Anti-theft System not Disengaging | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Anti-theft System not Disengaging


New Member
June 3, 2011
Reaction score
City, State
Las Vegas, NV
Year, Model & Trim Level
98 Explorer XLT 5.0
Hi guys,

I have an issue with my wife's 98 Explorer that I'm hoping someone can help with. About a month ago my wife needed to take it in to get smogged but before she did, she got a "check engine" light. Investigation on my part suggested that it was a bad sensor. Before I was able to replace the sensor, and without my knowledge, a friend of her's from work said he could temporarily disable the check engine light simply by cutting power to the computer and "resetting" it. So he did this and it did as he said, however, since that time the PATS doesn't reliably disengage when you press the unlock button on the remote. When you press it (unlock) the doors pop open immediately, but the PATS stays on (which of course, blocks you from starting the car). If you repeatedly press the unlock button rapidly, maybe 5-10 or up to 50 times or more, eventually the PATS will disengage with the expected chirp of the horn).

So my questions are:

1. Has anyone seen this problem, if so, is there a fix? Resetting the system?

2. If the only fix is to take it in to the dealer (which I can't afford to do at the moment), can I just disable the PATS? If so, how do I do that?

I surely appreciate any thoughts, direction and/or assistance anyone can offer me.

You need to find out how the friend cut the power - did he simply take off the battery cables or did he cut a wire under the dash somewhere. With the new problem you developed I suspect he cut something which needs to be reattached or put back together with a better connection.

He said that he only disconnected one battery cable from the battery, although he doesn't remember if it was the positive or negative lead, not that I think that matters much.

Oh, one other thing. After doing some more reading I've come to believe that not all '98s have the PATS system, and that some might just be a standard "alarm system?" is this true? Does anyone know what the difference is and how can I tell which this is?