Re: wrecker driver has questions ....

For "jiggle keys", that's excellent results. They are a scam. Your lucky they work that often.

See above

Pick guns don't work on cars. But they will damage them.

Pick sets usually won't work on ignition locks - except the ones specifically designed for a particular lock. Two different ones for GM. Two different ones for Ford. One for (some) Chryslers. And they all go for about $125 - $300 EACH. And then you need to know how to use them (which takes practice). They're not a magic wand.

And what about transponders and VATS keys? Picking will only get them to turn on. It won't start the car.

Deal???? He's only charging you sixty bucks as it is. The cheapest I charge to make keys to a car is about $80 ($45 service charge plus $35 to make the first key) and that's something really simple.

Sixty bucks is okay if _you're_ providing the (*good*) code. ($45 S/C + $15 for a key by code)

the ones that crank, you

You're joking right? It takes the same amount of time to make a key to a car that won't start as it takes to make a key for one that does.

Lemmie ask you this... I assume you tow wrecks for insurance companies. What if they offered to pay you only for the cars that weren't totaled? Even at that, at least you'd have the wreck to sell to a junk yard. What should the locksmith do with the "other keys"? It's not like he can sell them to anyone else.

Well that would save you multiple service charges.

You mean, "eat" the keys that he makes to any car that won't run? Not one that wasn't _desperate_ for work. I certainly wouldn't

What your asking would definitely do it. I don't appreciate it when someone devalues _my_ work.

As I said before, (model for model) it's the same amount of work and takes the same expensive tools and equipment, to make a key for a piece of crap as it does to make a key for a cream puff. The locksmith's time, skill, and investment in the proper tools to perform the work is no less valuable just because the car won't run, is it?

Why not hot-wire the starter to see if it will crank? Of course that won't work on a VATS car, but neither will picking (or jiggle keys) in that case.

If you're just worried about the ones that are seized up, put a socket and breaker-bar on the harmonic balance nut and see if it will turn.

No. You just trying to get him to help absorb _your_ loss.

I'm sure a big part of that sixty bucks is the service charge. Why not have him come out once a month like you said, and just pay him for each key he makes (he is entitled to be paid for any work he does, isn't he) plus one service charge? That should reduce your cost substantially, while still paying the locksmith what he is honesty due.

Reply to
Bob DeWeese, CML
Loading thread data ...

"administer" the storage lot

impounds, and what-not at

came, it all went

it goes.

and the key works.

nerve. To say the

with some success.

locksmith cuts us a

of what we're

From who?

in, cut the key,

that crank, you

a smith could

like that?

we sure would NOT go for that deal.

asked about jiggle keys,

why worry ? if he gets pissed about quoting you ? you need another locksmith.

deal with. If it

a lot of these

the sixty bucks is really a good price. the labor for fitting a key is still the same. doesn't matter what shape the car is in !!!

come out and cut to

*THATS* what I want

good luck...

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Forget the jiggle keys and buy a set of rocker picks from snap-on, mac, cornwell, etc. Problem is there are still going to be a large number of ignitions you aren't going to be able to pick not to even mention VATS PATS etc. The ones you can pick that run you still are going to need a key made.

Pick guns will not work at all on the vast majority of car ignitions.

see number 1

I wouldn't. It takes the same amount of time to make the key whether or not the car cranks. You can always try removing the ignitions and cranking them yourself. That will be hard or easy w/o keys depending on the year make and model. There a lot of other very quick ways to crank cars, especially older ones with no keys at all. Most cause minor damage to the vehicle. Hint: Knowledgable peope who have worked in auto salvage yards for any length of time know 95%+ of them.

You don't need a key to see if an engines "frozen". Put a socket and ratchet on the crank bolt. In many cases you can put it on one of the more easily accessable accessory pulleys and turn the engine via the belts. 99% of engines turn clockwise. If it wont turn it's locked up. Even easier, if the starter solonoid is accesable (like almost all 93 or 94 and older fords jump across it. Starter can't turn the engine, don't bother with it. Check the oil. Water in it i.e. it looks like a milkshake, don't bother with it. All the above takes less than five minutes.

