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Old 10-28-2012, 08:24 PM   #1
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Keys Help - Dealer

Hi. I have a 1998 986 Base.

I needed two keys (no alarm). I brought the car to the dealer, they said that they could not access the alarm module of the car. They told me there was a PCNA database with the access codes based on VIN. The passcode associated with my VIN isn't working. Without the passcode, they can not access the module to add/delete keys.

Dealer cut lighted-head keys and was unsuccessful in adding them.

Dealer wants to replace the "theft control module " $460 part: 99661826203

No issues with this 25k immaculate 986. Runs fine but only has 1 key. Dealer maintained.

Does this make sense?.. or is the dealer trying to make a key sale into $$$?

Last edited by b55er; 10-28-2012 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 10-29-2012, 12:59 AM   #2
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On one hand it makes sense, the key and immobilizer need to communicate in order for the car to start and run properly. However, if you have a key that works why they can't duplicate the programming protocols of that same key is confusing. I only had one key for my 986 the entire time I owned it, if it were me I'd run with one key.
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Old 10-29-2012, 06:50 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b55er View Post
Hi. I have a 1998 986 Base.

I needed two keys (no alarm). I brought the car to the dealer, they said that they could not access the alarm module of the car. They told me there was a PCNA database with the access codes based on VIN. The passcode associated with my VIN isn't working. Without the passcode, they can not access the module to add/delete keys.

Dealer cut lighted-head keys and was unsuccessful in adding them.

Dealer wants to replace the "theft control module " $460 part: 99661826203

No issues with this 25k immaculate 986. Runs fine but only has 1 key. Dealer maintained.

Does this make sense?.. or is the dealer trying to make a key sale into $$$?
The Dealer is correct in telling you that the PPN database does contain the Vehicle Code Information. When they put your VIN into the database, it will give them the immobilizer code to access the coding/programming content of the Alarm Control Module. Without that code, you can not program keys. However, if they are informing you that they can not access the Alarm Control Module to input this code and sunsequently delete or add keys, then I would say there is an issue with the Alarm Control Module.
As Ghost Rider said, if you have a key and it works then leave it, if you want fresh keys then by the sounds of it you may have to start with the Alarm Control Module.

-Ty
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Old 10-29-2012, 07:35 AM   #4
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Stephe57,

What you said and what the dealer said kinda makes sense.

They were telling me that the Alarm module passcode obtained by PCNA was not correct.

Now.. Either the database is incorrect.. or the module is bad in some way. As I said earlier, the car runs and drives fine with it's one key. As far as I know, the module has never been replaced.

I wanted to check with the forum in case the dealer was BSing me and wanted to turn two keys from a $300 experience into a $700 one.

Obtaining two extra keys has turned into an expensive ordeal. Does the dealer update the PCNA database if a new module is added? After this lesson learned, I understand that I will ask the dealer to provide me with all the coding information for the car.

Any other options to add keys to the car? If I swap the Alarm module out, I assume it has practically no value on the used market due to the unknown password issue. Can it be reprogrammed/flashed?

Thanks again,

B55er..
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:16 AM   #5
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Stephe57,

What you said and what the dealer said kinda makes sense.

They were telling me that the Alarm module passcode obtained by PCNA was not correct.

Now.. Either the database is incorrect.. or the module is bad in some way. As I said earlier, the car runs and drives fine with it's one key. As far as I know, the module has never been replaced.

I wanted to check with the forum in case the dealer was BSing me and wanted to turn two keys from a $300 experience into a $700 one.

Obtaining two extra keys has turned into an expensive ordeal. Does the dealer update the PCNA database if a new module is added? After this lesson learned, I understand that I will ask the dealer to provide me with all the coding information for the car.

Any other options to add keys to the car? If I swap the Alarm module out, I assume it has practically no value on the used market due to the unknown password issue. Can it be reprogrammed/flashed?

Thanks again,

B55er..
The Alarm Control module has your VIN coded into it. When a new Alarm Control Module is installed the Immobilzer Code is re-entered into the new module, thus your code never changes. If you wanted to get rid of the Alarm Control Module, in order for it to be useful to another owner, you would have to sell your DME, the key, and the Alarm Control Module together as that Alarm Control Module will not work for any other DME(VIN).

-Ty

Just out of curiousity, did they happen to give you the code that they obtained?
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Old 10-29-2012, 12:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Just out of curiousity, did they happen to give you the code that they obtained?
I haven't asked for the codes yet. They returned the car back to me on Friday, stating that they could not access the Alarm module with PCNA's code. I am awaiting a new Alarm module to arrive (probably tomorrow). I will ask for all codes when dropping off the car.

They also told me that if they installed the Alarm module and could not program the new keys into it, there would be no charge for trying (and putting the old module back).

This is a quite frustrating (Porsche) experience.. all I want is two keys! I just wanted to check with the forum folks and verify that I wasn't being taken for a ride from the Service Department.

Thanks again..

B55er..
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:50 AM   #7
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Update:

Dealer installed a new Alarm module #98661826003

Dealer unable to program old or new key with new module. Dealer reinstalled old Alarm module, and original key works, but not able to program 2 new keys.

Dealer has a call into Porsche tech-line for assistance..

