Red/Blue Key (again!) question

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Red/Blue Key (again!) question

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Christian

Guest
I'm a newbie into the fiat world, as I have just bought a '99 Fiat Brava 1.6SX about 2 weeks ago.

The car came with 1 red key and 2 blue ones (original blues, as they have the triangle and circle stamped as well as the same serial code printed on them), but for some reason, the car will not accept the blue keys. (so at the moment I'm driving with the red key only, which I want to avoid since I have read how much it can cost to replace it - £1000???)) - also the car had no Key card....

A friendly fiat dealer offered to code the blue keys (ie by placing the red key first, followed by the blue one, etc, etc) but it did not work. He then advised me to get a replacement Key card (to get the number for the key) - which I'm doing at the moment - and then I'll have to book the car to check why is not programming the blue ones...

Has anyone else had this problem? Does it mean that I will have to get 2 other Blue keys cut? Anything else I can try? (ie maybe disconnecting the battery to erase all "keys" from the memory and try again to reprogram them?)

many thanks!
Christian
 
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Brian

Guest
Key card

Having driven Fiats for a couple of years, and having been a member of Clubcento, I can honestly say I've never come across this problem with my cars or anyone elses. In regard to the key card, if you're in the UK, you wouldn't have one with the car as they are only available in mainland Europe.
Sorry I can't be of more help.
 
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Christian

Guest
Key Card

I don't understand. This is a UK car, (i've checked the registration documents) yet on the manual it does say that the car comes with:

- 1 red key
- 2 blue keys
- 1 Key Card (which you need for an emergency start or to reprogram keys - anyway that is what the manual says...)

Am I the only one with this manual?

cheers,
Christian
 
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Nick

Guest
Copy the red key

Apparently UK insurance companies insisted that the card is not supplied with the car, despite what the manual says.

One option you might consider is getting the red key copied at a local locksmith (Timpsons can do it). I have no idea if it will be a true copy of a red key in that it operates the key coding system, but it will start the car and then you won't have to panic about loosing the original red key because you can put that in a safe place and forget about it!
 
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Barakka

Guest
Key Card

No, my manual says the same, but I didn't get one either.
 
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Christian

Guest
Key Codes

I know have my Key Codes and Fiat are telling me that they will quote me 1 hr labour rate to fix the problem. Is this something that I can do? (now that I have the Key codes?) - as I said before, I have the 2 original blue keys, but they need to be recoded to the car....

cheers,
Christian
 
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Nick

Guest
Re: Key Codes

As Fiat have already had problems programming your blue keys into the system using the red key, is it reasonable to think that they will have any more success using other methods?
If they can do it for an hours labour then I would think that just for piece of mind it would be worth doing - but what happens if they can't do it? Let them have a go for an hour, pay them if they succeed, but not if they fail. If they fail you'll have to rethink the situation because that means there is something expensive wrong. But if they succeed, then you will be a happy bunny!
 
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Christian

Guest
Fiat Service

I have booked the car for tomorrow.... fingers crossed!
 
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steve

Guest
Consumer rights.

If fiat are unable to reprogramme the blue keys you
are quite entitled to refer back to the people you bought the car from and demand that they fix the problem as the car is seriously defective under the sale of goods act. They should either offer some suitable compensation, fix it, or accept the car back.

I bought a second hand brava last year without the red key.
When I realised I needed it I went back to the garage. In the end (after a bit of flapping around) they had to install a complete new system to rectify the problem £1200.

They were affiliated in some way to the local fiat garage, I think. They did try to convince me I didnt need a red key.

The ease of this will presumably who you bought it from.
good luck.
 
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Christian

Guest
How?

Fiat just told me that they cannot fix it. Apparently the red key that I have does NOT have the chip inside. (they say that it is a copy! and to fix it they need to replace the ECU, etc, etc - ie £1000). I have also spoken with the dealer that I bought the car from (not a Fiat one though) and he says he will make a couple of phone calls....

What are my options? (if he decides not to fix the problem?) Can I take him to court? (small claims?). BTW: When I bought the car, I pointed out to him that the blue keys did not work, and he promised to fix the problem or reimburse for any cost that I might make if I took the car myself. (of course, all this was verbal, nothing in writing...)

Help!!
 
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Nick

Guest
Keep us informed...

...about what the dealer says/does. Note that ADP Electronics (I think - you need to check back in the forum to find out the exact name) can supply nobbled ECUs that have had the immobiliser part removed so there is no red/blue key fiasco, and are therefore much cheaper, but only for certain engines. Of course if you then want an immobiliser you can fit any one of the many after market ones available.

Also note that the red key must have a chip in it to start the car, but it sounds like it is a 'blue' chip. This means that you can have it cloned at the high street locksmiths and have a spare key for the car. Did you have the HPI check on the car before you bought it? If someone has gone to the trouble of forging a red key lookalike I would start to smell a rat.
 
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steve

Guest
consumer rights

If you belong to an auto club have a word with their legal advisors other wise try citizens advice.

My advisor first said I could not do anything but when I mentioned the word fiat his tune changed.
Him and a few of his collegues were addement that being a Fiat, the master key is a major componant (due to the cost of replacement and that under the terms of the sales of goods act you are entitled to expect an acceptable solution to be provided or they should accept return of your car.