Now before you implied as long as the engine wasn't locked up you were willing to buy the key. There is a difference between a no start and a "frozen" engine. Obviously if you are towing them in and they aren't wrecked or towed for legal violations there is likely something wrong that's preventing the car from running. If they are wrecked the engines and transmissions are likely good. If they are towed because illegally parked, traffic stop, etc they probably run. You guys are towing them. Don't you know why they are being towed to begin with?

Bottom line you can have a pretty good idea whether or not it's worth the trouble w/o ever turning the ignition. After that if it's not worth $60 bucks (not much money) to find out if a car runs then why bother at all? Just wholesale them. You are going to have WAY more than that into the deal if you start trying to produce your own keys.

What do you sell the running ones for anyway? Parts? Whole cars to be put back on the road? If it's the latter unless you're in one of the states where older cars are sold on bill of sale only in a lot of cases the paperwork alone is probably more trouble than it's worth running or not. If you can easily get paperwork you can always donate them to charity and take the write-off. Don't do too many or at least make sure that you hold them until you have a legitimate fat storage bill since this might trigger an audit.

Reply to

You seem to be a very smart wrecker driver. The "best" thing you can do is hire a """locksmith""" to make keys for you because it is a lot more complicated that the avarege person might think. I don't know how to be a wrecker driver. It is a very good and needed profession. You should not try to make keys. We should work together. I'm sure that is the right way to go.

Good luck Glen

Reply to
Glen Cooper


How much do you give the locksmith if you tow a car, store it for 5 days and the owner picks up the car? Nothing right?

If your company is anything like the towing companies I have dealt with, you probably charge more to store a car per day than they get for storing the car at the airport garage. $20 a day to park a car in a dirt lot? give me a break.

Want to see if the car will start? Hot wire the car. You wont be able to drive it that way, but you will be able to hear the motor. Your cost? A piece of wire and a modicum of skill.

Reply to
Roger Shoaf

here here.. I know of two locally that charge enough of a towing and storage fee to own the blasted thing.. sometimes it's cheaper to leave it there then pick it up! I thought the same thing about the hotwire part. A ex-friend of mine bought a wrecker and started a service after working for a another wrecker service in our area. he saw the money to be made in it. so you ask why the ex-friend part.. one day while making keys for this chap he starts boasting how he got the car.. he was hiding in the bushes with a pair of binoculars near a local pub that was adjacent a hotel dirt parking lot that was barely ever used. Yes it was a no parking zone and yes you could probably see the no parking sign 150 yards away at night... the thing that got me was you couldn't even stop there to pick up your friend that was drinking without loosing your car.. telling me this while LOL the whole time and how this person now doesn't have a car because he/she can't afford the storage fee.... oh I know not all wrecker guys are like this.. this guy was bitching about 60.00 too for a gm set of keys.. yes I said set...dr & ign.. he told me he makes over a grand a night on the weekends.. I used to talk to this guy on a regular basis.. not anymore... oh did I mention this guy has to carry a piece now.. rc (this'll probably start a flamin')

Reply to
"RC" da "PCDJ

That's true for the really old stuff. For anything fuel injected it is going to be more complicated than that.

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plus, 'remote start' systems bypass the keys all the time....

--Shiva-- nuk pu nuk

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Remote start systems are integrated into the vehicles factory electrical system. They are NOT by any means a one wire or similar solution. If you don't believe this purchase one and attempt the install w/o a shematic.

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pats too, quite easily

--Shiva-- nuk pu nuk

Reply to

The one solution I've heard for that involved disabling VATS/PATS. Short of a factory remote starter (which is something I doubt we'll ever see) I haven't been able to invent another solution.

Reply to
Joe Kesselman (yclept Keshlam

Not really an oversimplification. When the key is turned a switch closes and power is supplied where ever it needs to go.

