to think I'm the average woman with no clue about auto repair, whereas I am rather knowlegeable. I find it suspicious that they are telling me that the 5 theft codes have to be removed "one by one, and will take a long time." I know about removing the battery to clear the codes, and about turning your ignition key and just letting it sit for about 15 minutes to clear the theft codes. Problem is, my key to the vehicle is not original-- no embedded pellet to communicate with the TDM. These guys have not asked me yet if I even have an original key (I don't), and yet supposedly, they have a GM certified tech that was able to diagnose my fuel pump problem without the PCM communicating or dropping the fuel tank. I tried contacting the dealership regarding the problems, just for helpful advice, but they wouldn't tell me squat unless I bring it in and have them look it over (for a fee of course). I already owe goodness knows what to the NATIONAL CHAIN shop that has my vehicle, and adding another $65 towing fee to take it to the dealer and pay their high prices is just too much.

08-21-2006, 04:22 PM
They have now cleared the theft codes from the computer, but are telling me a Ineed a new crank sensor (as it is 'intermittant') and a new IPC (instrument panel cluster), as something there is not allowing fuel to get past a certain point... still unclear how the theft codes were set, or if there was ever a fuel pump problem to begin with! I will certainly never ever take my car to this repair shop again, as they have not been clear with me from the beginning. Note to all--- avoid taking vehiclesto All Tune and Lube in Waco!!!!

03-02-2007, 01:58 AM
my wife has a 2000 sunfire se with a 2.2 i have recently ran into a simalar problem. im curious what happened with your car. i believe your 97 would have a passlock 1 theft system. with when the lock houseing is switched with a proper key a resistence code is sent to the instrument cluster. your theft codesd may have resulted ina abd or worn down key or houseing. think back when cars used to be simple. after a while you could pull the key out with the car running and nothing would happen. thats due to the wearing down of the houseing or key. if your key or houseing had been worn down and the resistence code was not properly sent it would throw a theft code i think. im by no means an expert about the theft system. hell i can fix my wifes car but i was wondering what happened with yours maybe it will point me in a better direction as rather than dumping what could be thousands into this thing

10-26-2007, 10:40 AM
I would just like to know how to permanently disable the theft system on my 97 sunfire SE.....I've replaced key/lock cylinders 3 times in the 13 months that i've had this stupid POS.

02-06-2011, 12:59 PM
I just had to deal with this headache on a 1998 Pontiac Sunfire. After replacing the alternator, the Anti Theft light came on solid and would not allow me to start the car. I tried the "10 minute" fix... that didnt work. I tried cutting the yellow wire from the Passlock .. that didnt work...

The car simply would not budge.

So here's How i fixed it -
There is the anti-theft relay in the engine bay, in front of the rad. If you're standing in front of the car, looking at the engine, the relay is just slightly right of the center of the car, attached right by the rad. Disconnect the connector. Get a thin wire and jump the terminals on the right (top and bottom). They will spark and fry that terminal of the relay. Plug your connector back in and start it up!


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