The first thing to do though is write a letter to the dealer stating the defect also stating that you will require the defect to be fixed, an appropriate level compensation or that they accept the car back in return for all monies you paid.

Ideally compensation should be around 1000 pounds. A fix would be a new ECU, code box and lock system.

Factors the amount you paid will have to be born in mind. IE was the car of reasonable market value or did you get it very very cheap anyway.

What you accept is upto you but a replacement system is not out of the question.

If they dont play ball you may have to consider small claims court but the law should be on your side.
Ill post a URL to the consumer protection WEB site and the appropriate act No.
 
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Christian

Guest
Possible Solution offered by dealer

I have just spoken with the dealer, and this is what he offered to do:

- He will remove the ECU from the car and then re-programme the ECU with a new chip? which it will match the new Master Key (as he is also will change the chip in the key) and also make 2 copies of it (ie Blue keys with no chip inside)

He says that Fiat don't offer this because it is a new thing and they prefer to replace the whole unit. (as they have always done), but it is the way Fiat will deal with these problems in the future....

I'll agree to this (as he says, he will also give me the documents needed to register the "new" ECU with Fiat to match the chassis number and current owner - ie me) but still feel a bit hesitant, as if it was as easy to fix, why don't Fiat offer this service instead??.

Regardless to what he does to fix it, I'll take the new Red Key to Fiat to check that indeed it is a Master Key....

I'll keep you posted! - but if you have ANY suggestions/ideas, pls let me know....

many thanks!
Christian
 
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steve

Guest
Sounds a bit iffy, if fiat said that your red key was a fake and did not have a chip in.
Also, If your red key did not have a chip in, presumably your security system is disabled. In which case why did the blue keys not work if they fitted mechanically. Some things don t seem to add up.

There seems to be a varied opinion as to how essential
a proper red key is. Fiat just keep saying it is essential. Apparently some maintenance work cant be carried out without it??.
Even If your security system has been disabled, does this negate all red key issues??.

previous thread have indicated that some companies can
reprogramme the ECU and code box without having to get a replacement system.
 
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Christian

Guest
Concerns

I agree with you and have the same concerns. All I can think, is that my current dealer himself did not do the proper checks (ie he assumed like I did that the Red key supplied was the master key, and the 2 blue ones, just needed reprogramming which he could do once the car was sold) - otherwise, if he was crafty, he could just clone the 2 blue keys out of the existing "master" red key (ie all three keys will have the same code) and I would have been none the wiser..... (as all 3 keys would have worked). This tells me he was not trying to rip me off, he was just caught by the previous seller (who must have known about this problem, but did not disclosed at the time of the sale)....

Fingers crossed he does what he says he will do! - otherwise I'll take him to small claims court (I have a friend who is a lawyer, and she says, I'd have no problems getting the dealer to pay to fix this major problem)...
 
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Nick

Guest
Could be OK

Christian

What your dealer is telling you does have the ring of truth to it (possibly). In principle if you can replace the memory or the processor in the ECU with a new one, it will think itself a 'virgin' and look for a new master key to learn. Then it locks itself to that new master and away you go and you don't have to change the locks (assuming the new master is a blank). With the old system the ECU was already locked to a new master key so all the locks had to be changed as well. The problem is replacing the chip as they tend to be dificult to remove and will have to be supplied by Fiat. I suspect you can get 'reconditioned' ECU now but if anybody knows for sure I would be interested.

It is reasonable to assume that as time goes on, Fiat will try to address problems with their cars, and now that CODE system is out of date its not so much of a risk to allow cheaper fixes to security issues to see the light of day, especially as there are alternative fixes beginning to appear (such as nobbled ECUs).

I for one would be interested to hear how you get on with this rechipped ECU, and how much it costs, as I too don't have a red key!

My research tells me that the red key is only used for reprogramming new keys and has no other discernable function, but that in itself is enough of a worry if you havn't got a red key in the first place! There may be some minor diagnostic function but that is not worth getting excited about, so not having a red key is not the end of the world, but has the potential to be a right pain in the ass.

Hope thats of some help
 
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Christian

Guest
Research

I'll keep you posted...

but in the meantime, after some digging around the web, I found some companies that offer to "Tune" your ECU chip (not all of them mention that they reprogram the ECU for the specific purpose of the key codes..)

http://www.mavericktechnology.co.uk/dec_applications.htm
http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/ajwebster/tune8.html
http://www.allcarracing.com/ENG/Eprom%20UK/NEWOBDIIUK.htm
http://www.racelogic.co.uk/
http://www.cobi.demon.co.uk/
http://www.starperformance.co.uk/tuning.htm

if you find any of them useful, pls post here, as I might need to use them (if all fails with my dealer...)
 
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Barakka

Guest
Uses for Red Keys...?

I agree, the main use for a red key is to program new keys as they are added to your system, this can be overcome by duplicating one of the blue keys to have the same code...

However another use for the red key is that you can remove a key registration from the ECU, so if you lose a key you can make it useless for starting the car... Admittedly nothing more than a bit of piece of mind, but just thought i'd point it out...

:)
 
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Steve

Guest
Red key use

I belive that the red key is use to program the main ecu but also the blue key codes into the ecu which reads the keys. So of this fails, and you have no red key instead of replacing the key reading ecu for £70 you have all the hassel with the main engine management ecu.

Can any one confirm this?

Steve
 

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