Tried programming a new key, now my car won't start
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  1. #1
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    Tried programming a new key, now my car won't start

    I might have messed up on this one. I had a key from a newer passat that has been laying around the house, and my original keys which are falling apart. I thought I would try to program the newer one today, and if that worked I would move the lazer cut key over to the new fob. So I followed the instructions that I found on line (key in the ignition, turn it, lock the outside door, hit the unlock, then hit it again). The new key did not program, I could not unlock the car with it. The old key still locked and unlocked the car. So I figure it was not going to work and went back inside.

    Fast forward to when I actually need to drive the car, and now it won't turn on. My old key still unlocks the door, but when I turn the car the car does not turn on. Do I have an immobilizer? If so, can I fix this or am I going to need to have this towed to the dealer? My car is a 1999 Passat 1.8T. The original key has a W on it that is crossed out, the newer key that I tried to program has a W on it.

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  3. #2
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    I think you're looking at something other than the immobilizer because I don't think it was put into use until 2000. Could you record a video and post it on youtube, it would help a lot of people here recognize more factors.

  4. #3
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    The immobilizer didn't arrive until 2001.5. For the earlier cars, the remove functions of the key are entirely separate from it starting and running. I suspect the OP's failure to start is simple coincidence.

  5. #4
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    Here is a short video, I'm not sure if it provides any additional info:


  6. #5
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    The procedure you tried was to program the remote fob, and has nothing to do with the immobilizer. Your car doesn't have an immobilizer anyway. FYI, programming a new remote will not make the old ones stop working, until you program a 5th one. The CCM will remember up to 4 remotes, so the 5th one will bump the one programmed the longest ago.

    What you did also has absolutely nothing to do with the car's ability to start, so you've got a different issue for sure. Might have a failed ignition switch, neutral safety switch (or clutch pedal switch if manual trans), starter interlock relay (there are 2- 1 for the alarm system and one for the neutral/ clutch safety), or bad starter. If you have an auto trans, try putting it in neutral to see if it'll start.

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    I have a manual trans, and I live on a hill. If I try to pop start it I have one shot and if it doesn't work I can't get the car home again without a tow. That's tempting but I'm going to troubleshoot a little more first. I'll be able to find the clutch safety switch, but where is the starter interlock relay?

  8. #7
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    Both relays are on the relay plate behind the knee panel under the steering wheel. You'll need to pull the panel in order to get to the clutch switch. There's another no start thread here from a few days back that says which relay positions have the starter relays. i just can't remember off the top of my head... Do you have a meter or test light to do some troubleshooting?

  9. #8
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    I have a meter and a test light, so I'll look up that thread and start troubleshooting.

    Before I put the car in the garage my friend pulled me up the road far enough to try starting it by popping the clutch, and that worked. So the car does run, I just need to get the starter motor spinning.

  10. #9
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    The problem is not fixed. This is what I've tried:

    - checked for voltage at the starter motor with the key turned, no voltage
    - unplugged the connector for the clutch pedal switch. The connector had power and the switch opened and closed when I moved the pedal (verified continuity).
    - swapped out the 2 interlock relays (175 and 204)

    The condition has not changed. I'm not sure what to check next. Any ideas?

  11. #10
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    Dumb question, have you checked the regular fuse panel? Ignition still runs a few fuses through the regular panel on the side of the driver's dash. If you were messing with the relays, I can imagine you can find it. Owner's manual will indicate which fuses are dealing with ignition, or some kind of engine control, and are generally the larger 25-40 amp fuses.

  12. #11
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    Do the relays click when you turn the key? If not, it's almost certainly wither a blown fuse, or a bad ignition switch. Failed ignition switches are somewhat common, especially if you have any other keys hanging from the car's key. The extra length of those key fobs just increases the stress on the switch- leverage 101...

  13. #12
    murdered out Jetta, er, B5 Passat mrgreek2002's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmac156 View Post
    Here is a short video, I'm not sure if it provides any additional info:

    DUDE, you DO REALIZE that your trying to start the car with the anti-theft alarm still activated (on)? That right there should be your probelm!

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrgreek2002 View Post
    DUDE, you DO REALIZE that your trying to start the car with the anti-theft alarm still activated (on)? That right there should be your probelm!
    Its a 99, it doesn't have an immobilizer. The car alarm would've gone off if the anti-theft alarm was still active and he opened the front door. Look closer on the instrument cluster, no car with key indicator is on or flashing.

  15. #14
    murdered out Jetta, er, B5 Passat mrgreek2002's Avatar
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    True if his drivers door lock module was working but it's not.

    Regardless, his issue is he needs to either use a working remote fob to unlock the drivers door or use the lock cylinder on the trunk to unlock the drivers door. Either ways will turn off the alarm and hopefully the car will start right up!

  16. #15
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    First of all, thanks for all the info and input, I REALLY appreciate your help. Here are some responses to your suggestions:

    - Do the relays click: The 185 relay (the starting interlock alarm relay) clicks when I turn the key. It also clicks when I turn the key to the start position. I do not hear or feel the 204 clicking. I would expect to hear it clicking when I press the clutch and the ignition is on.

    QUESTION, if I unplug the clutch switch, and short the connector with power on, I should hear the 204 relay activating, right? I have not tried this yet.

