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Discussion Starter #1
Vehicle is a 2001 V6 GLX B5.5.
Per the year (2001) I would have thought it had Immobi II.
But according to what I've read on the Ross Tech site, it leads me to believe it has Immobi 3.
I'm basing this on the scan below showing 17 VIN digits followed by 14 digit Immobi ID.

Owned the car for a few years now.
For the past month or so, occasionally the engine start is blocked by immobi.
Instead of flashing a couple times then going out, the yellow key icon (immobi) on the instrument panel continues to flash.
The engine will start briefly then stop.

I've edited my VCDS scan below to take out scans without fault.

I'm leaning towards either a bad transponder chip in the FOB or a bad connection in the pickup coil near the keyswitch.

Unfortunately, it's my son's car and he is 3 hours away in Bowling Green, KY.

Yesterday, before getting in the car, I had him lock then unlock the car using the key.
Once inside and door shut, had him make sure the red LED on drivers door was not blinking.
I.E. alarm was disarmed.
Insert/turn the key in ignition switch and wait til yellow Immobi light stopped flashing.
Continue turning key to start...... All went well..
He ran a couple errands, started/stopped the engine four or five times, all went well.

Today, tried to start and the yellow Immobi light never stopped flashing.
Engine would start and immediately stop.

Next step will be to call AAA and have them program a new transponder chip.
They were able to do this a couple years ago when he lost the key.
We had a spare key but it's transponder chip wasn't coded to the car.
AAA (Howards Lock Smith in BG) was able to use that spare key and program/code it.
He's been using that key ever since.
Should have asked for the SKC number from AAA at that time. We asked Howards for it the next day but it was too late.
Bummer as I probably could have used my VCDS to code another key if I had the SKC.

Hard to troubleshoot as I'm 3 hours away from the car.

Thought I'd post the issue here to see if anyone can think of something I'm missing or something else we could try.

Regards, Ken

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday,29,July,2017,12:07:30:32461
VCDS -- Windows Based VAG/VAS Emulator Running on Windows 10 x64
VCDS Version: 17.1.3.0 (x64)
Data version: 20170203 DS267.2
Ross-Tech: Home

VIN: WVWRH63B21P131021 License Plate: 2001 Passat -dated 072817
Mileage: 224980km-139796mi Repair Order:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chassis Type: 3B (3B - VW Passat B5 (1997 > 2005))
Scan: 01 02 03 08 15 16 17 19 35 36 37 46 47 55 56 57 58 75 76 77

VIN: WVWRH63B21P131021 Mileage: 224980km-139796miles
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Address 01: Engine Labels: 078-907-551-ATQ.lbl
Part No: 3B0 907 551 BS
Component: 2.8L V6/5V G 0001
Coding: 07501
Shop #: WSC 00028
VCID: 75EF2DEF4FBFFBE9CA-5102
WVWRH63B21P131021 VWZ7Z0Y3218144

1 Fault Found:

17978 - Engine Start Blocked by Immobilizer
P1570 - 35-10 - - Intermittent

Readiness: 0000 0000
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Address 17: Instruments Labels: 3B0-920-xx5-17.lbl
Part No: 3B0 920 925 B
Component: KOMBI+WEGFAHRSP VDO V13
Coding: 07235
Shop #: WSC 00222
VCID: 224526B3AEB13C51DF-5102
WVWRH63B21P131021 VWZ7Z0Y3218144

2 Faults Found:
01039 - Coolant Temperature Sensor (G2)
30-10 - Open or Short to Plus - Intermittent
01176 - Key
07-10 - Signal too Low - Intermittent

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Address 46: Central Conv. Labels: 1C0-959-799.lbl
Part No: 1C0 959 799 C
Component: 09 Komfortgerát HLO 0001
Coding: 00258
Shop #: WSC 00028
VCID: 3773E7E7153349F918-4ACE

Subsystem 1 - Part No: 1C0959801
Component: 09 Tõrsteuer.FS 0001

Subsystem 2 - Part No: 1C0959802A
Component: 09 Tõrsteuer.BF 0001

Subsystem 3 - Part No: 1C0959811
Component: 09 Tõrsteuer.HL 0001

Subsystem 4 - Part No: Steuerger
Component: t HR antwortet nicht

2 Faults Found:
01334 - Door Control Module; Rear Right (J389)
49-00 - No Communications
00928 - Locking Module for Central Locking; Front Driver Side (F220)
27-10 - Implausible Signal - Intermittent
 

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Could be the Immobilizer antenna. You can try removing the lower steering column cover and reseating the antenna connector.
I had the same issue a few years ago and I reseated the antenna connector and changed the battery in the key fob. No problems since.

