Death at a Funeral - Immobile code

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SHOtime623

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Hello Everyone, in the SHO Forum community!

So, I have a story that is equal parts sad and funny. Full disclosure: The car is not modded in any way. The only thing that I have added since I've owned the car is a PCV catch can.

Three weeks ago, my 2010 SHO (Non-PP) died at a funeral home. The irony of this was not lost on those that were gathered there for the funeral of their loved one, and it even became a source of joy and laughter. We were gathered around the front of my car, which was surrounded by various tools and jumper cables, and we amused ourselves by berating the craptastic cars made by other manufacturers. Two different vehicles were used to attempt jump-starting the car, without success. Eventually, I called AAA and had the car taken on a flatbed to the nearest Ford dealer, and there it has sat for the last three weeks. I am coming to this community in the hopes that I might get some better feedback than I have been getting from the dealer over the last week or so.

When my car died, I immediately assumed that the battery was toast again. Only the original Motorcraft battery has ever lasted more than 2-2.5 years in this car in the six years that I have owned it. This is also the first severe failure that I have had with my vehicle. I take good care of it, and I was a little surprised when I came out to my car that I had driven without issue to the funeral home, and all I got was a dashboard full of the usual indicator lights, but the engine wouldn't start. I called AAA, and their mobile battery service car showed up and confirmed my suspicions that the battery was indeed in need of replacement, however, it had enough juice to turn the car over and get it going. Nothing. The starter solenoid didn't even make its usual noises, so the person from AAA said that it was either the starter or something else was preventing the starter from engaging. I also removed and inspected the relays, breakers, and fuses that I could find to be related to starting the car in any way. No joy, they were all good. At this point, the towing company was dispatched to flatbed my car to the dealer.

The dealer had the car for three days before they could even get started on it. In addition to the battery issue, they also discovered that the positive terminal battery connector was deteriorated to the point that it should be replaced, and it was also determined that Ford discontinued the part. As a result, they found the part that the car needed on RockAuto and bought the last one in stock. I checked the price myself, and much to my surprise, they didn't mark it up that much. Once that arrived, they continued troubleshooting. Everything passed diagnostics except for the RSA module. I don't know if I am getting the name of the module correct, but it's the device that reads the key FOB and tells the ECU that the car has a valid key to permit it to start. Thankfully, this part was not discontinued, and they got it replaced without much trouble. After they re-programmed the FOBs and replaced their batteries, the car still doesn't start. It's not that it can't. All diagnostics pass, now that the RSA module has been replaced, but there is a persistent "Immobile" code in the system that they, the dealer, can't seem to clear. How it was explained to me was that the car thinks that it's been stolen.

Late last week, they called to tell me what was going on, and also to let me know that they had called Ford Engineering (they had a different name for it - but that's one of the names they've used), and it seems like the equivalent of Tech Support. It took a couple of days for Support to get back to them, but since they have, the level of troubleshooting and the steps taken (that I've been informed of anyway) have been anything but the advanced level that I would have expected. So far, they've had the dealer's technicians take the RSA module back out, validate part numbers, clean and inspect wiring harnesses, etc. Still nothing. The other issue here is that in between each of these basic steps, the response time is over 24 hours apiece.

The dealer techs are out of ideas, and they are relying solely on the troubleshooting that Support is doing with them, and based on what I am hearing, it feels like the same sort of application vendor support to which I am accustomed in my line of work. I am a Server and Storage Specialist in the IT industry, and I'm not too fond of the flow chart driven tiered support system, but I like so many others suffer through it when I can't solve something myself.

So, I decided to post this here in the hopes that some of you may have seen something similar. I am also looking down the seemingly endless tunnel of sadness that involves me driving my Sister-in-Law's 2006 Honda Pilot. While I am grateful for the loan, it's a far cry from my beloved SHO.

Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for your thoughts and insights.
 

yaycandy

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Just as weird as when my Uncle past away, my dads close brother. The entire time his car alarm would keep going off randomly and wouldn't turn off. Driving behind the hearse to the gave site and through the burial ceremony with his car alarm going off the whole time, even while driving over. And it never did that again since.

