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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm having seemingly two compounding issues with my girlfriends 2007 PT Cruiser that's making for a serious headache. Was hoping people with better experience could help an maybe clear up some assumptions I'm unsure of.

Full Story:
My girlfriend's key battery has been dead for ages but it's never really been a major issue. For full clarity it's the 3 button one with the lock, unlock, and panic (OHT692427AA?). She simply never really used the fob and was able to simply unlock and start it with the key (other doors would be unlocked manually by just manually lifting the lock. If she used the electronic lock/unlock button in the car, the alarm would sound and she'd have to start the car up fully to make it stop. No big deal really until yesterday. She went to start her car up and after fully cranking and starting for about 2 second. She and a more mechanically inclined coworker tried starting it a few more times with the same issue. They reported some kind of whirring/grinding noise was causing it. The coworker told me it sounded like the alternator failing to him (from how I heard the sound described an alternator bearing failing sounds accurate). By the time I arrived to look at it the car was no longer cranking and would not respond to a jump. Since it was completely dead in a parking lot we decided to call up a mechanic and have it towed to them . This is where one car issue seemingly opened another can of worms.
Unfortunately when the tow guy arrived he unknowingly hit the electronic unlock button in the car. The alarm then began to sound. We quickly tried to jump in and put the key in but the alarm would not stop. We tried all positions in the ignition as well as the locking/unlocking the driver side door with the key (though using the key on the door had never worked when the alarm went before anyways). Unfortunately none of these worked and the tow guy was in a rush so he just let the alarm go silent automatically and loaded it onto his truck. It was a bit of a mess but seeing as I couldn't get the alarm to stop without fully starting the car I hoped the mechanic would be able to temporarily pull the alarm fuse or just cut the battery and replace the alternator (assuming that's what failed) to just start it up like normal and clear it once working.
Unfortunately the mechanic called me this morning and told me he couldn't work on the car as the alarm was going off. He told me that the key was broken and I need to get a new key as it wouldn't stop the alarm. After prying for details apparently he found the contact for the battery was messed up and he diagnosed that this was the reason the car wouldn't start (and why the alarm wouldn't stop). I actually know the exact contact he's referring to as I had went to replace the battery not long ago and ended up leaving it as i found that the separate piece in the fob that contacts the positive side of the battery to the circuit board was missing. I've ordered a cheap replacement fob that I plan to just pull the contact out of and transplant into the current key but he sounds convinced that the transmitter for immobilizer won't work at all because of this issue.
I'm hoping I can get the replacement part ASAP for the fob but just wanted to clarify a few things as this scenario is getting kind of confusing. It feels kind of ridiculous he's suggesting I take it to a dealership and get a new key cut and programmed because this tiny piece of the fob is missing? I have a masters in ECE and we studied these kinds of systems. As far as I understand it the entire point of the rf transponder for the immobilizer (not the main pcb for unlocking) is that it doesn't require the battery as it's powered by the car itself. Regardless if what he's saying was true then the car wouldn't have been able to start for a long time before this.

TLDR/Questions:
Can someone confirm that the car needs to be fully started to disable the alarm via the ignition? In my Honda I think it'd just stop if I put it in "II", but my girlfriend seems pretty confident for her PT Cruiser you have to get it all the way started. I found some vague confirmation on other forums but would really appreciate confirming definitively.
Does anyone know how I can replace that little metal contact for the positive side of the battery? Looking at listings online I really can't tell if replacements I can get ASAP even use the same type of contact. even jankier suggestions would be appreciated as a temporary solution. I'll use a paperclip if it means I can get the alarm to shut up so the mechanic will look at it.

Edit 1: forgot to expand beyond "jumping didn't work." but to be clear i probed the battery with a multimeter and the battery seemed to be going strong. There were no CEL's when I hooked up the OBD2 scanner or any other new christmas lights. The alternator is a PIA to reach so I didn't mess with it at all but if anyone has anything I could check to confirm if it's really the alternator I can try to check it as I'm going to the shop this evening after work to pick up the the old key and look for something I left in the car. I didn't go too deep into diagnosing the starting issue when it happened to provide much more info on it as I was hoping the mechanic would handle it and not just throw it right back to me to solve :(
Edit 2: added a more descriptive title
 