Also there is a timed lockout once the Immobilizer has been activated. I think it is 3 hours or 30 minutes?? I forget.
 

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The battery in the key is only for the remote lock/unlock, and its condition will have no effect on the immobilizer.

As the key works sometimes it is correctly matched to the car, re-matching will not help.
I too, would start by checking the connection of the immo coil on the ign lock cylinder.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks all. Looks like a trip to Bowling Green is in my future.
Will bring the appropriate tools to get the steering wheel off and get at the pickup coil.

Purchased a small squeeze bottle of a product called DeOxit that has worked well in the past on poor connections.
Hoping it does the trick again..

Regarding the lockout timer...

I did read about that. As I recall, there was a short timer (appx 10 minutes) and then a longer one (appx 3 hours).

Also read that the key needed to be in the on position to run that timer.

Can anyone confirm that?
Can I reset the timer with VCDS?

Need to research that some more...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Found more info on the timer on Ross Tech's site.
If I read it correctly, the lockout timer shouldn't be an issue.
The 0 to 255 minute timer comes into play if a bad SKC number is programmed, 0-10 minute - if a key with unauthorized transponder chip was used more than 20 times..

Link
Immobilizer 3 Measuring Block
 

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Found more info on the timer on Ross Tech's site.
If I read it correctly, the lockout timer shouldn't be an issue.
This is my experience too. I had an intermittant immobilizer problem once and I could always start the car on the second attempt. Just turning it off then on was enough.

Another option is to have the immobilizer disabled in the ECU. You'll have to ship the ECU but there are sites on ebay that will perform the service for $60.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Was able to get to the car yesterday after a 3hr drive to bowling green.
Still no luck extinguishing the flashing Immobi Key or getting the car started.

Center LED reads - "Immobil activated" a few seconds after key is turned on.

Removed the plastic covers around the ignition switch and exposed the connectors/wiring.
Cleaned the immo coil connector, plugged & unplugged it a few times. No help.
Checked resistance on the immo coil - 23.1 ohms as I recall. Read a post somewhere that 24 ohms was good.
Tried disconnecting battery / touching leads.

Did not remove the instrument cluster to check it's connection.
Rain from Harvey storm, car uncovered in student parking lot. Kinda put a damper on things..
The instrument cluster has never been out of this car, no chipping, ecu mod's ,etc..

It's a half height LED display and has always faded badly in warm weather.
If it's needed, I purchased a new replacement cluster back when VW clearanced them out.
It needed to be coded for install and we just didn't have an immediate need to do that.

Found out Bowling Green does not have a VW dealer ship.
Nashvile is closest dealer. Checking if my AAA Plus will cover that.
Did find a local shop (Plum Springs Garage) that said they could do the coding for the key, instrument cluster, ecu,.
Thinking a VW dealer may be a better option for work like this though.

Drove back home (Cincinnati area) and am now debating what to do next...

Called my local VW dealer and spoke with the service tech (who was very helpful for a phone conversation).
I was wondering if the RFID chips in keys ever go "bad".
Tech said yes but in his experience, they are either good or bad. No in between's.
To me, that rules out the RFID chip. This car's immobilzer issue has come and gone a couple times in the past month.

Took some pics of the VCDS screens during the scan.
Did notice a new fault - HVAC but deals with instrument cluster (below).

Having a little hard time understanding what the VCDS scan (17-Instruments) is telling me..
Specifically - under 022 - under Key condition. Why cant it read the keys code?

If anything on this issue stands out to anyone, please let me know..

