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Old 11-02-2014, 07:06 AM   #1
paulsiu
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Ignition Key cannot turn - key may also be worn

Last week, I attempted to start my 2000 Ford Focus ZX3, but the ignition key wouldn't turn. I tried the usual with reinserting key, turning the wheel while turning key, spraying it with WD40, but nothing worked. I had this same incident about 5 years ago and had to get the cylinder replaced.

I was able to take the car to my mechanic. The tow truck guy came and didn't have the right tow truck for the job, but when he looked at the key, he thought it was really worn. He suggested that perhaps I should get a new key from the dealer.

I contacted the dealer, and he indicated that they can't look up key code for cars over 10 years old. I asked my locksmith, but he isn't aware of a way to get the key code (perhaps we need a different lock smith?)

Here's my conundrum: If I were to get the new cylinder, how would the mechanic reprogram the cylinder without a key code? What's the cheapest way to get out of this? The key does seem worn, but I can open the car door with it. Perhaps it's not that worn.

Any idea where I can get key code off a ford focus if I do not have the code. I got the car used, so I never got the key code. The second key got destroyed a while back.

Paul



Last edited by paulsiu; 11-02-2014 at 07:27 AM. Reason: further clarification
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:56 AM   #2
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Cylinder gets coded to the key, not the key code
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:08 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsiu View Post
Here's my conundrum: If I were to get the new cylinder, how would the mechanic reprogram the cylinder without a key code? What's the cheapest way to get out of this? The key does seem worn, but I can open the car door with it. Perhaps it's not that worn.
The cheapest way is not to reprogram anything and keep the same "key code" without knowing what it is.
Understand how the PATS (Passive Anti Theft System) works. There is a transmitter in the black ring that surrounds the ignition lock cylinder. There is a responder chip in the key. (Hence the term "transponder.") Put the key in the ignition and the transmittter "queries" the key and waits for the correct response (code) stored from the last start event. If all's OK, PATS drops out of tthe picture and the car starts.

The PATS system doesn't care about the shape of the physical key matching the tumblers in the lock cylinder. They're two separate and indepedent systems; one old school and one new.

Now you have some options depending on what's worn.
1) Get a new key blank cut to your old worn key pattern. Remove the chip from your old key (gently pry open the "door" at the top of your old key) and put it in your new key.
2) Get a new key and matching cylinder if both components are worm - the most likely case. Get them matched to your old key pattern if you want the doors and ignition to work with one key - or don't and use two keys for the car. Remove the chip from your old key (gently pry open the "door" at the top of your old key) and put it in your new key. Replace the lock cylinder by turning the ignition to the ACC position and pushing in on the retaining tab through an access hole.
3) "Disable" the PATS system and attach the chip removed from the old key close to the transmitter ring in the steering column. Get a non-PATS key and new lock cylinder. Not recommended but gets you going in a pinch.

Done.

The Ford ignition lock is a known weak point on early Focuses. Replace the ignition cylinder before you can't at least turn it to the ACC position. If you've already had it replaced once, it might just be a worn key but I'd replace the key and lock as a set.



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Old 11-02-2014, 10:29 AM   #4
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Man I never knew that about the key. Thanks for the education.

OP... thanks for this thread and hope you get it fixed soon!
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Old 11-03-2014, 02:54 AM   #5
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You can easily attach the chip to the steering right next to the PATS ring that reads it and then install plastic covers back over that to then only need a $3 plain jane key. Just don't tell anybody.

Slip chip into a short piece of vacuum hose to make a shock absorber sleeve for it, and easier to attach and retain being bigger. There is a formed notch on top of the steering casting that it can be plastic wiretied to.
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