: Ignition Cylinder replacement /Starting problem

04-09-06, 06:09 PM
I tried to do some research regarding this problem, but I can't seem to find anything.Here it is: I have a 98 Catera and it was running great, until few days ago- tried to start the car, turned the key, but nothing(only lights are on). The starter won't even turn.And the weirdest thing is that when I took the key out, everything still runs- the radio, AC, brake light, check engine light, brake to shift light and battery light-without the key!. So it acts like the key is in the contact position. I tried turning the key several thousand times and it seems like it turns on, but on the last position where it's supposed to engage the starter, it won't do it. I checked all of the fuses, none of the relays, because don't know which one could be for the starter. I tried something else- while my father was turning the key I gave the starter a short(most of you probably know how to do that) and it started once. Then the problem was shutting it off, because it would still run, even if the key was out!!!!:-) So I took one of the fuses out. I tried the same procedure a 2nd attempt, but now it won't start even when I short the starter- the started would turn, but the engine won't start. So I'm still thinking it's the ignition switch cylinder , but don't know how to take it out!!!! Please help me if you have any information on at least ho to take the cylinder out . (on older car's I've had, there's usually a small pin underneath and you just push it and pull the cylinder out- but this freaking catera is not the same, or at least I can't find that pin) pleasee..... thanks

04-09-06, 07:54 PM
There is a TSB out on the Catera ignition switch - all years.

But it appears NOT to relate to your particular problem.

Still, one never knows, with an ignition switch dilemma you might want at least to be aware of this TSB, so here it is:

Ignition Lock Cylinder - Difficult to Remove Key

File In Section: 02 - Steering

Bulletin No.: 01-02-35-002

Date: March, 2001



Difficulty Removing Key from Ignition Lock Cylinder (Check and Adjust Manual Shift Linkage, Inspect Shifter Pattern Detent Lever)

Models:1997-2001 Cadillac Catera


Some customers may comment that the ignition key may be difficult to remove from the ignition lock cylinder at times.


This condition may be caused by the shift lever rod not fully contacting the key release micro-switch in the shifter assembly due to one or both of the following reasons:

^ The manual shift linkage may not be properly adjusted.

^ The shifter pattern detent lever may have a burr or rough edge at the park position opening.


Manual shift linkage adjustment should first be checked and adjusted if necessary. Inspect the shifter pattern detent lever for any burrs or rough edges at the park position opening. Use the following service procedure:

1. Check and adjust the manual shift linkage. Refer to the Shift Control Linkage Adjustment procedure in the Automatic Transmission sub-section of the Service Manual.

2. Remove the gear selector boot from the console. The boot snaps into the console and can be removed by gently pulling up on the front end of the boot.

3. Inspect the shifter pattern detent lever for any burrs or rough edges at the park position opening (1). Remove any rough finishes using a hand tile.

4. Ensure that the shift lever rod is adequately lubricated at the base where it contacts the shift pattern detent lever.

5. Verify correct system operation. With the key ON, engine OFF and the selector in the park position, raise and lower the shift lever rod (2). In its fully bottom position, the rod should contact the micro switch (3). An audible click will be heard in the steering column confirming the key release lifting magnet operation.

6. Install the gear selector boot to the console.

Warranty Information

For vehicles repaired under warranty, use table as shown.


But I agree with you. To me it sounds more as if your ignition switch is broken, and not a victim of mal-adjustment. I don't know how to dis-assemble it . . . . . . . . . . but somebody here will know. Or else you're gonna need a shop manual.

04-10-06, 11:33 AM
Yea, I already looked at that post and it's not the same problem at all. I have no problem taking the key out. Only if I knew how to take the cylinder out or to have some kind of idea how does it work. I wish somebody could help. I wonder if there is Haynes manual on Cateras.

04-10-06, 02:53 PM
I will check in the shop manual tonight...

04-10-06, 04:51 PM
I hope you'll be able to find something. Thanks in advance:thumbsup:

04-11-06, 07:28 AM
I totally forgot... sorry (was playing with a new toy at home: de-thatching blade... does a great job).

I emailed myself a reminder...

04-11-06, 12:11 PM
I'm pretty much relying on you right now:-), because the catera is just sitting in my back yard and don't know what to do. Tried to take out the cylinder again last night, but it seems like it's hooked up electronically to other stuff(security and so on) and I'm afraid not to damage something else. will try to find a manual somewhere. hope you can find something:-)

04-11-06, 08:20 PM
Should cover what you were looking for...

04-12-06, 04:11 PM
I'm a little worried about that SIR system(hopefully the airbag won't deploy:bouncy: )- it says everywhere to remove it before working on the cylinder and I don't know how to remove it- do you have that part of the instructions as well. In the meantime, I'll disconnect the battery and still try to take that cylinder off. The photos in the instructions look a little different from my catera, but that screw and the connector hole seem to be the same- I'll try to work on it after work tonight. Thanks for the help again!

04-12-06, 07:00 PM
SIR disabling ... attached.

I have to scoot... need to finish some work.

as for the images or diagrams being different... don't know, it's the v1 edition of the 1998 GM Catera Shop manuals (3 volume set).

04-13-06, 07:35 PM
The ignition cylinder has little to do with the power staying on or off.
That's the job of the ignition switch itself. It's attached to the end of the lock cylinder, I forget how but the cylinder rotates the switch to control the contacts.
Sounds more like you have an ignition SWITCH problem.