Ken

For reference










And an edited copy of VCDS scan

Friday,01,September,2017,15:08:44:32461
VCDS -- Windows Based VAG/VAS Emulator Running on Windows 10 x64
VCDS Version: 17.1.3.0 (x64)
Data version: 20170203 DS267.2
Ross-Tech: Home


VIN: WVWRH63B21P131021 License Plate: CASE090117
Mileage: 225610km-140187mi Repair Order:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chassis Type: 3B (3B - VW Passat B5 (1997 > 2005))
Scan: 01 02 03 08 15 16 17 19 35 36 37 46 47 55 56 57 58 75 76 77

VIN: WVWRH63B21P131021 Mileage: 225610km-140187miles
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Address 01: Engine Labels: 078-907-551-ATQ.lbl
Part No: 3B0 907 551 BS
Component: 2.8L V6/5V G 0001
Coding: 07501
Shop #: WSC 00028
VCID: 75EF2DEF4FBFFBE9CA-5102
WVWRH63B21P131021 VWZ7Z0Y3218144

1 Fault Found:
17978 - Engine Start Blocked by Immobilizer
P1570 - 35-10 - - Intermittent

Readiness: 0000 0001
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Address 08: Auto HVAC Labels: 3Bx-907-044.lbl
Part No: 3B1 907 044 J
Component: CLIMATRONIC B5GP 0002
Coding: 17200
Shop #: WSC 00028
VCID: 2851349BC88DD60181-5120

1 Fault Found:
01341 - Control Module in Instrument Panel On Comfort CAN (J285)
79-00 - Please Check Fault Codes

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Address 17: Instruments Labels: 3B0-920-xx5-17.lbl
Part No: 3B0 920 925 B
Component: KOMBI+WEGFAHRSP VDO V13
Coding: 07235
Shop #: WSC 00222
VCID: 224526B3AEB13C51DF-5102
WVWRH63B21P131021 VWZ7Z0Y3218144

1 Fault Found:
01176 - Key
07-00 - Signal too Low

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
End-------------------------(Elapsed Time: 03:52)--------------------------
 

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022 and 01176 indicate that there is a problem reading the immo code from the key.
This could be caused by a faulty RFID chip (unlikely), a faulty pick-up coil or its connections, or a faulty cluster.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Thanks again for your input Tomvw.

Think I'll go to my local salvage yard and pull an Immobi coil (to check resistance and have as a backup) before I go back down to work on the car.
Though I've found a place to rent Vag-Tacho and found a few other affordable Immobi SKC readers, the possibility of bricking the cluster or ECU concerns me.
My backup plan we be to have it towed to Wyatt Johnson Volkswagen in TN, give them my new spare cluster and let them have at it.

In my research, I found an interesting post (below) on TDI club by a user named dieselgus.
I'll insert my thoughts in his post..


<<As someone who basically gets paid to hotwire cars for a living (I am a 12V electronics installer by trade.... remote starters), I can tell you a few things:

1) Main issue is breakage on the actual antenna wires leading from the reader to the cluster. They are very small...... 28ga or so. In the cold, moving the column a lot will do this.
I did find the wires leading to the Immo coil ring connector to be pretty small. Wiggled the wires around hoping it would make a difference while working on it, unfortunately it didn't. Haven't checked a wiring diagram yet but I'm hoping the two wires going to this ring trace right back to the connector on the back of the instrument cluster. If so, I'll check for continuity with my VOM next time I drive down to work on the car.

2) The RFID pellet on the VW keys lives along the outer edge of the key.... for those of you with valet keys, the two halves of the head pop apart. You will see a torpedo shaped glass pellet. This is the RFID pellet. It is in roughly the same location on the switchblade key. It is not accessable without doing major damage to the key (irreparable) on the switchblade key. The antenna around the chamber in the column reads using it's outer edge, like 1/16" or so, and towards the interior of the car. Simply gluing the pellet to the back of the ignition switch, or even the antenna itself will not read. It is an extremely low power, narrow window for the reader (micro watts)....... and the pellet pretty much needs to be within 1/8" of the antennas fronte (visible) side.

3) On immobilizer 3 cars, a key that is not seen by the cluster in around 4 months of daily start cycles, will be dropped by the system. It assumes lost or stolen, and will remove that key from the memory for system integrety's sake.
I assume if it's "dropped by the system", as he says, it would sync back up upon insertion. Otherwise, all spare keys we have and hardly ever use would not work.

4) The car only reads the key until the end of the crank cycle. It then could care less if a valid key is in the ignition.