What actually caused it was his fender was alittle conked from a car on the highway tapping into him awhile back and it was a drizzly day and I guess the rain got down through the gap between the hood and fender to something electrical causing the car alarm to go off. But still never did it before that and still never has done in since and this was 4 years ago.
 

Johnbigdog

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The R.S.A. is the wrong acronym. Its a Remote Function Actuator (R.F.A.).

When you pressed the start/stop button did the cluster say no key detected? Or did the ignition torn on as normal?

Where you able to lock and unlock the car normally with the fob?

did you try the passive unlock were you press the keyless entry key pad to unlock the car?

did you happen to try the back up slot to start the car? Looks like its in the center consol, left rear.

Did both keys fail to start the car?

They are working with Hotline/Technical Assistance Center. They (the dealership) can call on the phone if they want after the first electronic contact, but it takes time to do suggested diagnosis.

What are the D.T.C.s that were present before and after? We can't help much without them.

Wrong parts can be a big problem. Not all dealerships use the Ford parts catalog. There are resources the dealership can use to check parts.

Care to share with me your vin number?

How the passive system works:
You press the start stop button. This is a signal to the RFA and sends a radio signal over three interior passive antitheft System (PATS) antennas. These send a radio signal to the key fob. The fob responds with a second response to the Remote Functions Reciever (RFR). The RFR receives all key fob signals and transmitted them to the car. Once the rfr gets the key fob data for starting, the module sends a message back to the RFA.

The RFA the talks to the P.C.M. (power train control module) to make sure they are friends and no one has swapped parts.

If everything is kosher and your foot is on the brake pedal, the car will start the engine.

If your foot is not on the brake, the ignition will turn on.

If the rfa does not detect a key fob, the cluster will make noise and say no key detected.

If the cluter came on and everything worked then you are missing a brake input possibly to start, or there is a starting system fault possibly.

If you put the key fob in the back up slot, this bypasses the PATS antennas and RFR and is a direct input to the RFA. Usually if the fob can lock and unlock the car, the fob and RFR is good, the RFA may not be sending a signal to the fob. Usually checking the second fob is a good way to rule out the fob because it has to send and receive signals. The fob may be able to send some signals, but not all or not be able to receive signals.

The dealership can also look at a had full of PIDs to see if there is a problem with the communication between the p.c.m. and r.f.a. but usually there are d.t.c.s set.

Your vin can help me more.
 

SHOtime623

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The R.S.A. is the wrong acronym. Its a Remote Function Actuator (R.F.A.). - Thank you for clearing that up! Now I know, and knowing is half the battle.

When you pressed the start/stop button did the cluster say no key detected? Or did the ignition torn on as normal? Everything lit up like it normally would, but it didn't crank. I don't recall if it said "No Key Detected" but the dealer mentioned that the error did come up in their testing, thence the reason that they eventually replaced the RFA module.

Where you able to lock and unlock the car normally with the fob? Yes, no issue there.

did you try the passive unlock were you press the keyless entry keypad to unlock the car? Yes, it worked fine as well.

did you happen to try the backup slot to start the car? Looks like its in the center console, left rear. - In the moment, I forgot all about it. I remembered later and suggested that to the dealer, but I never heard back on whether or not they had any success.

Did both keys fail to start the car? I didn't get an opportunity to try the other key myself. I asked the dealer if they tried it, but they never gave me a straight answer on that.

They are working with Hotline/Technical Assistance Center. They (the dealership) can call on the phone if they want after the first electronic contact, but it takes time to do the suggested diagnosis. - O, believe me, I am painfully aware. I work in IT, and we frequently have to work with similar application vendor support lines, and this process feels just like it. It's no fun being the end-user.

What are the D.T.C.s that were present before and after? We can't help much without them. It had no dummy lights on, and I don't recall seeing any codes in my OBD reader app before the issue began. My phone was almost dead when this happened, so I didn't get to do much troubleshooting of my own before the car was towed to the dealer shop.

Wrong parts can be a big problem. Not all dealerships use the Ford parts catalog. There are resources the dealership can use to check parts.

