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Old 04-11-2019, 05:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Nov 2015
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Default Do you own a FORD product? or GM or Chrysler?

I got a call from the MIL.
She owns a '99 Ford F150 Lariat, with about 60K on the clock. Looks brand new but, she said it won't start. It tries but, won't start. She put a battery charger on it for three hours, and it still won't start.
She isn't very descriptive, and knows zip about vehicles.

We made the trip to see what she meant by it tries but, won't start.
As soon as I turned the key to the on position, I noticed the THEFT light flashing. The PATS was engaged, so the first thing was to disconnect the battery, in an attempt to reset the ECM. No go, so I asked for the spare key. It showed the same flashing light.
The next step was to turn the ignition to the on and off positions several times. This caused the THEFT light to remain lit. Turned the key to run, and it fired right up. I placed the original key back in, and the THEFT light began flashing again. The on/off procedure failed, so back to spare key, and it worked.
The original key has a bad chip but, the truck starts and runs fine now.

When the THEFT light is flashing, it's caused by the chip and transponder not communicating with the ECM. If the steps above don't work, leaving the key in the on position for a few minutes, will initiate a flashing code. It took less than five minutes to figure it out without initiating the codes.

I apologize for the lengthy post but, I hope it might help someone in the event they have a similar situation. A similar procedure works on all brands of certain years.

This deed has earned me a free dinner in a couple of weeks... photos to follow in the bib thread.

Last edited by Terredax; 04-11-2019 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Lake Worth,Fl. / BlueBell, Pa.
Posts: 1,367
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I own a Ford. Found On Road Dead!

Current set up:
a pair of Jet 1015VS
Jet 1221VS
MidAmericaPool professional pool cue repair lathe
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Wolf Creek Montana
Posts: 591
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Thanks for the info. I own a jeep so this could happen to me...but I sure hope not.
Not to know what happened before you were born is to remain forever a child- Cicero, 46 B.C.
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Old 04-11-2019, 07:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Cleveland, TN
Posts: 2,363
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JEEP- Just Empty Every Pocket
FORD- First On Race Day
GMC- Garage man's companion
Did I miss any?
BTW, I found Youtube to be valuable in troubleshooting car things. Had a Honda van- changed my own oil and Youtube walked my through resetting the oil life reading.
Thanks for the tip, Terredax.
To err is human; To really mess it up, you need a computer.
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Old 04-11-2019, 07:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Join Date: Mar 2019
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FORD - Fix Or Repair Daily

I had trouble with the Theft light on my Nissan Titan and had to go to YouTube to find a resolution. I think my issue had to do with the battery dying. Darn cars...
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Old 04-11-2019, 09:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Houston, Texas
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Reminds me of my '92 Oldsmobile. I lost the key and didn't have a spare. I think it was a VATS II system (chip key). I learned that the "chip" is just a resistor, one of 12 (there may have been more, I can't remember). Problem is, the system is programmed to recognize the resistance of the first key that is put in and the only place this resistance is recorded is on the original sales slip. So being the super cheap and somewhat capable guy I am, I decided to take the DIY route rather than have the car towed to a dealer and replace the whole VATS computer just to get a new key (probably $1k or more). First had to disassemble the whole steering column to remove the old key cylinder. Then I got a bunch of resistors matching all of the possibilities and wired then in one-by-one, closing the circuit that is normally closed by the "chip". Eventually hit the right resistor and I was in business. I considered just continuing to use a plyers rather than install a new key cylinder (chip keys are expensive, even if you know the resistor). But then I remembered that my '88 Olds didn't have a chip, so I just got a new cylinder for that year model ($10), left the resistor hard wired in, and it was basically as good as new. Given the condition of the ride, I had little concern rolling around with the VATS bypassed...

Another funny thing that happened - I had to wait 5 minutes between each different resistor (safety time out of the VATS), everything was torn apart and I went inside to kill the time, got a knock on the door by a cop the was a bit confused when he saw a car parked on the street without a steering wheel.
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Eugene, Oregon 97404
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Reminds me of my '92 Oldsmobile...

So were you issued a citation for driving without a steering wheel?

Sounds like you performed the ultimate 'work around'...nice!
Steve Guzy
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:49 AM   #8 (permalink)
Join Date: Nov 2015
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Back when the VATS was being used, in the 80's and early 90's, it was common to place a resistor in-line to avoid the problems. The easiest way to put the resistor in, was at the base of the steering column. Locate the ignition wire in the column harness, and solder the resistor in. Took about 15 mins.

On the newer vehicles with the push button start, if the battery goes dead in the fob, the vehicle won't start. With some vehicles, maybe it works on all of them, when this happens, take the fob and press it against the start button. This usually starts the vehicle but, it requires the correct end of the fob to be pressed against the button. So if it doesn't work, try flipping the fob to the opposite end, and try again. Make sure to change the battery in the fob.

These fobs, if broken, lost, or stolen, are expensive, costing hundreds of dollars. Typically, if a replacement is needed, the dealer reprograms the new key, the old key, and the ECM.
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Old 04-13-2019, 08:46 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I believe it was here that it was mentioned that some locksmiths can replace the key fob for a lot less than the dealer will charge. Personally, I don't see the need for them. I still like the idea of having a key for the ignition and a key for the trunk. Had an ignition switch replaced in a 77 Ford LTD. Cost $40. Cars are nothing but computers on wheels.
To err is human; To really mess it up, you need a computer.
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Old 04-14-2019, 08:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Location: Katy, TX
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I read the other day that 75% of all JEEPs were still on the road.

25% actually made it home.

Sent from my iPhone using mobile app
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