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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's cold out. My problem didn't start until it was cold.

I get in my 00 Sable the other day, put the key in the ignition and start my car, like normal, right? Wrong. I get nothing. My radio and interior lights work fine, but my starter won't turn.

I took the key out and tried it again. This time, I don't get light, radio or anything. So, I'm thinking to myself, that's strange.

I took the key out and tried again. This time it worked like there wasn't a problem to begin with.


I thought, well, maybe it's a hickup or something, right?

At work, with the kids loaded in and quite cold out, I tried to start my car. It worked fine that moring, but I had kept it in the garage all night. It did the same problem again. This time, as I was cursing to the car gods, it was being stubborn with no starter sound at all.

After a couple minutes of silently cursing everyone, I put the key in and it started like there was no problem at all.

What gives?

It can't be the battery, right. It can't be the starter, cause it wasn't grinding or even turning over. It just stops working and starts. No ruuu-ruu sound at all.

Is it a security system problem? Does the system shut down the ignition and starter and battery?

Any help would be appreciated.
 

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Here is some info on the PATS system. When it won't start do you have any dash warning lights?

Principles of Operation

The PATS uses a specially encoded ignition key, this key is not compatible with previous vehicles or any current model year vehicles. Each specially encoded ignition key contains a permanently installed electronic device called a transponder. Each transponder contains a unique encrypted identification code out of over 18 billion, billion combinations.

Each encoded ignition key must be programmed into the vehicle's powertrain control module (PCM) before it can be used to start the engine. There are special diagnostic repair procedures outlined in this manual that must be carried out if a new encoded ignition key is necessary.

This system contains a new feature named Unlimited Key Mode. This feature allows a customer to program more than eight keys to their vehicle if they request it. Each vehicle in Unlimited Key Mode is set up with a special Unlimited Transponder Security Key. This allows all the customer vehicles to share the same keys, but no other keys from outside can be used to operate the vehicles. For an individual customer, any randomly selected Security Key is acceptable. Refer to Key Programming�Unlimited Key Mode in this section.

The PATS transceiver module communicates with the encoded ignition key. The module is located behind the steering wheel column shroud and contains an antenna connected to a small electronics module. During each vehicle start sequence, the transceiver module reads the encoded ignition key identification code and sends data to the PCM.

The control functions are contained in the PCM. This module carries out all of the PATS functions, such as receiving the identification code from the encoded ignition key and controlling the engine enable. The PCM initiates the key interrogation sequence when the vehicle ignition switch is turned to RUN or START.

All elements of the PATS must be functional before the engine is allowed to start. If any of the components are not working correctly, the vehicle will not start.

The PATS uses a visual theft indicator. The indicator will prove out for three seconds when the ignition switch is turned to RUN or START under normal operation. If there is a PATS problem, this indicator will either flash rapidly or glow steadily when the ignition switch is turned to RUN or START. The PATS system also flashes the theft indicator every two seconds at ignition OFF to act as a visual deterrent.

The PATS will be activated and will disable the vehicle from starting if there is a:

improper encoded ignition key (example � Taurus/Sable key).
damaged encoded ignition key.
unprogrammed key.
non-encoded key (key has no electronics).
damaged wiring.
damaged transceiver.
damaged PCM.
 
Inspection and Verification

Verify the customer concern by operating the system.
Visually inspect for obvious signs of mechanical and electrical damage.


Visual Inspection Chart  Mechanical  Electrical 
Large metallic objects, a second ignition key on the same key ring as the PATS ignition key or electronic devices on the key chain that can be used to purchase gasoline or similar items
Ignition lock cylinder
PATS key
Use of a non-PATS key
More than one PATS key on key chain 
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Now that I think about it, I do remember seeing the THEFT light blinking when the key was in.

Thanks for the information. I will check into it.

When I got the car, I was given only one key from the dealer. How do I go about getting another?
 

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If you take your key to the dealer, they can cut another PATS key, and they will have to program it. You can't program it on your own with only one key, as it has to be done with the proper computer equipment. Once you have 2 keys, you can add more on your own - just insert the first programmed key into the ignition, turn it to run, wait 3-5 seconds, remove it, insert the second programmed key, turn it to run and wait 3-5 seconds, then remove it, insert the new, UNprogrammed key into the ignition and turn it to run. That new key should be programmed. Try to start the car with it.

Anyway, PATS keys are pretty pricey, and they'll likely charge you a half hour to program it - you have to hook up the equipment, enter all the info, etc, then there's a 10 minute security access delay, to make it harder for potential thieves to steal your car. Once they've gained access, they have to erase all previously stored ignition key codes, then reprogram all keys. So any keys you have for the car, they have to have in order to program them.

As for your weird starting concern, i'd check your battery connections and grounds to make sure they're all clean and tight. Might be something simple like that.
 

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Key Programming Using Two Programmed Keys
NOTE: This procedure only works if two or more programmed ignition keys are available and it is desired to program additional key(s). If two keys are not available, follow the procedure in Key Programming Using Diagnostic Equipment .

NOTE: PID SPARE_KY must be enabled for this procedure to operate. If this PID is not enabled, follow the security access procedure above and select Spare Key Programming Switch: Enabled.

NOTE: If the programming procedure is successful, the new key(s) will start the vehicle and the THEFT indicator will illuminate for approximately three seconds.

NOTE: If the programming procedure is not successful, the new key(s) will not start the vehicle and the THEFT indicator will flash. If the programming procedure was not successful leave the ignition switch in the RUN position for at least 30 seconds, repeat the key programming procedure from Step 1. If the failure repeats, refer to Diagnosis and Testing to review DTCs and carry out pinpoint tests as required.

NOTE: A maximum of eight ignition keys can be programmed to a passive anti-theft system (PATS) equipped vehicle. If more are required, refer to Key Programming—Unlimited Key Mode in this section.

NOTE: If the steps are not carried out as described, the programming procedure will end.

NOTE: Ignition keys must have correct mechanical key cut for the vehicle and must be a PATS encoded key.

NOTE: If the vehicle is in unlimited key mode, this spare programming procedure still functions. Any two keys that can start the vehicle may be used to program-in an additional unlimited key.

Insert the first programmed ignition key into the ignition lock cylinder and turn the ignition switch from OFF to RUN (maintain the ignition switch in RUN for three seconds).
Turn the ignition switch to OFF and remove the first key from the ignition lock cylinder.
Within seconds of turning the ignition switch to OFF, insert the second programmed ignition key into the ignition lock cylinder and turn the ignition switch from OFF to RUN (maintain the ignition switch in RUN for three seconds).
Turn the ignition switch to OFF and remove the second key from the ignition lock cylinder.
Within 20 seconds of turning the ignition lock cylinder to OFF, insert the unprogrammed ignition key (new key) into the ignition lock cylinder and turn the ignition switch from OFF to RUN (attempt to start vehicle).
If it is desired to program additional key(s), repeat the key programming procedure from the beginning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, the car is still doing it. It seems to be in a cycle, though. It'll start fine for several times, followed by a power, but not starter, then no power.

I've been opening the hood and jiggling the wires on the battery, which are good and tight and then getting back in the car, which usually, but not always turns over on first try.

I've found that once I get a key turn with no power, I have no power at all to the car. That's including the electronic windows and door locks.

Very strange.
 
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