2001 3.5L No Crank/Start - VTSS?
I am troubleshooting a no-crank issue on my girlfriend's 2001 300M with the 3.5L HO motor. Died in a parking lot, unable to revive, towed back to my house. This vehicle has the immobilizer system with the grey key (we only have one key), and it seems like the problem is VTSS related. No history of related problems with this car, no recent repairs.
Symptoms: No crank. Nothing happens when key is turned to start. Red VTSS LED on dash comes on after a few seconds and stays lit. After ~30 seconds, CEL comes on. Dash lights/odo work, radio/climate/lights/etc all working. Starter works when jumped manually @ starter relay. No diagnostic codes from OBD2 although of course I don't have a DRB3 tool.
* Checked battery and cable connections (new battery last year)
* Disconnected battery overnight to try and reset computers
* Left ignition on for several hours (with battery charger connected)
* Swapped ASD relay, fuel pump relay, starter relay with others, checked relevant fuses
* Manually jumped starter relay & fuel pump relay, starter & pump run as expected
* No physical damage to key or SKIM ring/module
* Messed with the keyfob, door/trunk locks, shifter, etc. in case something was stuck
So, from what I've read here and on other forums, it seems like the VTSS has disabled the car and there is basically nothing I can do without the DRB3 tool ($$$$$) or an emulator ($$$) to figure out what is going on. I understand I can mail one of the computers to be reprogrammed to disable the SKIS but that seems like a shot in the dark without knowing that is actually the problem. So my option is basically to 1) Rent the expensive tool and hope I find something or 2) Tow it to a shop that has the tool and hope they find something. I am hesitant to take it to the dealer because they will tell me I need a new BCM/PCM/ECU/whatever that will cost me $1000+ which is basically more than the car is worth at this point. An independent shop that has the DRB3 tool is an option if I can find one. Unfortunately this is not something that most mobile mechanics have on hand, as you probably know.
Am I right that the security LED staying on is an indicator that the VTSS is tripped or misbehaving? Is there any other diagnostic work I can do without having the $3000 Chrysler special tool to figure out what's wrong, or am I stuck towing it to a shop and hoping for the best? I have read through the DTSS/SKIS section of the FSM and it basically says you need the tool.
Anybody have any advice for me? Any help is appreciated!