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Old 07-05-2012, 05:22 PM
Eric_in_oklahoma Eric_in_oklahoma is offline
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Ford PATS Hell

**Updated Title: Alarm system malfunction

Just a heads up for anyone thinking about purchasing a used Ford
,circa 2001, that has this anti theft system installed.

Truck: F150 extended cab, 4x4, 5.4L, automatic, mileage is about
198k+. I only have one legitimate Ford key for it.

I have owned this for just under 3 years now. It is basically stock.
Not used for off roading etc. Just your average F150. No performance
mods on it at all.

Up until a month or so ago, it had been starting just fine. No starting
issues ever.

Go to lunch one day, come out, unlock with remote, start, and the
engine dies about 3 seconds later. Not able to restart. No power to
anything, lights, radio etc. Hmmm.

So I disconnect the negative cable for a few minutes and hook it
back up. Power returns to interior. Able to restart and drive on
off.

Does the exact same thing over the next couple of weeks. Happens
randomly. Never know when it will happen.

Someone mentions they had the same issue and it was from another RF
key on the keychain causing interference or a sending a invalid
signal. So I get rid of all keys except the Ford one. All was fine
for a day or so and then it happens again. So that theory goes out
the window.

The one time it happened, it started and stayed running. So I pull
out and am at the traffic light a short distance away just waiting
for the light to change and BAM, engine quits. This was within 2 minutes of starting it. So once again, do the
battery disconnect reconnect and get it going and move on.

Next time it does it, it happens in the driveway. This time the
battery disconnect doesn't do anything no matter how long I leave it
disconnected. So had it towed to Ford dealer.

They supposedly
"reset" the anti theft, and replaced the one battery cable end with
a smaller one that fit better.

I am not feeling great confidence in the vehicle at that point. So I
drive it and wait and see. Sure enough, happens again.

This time I do some additional searching online. And someone
mentions the Xpresskit starter bypass unit and that it can be hooked
up even if you do not have a remote starter. So I grab the Ford
version off Ebay. About $30 bucks.

I had to write the Canadian company a few times regarding the wiring of it.

The brown wire on the bypass unit is normally connected to the remote start
brainbox. But since I did not have a remote start, they said the
brown wire needs to pick up a negative signal when the key is
inserted, in order to activate the bypass. Hmmmmm

The best I can determine, is that the 4 pin PATS connector which is
under the dash, has pin 1 as the ground connection. Whether that
connection becomes live when the key is inserted, I don't know. So I
hook up into that and connect up the remaining wires as per their
diagram. Basically 3 more wires go to the PATS connector and then a
power wire and chassis ground.

The theory is that when the key is put in, it activates the bypass
box and the anti theft does not come into play.

All was fine for about 7 starts. Then today I wanted to run some
errands and went to start it. Same deal, engine dies about 3 seconds
after startup. Greeeeat. This time battery disconnect does not do
anything to restore power. #@$%$##!

So now I am back to troubleshooting this AGAIN.

An anti theft system that shuts out a legitimate key start is completely useless and has major design flaws.

To summarize:

2001 F150 4x4, auto, 5.4L
Bought used. Have had it almost 3 years.
About 198k miles.
Stock truck
Ran and started fine until a month or so back. Now randomly will
kill the engine within 3 seconds of starting. No restart ever able
to be accomplished without battery disconnect/reconnect.
Even that now has failed to reset it a few times.
Istalled Xpresskit remote starter bypass(keyless version).
Problem persists.

I want to take this anti theft system and rip it all out of the
truck, and send it back to Ford HQ engineering with a note to let
them know how much I enjoyed having it on the vehicle.

Does anyone have a solution for this, other than replacing the
engine with a 1960s V8?

I am out of ideas and the dealer is pretty much clueless.

Last edited by Eric_in_oklahoma; 07-14-2012 at 09:52 AM. Reason: Correction
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:01 PM
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stevenn1 stevenn1 is offline
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Dude u need an exorcist!
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:19 PM
projectSHO89 projectSHO89 is offline
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If the engine stalls AFTER it has started, it is NOT a PATS problem. It's a PATS issue if, and only if, the THEFT light flashes rapidly or stays illuminated after the 2-3 second PATS power-on power-on sequence. Starting will then be PREVENTED.