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I am going to assume the PT Cruiser is like the other Chrysler vehicles of this era.
Inserting the key and turning it to he ON position disarms the alarm. But there is a catch - they SKIM module has to recognize the key or the alarm is not disarmed.
When the key is inserted and turned on, the red LED security dot should go out. If the red dot is blinking or lit solid the key was not recognized and the alarm is not shut down. Blinking LED dot means key fault, solid LED do means SKIM failure.
First thing to try is the second key if there is one. Otherwise it may need a new key or further diagnostics. Note that the SKIM does not require the battery in the key to recognize the key.
There is no easy way to disable the alarm. You might want to disable the horn (unplug the connector to it) for testing. If the alarm goes off like before, the best thing to do to silence it is unplug the horn or disconnect the battery.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Unfortunately I don't have have a second key. I'll have to pay attention to the security LED tonight when I take a look at it. Could issues with the SKIM cause the motor to cut after it's already going?
Also yeah I was hoping to disconnect the horn as it's certainly loud and obnoxious. Would rather not look like I'm stealing a car from a mechanic...

Edit: anyone know how to even disconnect the horn on the '07? every thread I've found has a different suggestion as far as relays and fuses and none seem to even work when tried at least according to the responses. Apparently accessing the horn directly requires pulling off the wheel?? good lord chrysler...
 

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Welcome to Allpar. If pulling a fuse or cutting a wire could disable the security alarm, it wouldn't be much of a security alarm. All the crooks would be driving around in PT Cruisers. ;)

It has to be diagnosed & repaired. Getting aftermarket keys online is a gamble. Some don't work. These keys can't be programmed a 2nd time to a different car.

Hopefully the technician knows about these systems. 2007 is old technology now.

The active, battery-powered pushbutton RKE transmitter part is separate than the passive transponder interaction that identifies the key for the car. In a way, it has 2 transmitters.

Do you have a 2nd key for the car? I strongly recommend it.
The new key will have to be cut & programmed to the car.

Font Parallel Slope Circle Diagram


On the key battery terminal, is it this style?:

Hand Hood Sunglasses Body jewelry Badge



or this?:
Green Light Circuit component Gadget Audio equipment
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hopefully the technician knows about these systems. 2007 is old technology now.

The active, battery-powered pushbutton RKE transmitter part is separate than the passive transponder interaction that identifies the key for the car. In a way, it has 2 transmitters.
yeah I'm really starting to think that that I should be finding a locksmith for this. I trusted the person who heard the car when they said it was the alternator, but after reading a hundred other threads I'm thinking this is really just the 1 single issue.
What are the odds that a local locksmith can fully handle this without towing it to a dealer? I'm seeing people report in other threads that locksmiths can reprogram it without needing the dealer which would be great since I already paid to tow it once to a mechanic that I'm not sure can even help.

I'll also definitely get a backup key if this process doesn't bankrupt me as is...

On the key battery terminal, is it this style?:
...
Yes the first style. I canceled the original order I made as i found one on amazon that show's what looks to be the same style in the last picture: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KTHZ64O/
 

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yeah I'm really starting to think that that I should be finding a locksmith for this. I trusted the person who heard the car when they said it was the alternator, but after reading a hundred other threads I'm thinking this is really just the 1 single issue.
What are the odds that a local locksmith can fully handle this without towing it to a dealer? I'm seeing people report in other threads that locksmiths can reprogram it without needing the dealer which would be great since I already paid to tow it once to a mechanic that I'm not sure can even help.

I'll also definitely get a backup key if this process doesn't bankrupt me as is...


Yes the first style. I canceled the original order I made as i found one on amazon that show's what looks to be the same style in the last picture: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KTHZ64O/
There are mobile locksmiths that are capable of cutting and programming keys for you. Should be less expensive than a tow to the dealer. I would let them provide the key rather than you sourcing one because then if it cannot cut or program right it is their problem not yours. look for one that is well rated and will provide some kind of warranty on the key. And get two keys made.
 

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I don't know on the PT Cruiser, but other Chrysler products you can do a lock-unlock on the passenger side to disable the security alarm. For the starting, good luck with it. I bought several used vehicles where I only received one remote key with them. In the case of the two Chrysler T&Cs I was able to have a none remote key made and programmed to the vehicle by a locksmith I had dealt with for years.

The first Ford Flex I bought, a 2011 Limited, the dealer only had a single IKT (Ford's term for the key with the remote buttons) The local dealer blew away two $50 keys trying to make me a replacement. He finally made me one without the remote as an emergency spare. We found a key that would work on Amazon, ordered it, I had the dealer cut it from the VIN and went to see if I could program it in their parking lot. As it was lunch time the parts & service manager came out, with the two he had cut and offered to read the procedure from the owner's manual. Success! He then asked me to try the two he had made, no luck. Ford changed from a 64 bit encryption to 128 bit in mid 2011, his keys were 128 bit, Flex is 64 bit.

