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Author Topic: PATS - theft light glitch and how I got around it - for now  (Read 709 times)
Jeff351w
Big Block
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Posts: 1224


Location: Imperial, MO
393 build & new trans in progress


« on: August 11, 2016, 02:46:10 am »

Joel - I'm not sure if this forum is the best place for this.  Please move it if it belongs somewhere else.

I'm posting this experience to hopefully help someone else in the future.  In searching the net for info on how to fix this, I discovered this is not an isolated incident.

My wife was driving my daily driver, a 98 V6 Mustang, to work today and after she got on the highway the car died.  She rolled to the shoulder and came to a stop.  When trying to restart it the theft light started flashing.  The car still had power and cranked freely, but did not start.

After picking her up and taking her to work I investigated the problem.  I found lots of answers.  Everything from taking the car to a dealership because the key's chip must be faulty and needs a new one to more shadetree mechanic type fixes.  Considering the car was stuck on the side of the highway I decided to try the shadetree fixes first before calling a tow truck (I don't need a tow bill and a dealer charge right now).

1)  Made sure the trunk was secure and all connectors and wiring around the trunk latch were intact and secure as well.  Trunk shuts securely.

2)  Unlocked door with key which according to manual will deactivate the PATS as will an unlock button pressed on a factory keyfab (I don't have one).  Did this several times to no avail.  Theft light continued flashing quickly on repeated attempts to start car.

3)  Removing the #16 fuse to disable the PATS.  Upon removal, fuse was good.  Tried to start the car with it removed.  No difference in outcome.  Each time the theft light flashed and the car cranked but would not start.

4)  Barring spending 45-60 minutes inside a 120+ interior on a hot day I decided to skip trying to reset the key using a 3 step procedure each lasting 15 minutes & time in between each step to turn the key on and off.  This is supposed to erase the previous keys chip info and replace it with the current key.  There is more to it, but you get the idea.

5)  I found this procedure as a latch ditch if-all-else-fails type procedure:

     -  Disconnect the positive battery cable.
     -  Open the driver side door and insert the key into the ignition turning it to the on position.
     -  Leave the driver side door open and reinstall the positive battery cable.
     -  Start the car.   The horn may honk a few minutes.

Well I tried this and it fixed the mystery problem (for now).  The horn didn't honk, the car started right back up and the theft light flashed, but more slowly.  I shut the car off and restarted it again and the theft light didn't flash anymore.  I drove the car home without incident or warning lights.

The purpose of this post is to give a quick fix to others with the same problem in the future. 
By my search it seems a lot of people have had  intermittent PATS problems.  I know this won't help everyone, but I hope it helps someone.
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