I've never heard of the "Xpress bypass kit", but it certainly won't negate the PATS system.

There's a good reason for the PATS system - it keeps the vehicle from being hot-wired and driven off. It's been standard equipment on Ford F150 pickups since 1999 and on other Fords as far back as 1996. If it was easy to defeat, it would be worthless. You're blaming the wrong thing since the engine starts successfully, an action that would be prevented by PATS if it were a PATS problem.

You're ranting up the wrong tree.
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:26 PM
Bluegrass 7 Bluegrass 7 is offline
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First thing is, the PATS has nothing to do with the killing the motor {after} it is running.
So you can eliminate the PATS as the source of the stalling.
As for no restart, the cause of the stalling after it was running is still the problem not the PATS.
PATS is passive and only allows the inital start then has no more control. It's not supposed to. There would be no point in it after the motor is running.
As well, if the Theift lamp is not acting in any unsual way it's more proof the PAT is not the issue.
Now what do you have?
A cranking issue, a fuel issue like no fuel pressure, a spark issue, an ECM relay issue, a crank sensor plugup issue etc.?
Have to begin to see what is or is not going on besides just not starting.
Good luck.
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Old 07-05-2012, 06:33 PM
Bluegrass 7 Bluegrass 7 is offline
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Project beat me in while I was typeing.
Same answer, go with it.
It's better than trying to fool with defeating the PATS**** BECAUSE****the PATS is software program linked.
You cannot bypass it for that reason alone.
Good luck.
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:56 PM
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I almost fell asleep reading that...
But it sounds interesting so keep us posted
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:54 PM
Eric_in_oklahoma Eric_in_oklahoma is offline
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Further Info

I forgot to mention that the theft light on the instrument cluster was indeed flashing rapidly when all this initially started happening. I noticed it after reconnecting the battery and getting it to restart. So I am not totally convinced that good old PATS is not somehow involved here.

Truck has an alarm system. Factory install? Don't know. It's got a red blinking push button indicator to the left of the steering wheel. And when the alarm was activating, it would sound the stock horn, not a separate siren. Additionally, whenever I would need to disconnect the negative battery cable, the horn would beep upon reconnecting. It does not do that anymore. Clue?

So what are the facts that I definitely know:

The battery is new within the last year.

The truck has always started just fine for me, up until just recently.

When the engine kill happens, on all but one instance, it always happens within 3 seconds or less after the engine starts, with the vehicle in park.

The other instance was within 2 minutes with the vehicle stopped, brakes applied, and transmission in drive, sitting at a stoplight.

The engine kill is random in nature. It might go for a few days and be fine and then it starts acting up again.

When the engine quits, it does so just like you turned off the key. No stumbling, stuttering etc.

After the engine quits a clicking sound is heard under the dash. Attempts to restart after this result in nothing. And there is no power to anything, headlights, radio, 12v plugs, dome light.

Disconnecting the battery negative and reconnecting it, usually, but not always, allows power back to the cab and a successful restart.

Once the vehicle is running beyond 3 seconds, it runs and drives normally, save for the one instance at the stop light where it died within 2 minutes of start up.

The engine kill can happen whether the engine is completely cold after sitting all night, or after sitting just a few minutes and trying a restart. It makes no difference.

Fuel filter was replaced not long after purchasing the truck.

This is my only vehicle. So it would be really nice to have it running reliably again soon.

That is all I have for now.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:55 AM
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If you're loosing all power, you have an electrical fault, not a PATS problem. PATS can't turn off all the power to your vehicle.

You most likely have a loose or poor ground connection, probably somewhere near the battery as well. You might also want to check the large positive cables going to the power distribution box.

Disconnect, inspect, clean, and tighten every ground and positive connection you can find.

Another fairly common problem is the General Electronics Module or GEM. It controls many electrical aspects of your truck, and they are somewhat prone to failure. You may want to look into that.
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:11 AM
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Follow up on Ian's suggestions.

