Dodge Intrepid 2001 - VTSS Issues Solved
I’ve done a search on the Dodge Vehicle Theft Security System (VTSS) that my car came with and have not seen these problems mentioned so I thought I post. Two are related and one is something that could impact anything in the Rear Deck Lid wiring harness. In my case, all involved the VTSS to some degree. If you have any issues related to the VTSS that involve locking/unlocking/opening the Drivers door, Passenger Door or Trunk ‘Deck Lid’ then read on.
For Power Door Lock equipped vehicles (a must-have option for VTSS it seems?), both front doors have a small switch, the Door Cylinder Lock Switch (DCLS), that attaches to the back of the lock cylinder itself inside the door. These switches provide a signal to the Body Control Module (BCM) that alerts it to the fact that a key has been inserted in the cylinder and has successfully rotated the lock in either the LOCK or UNLOCK direction. The inputs are different for LOCK vs. UNLOCK so the BCM knows which way the lock has been turned and can then make some assumptions on what it needs to.
In the case of Power Door Locks only (no VTSS) the BCM can then decide if it needs to send a LOCK or UNLOCK pulse to the Door Motor/Ajar Switch/Latch assembly for each door to lock or unlock the remaining doors depending on how your BCM has been programmed. If you have the VTSS option as well, then know that the Ajar Switch component of the Door Motor/Ajar Switch/Latch assembly is a critical part of the VTSS through its communication with the BCM.
Problem #1: Using the key in the Driver’s Door Lock, my car is set up to take ONE unlock sense to unlock only it (which also disarms the VTSS if so equipped, which mine is), and a SECOND unlock sense to unlock all remaining doors. This means two turns of the key from the ‘neutral position’ to the ‘unlock position’ are required to unlock all doors – all via the BCM. Conversely, a single turn from the ‘neutral position’ to the ‘lock position’ directs the BCM to lock all doors. This sequence became VERY ‘touchy’ over time, with the doors unlocking/locking rapidly with a single, normal UNLOCK turn of the key. The DCLS was sending confused LOCK/UNLOCK pulses to the BCM and a DCLS replacement cured that issue.
Problem #2: The DCLS on the Passenger Front door stopped sending ANY signal whatsoever when the door was locked or unlocked with the key. In addition to not locking/unlocking the remaining doors (via the BCM/Power Lock System), this resulted in the lock being unable to either ARM or DISARM the VTSS. There are multiple symptoms here but a primary one was that if the Passenger Front door was the first one unlocked with the VTSS ARMED, the BCM could not recognize that the UNLOCK had occurred and when the door was opened (BCM sees the Door Ajar sense from the Door Motor/Ajar Switch/Latch Assembly) the VTSS would trigger the alarm. Once again a new DCLS solved the problem.
Problem #3: With the VTSS ARMED opening the trunk (Deck Lid) would trigger the alarm. The deck lid has a Knock Out Switch that lets the BCM know if the lock cylinder is either in-place or has been knocked out. If the cylinder has been ‘knocked out’ or, as in my case, the wiring to the switch has been damaged, when the lid is opened and the Deck Lid Release Solenoid/Ajar Switch sends it’s ‘Ajar’ signal to the BCM the VTSS will trigger the alarm. My fault was a wire break in the deck lid’s wiring harness. This could have been any of the wires in that harness (release solenoid, high mounted stop lamps, grounds, etc.) but it was the power feed to the ‘knock out’ switch. If you experience any problems in this area, check the harness where it transitions from the ‘deck lid’ proper to the interior of the trunk. That’s where my break was – the harness flexes a lot there and over time something can give.
Hope this stuff helps someone at some point!