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99 Explorer 4-door / Making keys/PATS/VCM Software

stuartbh

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1999 Ford Explorer 4-door
Explorer enthusiasts,

I own a 1999 Ford Explorer that was sold to me with a single key, that key was stolen and I now wish to "zero out" and create a new set of master and spare keys for the car from scratch. I have done quite a bit of reading about PATS and want to be sure I go about this correctly. This is the procedure as best I understand it, can anyone verify I am correct?

STEP 1 - Cutting a physical key
------------------------------

A friend of mine that is a locksmith (he is located in the East Coast, truck is in the West Coast) said that he can cut me a key for my truck based on the keycode (a 4-5 digit number ending with an X) onto a PATS key that can then be programmed when I am proximate to the truck. He further indicated that the keycode I need is on a white sticker somewhere in the truck and once I locate this keycode and email it to him he can send me 4 keys cut on PATS blanks that will open a door or turn the ignition properly, but not start the engine as they would be un-programmed at that point.

Does anyone know where the sticker he mentioned might be located that indicates this 4-5 digit code ending in X?

STEP 2 - Key Programming
-------------------------

Since I live in a state that does "smog checks" each year and I like to work on my car myself sometimes, I decided it would be utilitarian for me to acquire an OBD device that can read and clear diagnostic codes as well as be of utility in the instant case for clearing and making new keys for the truck also.

One such device I am consider is this:

http://www.ecutool.com/Ford-VCM-OBD_8129.html#7

If this device is capable of clearing all keys (I sent them an email inquiring as to its PATS capabilities, no response yet), then what procedure would I need to engage in order to create 2 new Master keys and 2 new spare keys so I do not totally screw myself over?

I believe the 1999 Ford Explorer (4-door) has a "model B" PATS system, but I do not know if this is PATS or "PATS II" (I presume based on the truck's model year it is likely NOT "PATS II").

I also read about needing INCODEs and OUTCODEs, are these codes needed for my type of truck and model year?

When are these INCODEs/OUTCODEs needed?

And if they are not relevant to my truck, how would they be relevant to a newer truck if I had one (I don't)?

If I clear out all the master and spare keys, how will this effect the keyless entry code?

Can the keyless entry codes be read out using a OBD device?


Thanks in advance!

Stuart
 



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RLKnecht

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WOW, I followed your link and only $37.50 for the adapter that allows your laptop to program PATS keys for your explorer (among other things)! When I had to get a second key made for my 99 explorer when I bought them, I had to pay about $90 for the key and the programming (the cost of the key blank was only $15 of the $90) and that was using the least expensive locksmith I could find. Are you sure this hardware and the accompanying downloadable software will be able to program the keys? If it can I'll have to get myself one too! That price just sounds way too low.
I'd be cautious about having the keys cut based on a sticker in the vehicle. My son just had to have his ignition key changed because it broke, and no sticker inside the car was changed when it was done. If the same thing was done on your explorer you would be copying the old keys, not the new ones. Maybe you can call the local dealer and ask them where the sticker is and pay the ransom to have them make 1 non-PATS key (should be about $10) and verify that key will turn in your ignition (and door and hatch) before you have your buddy cut the PATS blanks. Even cheaper, take your 1 PATS key to Home Depot or Walmart and have them make a (non-PATS) door key (for under $3), verify it turns in the ignition and send that copy to your buddy. That way he has a known working cut key.
Rick
 






RLKnecht

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Just checking out the software for the adapter you show, for doing PATS keys it requires a code calculated by a web site. The cost is $60 for 10 codes (not sold individually). Just an FYI.
Rick
 






koda2000

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not that it helps in your situation (zero keys) but i've heard that some Ace Hardware stores can make you a second chipped key for less than a locksmith, or what Ford, charges. i don't know how they get your vehicle to recognise the new key but i've heard this from multiple people. once you have 2 working keys you can add more yourself.
 






stuartbh

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Rick,

Well since writing the posting you replied too, I have learned some answers to some of my own questions.

Firstly I found out that cars "pre-2010" (in most cases for the US), do not require you to do the INCODE/OUTCODE dance, and use a "TIMED" scheme (several 10-15 minute waiting periods) to access the secure area of the module that has the PATS codes and such in it. And I found out that these INCODE/OUTCODEs are for accessing the secure area of PATS on some newer cars.