Care to share with me your VIN number? Here you go: 1FAHP2KT9AG106463

How the passive system works:
You press the start-stop button. This is a signal to the RFA and sends a radio signal over three interior passive antitheft System (PATS) antennas. These send a radio signal to the key fob. The fob responds with a second response to the Remote Functions Reciever (RFR). The RFR receives all key fob signals and transmitted them to the car. Once the rfr gets the key fob data for starting, the module sends a message back to the RFA.

The RFA talks to the P.C.M. (power train control module) to make sure they are friends and no one has swapped parts.

If everything is kosher and your foot is on the brake pedal, the car will start the engine.

If your foot is not on the brake, the ignition will turn on.

If the rfa does not detect a key fob, the cluster will make noise and say no key detected.

If the cluster came on and everything worked then you are missing a brake input possibly to start, or there is a starting system fault possibly.

If you put the key fob in the backup slot, this bypasses the PATS antennas and RFR and is a direct input to the RFA. Usually, if the fob can lock and unlock the car, the fob and RFR is good, the RFA may not be sending a signal to the fob. Usually checking the second fob is a good way to rule out the fob because it has to send and receive signals. The fob may be able to send some signals, but not all or not be able to receive signals.

The dealership can also look at a had full of PIDs to see if there is a problem with the communication between the p.c.m. and r.f.a. but usually, there are d.t.c.s set. - I actually stopped by the dealer lot last night to get into the car and see what I could do to check on codes, etc., but with the change of the RFA module, the door code is different now, so that got shot down. *sigh*

Your VIN can help me more.


Care to share with me your VIN number? Here you go: 1FAHP2KT9AG106463

When you pressed the start/stop button did the cluster say no key detected? Or did the ignition torn on as normal? Everything lit up like it normally would, but it didn't crank. I don't recall if it said "No Key Detected" but the dealer mentioned that the error did come up in their testing, thence the reason that they eventually replaced the RFA module.
I really wish I would have remembered the back-up slot! I'm kicking myself.

Where you able to lock and unlock the car normally with the fob? Yes, no issue there.

did you try the passive unlock were you press the keyless entry keypad to unlock the car? Yes, it worked fine as well.

did you happen to try the backup slot to start the car? Looks like its in the center console, left rear. - In the moment, I forgot all about it. I remembered later and suggested that to the dealer, but I never heard back on whether or not they had any success.

Did both keys fail to start the car? I didn't get an opportunity to try the other key myself. I asked the dealer if they tried it, but they never gave me a straight answer on that.

They are working with Hotline/Technical Assistance Center. They (the dealership) can call on the phone if they want after the first electronic contact, but it takes time to do the suggested diagnosis. - O, believe me, I am painfully aware. I work in IT, and we frequently have to work with similar application vendor support lines, and this process feels just like it. It's no fun being the end-user.

What are the D.T.C.s that were present before and after? We can't help much without them. It had no dummy lights on, and I don't recall seeing any codes in my OBD reader app before the issue began. My phone was almost dead when this happened, so I didn't get to do much troubleshooting of my own before the car was towed to the dealer shop.

When I hit the Start button with my foot on the brake, it did unlock the shifter so I could shift it out of park and get it to coast out of the parking space, etc. I don't know if that means anything, but there you go.

I hadn't had any starter issues up until now, but the car has almost 197K miles on it, so it's likely that the starter is the original. I mentioned that as well, but the dealer said that all diags pass, so they don't believe that the starter is the issue. I asked about the solenoid as well and received a similar answer.

Also, over the last few months, I had been seeing the "No Key Detected" error with the fob in the car with me, but I chalked that up to a week FOB battery, and the condition was never persistent.

One other note... By the next morning, the car was completely dead. They had to use the emergency key in the FOB to unlock the car when they went to look at the next day, and the first tech that tried getting in actually had some trouble with the key and called me to authorize breaking into the car if need be. I don't know if the completely dead battery condition means anything, but I figured that I would mention it.

Thank you for your reply and explanations! I've learned a lot already.
 
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SHOtime623

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I got an update from the dealer today that Ford's Technical Assistance group has not responded since Wednesday, and my Service Advisor also told me that they have a 2020 Explorer Hybrid onsite that is having a different problem but is being worked on by the same group, and it's been there for over two months. So, yay.

