Topic: How to eliminate key and add start button

Can anyone aim me toward a resource that can teach me how to eliminate the key from my 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier and replace it with a starter button? Also, I am guessing a starter button is a starter button but is that the case?

Re: How to eliminate key and add start button

You don't have to eliminate the key. If you don't want to mess with the wiring or if it's some fancy factory anti-theft device: you just need to disable the steering lock. Follow the factory/haynes/internets instructions for removing the ignition key cylinder on your car, complete with that little bolt that goes through the steering column and locks it up. Remove the bolt from the mechanism and put the ignition cylinder back on, or skip removing the bolt and just attach the ignition cylinder to something solid where you can reach it and turn the ignition key. Done!

Of course, you can just wire all wires except "start" to "hot at all times", and then wire the "start" wire to a nice 10-20 amp starter button/household switch/whatever. But just removing the steering lock is easier if you don't want to mess with the wiring.

K Car Stalker

Re: How to eliminate key and add start button

They want a button because buttons are cool!

You rig one switch to be your Accessory power, one for Ignition, then the button is connected to the starter.

For an 02 you'll need to wire in the stupid magic key to the hate box under the dash.

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Re: How to eliminate key and add start button

We left the key in ours, and leave it "on" all the time.  We "removed" the steering column lock by strong-arming the wheel back and forth until the mechanism broke off.  Presto, no more steering column lock.

Wire in a start button directly to the starter solenoid.  The solenoid doesn't draw too much current; a 10A or better momentary push button should be fine.

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Re: How to eliminate key and add start button

Guildenstern wrote:

They want a button because buttons are cool!

...

For an 02 you'll need to wire in the stupid magic key to the hate box under the dash.

Well said.  I spent a few days and a lot of beers just contemplating if removing the magic key and the entire anti-theft system from the car would be worth it.  I was going to do exactly that, retain the electrics, wire it full on with start button, and glue the RFID tag to the pickup antenna...

Ultimately i removed the entire system, and the hundred hours of work "simplified" the electrical system...  If by simplified you count, complete rewire of primary dash circuits, completely new ECU (stupid engine kill anti-theft sensors), rewire of EGR circuit (due to the new, different year, ECU...), and "simplification of all accessory circuits...  Fricking over-complicated Germans... 

For a first time build, keep the key, hot glue / safety wire it on or in. and enjoy the beer without the headache!

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Re: How to eliminate key and add start button

The chipped key certainly complicates things.

For older cars with a plain old dumb key, it's generally easy. First of all find the wiring diagrams for your car. Most cars you should be able to get a hold of the factory service manuals. Next, if you dig into the steering column deep enough you'll find the connector that goes to the ignition switch. Some are at the physical key, some are further down the column and the key actuates the switch via a lever/rod. Pull the connector off. In just about all cases there is a main power in, and then various outs that get connected depending on what position the switch is in.

Once you know what wire does what, You're going to recreate a simplified version of the ignition swtich. Group the output wires into two branches. First branch is all the outputs that need power when the car is on. The second is simply the starter signal wire. First group, either find a switch that is rated for high current and run the power in and grouped out through it, or get a lighter duty switch and a relay. Then take a branch off the power in and add to a push button that connects to the starer signal wire. When all is said and done to start the car you flip the first switch to on, and then press the starter button until the engine starts.

Notes:
1. Normally when you turn a car to start it kills power to a bunch of the normal outputs because the starter will put so much strain on the battery. The above eliminates that. If you're worried you can fix it a couple ways.
     A) split the ignition wires into two switches. One would be the small group that retains power when the starter is cranking, and the second would be the rest. Flip the switch for the essentials during start, press starter button, then flip the second once the car starts.
    B) Keep the single switch, but run the items that turn off during cranking through a relay. You'll need to wire it so that it's in the normally closed position. Then use the starter circuit as the relay signal. Basically power will go to those items normally, but when you press the starter button it will cause the relay to break the circuit and turn them off. Then once you release the button it turns them back on.

2. As you mess with the ignition, make sure your kill switch still shuts everything off as it's supposed to.

3. If you're like me electrical systems will take you a couple tries to make sure you haven't screwed it up. Read the diagrams carefully.



For chipped cars you can largely do the same as the above, provided that you keep the security chip circuit intact. Locate the antenna, tape the key near it, and make sure it still receives power and outputs the same way to the rest of the car.



Removing the steering lock depends on the car. Some are really easy, and some just plain suck. Basic answer is you need to figure out how the ignition switch is removed and pull it apart enough to remove or otherwise break the pin.

