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jonathan909

'99 OBW keyless entry is busting my chops

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It's never worked, and I've decided to make it.  When I do the cycle-key-10-times thing it does not beep the horn to indicate entry into programming mode.  If I use the driver's door switch to lock the doors, it does honk the horn when I close the door.  The fuse that's supposed to supply it (according to the owner's manual) is good.  I've tried a couple of other modules fetched from the junkyard (though their part numbers vary slightly from the one that came with the car), but none have brought a change of behaviour.

Can anyone suggest any leads, any known gotchas that would inhibit its entering programming mode?  I'm hoping someone can just pass me the secret answer, although I'm pissed enough to start reverse-engineering this thing

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I just know many people complain about it being hard to get into the mode.

 

I guess just keep trying - make sure it isn't in something like valet mode that may need to be canceled first I guess....????

 

maybe do a battery disconnect, reconnect,  then cycle the key off-on 3 times , then start the procedure ,or ????

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan

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2 hours ago, 1 Lucky Texan said:

I just know many people complain about it being hard to get into the mode.

I guess just keep trying - make sure it isn't in something like valet mode that may need to be canceled first I guess....????

maybe do a battery disconnect, reconnect,  then cycle the key off-on 3 times , then start the procedure ,or ????

None of the above, I'm certain, for the following reasons:

The battery was disconnected for at least a year while the car waited for me overhaul the engine (the product of both winter and an ungulate conspiracy, as I've previously noted).

According to the owner's manual the security system was an option, and I don't think it's in here because there's no indicator light on the dash (to the left of the fog light switch) to show that it's armed (or that valet mode is active).  Incidentally, I fought with the stuck-in-valet-mode problem with my late '02 Forester:  I think that Alpine designed a trap into it, in that you use the key fob to enter and exit valet mode, so if it's entered, then you lose the key fob, you're stuck in valet mode with no way to exit it, and I'm pretty sure that valet mode inhibits programming a new key fob - so you're totally SOL stuck.  I've dug around a lot and even called Alpine about it, and there's no detailed information out there that might, for example, explain how to exert a hard reset on the module.  I've even started trying to figure it out by pulling the EEPROM off of the keyless entry module so I can read it out and see whether anything can be learned by comparing a bunch of them - but I can't make any progress on that without a running system to reference.

Someone out there must actually know something about these problems.  Flailing around at it is a waste of time.

Edited by jonathan909

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I thought the earlier systems used the reset button for programming, not the 10-times on key thing.

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2 hours ago, 1 Lucky Texan said:

you might dig around at subaruoutback.org

That was where I lived before I moved here.  Didn't have any luck with this question there either.  I made the switch to USMB for a better balance of answers.

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1 hour ago, FerGloyale said:

I thought the earlier systems used the reset button for programming, not the 10-times on key thing.

Not according to the 1999 Legacy (inc. Outback and SUS) manual.  May have been a transition in that year, as our 1999 Forester had the under-dash pushbutton (and this OBW doesn't).  The keyless entry worked in the Forester, so I never had a reason to mess with the programming.

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yeah, Impreza stuff and Legacy stuff are not always 'aligned' by year model.

Impreza stayed with code alarm until 2000, legacy got alpine starting June of 98 so, I guess there could be some confusion as to system?

 

above info based on cars101.com

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, 1 Lucky Texan said:

Impreza stayed with code alarm until 2000, legacy got alpine starting June of 98 so, I guess there could be some confusion as to system?

Not sure what's meant by "confusion as to system".  I'm certainly not confused about what I have here - it's all Alpine hardware, and the instructions are consistent with those published for later model years.  I can't comment on what came before, as (afaIk) the keyless entry wasn't supported in my earlier ('95 and '98) Legacys.

Unless someone offers some really revelatory new information, I think my next step is building a test jig for these things so I can, at least, control the I/O rather than just trusting the car to provide sane and predictable inputs to the module.

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any chance the procedure (and even the fob) could be tried with a different car? friend or relative or mechanic have one available? 99-04 right?

