Bizarre Incident with a Key; Stupid Me!

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In the process of restoring a 65 Fairlane Sports Coupe, I grabbed a key off the table and started up our Neiman Marcus Bird. The car isn't driven much so I was going to exercise it while going to the paint shop to check on the Fairlane's progress. The Neiman car, as with all the new Birds, is a pure delight to drive. So, being all smiles; I arrive at the paint shop, view the restoration, and go get back into Neiman to head home. Alas, the car won't start! The key will move to the right and power comes on the radio, the steering wheel moves and windows work, but the engine does not respond. After quickly figuring out there is nothing I can do about this, and being somewhat embarrased in front of my friends at the paint shop, I have the car put on a rollback and taken to the nearest Ford dealer. A couple of hours later, the phone rings at home and the lady from the Beach Ford service Dept. says "Mr. Norman, I see on the computer records that you have two Thunderbirds. We can't find anything wrong with your car; is it possible you used the wrong key?
I reach into my pocket, and, yes, I find the Neiman key is there. The Red Bird key is in the wrong car!!!
How stupid.
 
NORMAN
Any explanation as to why the accesories were still workable with the wrong key?
 
Even if you had the cars keyed alike all you would be able to do with one of them is work the locks (doors, ignition, & trunk cylinder in door) but it would not start. Each key has a computer chip and is programed to the car. It would be impossible to get both cars coded the same. There is about 2 billion different codes and you can not select the code you want. So if you program the key to one car and then program it to the other car it will only work on the second one. The coding for the first car would be wiped away when coding for the second car.

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Yellow/Yellow Prem. 02 Bird w/full accent
1999 F150 Super Cab 4x4 Off Road
1998 Taurus SE Sport 24V
 
Originally posted by LON O'CONNELL:
Even if you had the cars keyed alike all you would be able to do with one of them is work the locks (doors, ignition, & trunk cylinder in door) but it would not start. Each key has a computer chip and is programed to the car. It would be impossible to get both cars coded the same. There is about 2 billion different codes and you can not select the code you want. So if you program the key to one car and then program it to the other car it will only work on the second one. The coding for the first car would be wiped away when coding for the second car.


I bet the company that makes the keys could make this happen. :)
 
It is my understanding that the car changes the code on the each time you start the car, and remembers that code for next time. If so, that would seem to preclude using that key in any other car.

Can anyone confirm this?

I have thought about getting a key made which would just open the door, in case of locking the key in the car. Otherwise, I just try to remember to lock the car with the key fob only.

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VIN 106587 White, White
 
BotNew56,

No the car does not change the code everytime you start the car. It remains the same until you re-program it. Can you imagine driving your wifes T-Bird 5 or 6 times while she is on a business trip a 1000 miles away with her key in her purse. You take the T-Bird back to the airport and to her surprise the car won't start because the code changed 5 or 6 times from when you were crusing in her car while she was gone.

T-Bird, The key manufacturer has nothing to do with the coding. The Ford ECU stores the codes and in programing the key the ECU impregnats the chip in the key with a code. Each time the car is started the ECU reads the code in the key to verify the correct key is in the ignition.

Not trying to be smart, just laying out the facts as they are.

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Yellow/Yellow Prem. 02 Bird w/full accent
1999 F150 Super Cab 4x4 Off Road
1998 Taurus SE Sport 24V
 
I have no explanation why the key for the red car would operate the accessories and do everything in the ignition switch except to start the Neiman car.
 
LON, according to the eSourcebook
The SecuriLock™ passive anti-theft system provides an advanced level of vehicle theft protection. The vehicle's engine can only be started with a special SecuriLock electronically coded ignition key provided with the vehicle. The key is sent a different code every time it is inserted into the ignition. Each time the vehicle is started, the SecuriLock key is read by the system within the vehicle. If the key's encrypted code response matches the anti-theft system code stored in the vehicle, the engine will start. If the key's identification code does not match the code stored in the system or if a SecuriLock key is not detected (as in a vehicle theft situation), the vehicle will not start.
I have a SecurID token I carry on my keychain for accessing the computer network where I work. It has an internal clock that cycles a random number generator in synch with the one at work. The entry code is displayed on an LCD panel. As long as I enter the number displayed on the token within the required interval, I gain access. The token has to be 'programmed' for initial use.

I don't know if this is the same arrangement used by SecuriLock [same company?] but it sounds similar. My token has a built-in power supply that's supposed to last 20 years. I don't think there's a battery in every car key, so perhaps the mechanism is different but the operation is the same.
 
Originally posted by BotNew56:
It is my understanding that the car changes the code on the each time you start the car, and remembers that code for next time. If so, that would seem to preclude using that key in any other car.


I think BMW does that.
 
Originally posted by LON O'CONNELL:
BotNew56,


Not trying to be smart, just laying out the facts as they are.


I understand and if I recall the company that makes the keys in here in Tennessee. All I was saying is with computers where there is a will, there is a way.
 
Thanks for the update on the keys. They have changed since I left my employment at a Ford dealer in July of 2000. I was going off of my 98 Taurus & 99 F150 which work the way I stated. Looks like I'm falling behind the times. Maybe I need to go back to work for a Ford dealer to catch up. lol

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Yellow/Yellow Prem. 02 Bird w/full accent
1999 F150 Super Cab 4x4 Off Road
1998 Taurus SE Sport 24V
 
Something's not right here. Lon has a point. If the key is reprogrammed with each new start then my wife's key would not work. Her's is used about every 10th or so start. I imagine it is possible for the system to remember the last X number of codes used and if it is one of those codes then it allows it to start.
 
I've been giving it some more thought and think I see a way. Let's assume each key has a hard-coded number that doesn't change. The onboard computer stores up to four of these keycodes. They are saved when the keys are programmed. Whenever the car is in the 'not start' state, SecuriLock sends out an electromagnetic poll and waits for a response. The key contains some passive circuitry that operates on induced current from the keylock. It receives the polling code when you stick it in the ignition and responds with an 'answer code' based on its unique signature and that particular poll. The car sees one of the four valid response codes and enables the ignition.

So keys never get out of synch, but it is possible for the SecuriLock system to continuously generate different polling codes to make it harder to crack.
 
confused.gif
I was told by my salesman that if I have a copy made of the key that I needed both keys to make the new one. Don't know if this has any bearing on what you are talking about or not. You have lost me somewhere along the line.

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02 T-Bird 9293
69 Vette
73 MGB
97 F-150 4x4
2-Seadoo Jet Skies
a dog a cat and a couple hundred fish in my pond

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Originally posted by Gobird:
confused.gif
I was told by my salesman that if I have a copy made of the key that I needed both keys to make the new one. Don't know if this has any bearing on what you are talking about or not. You have lost me somewhere along the line.

Bear in mind this is just speculation. The keys themselves are not programmed. They have a permanent ID number that never changes. The onboard computer, however, has memory for saving up to four different IDs. When you 'program the keys' you are actually transferring the key IDs to the onboard memory. The way this works apparently, is the programming operation wipes clean all previously saved IDs. That is why you have to bring all your keys with you whenever you add a new one.
 
I think I like tr cruiser's explanation. The key has a permament code, put in when the key was initially programmed, and a temporary code, changed each time the key is put in the lock. Both codes can be sent to the computer. The on-board computer can remember the last temporary code it sent to each of 4 keys. If the wife's key is not used often the computer still remembers the code for that particular key until it is used again.

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VIN 106587 White, White
 
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