I have only done a couple, they are not fun to work on. Good luck.

04-14-06, 11:31 AM
Ok, here's the deal:-) I took the cylinder off, without taking the steering wheel off- who hooo:-) very easy to do, just have to know how to position the key and just like in the manual that you sent me, you have to take the ignition switch off first(which is not necessary if the cylinder is good). But yes, the tip of my cylinder was broken off, so I'm glad that was the problem(exactly what I thought) The hard part now is going to be putting the ignition switch back on, because it has two pins that rotate and make contact and while I was taking the switch off, those pins fell and I don't know how to put them back on:-)(it sounds easy, but there's several positions that they fit, and I don't know which is the right one:) ) I'll try to take some photos if anybody can figure it out.But I'm glad at least I figured what the problem is and that it's not something big- those cylinders go for $45 bucks, I already ordered it. There's a way to take the cylinder out if it's good(if that pin is not broken) without taking the switch or the steering off, but of course, why would you take it out if it's good:-)(unless you are parting the car out)Thanks again for your help, especially to Resilient! Hopefully I'll get it done by next wee:thumbsup:

04-18-06, 08:40 AM
Putting it back in shoudl be as simple as doing the reverse... (doin't forget to reconnect SIR... the battery terminal before testing LOL).

I did see a set of 1998 Cat GM shop manuals on eBay last week... 65$ I think.

I'm still slowly scanning mine (not going as fast as I wanted to...)

05-30-06, 05:10 PM
Just to follow up- I fixed the ignition cylinder problem. I know it took over a month, but I didn't anticipate that the key had a chip in it- and I wasn't sure if I get another cylinder with key, if it should be reprogrammed- so guess what, I found a used cylinder with key without a chip(just blank copy) and installed it, together with a brand new switch and it works fine now(it's just that I have to have the old key together with the new one when I start it because of the chip/ I guess I would need it for the door anyway).
The catera runs fine, but now I have the Check Engine light on:-), it shows a P0602 code, which is control module programming error. I guess I can live with it, the onlt thing is that if the car hasn't been started for more than 15 minutes, for some reason when you turn the key the first time it would start and immediately shut off again, the 2nd or third try after that- no problem. It didn't do that before the cylinder problem and I think it has to do with the P0602 code that showed up. It doesn't say anywhere what control module does P0602 stands for- is it the ECM or the PCM, or anti-teft control module. Anyway- if you'd have any info on that I'd be helpful.

p.s.: I would assume I might have to go to the dealer to reprogramm the module

Thanks for all the help!!!

05-30-06, 08:37 PM
Document ID# 247962
1998 Cadillac Catera


DTC P0602 Control Module Not Programmed
Circuit Description
This DTC indicates that the ECM's internal EEPROM has not been programmed with any vehicle software, or an error occurred during the programming.

Conditions for Running the DTC
Engine cranking

Conditions for Setting the DTC
The EEPROM has not been flashed with any vehicle software, or an error occurred during the programming.

Action Taken When the DTC Sets
The ECM illuminates the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) and records the operating conditions in the Freeze Frame on the second consecutive drive trip that the diagnostic runs and fails.

Conditions for Clearing the MIL/DTC
The ECM turns OFF the MIL after three consecutive drive trips that the diagnostic runs and passes.
A History DTC clears after forty consecutive warm-up cycles in which no failures are reported by this diagnostic or any other emission related diagnostic.
The ECM battery voltage is interrupted.
The scan tool clears the MIL/DTC.
Test Description
The number(s) below refer to the step number(s) on the Diagnostic Table.

If the flashing routine fails, verify that the equipment used is functioning properly and that all of the cable connections are clean and tight. Also, make sure that the software you are attempting to download is correct for the ECM being flashed. If everything checks out OK, and a second attempt fails, the ECM is malfunctioning.

DTC P0602 - ECM Not Programmed Step

Did you perform the Powertrain On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) System check?
Go to Step 2
Go to Powertrain On Board Diagnostic (OBD) System Check


This vehicle is equipped with a Theft Deterrent System which interfaces with the Engine Control Module (ECM). The new ECM must also be programmed with the frequency code of the theft deterrent module that is currently on the vehicle.

Reprogram the ECM withthe correct theft deterrent frequency code. Refer to EEPROM Programming .

Does DTC P0602 reset?
Go to Step 3
Go to Step 5

Verify that the equipment being used is functioning properly and that all of the cable connections are clean and tight.
Attempt to reprogram the ECM again with the correct theft deterrent frequency code.
Does DTC P0602 reset?
Go to Step 4
Go to Step 5

Replace the ECM. Refer to Engine Control Module (ECM) Replacement/Programming .

Is the action complete?
Go to Step 2

Clear the DTCs with the scan tool.
Turn off the ignition for 15 seconds.
Operate the vehicle within the conditions that are required for this diagnostic to run. Refer to Conditions for Running the DTC.
Check for any DTCs.
Is this DTC set?
Go to Step 2
Go to Step 6

Were there any additional DTCs noted during the Powertrain OBD System Check that have not been diagnosed?
Go to the applicable DTC table
The System is OK

Document ID# 247962
1998 Cadillac Catera