 

anyway, sounds like you have a plan.

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1 hour ago, 1 Lucky Texan said:

any chance the procedure (and even the fob) could be tried with a different car? friend or relative or mechanic have one available? 99-04 right?

I  think that's the date range.  I have an '01 Forester, so I'll be messing with it there as well.  And I have a bucket of fobs from the junkyard to play with.

1 hour ago, 1 Lucky Texan said:

 

anyway, sounds like you have a plan.

Well, sort of.  Unfortunately, the first part of the plan is to go on a raging tear through the house - when I first started looking at this for the '02 Forester, I printed some schematics out of the service manual and made a whole bunch of notes on them, and now I can't find them.  Since I don't want to recreate those notes from scratch I'm going to be a real pain to be around until they're found.

 

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1 hour ago, jonathan909 said:

I have an '01 Forester, so I'll be messing with it there as well.

Actually, no, I take that back.  It came with some crap aftermarket keyless entry, so the first thing I have to do is get all up in that nonsense and see if I can install the Alpine to make it standard again.  Then maybe I learn something.

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I read the owner's manual for the on\off key and programming instructions for my key fobs on my 08 Impreza and took it to my son at the dealer who was able to use the SSM to simply add the code numbers under the cover to the computer and press one button to add them both.  Way easier than key on/off etc.  Not sure if the 99 system is the same

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I've been over the schematics and there's no connection between the Alpine keyless entry module and the OBDII, so unless there's some path through the security module, the SSM can't do anything with this one.

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On ‎4‎/‎8‎/‎2019 at 3:18 PM, jonathan909 said:

Can anyone suggest any leads, any known gotchas that would inhibit its entering programming mode?  I'm hoping someone can just pass me the secret answer, although I'm pissed enough to start reverse-engineering this thing

First-  no I don't have any leads.  I've had the same problem with 99 and that generation.  It's been awhile and I can't recall many details but I've wrestled with these as well. You're not alone.

One thing I do remember is a small tweak in the process could make it work - keep in mind I'm totally making these up because I don't remember, these have rusted out of mainstream around here awhile ago!  But anyway -  like when do you let off the brake?  or do you leave the key "on" or "off" after that 10 cycles?...Remember, I'm making those up, I just remember how ambiguous a step or two could be interpreted once I got it to work.  So read each step carefully and try to think of additional interpretations or try a few iterations with slight variations. 

I guess you're certain the FOB's are good? 

9 hours ago, Mike104 said:

I read the owner's manual for the on\off key and programming instructions for my key fobs on my 08 Impreza and took it to my son at the dealer who was able to use the SSM to simply add the code numbers under the cover to the computer and press one button to add them both.  Way easier than key on/off etc.  Not sure if the 99 system is the same

It would certainly be worth stopping in and asking what it would cost to try to program some remotes - maybe he would get lucky and they'd help him out.  2000+ stuff is much easier than what he's dealing with but maybe the SSM would be magic for them. 

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1 hour ago, idosubaru said:

One thing I do remember is a small tweak in the process could make it work - keep in mind I'm totally making these up because I don't remember, these have rusted out of mainstream around here awhile ago!  But anyway -  like when do you let off the brake?  or do you leave the key "on" or "off" after that 10 cycles?...Remember, I'm making those up, I just remember how ambiguous a step or two could be interpreted once I got it to work.  So read each step carefully and try to think of additional interpretations or try a few iterations with slight variations. 

Right - there are a bunch of those stupid little variables whose existence may or may not be rooted in fact.  The manual is quite clear about the key being OFF ("LOCK") at the end of the 10 twists, but there's no mention of the brake at all.  The only place I've seen the brake discussed is on Joe Spitz's page (the cars101.com piece mentioned above), and since the brake is not an input to the keyless entry module, I believe this is a myth.

1 hour ago, idosubaru said:

I guess you're certain the FOB's are good? 

