Installing the GM VKE1000 Keyless Entry System in a C4 Corvette

The Box for the VKE 1000

Contents of the VKE1000 box

The remotes provided are extremely nice!

Note 1: These instructions apply to my 86 Early Corvette only. Wiring should be similar on 84-89 models, but use the Corvette Shop Manual for your year Vette to adapt these instructions for different model years. In particular, the 84s and some 85s used a different lock switch wiring circuit. Refer to your Corvette Factory Repair Manual for more info.

Note 2: This installation is compatible with the factory alarm.

What you'll need to install the VKE 1000:

VKE 1000 Kit ($99 at your GM dealer)

30A SPST Relay (to make the VKE 1000 compatible with the factory alarm) - $6

30A SPST Relay (to flash the parking lights when locking or unlocking) - $6

Soldering Iron

Electrical Solder (you probably want large diameter stuff here, make sure it's Rosin Core)

12Ga Stranded speaker wire (25ft) - get at Radio Shack

3M Super77+ Electrical Tape (not the cheap stuff that falls off when it gets cold) - $3/roll

7mm socket

12" to 18" 1/4" extension (or a bunch of shorter ones taped together)

1/4" ratchet

#2 Phillips Screwdriver

Lots of wire ties (5")

5/16" wrench

Optional:

Thing that looks suspiciously like a Crack Pipe Torch from a Convenience Store (for soldering large wires) - $5

Corvette Shop Manual for your year Vette. This helps with disassembly, has complete wiring diagrams, etc. - $90-$120, but worth every penny

"Corvette" passenger side pad replacement kit from MAD, etc. - $49 - $59

"No Cut" wire strippers - Car stereo shops sell these. They allow insulation to be removed quickly without cutting or nicking the wire inside the insulation. - $15, also worth it

Tips:

Mount the receiver inside the car - the inside of the doors get really wet!

Mount the receiver as high as possible - this improves reception and therefore distance that the remotes will operate.

Don't connect the black wire permanently mounted to the receiver to anything - that's the antenna.

Don't use the crimp connectors that some with the kit - solder and tape every solder joint.

Those wires in the door are really big and take a lot of heat to solder. If you try this with the soldering iron, it'll take forever. Luckily, convenience stores sell these things that look suspiciously like crack pipe torches that work great for larger soldering jobs. They're only about $5, and they're refillable.

Pre-Installation

Configure the VKE 1000:

Check the three hardware options available for the VKE 1000 module and set the switches / jumpers accordingly:

a) Horn chirp on lock/unlock - this is annoying as hell. The duration randomly ranges from 1 - 15 seconds for some reason. This can be silenced permanently or by pressing a combination of buttons on the transmitter if you decide not to permanently disable this.

b) Lock doors when ignition turned on and unlock on ignition off - this is cool, but annoying if you have to crank the ignition more than once.

c) Lock pulse duration - no change necessary here.

Installation:

REMOVE THE POSITIVE BATTERY CABLE!!!

Disassembly:

If you need details on this, refer to your Corvette Shop Manual. Remove the trim around the digital cluster. Then remove the center trim piece. Then remove the dash pad. Then remove the trim piece on the far RH side of the dash. Then remove the passenger side hush panel (black plastic piece over the passengers feet). Then remove the Corvette pad on the passenger side. To do this, sit on the ground on the passengers side, look through the hole next to the fuse box, and using the 7mm socket, long extension and ratchet, remove the two screws holding the bottom of the pad. If you want to replace the "loaf", now's the time to do it. Then remove the two air ducts on the passenger side. One runs vertically down to the floor, the other runs horizontally behind the dash pad.

Wiring the VKE1000:

There are literally hundreds of locations that some of these wires can be connected. I looked at the wiring diagrams provided with the Corvette Shop Manual, and most of these connections can be made at one central location - the Theft Deterrent Module connector.

Link to Theft Deterrent Module Location

Link to Theft Deterrent Module p1

Link to Theft Deterrent Module p2

Link to Power Lock Circuitry

Link to VKE 1000 Factory Installation Manual

Link to the Wiring Chart

Locate the Theft Deterrent Module (TDM). See that thing that's right behind where the dash pad was? That's the VATS module. On the back side of that plastic panel is the theft deterrent module. Disconnect its wiring harness and pass this down toward the floor. This will allow access to connect the wiring harness to the TDM connector.

Using the wiring chart provided here, connect the appropriate portions of the wiring harnesses supplied with the VKE 1000 kit. Use a lot of electrical tape on the pink wire.

Don't reassemble anything yet - if a fuse blows during the testing step it'll be hard to replace.

Remove the passenger side door panel. Locate the wires leading from the door lock switch. Follow these until they pass through a transparent connector (C250). Cut the Light Blue and Black wires and extend each of the four ends by soldering a 6ft length of wire to these wires. Be sure to wrap these connections about 4 times with good electrical tape. If one of these shorts out, it would be very bad. Pass the extended wires through the wiring duct in the door with a coat hanger. It may be necessary to remove the door sill at this point. Connect these four wires to the wiring harness as shown in the wiring chart. Be sure to connect these exactly as shown, again wrapping each of the connections at least four times with electrical tape.

Remove the console (shifter) trim plate. Extend the two red/white wires with the speaker wire about 6 ft. Route the wires through the console trim plate and connect these to the two wires on the hatch push button in the center console.

Next wire the alarm disable relay to the theft deterrent control module according to the information provided in the wiring chart.

Optional Installation:

If you want the parking light flash option, connect the optional relay as shown below to the headlight switch wires and the wiring harness of the VKE1000.

Link to Relay Specifications

Testing:

At this point, you can reconnect the positive battery cable, connect both harness connectors to the module supplied with the VKE1000 kit, and push the buttons on the remotes. If it's working correctly, you should hear the relays clicking inside the module and the doors should lock and unlock. Next test the function of the hatch pop feature by pushing the 'GM' button and holding it for 1.5 seconds. Finally, test the factory alarm function by locking the doors and closing the doors to arm the alarm, then unlocking via the remote, then opening the door. If all is working, the alarm should not sound the horn.

Reassembly:

Well, you're almost done. You've still got to use wire ties and get all the wires neatly bundled under the dash. Mount the module to one of the wiring harnesses under the dash with wire ties. Reassemble everything in the opposite order you removed it. This is where the Corvette Shop Manual comes in handy.