I also learned that a 1999 Ford Explorer is "PATS II".

If an OBD device/software combo is capable of erasing and clearing all keys, then all that needs to be done at that point is to follow the procedure to make 2 new master keys, then you do whatever else (making additional spare keys) later without the OBD/software combo in most cases.

Moreover, some OBD/software combos can also read the keyless entry codes from the modules too, though not all. Clearing/erasing key codes does not effect keyless entry codes as far as I can tell either.

I do know that at minimum that company's OBD/software combo will allow you to delete and add keys, not sure if it clears/erases all.

If you have 2 Master keys, had 6 spares made, lost all the spares, and want more, then the "delete keys" will let you get rid of spares and add new ones. This alone seems useful to me and worthy of justifying the $37.50 for the product (since it also does most other OBD functions too anyway, reading and clearing codes, etc...)

My friend basically said I had two choices, one would be he would send me a non-PATS key cut from the sticker to try first, as he said that makes sense to do and is a good idea to keep that key in a safe place so I have a clean cut key I do not use for future duplication. The alternative would be to send him a cylinder from a door lock and then he would send me back the cylinder along with 4 non-PATS keys to try with numbers 1-4 on them. Whichever turns the ignition (since there are only 2 additional cuts for the ignition) he'd use that cut for the PATS variants of the key using the cut from the working key number I gave him.

I am reasonably sure the locks were never changed as the olde key I had was able to lock and unlock every door and the ignition, so if such a change was made it was certainly done throughout the entirety of the truck.

Now, I have no keys for the car right now, PATS or non-pats, so having home depot or walmart cut me a non-PATS key is no feasible.

I did call the dealer as well, after 10 years key cut codes are purged from Ford computers and they were unable to make me a key for any price they said. They suggested calling a locksmith to take the door lock out and hand make me a key if I could not find the code or a key. Dealerships do not strike me as the sort to turn away easy money either.

At this juncture I plan to look for the key-cut-code first, if I can find it then I will try to get my buddy to cut me a non-PATS key to see if it turns the locks. If it does, then he will cut me PATS keys that I can use to turn locks and then all I need to do is get them programmed, something I am (as you see) already investigating anyway.

I also realized that there are some very inexpensive key blanks I can order that would be inclusive of not only the proper RFID chip for PATS but the buttons to click the door locks open and closed. So, with what money I save spending time on this I will put a bit back into getting a nice VW style flip key with buttons for the truck too.

My end goal is going to be to have 1 non-PATS key and 2-PATS keys to keep in a safe place, and 2-PATS keys with buttons to use regularly with the car.

After this is dealt with I have several other stuff I need to figure out too.

1) I have no spare tire, rim, or winch to lower/raise the tire under the truck. Thus, I realize its not hard, but I need to crack that nut and figure out what I need to acquire for the truck (I am not sure if the tires it has are the right ones for truck either).

2) The battery is not so strong, so I am going to get a new battery from AAA for the truck.

I have to say that as an AAA member, I love AAA's battery warranties because they give you a REAL 3 year warranty (not this prorated BS others give). Thus, for 3 years if the battery goes dead, they come out to you, replace the battery with another NEW ONE, and charge you zero for that. Installation (wherever you are even if stuck) is included when you buy it too, and I paid about $110 inclusive of tax for the battery I got for my 2001 CVPI.

3) I need to put a good tow bar on the truck for a trailer. Although I was quite happy to find out from Reese that this truck has all holes factory drilled and installation a quality Reese tow bar can be effectuated by me and with great ease and a minimum of tools as I understand it.

4) Then I need to put my ham radios and antennas on it.


Stuart
 






stuartbh

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Just checking out the software for the adapter you show, for doing PATS keys it requires a code calculated by a web site. The cost is $60 for 10 codes (not sold individually). Just an FYI.
Rick

This is not an issue for me, as this only (far as I understand it) applies to 2010 and newer cars, not pre-2010 cars (at least with regard to US autos anyway).


Stuart
 






stuartbh

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not that it helps in your situation (zero keys) but i've heard that some Ace Hardware stores can make you a second chipped key for less than a locksmith, or what Ford, charges. i don't know how they get your vehicle to recognise the new key but i've heard this from multiple people. once you have 2 working keys you can add more yourself.