    - Are the fuses good: Not a dumb question, it's a very good question. I checked all of the fused by the relay panel, (visually and for continuity). All fuses under the relay panel are good. I did not see any fuses on the left side of the dash that were related to the starter or the alarm.

    - Bad ignition switch: Maybe. I'll search on how to test my ignition switch.

    - Alarm activation: I've done several reset procedures (including manual unlock from the drivers, passenger and tailgate). I think fact that the relay is clicking verifies that the alarm is in fact disarmed.

    Next set is following up on why relay 204 does not seem to work, and the seeing if the ignition switch is bad.

  17. #16
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    @vbora - you realize that mrgreek is talking about the alarm and not the immobilizer? (I think you caught that but just making sure) Anyway, random FYI for whoever - the immobilizer kills the engine after it starts, but it does not prevent the starter from working.

    @mrgreek - you realize that the OP unlocks the door with the key fob right before he opens the door and gets in the car, thus deactivating the alarm? (maybe you missed that part in the video, but you can clearly hear the clunk of the door unlocking right before he opens it) I'm curious what lead you to believe that he didn't deactivate the alarm? he doesn't say anything about the alarm light continuing to blink, and the alarm would go off when he tried to start the car, regardless of if the door latch mechanism was good or not. I might've missed something in the video, but I really don't think the alarm is the issue in this case.

    @dmac - jumping the clutch switch will trigger the relay, but only when a few other things are right, such as the ignition switch being in the start position, and IIRC, one of the starter interlock relays sends power to the other one, so one relay could prevent both from working. You can bypass the 204 relay with a jumper, I just don't know for sure what contacts you need to jump without looking at it...

    i really don't think the alarm is your issue, you'd have other stuff going on. HOWEVER, just because the 185 relay is clicking, that does not in and of itself mean that the relay is good. The contacts can fail for various reasons, so even though it's being triggered, it might not be passing voltage. i don't really think that this is the case here, but it is a possibility.

    Seems to me that you've got it narrowed down to either the 204 relay, or ignition switch.

    FYI- there are 2 fuses on the end of the dash that relate to the alarm - #5 and #14. Since the power locks are working, I don't think #14 is bad, but I don't remember specifically what #5 does.... Would be worth a quick test w/ the meter...

  18. #17
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    I removed the ignition switch and there is evidence of it burning up. Several weeks ago I noticed an electrical burning smell in the car, but I could never figure out where it was coming from. I did some searches online but didn't find anyone having a similar situation. I noticed it again, although not as strong, a couple of days before this happened. I'm picking up the new switch tomorrow and will hopefully get this finished up tomorrow night.

  19. #18
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    Yay for discovering something, let us know how it turns out!

  20. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by vbora01 View Post
    Yay for discovering something, let us know how it turns out!
    Not so well. I replaced the ignition switch which was fried, and still nothing.

    When I checked for voltage at the starter motor I didn't check it at the right spot. I should have checked the voltage at the solenoid input. How do you access that? I can't even see it. Do I need to pull the AC compressor to access it?

  21. #20
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    Ooooffff.... Darn I'm rooting for you here on the east coast! Lol, anyway, the starter is rather difficult to access. It might be easier to undo the A/C compressor (don't remove the hard lines though, just undo the bolts and let it down and out of the way.) I've never done it, I imagine it shouldn't be too bad.

    And if you need to replace the starter at least you will have that down and out of the way for that. If you don't find voltage at the starter, I'd go back to the relays.

  22. #21
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    Moved the AC compressor out of the way, verified voltage to the solenoid (main power and the small wire that has power when the key is turned). Picking up a new starter motor and installing it tonight. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

  23. #22
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    ^^ I've been looking at this thread since it was posted... I hope you get this situated soon!

  24. #23
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    My fingers and toes are crossed... lol, it's been 4 days! So I'm guessing you got voltage at the starter? Just the starter doesn't do anything? I keep forgetting your 3 hours behind so I'm always thinking, "How does he get parts at 8 at night? Especially a starter motor."

  25. #24
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    Got the new starter in, it turned over right away. Yeah! So the starter was probably bad the whole time, the ignition was burned, but was possibly functional when I started.

    But.....the starter motor is turning over, but the engine just catches and shuts down. If I keep the key turned all the way (to the starter position) the car will run. So there is power going to the ignition when the starter motor is engaged, as soon as I go back to the normal position it cuts out. It has to do with the ignition switch, something is making proper contact. More troubleshooting....

    @vbora - I'm on the west coast so I picked up my parts at a local shop before they closed at 6.
    Last edited by dmac156; 02-29-2012 at 07:45 PM.

  26. #25
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    Final update; I'm driving!!

    I put my old burnt up ignition switch back in and it worked, tried the new one again, it didn't work, so I put the old one in until I can replace it.

    SUMMARY; the initial condition probably had nothing to do with the key programming. The only problem with the starting was the starter motor. I'm happy that I found the source of my burning electrical smell, and will get a replacement ignition switch installed before I close everything up, but it still functioned.

    Thanks for all the help along the way. This job was a total PITA. Working on a daily driver is not as fun as working on a hobby car, glad to have it done.

  27. #26
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    Woohoo! Awesome! I didn't think the starters were a real problematic area on these cars cause I never read about them and I'm still running the original starter on my 98' at 201,000+ miles. How do you get a new ignition switch that works worse than the old one??? Lol, interesting.

  28. #27
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    Final chapter, put the new ignition switch in and everything is working great.

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