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Engine lights on no key in ignition

Discussion in '2001-2005 Explorer Sport Trac' started by sswilso, May 4, 2019.

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  1. sswilso

    sswilso New Member

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    Parked my 01 Sport Trac in the garage last night with key removed from ignition but in vehicle. This morning the doors were locked and the battery was so drained the door keypad wouldn't unlock the doors. Used spare key to open, connected jumper cables to battery and inserted key, engine dash lights came on when key turned on. When key was rotated to start position nothing happened, no click, no solenoid noise, nothing. When key was removed engine dash lights were still on. Removed battery cable to turn out lights. As soon as power reconnected chime began and engine dash lights came on with no key in the ignition. Haven't been able to find a similar situation in the forum. Has anyone ran across this before?
     
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  3. seville009

    seville009 New Member

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    Real stab in the dark/wild guess but I wonder if maybe you have a short somewhere......wire that has chafed over time or mice chewing something.

    Maybe just coincidence that your keys were in the car.

    What is the age and voltage on your battery? Might also simply be a matter of the battery dying.

    Just have to go around and look at any wiring you can see; check all harness connections for tightness too
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
  4. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    I also have an '01 ST. I've had it for going on 4 years next month and since I got it has done strange things regarding the dash lights. At first it happened when I was programming a remote fob. Dash lights started flashing on/off multiple times and finally stopped. It seems to happen any time I turn the key from off to on multiple times. Once it happened at night when I pressed the key fob to unlock the doors multiple times and that time I noticed that all the lights (headlights, tail lights, dash lights) began flashing on/off. It stopped after a while, but I was able to repeat it. I think it's a bug in the PCM maybe related to PATS. I find that under normal operation it never does it. I've asked the forum about this but no one responded. It just appears to be an electrical gremlin unique to the ST.
     
  5. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    Be sure the battery cables are good and not corroded internally(wires), and the battery is full, 12v or better. Besides that, the GEM module or PATS module would be my guess, an internal logic issue etc. It would have to be a controlling device affecting those many circuits, and most modules don't affect that many things. The PCM for example won't affect the lights.

    Note that at this age simple things like relays can go bad from age, and create a constant drain. My 98 Mercury had a drain that I discovered after changing batteries. I saw the fog lights on, even though the switch was turned off. I first just took the battery cable off, and looked into it weeks later(I don't drive the truck). I removed the air cleaner to get to the relay box underneath, where the fog light relay is. There were two relays in that which had some corrosion at the terminals, of both the relays and the wiring terminals. I removed the relays and the problem was gone. I have since bought 10-15 new relays, planning to replace a lot later on.

    The GEM module is full of small relays etc, lots of electronics which are subject to age wear.
     
  6. sswilso

    sswilso New Member

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    todays update - I pulled the lower trim under the steering column and discovered a Bulldog security remote start unit. This was my sisters truck and I had no idea she had a remote start unit installed. After she passed in 2009, I found the FOB and tried it but nothing happened so I never gave it a second thought. I don't know if it ever worked
    I spent the afternoon removing all the wires to these boxes. I'll have to wait for a couple days before I get back to it but I'm hoping this was the issue
     
  7. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    That's promising. I have a Bulldog remote starter on my 95 Crown Vic. I installed it, it wasn't very complicated, but it stopped working after I didn't drive the car for a few years. The FOB battery was dead.

    I used a special "T" harness for that installation, which saved cutting any main wires. So look most at the wiring connections going to the large ignition switch wires.
     
  8. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    I suspected I might have had a similar issue with a remote starter or maybe a aftermarket alarm system. I've never bothered to pull the panel off the lower dash to check for one as it's not a major annoyance for me. Just strange. God knows this damn truck has kept me busy with real issues over the past 4 years. Worst vehicle I've ever owned in my life (and I've owned a lot of vehicles).
     
  9. sswilso

    sswilso New Member

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    After removing all wiring and related hardware for the security system the engine dash lights are no longer on when the battery cable is connected. However, I still have the no crank/start issue. Not even a click. PATS is flasdhing at the rate of once every 3 seconds. I've run down the list of no start items but haven't got to the starter itself yet. I may try to jump the solenoid power to the case to see if it will crank, rather than removing the starter for troubleshooting. Still scratchin my head.
     
  10. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    The PATS light indicator should flash when the ignition is first turned on, and then stop flashing when the PATS key code is received properly.
     
  11. sswilso

    sswilso New Member

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    When the key is moved to start it stops flashing
     
  12. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    The PATS may have changed in how the display works for the next version of PATS, which was in the 2001 range. But I think in normal operation, the PATS light will always stop flashing in run once the code is accepted. It flashes until the code is accepted, before ever turning the key to start.

    Has the column cover been off recently, the part covering the key cylinder? The key code receiver is right on the outside of the key cylinder, and it's very fragile, plastic clip holding it in place. If that comes loose or breaks away at all, it can allow the code to not be read.
     
  13. sswilso

    sswilso New Member

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    Just checked it again. When the key is turned to run position PATS light stays on for about 3-4 seconds then goes out. When key is rotated to start position PATS light stays out.
     
  14. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    That's good, most likely your key and the PATS isn't the problem. Those are just very easy to check and you mentioned the PATS flashing.
    I think it is time to check the starter circuit, jump the starter solenoid etc.
     
  15. sswilso

    sswilso New Member

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    Well the time came to remove the starter. What a job that was. The effort paid off when I took it in to be checked, it was dead. Wouldn't do anything, they did get it to click once. I believe the remote start unit powered the starter motor to spin until the battery ran down and smoked the starter. I don't have any other explanation. Now all I have to do is reinstall. Hopefully that goes smoother.
     
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  16. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    That's good, knowing what the problem is takes the stress away.

    Put a little anti-seize on the starter bolts, and carefully tighten the starter cable nuts, while keeping the cable terminals from touching.
     
  17. sswilso

    sswilso New Member

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    Success. We have ignition.
    Now the brake warning light is on. Wonder what I screwed up this time. It never ends.
     
  18. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    Brake warning light...

    Little switch on parking brake petal slightly depressed or stuck?

    Low brake fluid?
     
  19. sswilso

    sswilso New Member

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    I removed some sort of damper assembly in order to access te starter, but I'm not sure how it works, just bolts to the frame. The part number (1L24-4A263-BB) on it doesnt cross at ford parts direct. thumbnail_20190515_195540[1].jpg thumbnail_20190515_195546[1].jpg
     
  20. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    You can toss that if you feel like it, that's for vibration control, most Fords have two or three hanging under the truck.
     
  21. sswilso

    sswilso New Member

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    Thanks Don. I don't think I'll reinstall it Such a PITA to get it off. Broke 2 swivel sockets. Went to Ford dealer, the drawing number on part crossed to 1L2Z4A263BB but is obsolete. Nobody in Parts department could tell me what vibrations it dampens. It's the only one on the vehicle, Now theres none. Gross weight went up by 10lbs. Thanks.
    BTW - cycled the parking brake 2X and brake warning light went out. On the road again.
     






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