If you continue turning the key, another circuit is engaged and the starter spins.

If you can't figure out how to this with a jumper wires then it is probably too complex for you, but not for me.

Reply to
Roger Shoaf

I dare say w/o a schematic it is too complex for you or anyone else who doesn't have the color codes for a given make, model and year memorized to do quickly and w/o risk of electrical system damage. There is no way simply by looking at the outside of a mounted switch with a dozen wires going into it that you can simply tell (w/o a schematic) what is what. Especially with regard to the wires on the load side of it. If you claim you can I'm calling BS. :). Frankly you speak like someone who hasn't hot started many cars or at least not a very wide variety of vehicles. How many have you done?

Buying and selling cars as well as engines is a fairly profitable hobby for me. I would conservatively estimate I have hot started at least 50 vehicles and probably close to that many engines already removed from the vehicle (people want to hear them run and will pay a premium that way) in the past 2 years or so. Just gaining access to the wiring at the switch and doing what you propose is frequently more time consuming than just making a key. For that matter if you have already gained access to the switch it can usually be removed (tamper "proof" bolts etc are not much of an obstacle) quicker than you could hook up your jumper wires. Once detached from the column the switch can be actuated manually independent of the key cylinder and/or linkage.

In the real world the quickest way when the car itself is unimportant is usually a method of carefully and precisely applied force on the ignition switch, linkage, etc. If the car is important and damage is to be minimized or eliminated and condition of engine is unknown and desired then hotwire ignition only and use ether down the throttle body is frequently the most desirable. It also eliminates problems caused by faults in the vehicles fuel system. Dead fuel pumps and bad gas are common with vehicles that have been sitting for a while. The ether methed is more difficult or impossible however on many DIS vehicles as the ignition system is dependent upon ECM control. There are other exceptions, 10 cut Fords for example taking about 30 seconds flat by an alternate method. About a minute for older carburated GM products by another alternative method. Newer GM and many others for that matter assuming ignition lock doesn't appear to have been changed I typically just code cut a key.

When the engine is removed from the vehicle altogether the ether trick is also usually preferred. I have never had a fire with the ether method but anybody who tries it should have an extiquisher handy. CO2 preferred. And for gods sake if you are starting the engine on a stand or pallet or whatever take the fan off. You have no idea how many idiots I've seen fire it up with the fan still on it.

When it comes to doing any of this if you are taking more than 5 minutes to actually start and run a car you are moving to slow. Why? Because probably 50% of what you check out is going to have problems that make it not worth any further trouble. Not to mention the batterys are usually dead or the wires to them cut so you are spending more time hooking up the booster pack etc. Like I said it's a hobby. I can't spend all day on it. The wrecker guy can't spend all day either. He has other things to do. Your method to do any significant number of non-similar vehicles would take pretty much all day.

Reply to

You probably mean an inline resistor. If you meant diode I'm sure you'll say so. To use the resistor you have to know the VATS pellet resistance value or try them all with the corresponding delay. It can also be disabled with about $10.00 worth of radio shack parts or a $75.00 or so ready made device which injects the VATS "OK" square wave signal straight into the ECM thereby taking the place of the VATS controller module.

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Yes. Most of them come with VATS bypass instructions and components. The lower end ones permanently bypass VATS with a resistor simply installed between the key switch and VATS controller. The resistor must be the same value as the key normally used. Since resistors are cheap you get all 15 values and decide on the correct one by testing the keys VATS pellet with an ohm meter. The better systems integrate a relay into the remote start function in such a way that the only time VATS is bypassed is when the remote start is activated. At all other times the correct VATS value key blank is needed.

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Note that with the last method the starter circuit enable relay will not be energized and must be bypassed independently.

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Well I can think of several ways.

First off the gage of the wires is a clue. One of the big ones is hot, and one goes to the starter.

The next thing one could do is to apply 12 v + to each of the connections on the switch. One will crank the car, one will do nothing because it is the hot lead, one will energise the accesory circuits etc. If there is a ground wire it will spark like heck and do nothing.

