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2005 Sebring attempted theft key cylinder pried out

I hope you guys can direct me on this topic. I have almost no knowledge about anti theft systems.

There was an attempt to steel the above car, but the thieves were interupted. They were able to pry the lock cylinder from the column, but that’s as far as they got. The owner said that when the police arrived…one officer put the key in the cylinder…stuck the cylinder back in and was able to start the car. THen after awhile they decided to move the car to a better spot to keep an eye on it…and the officer was able to restart it to move it.
THe next day the owner couldn’t get the car to start, so they had it towed.
I went to look at it today and the cylinder was laying on the seat. If you put the key in the cylinder with a little wiggling you can get it to engage back into it’s position in the column.
Before I go any farther, I should say that the battery was completely dead before I got there and we put a charger on it.
Getting the cylinder in place and you can turn the key and all the warning lights will illuminate as they should, but when you turn to start there is nothing.
THis was with a charger with a start feature, so it should have at least did some clicking

With the cylinder out…looking into the hole it looks like the only damage is at the bottom outside edge…where you can see frayed copper strands, buy they don’t look as if they are from a wire, but rather imbedded into a black rubber ring at the edge.
THere is a big gouge where the bottom of the cylinder sits, and I presume that this is where they got the leverage to pry the lock out.

My Questions;

  1. Why was the officer able to start it twice, or maybe the owners did something not in the right sequence as the officer…and they put the security system into theft mode.
  2. My mechanic I work with tried to explain to me that there are two systems that were used and thus two different sequences that must be taken to let the computer relearn the key. He explained that it had to do with weather there is a C??? number on the key or no numbers at all… It looks like there are no numbers on this key.

He was trying to explain this to me, but there were two loudmouth, know it alls in the shop that I couldn’t concentrate on the mechanic and filter out the babble and bantering. I’ll call him about this tomorrow, but if anyone has any other ideas…I could use the help


I’m guessing the “frayed copper strands” are part of the antenna for the system that queries the key for ID. Why it worked two times…don’t know.

Antenna!!! Makes sense!!!

Good guess…I never thought of that

Thanks @insiteful

When a battery goes dead, the anti-theft system may no longer recognize the ignition key. When this happens the anti-theft system won’t allow the starting circuit to operate. In some cases the anti-theft system has to be reprogrammed with a scanner in order for it to recognize the ignition key again.

You can read about it here.


Sounds like when the car was moved and turned off, the switch was somehow left in the “on” or “acc” position, or a light was left on, draining the battery and dumping the computers memory along with the anti-theft settings…Few independent shops have the tools or knowledge to deal with this…

@Tester; Thanks for the link It was an interesting read, and I guess that I’m going to get one of those battery savers for the future. I guess that I’ll just take the column apart enough to see what all has to be replaced, get the ignition from the dealer and have it towed in for reprogramming.

@Caddyman : That is exactly what I thought. At the site, before they went back to retrieve the car, I fugure they left it in “on” or"acc" and the battery drained like you say.
I got there and it was as dead as a doornail.

New question what the heck is a doornail???

Thank to both of you for your reply’s.


One theory:

If you hammer a nail through a piece of timber and then flatten the end over on the inside so it can’t be removed again (a technique called clinching), the nail is said to be dead, because you can’t use it again. Doornails would very probably have been subjected to this treatment to give extra strength in the years before screws were available. So they were dead because they’d been clinched.

@insightful !!!you’ve enlightened me!!! I see that all the time in the older barns and as for clinching…that is what we do in horseshoeing…tighten the nail, clip off the end, file a relief under it and use a clinching tool The finished product is a small hook end on the nail tip that lays flat and smooth against the face of the hoof.


hence the phrase, dead set

As soon as insightful mentioned pounding over a nail, it hit me.
I see old doors in barns like that all the time. Just never put two and two together.

You need to talk to someone familiar with this system. I believe on Mopar vehicles, if the theft system is in operation and doesn’t detect the proper key, the vehicle will crank and start, but die after only a few seconds. At least that’s what my 2006 will do. If the starter isn’t even engaging, it sounds like you may have a different problem.

I thought that I’d update everyone on this topic.
THank you all for your input. It really helped me to make the right decisions on this car.