5) It doesn't really care about seeing 2 keys at once... as long as both are valid keys for the car. Due to the transmission power of the system.... you would need to have both keys within 1/4" of the antenna.... not an easy feat with the size of these keys.
Dropping your key a lot will eventually crack the glass pellet... this will let moisture accumulate inside the tube, and will eventually render the circuitry inside the tube inoperable (yes... there is a weee little board in that tube.....)
The two keys were in reference to a question asked earlier in another post. Even though the glass chip is encapsuled in the FOB's plastic, I could see that a few good drops might break this glass tube. Could a circuit(s) on that lil bitty board make an intermittent connection making the code readable sometimes then not? Would it completely lose it's programming, rendering the chip not readable if one of those circuits broke? Wish I knew of an easy way to test if the chip is readable.

VW does use one of the more secure systems...... GM on the other hand uses the least secure system (PK3). PK3 can be gotten around without any programmed keys for the vehicle...... all you need is a PK3 key that is cut for the ignition. I know the procedure, but I am not sharing it.... for obvious reasons :)

Gus>>
 

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You could try another known good Passat key and read the 022 group again. If the 'Key Condition OK' box shows a 1 with the good key that would indicate that the correct key is bad. Otherwise, I'd bet on a bad cluster. It seems unlikely to get an intermittent connection with a 28 gauge wire but I suppose it's possible and 23 ohms seems like a reasonable value for the coil.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You could try another known good Passat key and read the 022 group again. If the 'Key Condition OK' box shows a 1 with the good key that would indicate that the correct key is bad. Otherwise, I'd bet on a bad cluster. It seems unlikely to get an intermittent connection with a 28 gauge wire but I suppose it's possible and 23 ohms seems like a reasonable value for the coil.
Thanks,
We bought it with one flip key that was immobi coded and one that was not.
Son lost that coded key in Bowling Green a year or so ago. I drove down and met with the non coded blank we had.
AAA (Howard's Locksmith) coded that other flip key and got the car going that night.
They were supposed to cut and code another one the next day at minimal cost ($30~$50 as I recall).
Son drove the car to Howard's next day to get the spare key.
I wasn't there but son said that didn't go as planned. They didn't want to honor what was promised the night before so he left without a spare.

A year later and here we are...

I bought an Xtool VAG401 tonight. Didn't cost too much and supposed to be a decent supplement to my OEM Ross-Tech HEX-usb VCDS.
I've got an 02 Passat that needs a spare key too. Going to experiment with the VAG401/VCDS combo on my car before driving down and attempting his.

Again, backup is having it towed to nearest VW,
Blah blah, blah... $$$
Feeling pretty glad that I bought a new replacement cluster at the clearance price. Looks like it might be needed.

Wish me luck.

Ken
 

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Thanks again for your input Tomvw.

Think I'll go to my local salvage yard and pull an Immobi coil (to check resistance and have as a backup) before I go back down to work on the car.
Though I've found a place to rent Vag-Tacho and found a few other affordable Immobi SKC readers, the possibility of bricking the cluster or ECU concerns me.
My backup plan we be to have it towed to Wyatt Johnson Volkswagen in TN, give them my new spare cluster and let them have at it.

In my research, I found an interesting post (below) on TDI club by a user named dieselgus.
I'll insert my thoughts in his post..


<<As someone who basically gets paid to hotwire cars for a living (I am a 12V electronics installer by trade.... remote starters), I can tell you a few things:

1) Main issue is breakage on the actual antenna wires leading from the reader to the cluster. They are very small...... 28ga or so. In the cold, moving the column a lot will do this.
I did find the wires leading to the Immo coil ring connector to be pretty small. Wiggled the wires around hoping it would make a difference while working on it, unfortunately it didn't. Haven't checked a wiring diagram yet but I'm hoping the two wires going to this ring trace right back to the connector on the back of the instrument cluster. If so, I'll check for continuity with my VOM next time I drive down to work on the car.

2) The RFID pellet on the VW keys lives along the outer edge of the key.... for those of you with valet keys, the two halves of the head pop apart. You will see a torpedo shaped glass pellet. This is the RFID pellet. It is in roughly the same location on the switchblade key. It is not accessable without doing major damage to the key (irreparable) on the switchblade key. The antenna around the chamber in the column reads using it's outer edge, like 1/16" or so, and towards the interior of the car. Simply gluing the pellet to the back of the ignition switch, or even the antenna itself will not read. It is an extremely low power, narrow window for the reader (micro watts)....... and the pellet pretty much needs to be within 1/8" of the antennas fronte (visible) side.