Plenty, I was a repo man for a while.

Like I said a modicum of skill.

50 cars in two years? If you are scrapping a car every other week, you must have a lot of time on your hands.

The tow truck driver wanted to avoid having a key made.

The engine removed? The OP was refering to cars that were towed for what ever reason. These are pretty much going to be intact.

I have never had a fire with the ether method but anybody

The guy was trying to save $60 for a key. He wanted to know about juggle keys etc. If he was worried about saving an hour dinking with a junk car he would have just made the key or he would just sell the cars with out messing with them.

Reply to
Roger Shoaf

Actually it MAY go to the starter solonoid or relay. The starter in virtually all applications receives it's high amperage power directly from the battery. OK that's probably what you meant, maybe I'm nitpicking a little. In any event there will be many wires which are the same gauge.

ROFLOL It will spark and do nothing, other than blow a fuse (If you are very lucky) or burn up a circuit (probably one in the ECM that you need to get the car started). If you are really unlucky it will cause an electrical fire.

Hint: If you really insist on playing with the wiring in such an unproductive way you might want to actually probe each wire (tester with 10 megaohm input inpedance preferred) to determine what if anything it is carrying instead of trying to set the car on fire by dead shorting things.

Plenty = ??????????. Makes, Models, Years? It's also interesting that you claim to have done repos this way since every repo guy I know (3 different ones) uses a tow truck and or duplicate keys from the lein-holder (yes, a lot of them keep duplicate keys I have a few on the road on payments and you bet I have keys) and wouldn't waste time "hot-wiring" anything. Now if you were repoing 20 years ago it begins to make more sense. Even then though you would have been running into locking columns so probably better say 30 years ago.

No merely the common sense to know what is the most practical approach to use in any given situation. Wasting time digging through the wiring doesn't fit the bill in hardly any situation. I notice also you conveniently ignore the fact which was pointed out to you that by the time you can access the wiring you can virtually always more easily remove the switch. No matter how you look at it your method is just making extra work.

No not at all. If I did I'd have my boat in the water by now :). Doesn't take anytime to scrap a car. 10 minutes to stick it on the dolly another 10 each way to the crushing yard. Dump it off in the evening paint my initials on it yard weighs it next day, stop by and get payed. No money really in the crushing of them though, only in the engines and transmissions or bonding the titles and selling the whole car. Have a kid that usually pulls the engines when I need to do that. Takes about an hour. Cut the wiring cut anything else that's in the way with torch or sawzall. Buyers prefer everything cut anyway since I always make sure it's cut so that they get all the little extras with the engine or transmission. Usually though I try to sell the whole car or have the buyer pull the engine. Especially if it's not one of the more popular engines, 5.0 Ford and 350 chevys being the best. 50 in the last two years was actually a pretty conservative estimate.

As was pointed out to the driver there are situations when that's the only practical option usually when the ignition system is totally ECM dependent and/or the whole car has value to the degree that you don't want to chance messing something up.

True. It will work with the engine in the car too, obviously. I'm just stating various ways I use to start engines under a variety of circumstances.

As I pointed out it doesn't take an hour, well your method well may, but you aren't doing it the right way :). Just because he wants to know how to start a car w/o keys doesn't mean he wants to waste time doing it the most difficult way.

Seriously Roger I'm not flaming you so I hope it doesn't come across that way sometimes I can come across a little confrontational. It's just that I get the impression that you have done auto locksmithing for a number of years. You should know that the days of hot-wiring cars in the classical sense is long gone. Sure it's still easy to do with the really old cars, but how many of them are really still around? If you have to make more than two connections which are both in an easily accessable location to "hot-wire" there is a quicker and in all regards more efficient method.

Reply to

There is a real easy solution to find out if the engine is frozen.

Use a freestanding battery and a pair of jumper cables to run the starter motor directly. It won't start, but will turn over.

Negative jumper to frame, positive to to the starter motor. It should take

5 minutes.


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