I'm going to stop by and talk with the Service Manager to see what other options I have to get my car taken care of OR at least get access to it again to check on some of the things that have been suggested here. We shall see.
 

Johnbigdog

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This is going to sound harsh, because it kinda is.

The dealership has a phone. They have the number to the assistance center and a contact. They can call and ask for and update. They don't have to use the web form.

You could also ask to see the contact, but I don't know if they will let you.
 

SHOtime623

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That's something that we say where I work as well. If people don't get back to you via email or some other electronic form of communication, call them. Then, they can't escape! :-D

I was unable to get a detailed update when I called yesterday. My Service Advisor and the Tech assigned to my car were both had the day off. The person that I spoke with at the service desk also couldn't find clear notes on the status of my car's repair. So, that's nice. O well.

I'm just hoping to have it back before Labor Day at this point.

Over the weekend, I was driving past the dealer, and it looked great sitting among a bunch of other white service vehicles, my car in its beautiful Candy Red Metalic paint looked pretty awesome! :-D I think that I might be missing my car....
 

SHOtime623

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The saga continues....

I had a call with my Service Advisor yesterday morning, and unfortunately, the information was comically vague and lacking in any detail. I was told that they had a call with the Ford TAC, and that there were some other things that they had been asked to check, which the dealer Tech did, and those results had been submitted. I heard nothing else yesterday, but my car is no longer sitting outside, so I am taking that as a good sign. I hope.

I called this morning to check in, and I am still getting no details as to what is going on. If my service notes were similarly vague, my manager would want to know the reason why, and I would likely wind up on a Performance Improvement Plan. I have asked for a callback from the Service Manager to get a better handle on where we stand, and I hope to discover that there is a method to this madness. We crossed the one month mark yesterday... Yay.
 

SHOtime623

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OK, so I got a callback from the Service Manager and the Tech assigned to my car.

I don't pretend to comprehend vehicle systems fully, but it would appear that we are back to where we started, sort of. The Tech reported that up until Tuesday, they had been able to get the car to "turn on" after the replacement of the battery, positive battery terminal connector and wiring harness, and the MFA module, the system would at least recognize keys. The gauge cluster would light up, and aside from actually turning over, everything worked normally. Now though, it doesn't do any of that.

On the plus side, since Tuesday of this week (the one month mark), the Tech finally has a direct line to a Ford Field Engineer. They've been tracing the wiring, testing connections, testing power, resistance, programming and reprogramming my key fobs, etc. What it looks like now, according to the tech, is that two computers aren't talking to one another to permit the car to start. The error they are seeing is "Startup system fault" - I hope I got that right - and so the Tech and the Engineer are continuing to dig. At one point, it even said that there was an insufficient number of keys to permit startup.

I hope this makes sense. Regardless, the work continues.
 

SHOtime623

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Another amusing update from the late afternoon. I received a call from the Service Manager, and she was calling to report an unfortunate turn of events. The Ford Field Engineer determined that my vehicle's modules needed a firmware update(s), and this person also noted that the tool that the dealership uses for such things needed an update as well before proceeding. They walked through that update to their tool, and for whatever reason, the tool is now unable to function. They have a call into their tech support team to have them remote in and fix whatever is wrong with the tool. Once that is done, they will go back to working on my car.

You can't make this stuff up, and during the call, I could barely contain my laughter! O well, more updates to come.
 

SHOtime623

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Well, I called the dealer myself today, since I didn't get an update from anyone, and as it turns out, the update tool(s) had just been fixed as of 3:30 PM EST today. Somehow, another car had gotten in front of mine in the queue for updates, but it's next in line anyway, so I'll take what I can get. Regardless, the machine is fixed, and my fingers are crossed. My expectations are low, but here's hoping for a positive outcome.

Thanks for reading. :)
 

SHOtime623

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So, since the programming device is still on the fritz, a week after the faulty patch, a Ford Field Service Engineer is onsite at Champion to work on my car directly. Fingers crossed!