All I wanted was two new keys!
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:04 AM   #8
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Porsche, so safe, even the dealers can't boost one.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:02 AM   #9
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Update.

Ghostrider.. you're correct. They can't.

Dealer tells me that the spoke to tech-line. Tech-line suggests to replace DME and Alarm M531.

Dealer quotes me for parts: $5k for the DME, $460 for M531. I left the dealer with my one working key, and two that won't start the ignition.

A quick google pulls up Specialized ECU Repair, Replacement, & Testing - Restore or Exchange your Electronic Control Unit (ECU). I'll be calling them shortly.
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:29 AM   #10
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I'd be really interested in hearing about your experience with that firm. It sounds like a great solution to an otherwise expensive problem.
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:02 AM   #11
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So what have we learned?....... That a Porsche is a good car to stop making payments on, the repo guys are going to have their hands full.
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:30 AM   #12
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b44er: I would also like to hear about your experience with this company. For now, I've book marked them for future reference in case I need such a service.
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:57 AM   #13
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I called ECU Doctors this morning..

They said there could be a communication issue between the DME and M531. Wiring is not suspect as the car operates with no faults.

Dealer is going to remove the DME, M531 and I'll send 3 keys to ECU Doctors. They said there are two options..

1) Fix the problem with intermodule communication or buy a rebuilt unit
2) They have a workaround for the immobilizer.. essentially to disable it so any fitting key will work. See Immobilizer Removal for Porsche Boxster ECU DME 0261204605, 0 261 204 605 - Specialized ECU Repair

They said if I send the DME, M531, and keys, that they will make it work. Estimated price is $675-850. Turnaround time is 3-7 days. I spoke to a local independent Porsche mechanic and he said that he uses ECU Doctors for all his DME work.

-B55er
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:36 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b55er View Post
I called ECU Doctors this morning..

They said there could be a communication issue between the DME and M531. Wiring is not suspect as the car operates with no faults.

Dealer is going to remove the DME, M531 and I'll send 3 keys to ECU Doctors. They said there are two options..

1) Fix the problem with intermodule communication or buy a rebuilt unit
2) They have a workaround for the immobilizer.. essentially to disable it so any fitting key will work. See Immobilizer Removal for Porsche Boxster ECU DME 0261204605, 0 261 204 605 - Specialized ECU Repair

They said if I send the DME, M531, and keys, that they will make it work. Estimated price is $675-850. Turnaround time is 3-7 days. I spoke to a local independent Porsche mechanic and he said that he uses ECU Doctors for all his DME work.

-B55er
OMG! You have the lessor of evils…and EITHER is going to COST ya...kind of like the rest of US….except you are having those problems with your car, it could be worse. I'm not sure how but it could be worse.

How much is a rebuilt unit?

Keep us posted on how you solved it.
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Old 11-02-2012, 04:17 PM   #15
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I'm sorry to hear that B55er! That is very preculiar...I guess there is some Porsche Gremlins at work here

-Ty
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:20 PM   #16
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Car at dealer. DME, M531, and 3 keys sent to ECU Doctors via next day FedEx today.

Awaiting arrival and diagnosis..

-B55er
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:38 PM   #17
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Update:

EDU Doctors tells me that they were unable to repair the M531. They replaced several low level components (non-violotile memory I think) without success. My DME checked out fine. They said to get everything working, I'd need to replace M531, reprogram the DME, and order a new key head with a pill. What I didn't understand is that I gave them 2 new keys and one working key. They wanted to replace the working key with a new one. They said the pill was burned to the original M531. I didn't understand that because from what I understand, the pill is passive (non-remote key)

Anyway.. I authorized the parts and work (~$620) and the local dealer received the DME, 3 keys, and new M531 today. They install in the car, verify no faults, they tell me everything looks great on the PIWIS. Dealer calls me to pick up the car.

I get to the dealer Friday @ 6, everyone but the cashier is gone. I pay and the car is waiting for me outside. I unlock the door, open it, and the interior light isn't working. I put the key in, and the light works. WTF?

I pull out my iPhone in the parking lot, google and discover I have the exact same symptoms as this..
http://986forum.com/forums/general-discussions/26614-help-interior-lights-2000-base.html

So I'll be back to the dealer on Monday to get the car out of "Transport Mode"

Remember.. all I wanted was two extra non-remote keys.

I am assuming that all values in the DME and M531 are default.

This is a base 1998 Boxster.

Q: What variables should I ask them to set when they plug in the car?

Last edited by b55er; 11-16-2012 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:56 AM   #18
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Well, the good news so far is that you saved almost $5K by having ECU Doctors fix the problem rather than the dealer. Hopefully, your remaining problem is the car is in transport mode and the dealer can reprogram the car in 15 minutes or so. Best of luck.

My take away from your experience is to keep ECU Doctors in my Porsche rolodex. Thanks for bringing them to my attention.
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:08 AM   #19
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I read this symptom a while back on Renntech.
I think the DME probably got defaulted when they repaired it. Which put the DME in energy saving "transit" mode, and needs to be put into Sports Car Handover mode.
The dealer has to do this.
Interior Lights Ng When Doors Open... - 986 Series (Boxster, Boxster S) - RennTech.org Forums
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:15 AM   #20
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great info tks eddie
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