Personally, I would remove the alarm system as a starting point.
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:49 AM
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That's exactly how some of the aftermarket alarm-remote starts work. Kills all the power after a few seconds if a fault is detected. That stuff is not nearly as smart as PATS and needs the vehicle to at least start to start diagnosing it's own system. When you pull the neg. cable it sound s like a relay in the aftermarket alarm drops out and it resets. As mentioned....do some research on that aftermarket alarm to understand how it works.
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:12 AM
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may have a bad relay in the aftermarket alarm/remote start if you can find the brain box and pull it out it will help you to eliminate it as a suspect. Everything wit the exception of the alarm/ keyless /remote start should work normally.
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:26 AM
Eric_in_oklahoma Eric_in_oklahoma is offline
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Checking

Thanks guys. I will do some checking today. I need to get it in the garage somehow. Going to be near 100 degrees today.

The alarm system is a code alarm. There is a cream colored plastic box mounted way up under the dash on the left side. Then there is some other black rectangular thing wire tied to other wires to hold it in place and it has some sort of white adjustment **** on it. Motion detector?

The fact that the engine kill occurs always in the same manner, meaning it is just like someone turned the key off, seems to be a big clue. That coupled with the associated loss of all electrical power in the cab may indeed point to the alarm system.

Did Ford install alarms on the assembly line in 2001? Dealer installed? Or are they all aftermarket installed?

As far as the GEM module, is that easily replaced? And is it tied into the PATS system, where you have to have two keys and do reprogramming on them? Or is it just plug n play?
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:47 AM
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Before you do anything else swap out the PCM power relay. You can switch it with the horn relay just to rule it out. I have seen MANY failed relays and they give similar symptoms to PATS problems. It's also a good idea to remove the aftermarket alarm and restore any damage wiring to stock. That means soldered and heat shrink splices, no butt connectors or scotch lock crap.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:02 AM
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When I bought My 03 F150 from the dealer 2 years ago it had an aftermerket remote start. I had heard horror stories like this so I told them to take it off before I bought it.
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:26 PM
Eric_in_oklahoma Eric_in_oklahoma is offline
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Got it started

Got it started!

Here is how it played out.

I wanted to get in the garage, so I figured I would give the neg battery reconnect a shot. It had been disconnected all night. Did that. Nothing. Still no power in the cab.

I crawled under the dash and removed the Xpresskit bypass I had installed. And I disconnected 5 wire taps which I figured were for the alarm. Reconnect battery. Still no luck. Damn.

Now when I say reconnect the battery cable, I mean just pushing it down snug but not tightening the nut.

So I go back to the battery and start wiggling the big cables on the negative side and suddenly the interior chime starts going off and the interior lights are on. Aha. Progress.

Key in, start....and it stays running. Beautiful. So I back it up and get it in the garage.

I get the loose alarm wires taped out of the way. Took some photos...links are at the bottom of this post.

The cream colored plastic box says "Remote keyless/anti theft. Made in Canada." It has some big connectors with lots of wires going to it. I didn't want to unplug that since I was afraid it would just cause it not to start again. So I left it as is.

Then I tightened down the negative cable properly. Started...ran for a bit. Didn't die. So I turned it off. Repeated that with different scenarios ie: using the remote to lock and unlock, then start; reaching in the open window while standing on the running board and starting with the vehicles doors locked; hitting the alarm button on the remote causing the headlights to flash once, then starting. I did about 12 various starts and it kept running each time. Excellent!

Then I started it and went to the battery and began seriously wiggling all the big cables. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. Truck kept on running.

Checked the headlights, turn signals and hazards. All working.

The only oddball thing that continues to happen is the interior chime goes off just by opening the door. It's annoying. Taking the fuse out kills the interior lights.

Is there a little speaker for that chime that I can disconnect?

So I have a better feeling now that the issue has been resolved. I don't know which alarm wires those were, but disconnecting them all seems to have fixed the issue. Time will tell of course.

I am still going to keep my 1/2" wrench in the truck with me if I need to do a battery disconnect again.

So it seems PATS was not the issue and I was indeed barking up the wrong tree.

Thanks to the Forum here and your replies, I was able to use the information everyone gave and went with what I felt was the most obvious choice to start with and continue from there.

I don't care about the alarm. I just wanted to get it running again.

So a big thanks to everyone who took the time to reply. I sincerely appreciate it. It helped.

I will certainly post any updates if the problem returns.

http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q...6sd/01F150.jpg
http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q...sd/01F150b.jpg
http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q...01F150cjpg.jpg
http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q...01F150djpg.jpg
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:26 PM
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