UPDATE OF THE UPDATE! - The Luminati is running! - UPDATE OF THE UPDATE!

9/25/2019 - Last time I checked in I had eliminated other possibilities for the no start and decided on the anti-theft deterrent system. Armed with this fact and hoping I was correct I ordered a work-around from Newrockies, Inc. It wasn't cheap - $259 for a small box that eliminates the anti-theft deterrent module. 

The part arrived in the mail on this past Monday. It's just a small plastic box, about the size of a deck of cards cut in half longitudinally. It was fairly easy to install and once in I reconnected the battery, took a deep breath, crossed my fingers and put the key in the ignition. I turned the key to the start position and IT STARTED!

So now the Lumina is back on the road.

A few thoughts on the whole episode. GM really blew it with this security system. The very fact that someone felt there was a need for something that would eliminate the system says it is a common problem. The security system works; it totally disables the starting and ignition systems if it doesn't read the chip in the key. Unfortunately this happens mostly to owners when the chip goes bad.

GM in the '90s used the worst plastic on the face of the earth. The dash pieces are literally so brittle that break with the slightest pressure. Add in that in order to make assembly "easy" few screws are used and the parts that are supposed to snap together break apart. The few screws that are used must be installed very gently or they will simply break through the plastic.

Regardless of all the problems I've had with the Lumina it's been reliable. It sits for months at a time yet it always starts (until the damn security system problem). The Lumina has served me well. I've owned it for about four years. I paid $1,800 for it. It's taken me to Monterey 3-4 times and to L.A. once. If the rest of the car was as reliable as the engine and transmission it would have cost me nothing but routine maintenance. Unfortunately I've replaced window motors and switches, a few sensors, and the security system. The coolant level sensor has always been a problem and still is - the "Low Coolant" warning light is always on. The sensor is pricey and hard to get at so I ignore the light.

Hopefully now that the Lumina is mobile I can now focus on the Ranchero.

9/17/2019 - It's working on cars like the Lumina that gives auto designers and engineers a bad name. In order to get to the security module and relay I had to take apart half of the dashboard on the passenger side. There, stuffed about the glove box and below the passenger air bag, attached to a brace, were these parts. Finally, a little bloodied, I was able to get the module and relay removed. It only took about an hour and a half.

9/16/2019 - My '95 Chevy Lumina, named Luminati by a friend, has decided that it wants to stay home. It will not start. It's not that the battery is dead, it's not that there's anything wrong with the ignition or fuel system. It will not crank.

It's done this before but it always relented and started. Not this time. This time it's given up.

I've always figured it was one of the security systems. Yes one of ... There is the General Motors system that uses a chip in the ignition key, and for some reason an aftermarket system was also installed. Go figure.

I removed the aftermarket system and that didn't change anything. So I'm guessing the problem is in the GM security module.

I've torn the dash apart to get at wires. It isn't a pretty sight. I've given blood and sweat (no tears yet). My back feels like it has been twisted to unnatural shapes. And there is still more to do.

Add into the mix the hot weather we've had and the fact that the Luminati is in the driveway facing east so it is in direct sunlight and you might understand why progress is slow. This morning it rained so things cooled off some.

I'm in the process of elimination. I've eliminated the starter neutral switch - it's fine. Tomorrow I hope to test the security module (I can't find any test procedure so I'll see if I can check power going in and see if any comes out).

There are some bypass systems but they are pricey so I want to be 100% sure before I order one. The Luminati has been a reliable car for the four years I've owned it. It only has about 80,000 miles on it. It gets decent fuel economy. It's going to need a smog inspection this year and it needs to run for that.

So wish me luck. And if anyone has any ideas feel free to pass them on.


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