PATS problems | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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PATS problems


New Member
November 13, 2011
Reaction score
City, State
Safford, AZ
Year, Model & Trim Level
2001 Ford Explorer XLT
I am new to Explorers and cars with more modern anti theft capabilities. I bought a 2001 explorer which only came with one key. I got a door copy at walmart and ordered another key online. Had my wife take it to the dealer to get a second working key which they did. The ordered key came in and is obviously different. I went to ford asking questions. Evidently the key I have is the older (up to 2000) key which is what the dealer gave me when they made another. I asked them about it and they said that maybe it is a split year. They said everything seamed to be factory (pats). I checked the TSB for PATS and the key I recieved is definitely for the 2001 explorer. I also found nothing about the XLT being a split year (the sport and sport trac are) but I did find that the sport trac is supposed to be the same as the XLT but it is the older version of the sport/sport trac which is not the same as a 2002 XLT. So I know that the difference is the type of PATS. I have tried to read up more on the differences in the system types but cant find anything specific. For my writing the older key if for a 98 to 00 and is kind of squarish, and the newer key is oval and is supposed to be for an 01 to 10 explorer ect.

Some of the questions I have are:

Is each "type" of key tied to a specific system and does each system only have one "type" of key?

How can I tell if the PATS system in my XLT was replaced with an earlier model year and thus the earlier key?

Does anyone know where more documentation is? (the dealer was no help with this)

Could the rotunda key guide be wrong and there are a fair number of 2001 XLTs which have the older key style?

If you can answer any or all of the questions or give me any advice as where to go from here I appreciate it. Just to be clear, I have two keys which will start the engine, and the third is different than the first two. It causes the theft light to blink rapidly when inserted and the ignition is turned on. The same thing happens when I try to program that key and when I use the walmart key (which is expected).


A quick glance through the Rockauto parts catalog shows 2 different cylinder locks - one with the older square key type, and one with the newer round for build dates after 11/13/00. So technically yes the round key was used in some of the 2001's. I would suggest getting a new square style key instead of trying to fight the PATS key demons as the two systems are not compatible.

Thanks for the reply. I am going to find one. Of those manuals.