3) On immobilizer 3 cars, a key that is not seen by the cluster in around 4 months of daily start cycles, will be dropped by the system. It assumes lost or stolen, and will remove that key from the memory for system integrety's sake.
I assume if it's "dropped by the system", as he says, it would sync back up upon insertion. Otherwise, all spare keys we have and hardly ever use would not work.

4) The car only reads the key until the end of the crank cycle. It then could care less if a valid key is in the ignition.

5) It doesn't really care about seeing 2 keys at once... as long as both are valid keys for the car. Due to the transmission power of the system.... you would need to have both keys within 1/4" of the antenna.... not an easy feat with the size of these keys.
Dropping your key a lot will eventually crack the glass pellet... this will let moisture accumulate inside the tube, and will eventually render the circuitry inside the tube inoperable (yes... there is a weee little board in that tube.....)
The two keys were in reference to a question asked earlier in another post. Even though the glass chip is encapsuled in the FOB's plastic, I could see that a few good drops might break this glass tube. Could a circuit(s) on that lil bitty board make an intermittent connection making the code readable sometimes then not? Would it completely lose it's programming, rendering the chip not readable if one of those circuits broke? Wish I knew of an easy way to test if the chip is readable.

VW does use one of the more secure systems...... GM on the other hand uses the least secure system (PK3). PK3 can be gotten around without any programmed keys for the vehicle...... all you need is a PK3 key that is cut for the ignition. I know the procedure, but I am not sharing it.... for obvious reasons :)

Gus>>
"This is the RFID pellet. It is in roughly the same location on the switchblade key. It is not accessable without doing major damage to the key (irreparable) on the switchblade key."
This is crap! The key is easily dismantled by removing 1 screw, and the RFID chip is easily removed without damage after disolving the glue.


"4) The car only reads the key until the end of the crank cycle. It then could care less if a valid key is in the ignition."
This is crap! The key is read after the car is started.


I just picked a couple of items to comment on, but there are other errors in the post.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for straightening some of that out Tom, I trust your expertise.
Don't want be one to re-post bad info.
I'm at the beginning of the learning curve on this subject.
I also read in another post to put a drop or two of acetone (nail polish remover) in the cavity where the RFID chip is to loosen the glue.
Doing the best I can to educate myself on the subject from what I read.
Good troubleshooting info & procedures on this intermittent issue are somewhat difficult to find.
Especially if you don't want throw money at it or have the correct tools to diagnose.
Working on that.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Just to update ....

The instrument cluster was the problem.
Why it went bad, I have not clue.
Fortunately, I bought a new OEM instrument cluster over a year ago for this car back when Volkswagen was clearancing them out.
I had the dim red LED MFA panel and figured I would change it someday. My local dealer wanted $150 to do the coding and that was put on the back burner.
Glad I made that purchase. The instrument cluster is a major part of the Immobilizer III system.

Didn't want to buy ($500) or rent ($50 plus shipping/wk) a VAG Tacho to pull the SKC so I took a chance and bought an xTOOL vag401 - Amazon $49.

The Xtool was able to pull the SKC (secret key code).

Then used my registered version of VCDS (Ross Tech) to finish the programming.

Was an adventure but glad I made it through it!

Have a couple keys programmed now and the car starts and runs like it should.

Regards, Ken
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Forgot to mention -
I bought two new keys on eBay too.
These included the key blanks, complete remote with battery and electronics, and the transponder chip. $16 shipped for the pair.

Good to see that you got it sorted, that xTOOL seems to be the way to go.
The xTOOL vag401 seems like a pretty solid piece of hardware. Quality is on par with any good OBD tool (I have an upper end Actron).
Navigating through the menus is pretty intuitive and actually seems to be set up pretty well thought out.
Support and/or instructions on tool usage is limited at best.
Would be a great tool if someone would put the time into writing a keystroke by keystroke manual for it.

Ken
 

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I just ordered a xTOOL as I need to replace my ECM and thus need my SKC. Is there a secret to getting the SKC using the tool or should I be able to figure it out with a bit of fiddling?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I took a bunch pics while doing this.
Not sure if this was the sequence you will see. - Read PIN Code, Immobilizer, Dashboard, 17-Dashboard, 25-Immobilizer, hit enter one more time and it should say "your passcode is XXXX

Ken

Just saw that you are replacing your ECM. I was doing an instrument cluster. The order be a little different.
 
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