It would certainly be worth stopping in and asking what it would cost to try to program some remotes - maybe he would get lucky and they'd help him out.  2000+ stuff is much easier than what he's dealing with but maybe the SSM would be magic for them. 

I'm not certain about anything.  But I do have about a dozen fobs with fresh batteries, so the odds are in my favour that I have some good ones.  And I'm in the process of building a bench jig so I don't have to do this out in the car.  I'm annoyed enough at this business that I intend to have its pelt nailed to the wall before long.

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For anyone (?) interested, an update:  Collected a few more of the modules from the boneyard today.  Tried one of them in the car to no change in behaviour.  I'm beginning to suspect that the problem is with the ten-key-twist.  As the car gets older, so do the switches, including the ignition.  If that switch becomes sufficiently noisy, then, depending on how well Alpine implemented their switch debounce, the keyless entry unit may not be able to accurately count the ten cycles, and that's all it takes for a deal-stopper.

Should have my jig finished tomorrow, so I can start doing more controlled experiments.

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I think I have read of people that just keep twisting until they hear the honk or w'ever. 12-15 times - w'ever.

 

it's 'approx.' 10 times

 

maybe I have the details wrong?

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan

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probably not, but even the cars101 site says 'approx' 10 times, every post I've read says success is when you are quickly but carefully doing it within 15 seconds until the horn honks - that is, don't fixate on the number 10.

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If you have never heard this system work, it occurs to me, suppose the horn chirp is silent due to a problem? maybe you HAVE been in program mode but never heard the chirp?

On my 03, there's a separate horn for the remote lock system (not sure on a 99 - at some point they switched from the car's horn to a dedicated sec. horn) but, if the actual sec. horn is bad, or, some relay from the sec. system to the car's horn is bad - you wouldn't hear the chirp. maybe try to test the security horn if so equipped. Or, find a schematic for how the sec. system chirps the car's horn and find a way to check that circuitry. Could just be a bad ground wire or relay somewhere.

 

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan

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When I say "we can be certain that it wasn't designed that way", I do so with some authority, because I design systems like this (and have done so for about 40 years).  If the manual says "ten times", that means the EEs and programmers behind it built it to work that way, and you can take that to the bank.  Nobody builds a sequence like this around an approximation, because: a) it's harder to do it that way, and b) they want it to work the same way every time, regardless of whether it's on their bench or out in the field.  Consistent, repeatable behaviour is the norm, and deviation is a defect that suggests bugs.  Nobody wants to get calls from dealers and customers complaining that it didn't work exactly that way every time it was used.  Would you tolerate that behaviour from your speedometer?  Your radio?  Your airbags?

Joe Spitz's "appr 10 times" is to be dismissed, along with his statement about the brake pedal, as myth.  He's a car salesman (and I've been in touch with him over this) who assembled his page as a convenience, not an engineer who's reporting definitive data.

I've been over the schematics, and with this Alpine system it's the same horn and same horn relay as the driver uses.  That's the only feedback provided to indicate programming mode; whether that was a good design decision is a different discussion.

So I'm becoming increasingly convinced that "fixat(ing) on the number 10" is exactly what will solve this.  Switch contacts get noisier, and key cylinders get stickier, over time.  I think that the designers, with brand-new keyswitches on their bench, made it work consistently, but failed to factor in the switch wear over time in building their debounce and delays simply because it's not their primary concern.

The "security" aspect you raised is different - in this generation that's a separate module not present in all cars, so it carries its own implications outside of the scope of what I'm doing now.

Edited by jonathan909

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I should have said remote locking system - evidently, customers felt the horns were too loud and they added another horn on beginning with some later model.

Joe has probably successfully programmed many remotes.

so, if the horn chirped on the 11th or 12th cycle, or the 9th, what would you do?

maybe you could get some contact cleaner on the ignition switch?

I'm not arguing the design, as you say,  there could be excessive contact bounce or a ratty signal that's rejected by some input filtering.....

you seem quite frustrated and it seems I haven't been very helpful so, your bench approach will likely be the best approach for you.

 

 

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan

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