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Re: How to eliminate key and add start button

99% sure the "chip" in you 2002 Cavaluggalo is nothing more that a resistor value. Use any simple multi-meter and measure the resistance across the chip contacts on your key and then hard wire a resistor into your wiring harness that jumpers the chip connection pins. This should allow you to start the car without the key.

You got a wiring diagram for the car?

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Re: How to eliminate key and add start button

I didn't see it mentioned so here is our steering wheel lock fix:

To remove our button, a lot of disassembly was required. Instead of that, we loosened up the column and slid sheet metal from a beer can in around the column where the button is. Put a little grease on the aluminum can and VOILA!!! The button can no longer fall into a hole in the column b/c it never 'sees' a hole, and therefore never locks. It just slides on the greased aluminum can.

Might not work on all cars. But worked perfect on ours in about 5 minutes.

Re: How to eliminate key and add start button

rebelgregory wrote:

I didn't see it mentioned so here is our steering wheel lock fix:

To remove our button, a lot of disassembly was required. Instead of that, we loosened up the column and slid sheet metal from a beer can in around the column where the button is. Put a little grease on the aluminum can and VOILA!!! The button can no longer fall into a hole in the column b/c it never 'sees' a hole, and therefore never locks. It just slides on the greased aluminum can.

Might not work on all cars. But worked perfect on ours in about 5 minutes.

I would be concerned that can will wear out and mid race your column will lock.

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Re: How to eliminate key and add start button

squidrope wrote:
rebelgregory wrote:

I didn't see it mentioned so here is our steering wheel lock fix:

To remove our button, a lot of disassembly was required. Instead of that, we loosened up the column and slid sheet metal from a beer can in around the column where the button is. Put a little grease on the aluminum can and VOILA!!! The button can no longer fall into a hole in the column b/c it never 'sees' a hole, and therefore never locks. It just slides on the greased aluminum can.

Might not work on all cars. But worked perfect on ours in about 5 minutes.

I would be concerned that can will wear out and mid race your column will lock.


Given enough time and lack of lube, that is probably possible I suppose. It's definitely not a text book solution. But we also still use the key and ignition cylinder, so it would only lock with the ignition off - just like stock.

Re: How to eliminate key and add start button

rebelgregory wrote:

I didn't see it mentioned so here is our steering wheel lock fix:

To remove our button, a lot of disassembly was required. Instead of that, we loosened up the column and slid sheet metal from a beer can in around the column where the button is. Put a little grease on the aluminum can and VOILA!!! The button can no longer fall into a hole in the column b/c it never 'sees' a hole, and therefore never locks. It just slides on the greased aluminum can.

Might not work on all cars. But worked perfect on ours in about 5 minutes.


   You just failed tech.  Really.  Get that out of your car before the next race.
 
Here's our take on steering locks: We don't require that they get removed. Indeed, there are very few instances of stock steering wheel locks locking up in Billions of miles of street driving, they are very fool-proof.    We don't want LeMons-grade mechanics screwing with it in a half assed manner.  Either disassemble your steering column correctly and remove ALL PARTS of the lock mechanism or leave it the hell alone.     This includes the strong-arm-break-the-lock method. Who knows how much shrapnel is floating around in your steering column after that kind of treatment.         

-John 

      Tech Tyrant.

Gosh, my business card says 'Tech Tyrant'

Re: How to eliminate key and add start button

Aww damn. There we go breaking INTO jail again. No big deal. We can pull it out of ours. 

I will say that I fully understand how our lock works and the 'hack' is only in play when the car isn't running with the key off, but i'm not here to argue or make trouble. Consider it removed, sir.

13 (edited by firegremlin 2017-04-04 12:55 PM)

Re: How to eliminate key and add start button

^^^ A word of warning, our first Sentra locked up the steering column entering a highway on the way to CMP because steering lock was "not working". Or, rather, steering lock was not working until it suddenly engaged after being street-driven just fine without a key, for a month. Luckily, the driver at the time masterfully piloted the car into a grass island, and we pulled the lock off the next morning.

Just because your lock doesn't work anymore isn't a guarantee that it won't suddenly fix itself.

Another somewhat unrelated word of warning, on cars like 924 the lock mechanism also happens to be the steering shaft bearing, so you have to take it out and artfully cut out the lock while keeping the bearing housing, lest you want your steering wheel to wobble. Don't toss it before you check it.

K Car Stalker