It is always good to have ideas! One person told me on the phone to have my friend cut the PATS keys and then call AAA to get me a locksmith and they would give me $100 credit towards the overall locksmith bill. He then went on to say no locksmith would charge more than $100 to just program the two keys anyway. I still want a new OBD reader anyway (my last one was stolen with the car keys and other items), so, it makes sense to get one that will do this too.

Stuart
 






RomeovilleIL

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Assuming your truck has never been rekeyed, if you friend is a full service locksmith he can get the key code from your VIN from Ford for $5:

http://www.motorcraftservice.com/vd...code_lookup&gutsid=keycode_lookup&kevin=rules

As for programming, once you gain access to the programming mode you can clear out the old codes and then get new ones accepted. Normally you program 2 new keys when starting from zero.

PATS keys have a random access code stored on them. The truck's PATS can have up to 8 recognized codes stored in memory. The Ace Hardware system copies the code off of an existing key and codes it into a new one so the PATS system doesn't know you have new keys.
 






stuartbh

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Assuming your truck has never been rekeyed, if you friend is a full service locksmith he can get the key code from your VIN from Ford for $5:

http://www.motorcraftservice.com/vd...code_lookup&gutsid=keycode_lookup&kevin=rules

As for programming, once you gain access to the programming mode you can clear out the old codes and then get new ones accepted. Normally you program 2 new keys when starting from zero.

PATS keys have a random access code stored on them. The truck's PATS can have up to 8 recognized codes stored in memory. The Ace Hardware system copies the code off of an existing key and codes it into a new one so the PATS system doesn't know you have new keys.

As far as I can tell its actually $15, but, not a big deal either.

http://www.motorcraftservice.com/vdirs/retail/default.asp?pageid=pricing&gutsid=pricing_info

I am going to ask him about this, since if this data is there I'd be curious why the folks at one Ford Dealership he is on extremely good terms with would not have either told him about this or offered to get him the info themselves. In any event, the data clearly has not been purged at the 10-year mark since my vehicle is after 1994-1995 model years where they state "limited coverage" there.


Stuart
 






SoNic67

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My dealership told me that they cannot cut keys based on VIN for vehicles newer then 2000. I had to pay $80 to program two other keys in.
Right now I have 3 keys that start the engine but none unlock the doors.
 






RomeovilleIL

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The very easiest solution is to have a local mobile locksmith come out and create a new key from the door lock cylinder, test fit the ignition, then cut and program 2 PATS keyes. Around Chicago the price is steep, around $225, but if you have AAA they will rebate $100 back to you. May be cheaper where you live. Other methods are kind of haphazard. Guess its all about how long you want to wait.
 






stuartbh

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The very easiest solution is to have a local mobile locksmith come out and create a new key from the door lock cylinder, test fit the ignition, then cut and program 2 PATS keyes. Around Chicago the price is steep, around $225, but if you have AAA they will rebate $100 back to you. May be cheaper where you live. Other methods are kind of haphazard. Guess its all about how long you want to wait.

Indeed I appreciate that you might wonder why someone would take the time to engage such a circuitous methodology in pursuance of simply replacing a key, and there are a few good reasons why that is the case.

1. I have another vehicle I can drive, so right there, I am in no rush.

2. My OBD device and my OBD cables were stolen also. Thus, in replacing them, I may as well acquire the software capability to deal with the PATS functions also. Especially since I now understand (when I got my OBD cables before I didn't), that the cost of the OBD cable inclusive of the FORD VCM-OBD software is only about $2-$3 more than what I paid for a generic OBD cable the last time, so why not get the Ford software too this time!?!

3. One clicker was stolen (big deal it was $15), but, now that I realize I can get key blanks that will be electronic keys and have a built in clicker, why not do that too! Several of the locksmiths I called locally had only the basic key blank that was electronic.

Additionally, some of the companies I want to do business with (that sell the OBD gear, or key blanks, or what have you), they are all closed for the Chinese New Year for two weeks too.

Granted, working in IT, it also interests me to understand how the entire PATS and car computer work to whatever extent I can get my arms around, so why not?

Lastly, I do long distance driving a lot, so, I need to get a spare tire, the hardware to raise and lower the tire, a jack, the fuel injectors cleaned, and also put a good hitch bar on it for my trailer.

Thus, I am sure you can understand my purview of any lacking urgency, as the truck needs some other things done to it too to get it road worthy.


Stuart
 






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