I picked up a column from a local yard this morning $75. I took it to a Dodge dealer that I’ve worked with before and a tec looked it over.
Turns out that the wire imbedded in a ring around the key cylinder was an aftermarket part for “remote start”. owner is willing to live without it.
Everything else matches up perfect
THe junk yard column had no ignition key, but I’m going out tomorrow and scour the car once more. If we can’t find it…the dealed can order a key for that cars ignition that was installed at the factory. All I need to do is give him the VIN. There is still a chance that the owner of that car had the ignition changed, and even a factory key would not fit. But the service guy thinks that we have a 85% chance of this working.

Then we will have to tow the car to the dealer to have the security ststem flashed.

I know this poor girl needs a break so this route…if it works out will be a blessing to her.


What model are you working on? The sedan and convertible are Chrysler products, the coupe is a Mitsubishi.

If you are not replacing the SKIM module there should be nothing to program. I think the reason it won’t start is because the lock cylinder was removed it the “unlock” position. The key must be inserted in the locked position for the Skim module to acknowledge the transponder in the key.

Slow down @Nevada_545 , I haven’t even got the column in the car yet.

The lock cylinder is in the column that we got from the yard. I’m going back out so I can try to find the key in that car. The guy at the desk knows he backed it into that spot and left the key, so it must be there.

But to your question, it is the Sedan.
I’m not sure what a "SKIM module is but if thats the module attached just below the lock cylinder and has a loop that goes over the cylinder…yes thats going with the column into the car.

Then we will tow it to the dealer so the cars computer reads that new key and security module on the column.


If you reuse the original immobilizer module and key you won’t have to tow the vehicle.That is if it is not damaged. You stated that the remote start transmitting coil is damaged, that is usually attached with double sided tape. Is the black plastic ring around the lock cylinder damaged?

With the VIN from salvage yard car your dealer friend can cut a cheap key blank for the purpose of removing the ignition lock cylinder to change the tumblers to work with the original key. It only takes 5 minutes to rekey that ignition lock cylinder.

I’m afraid that they damaged the original cylinder so bad that the little locking tab on the cylinder wont even push in so you could get the cylinder into the housing. And the ring from the imobilizer is damaged. They could order a new cylinder with key for her VIN, but it would cost us way more that route. $250 new key and cylinder VS $60 for this key and $60 to flash the system.

We had a key cut at the dealer today for the replacement column. Locks and unlocks fine, but he said that we should not even put the key in the lock once we have everything in the car…to let them be the first ones to attempt a start…when we take it in for the re-flash. Then they will wed the key, security module, and computer. I’ll just leave the neg bat terminal off and let them put it back on, then I know no juice will go thru any systems until they get it.

I don’t know if she will need a new key fob to open doors , but that we can figure out later.
And she will need the old key to open the trunk and door locks. I always could run back out and get the door cylinders and trunk…if there is a way into the trunk from the rear seat.

THanks for everybodys help and input.
I’ll update in a few days when we get it flashed.


What I was suggesting is that the standard procedure is to key the replacement lock cylinder, (used in your case) to the original car keys. It only takes a few minutes. I used to do it for no additional charge. Nearly all new replacement lock cylinders for Chrysler products come without tumblers so assembly is required.

The remote keyless entry should be part of the body computer on that car so it will be unaffected.

Well see @Nevada; that’s the problem with all this eeeelectronicks nowadays. No one person can answer all the questions. The dealer today and the one yesterday should have known that and sugested it!!! This is like the IRS …no one person can possibly know all the laws.

quiet the nsa might be listening!!!

So if you’re not doing anything tomorrow…I’ll send my lear jet and Richard my personal assistant to pick you up. How long is your back yard???

Good thing this girl is pretty, or I’d already have thrown the steeringwheel at her.


The airport is across the street.

The $200 question is "can a used immobilizer module be linked to the PCM in this car?"
My experiences have been hit and miss.

When they obtain the “PIN” or access code from the junk yard car’s VIN, write it down in the car somewhere with a permanent marker. The “PIN” that belongs to the used imobilizer may be needed in the future to program a key. The PIN in Chrysler’s data base for this car will not work.

Yes I was warned about that and I was told to copy the Junker VIN and save that too.