The bug in this patch is a real winner. The other vehicle in the same queue as my car, a brand-new 2020 Explorer Hybrid, had a patch run on it yesterday, and the faulty patch process allowed the vehicle to start despite the patch process having done nothing. If it weren't for the quick action on the part of the tech, that vehicle could have suffered even more damage. The bug apparently is that the device will say that programming was successful regardless of what action the device takes. A partial install or no install at all will register as successful. My car is not in the age range that Ford's TAC wanted to troubleshoot against, so my car isn't being leveraged as a lab experiment. It's almost as if Microsoft's 365 team has been farmed out to Ford.
 

SHOtime623

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So, after five weeks, the Ford Field Engineer shows up at the dealer, spends an hour on my car, and discovers that the actual problem was exactly what I said it was from the beginning! It's the starter! The Field Engineer's diagnostic equipment was not pulling any codes from my car at all, so he checked the obvious problem, the aforementioned starter, and that very thing was something that I asked about on the very first week. I was told that nothing else was failing, except the MFA module. The engineer got the car started with the existing starter, but it does have a "dead spot."

I talked to my Service Advisor, and the team at Champion is trying to reconcile how their diag tools were so wrong for so long.

And so, after five weeks, my car is on the road to recovery. The bill is not small, but I have requested that my Service Advisor and the Service Manager get together and "sharpen their pencil." I don't think that it's too much to ask to discount the bottom line since they have been going down a rabbit hole of their own creation, and I am NOT paying full price for that. Good times....

Thanks for reading.
 

SHOtime623

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Well, I came very close to getting my car back today, but again, no joy.

After the Ford FSE got the starter taken care of yesterday, and got the car up and running, the check engine light came on. It wasn't on before I went in, but even before I heard the rest of the voicemail, I figured I knew what I was. The rear turbo's O2 sensor had finally failed. I keep an eye on things via an OBDlinkLX adapter and an app on my phone. Over the last few months, the readings from that sensor were slipping, so it was on my list to be replaced anyway. The dealer is taking care of it at no charge, the first of a few concessions they are going to make, according to the Service Manager.

Once they got that taken care of, the check engine light went out and then came back on. They pulled the code, and it would seem that the PCM is dying now as well. Thankfully, they have a line on a used one for about $1100 less than what a new one would cost. That's on order, and if all goes well, I should have my car next Wednesday.

The other outstanding item that they can't figure out is my door code. The tech also didn't seem to know that if you have the key on you, any contact with the door keypad will unlock the car. A little scary... Regardless, neither the code that I've been using for the last 6 years or the code that they pulled is working, but at this point, I'm not sure how much I care. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Once again, the dealer techs are stumped. I know, shocking! *bangs head against wall*

The other reason for the added delay is that the Service Manager is the only one with the authority to trim my bill to account for the shenanigans that have transpired over the last 5 weeks. We'll actually be in week 6 before I get it back, but at least the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned on. I just hope that it's not an oncoming train.
 

SHOtime623

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Well, the saga is at an end. At the six and a half week mark, I received a call that it was finally done. My Service Advisor referred to my car as a nightmare, haha!

The PCM that they ordered came in defective, so they had to order another one. Thankfully, that one came in and was good. They also had to replace the O2 sensor again, because the first one was "shorted out by the bad PCM." That was taken care of under the part warranty.

They put the car through a Bronze level detail, and it was not well done. Almost all of the windows were streaked, and the Start/stop button was pushed into the dash. I was able to pick at it and get to pop back into place. It hasn't been an issue since, but even if it is, I know how to get to it and fix it. The interior and looked good otherwise, and regardless, it was nice to be back in my own car again. I had almost forgotten how quiet it is inside.

The transmission flush, PTU flush, and Rear differential flush passed without issue.

Since I have had the car back, I have noticed that it is running really well, and I have had a couple of opportunities to get into it and it's like it was when I first bought it six years ago.

In the end, the bill was just over $2800. The only discount that I received was a $250 line item that was applied due to "the extended amount of time in the service queue." Hopefully, the poor soul with the 2020 Explorer Hybrid will get a good discount for being in the queue for over two months!

Anyway, thank you SHOforum community for reading. I am glad that this is behind me.
 
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