Ford Anti-Theft Systems MisunderstoodPosted 1/8/2008
By Jerome Hokanson
Anti-theft systems are now about 10 years old on Ford products, and they are still one of the most misunderstood systems for some technicians. Ford's active and perimeter anti-theft systems use inputs from the door latch and hood/trunk pin switches to detect if someone is trying to break into a vehicle. The system will flash the headlamps and honk the horn for up to two minutes and then reset for the next event. Active systems are tied into the remote keyless entry systems on most Ford products.
Ford passive anti-theft Systems (PATS) come in two configurations. The first takes away the ability to crank the engine over, using a starter interrupt relay to control the starter relay. The second configuration allows the engine to crank, but takes the fuel injector pulse away. Some systems use a separate anti-theft module, while others are incorporated into the powertrain control module (PCM) or instrument cluster. All PATS systems use a chip in the large black plastic end of the key to trigger a start. The chip is under a small square plug in the key. If there is a hole there, the chip has fallen out.
A small electronic device, a transceiver, is mounted to the bottom of the steering column. It has a loop of wire that goes around the lock cylinder. When the key is put into the ignition cylinder, and turned to the run position, the transceiver sends out a small electronic signal to wake the key up. The key sends out a preset signal to the transceiver. If the transceiver recognizes the key, it will allow the car to start. If the key is not recognized, the car will not crank (if equipped that way) or it will crank but not start. In either case, the theft light will flash rapidly. All keys must be programmed into the PATS system. At the time of this article, the only scanners that can do this type of programming are the factory scanners.
The PATS system has its own set of codes. The PCM can generate a P1260 code, which is a generic code indicating that the PCM has seen a PATS event. The next step is to get into the PATS to pull codes. PATS codes are always B codes such as B1600, B1601, B1602, B1681, or B1682. The best place to start is to have the customer bring all of the available keys to the shop. If any of these keys will start the car, you just have a bad key. If none of the keys will start the car, remove the plastic covers around the steering column and inspect the transceiver harness and connector for problems and repair as needed. Check for B+ and ground. If OK, try a new transceiver assembly. This is the cheapest part in the system to replace and will not require programming. If you have any questions on this system, just give us a call.
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