I later bought a 2009 Flex Limited and traded in my 1994 Taurus. Same issue, only one IKT. I drove from the dealership (used car independent) to my favorite locksmith. They do not carry the vehicle specific IKTs as there are a ton of variations, They were able to cut me a basic key with the chip in it and program it for me. I did the same thing as the 2011, ordered a key from Amazon, only to find after having it cut it was the wrong brand and it wouldn't program. I was able to return it and found another source that does sell both manufacturer's Ford IKTs. Basic security was a breeze, 5 mins, getting the remote buttons working, took 2 months and I had to replace the inoperative hidden keypad on the driver's door.

I like the security, but man it can drive you crazy when it doesn't work.
 

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I don't know on the PT Cruiser, but other Chrysler products you can do a lock-unlock on the passenger side to disable the security alarm. For the starting, good luck with it. I bought several used vehicles where I only received one remote key with them. In the case of the two Chrysler T&Cs I was able to have a none remote key made and programmed to the vehicle by a locksmith I had dealt with for years.

The first Ford Flex I bought, a 2011 Limited, the dealer only had a single IKT (Ford's term for the key with the remote buttons) The local dealer blew away two $50 keys trying to make me a replacement. He finally made me one without the remote as an emergency spare. We found a key that would work on Amazon, ordered it, I had the dealer cut it from the VIN and went to see if I could program it in their parking lot. As it was lunch time the parts & service manager came out, with the two he had cut and offered to read the procedure from the owner's manual. Success! He then asked me to try the two he had made, no luck. Ford changed from a 64 bit encryption to 128 bit in mid 2011, his keys were 128 bit, Flex is 64 bit.

I later bought a 2009 Flex Limited and traded in my 1994 Taurus. Same issue, only one IKT. I drove from the dealership (used car independent) to my favorite locksmith. They do not carry the vehicle specific IKTs as there are a ton of variations, They were able to cut me a basic key with the chip in it and program it for me. I did the same thing as the 2011, ordered a key from Amazon, only to find after having it cut it was the wrong brand and it wouldn't program. I was able to return it and found another source that does sell both manufacturer's Ford IKTs. Basic security was a breeze, 5 mins, getting the remote buttons working, took 2 months and I had to replace the inoperative hidden keypad on the driver's door.

I like the security, but man it can drive you crazy when it doesn't work.
The lock cylinder switches are not present on many of these post-2000 (,maybe a change with canbus? vehicles). My 2007 Magnum did not disable the alarm by opening with the key in the door locks.
The key requires a PIN to program. The locksmith should have access to this service.
 

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This car may only have a drivers door key lock cylinder. The one in the liftgate was discontinued at some time as well.
They got rid of the troublesome door key lock cylinder disarm switches and now use the door ajar switch in the door & gate latches for the tamper signal.

VEHICLE THEFT ALARM
The VTA is available in two different configurations, one is designed for vehicles manufactured for sale in North America; while the other is designed for vehicles manufactured for sale in markets outside of North America. In addition, the VTA for export is available in two versions: base and premium. All vehicles equipped with VTA are also equipped with the Remote Keyless Entry (RKE) system and the Sentry Key Immobilizer System (SKIS), regardless of their market destination.
The North American and export base version of the VTA system provide perimeter vehicle protection by monitoring the vehicle doors, the ignition switch, the liftgate, the liftgate flip-up glass and, for vehicles built for certain markets where it is required equipment, the hood. If unauthorized vehicle use or tampering is detected, these systems respond by pulsing the vehicle horn as an audible deterrent and flashing certain exterior lamps as a visual deterrent.
The export premium version of the VTA system is only available in vehicles manufactured for sale in certain markets where it is required equipment. The export premium version of the VTA provides the same perimeter protection features as the base version, but adds interior vehicle intrusion protection. The export premium VTA also replaces the pulsing horn feature of the base version with a siren as the audible deterrent, while retaining the flashing exterior lamps as the visual deterrent.
The VTA includes the following major components, which are described in further detail elsewhere in this service information:
  1. Door Ajar Switches - A door ajar switch is integral to the door latch mechanism of each front and rear door.
  2. Hood Ajar Switch - A hood ajar switch is located in a bracket on the left inner fender side shield of vehicles built for sale in certain export markets where it is required equipment.
  3. Intrusion Module - An intrusion module is located on the right rear quarter inner panel above the wheel house and behind the quarter trim panel in the passenger compartment of vehicles built for sale in certain export markets where it is required equipment.
  4. Intrusion Sensor Receiver - An intrusion sensor receiver is located in a bracket on the right front corner of the overhead console above the headliner in the passenger compartment of vehicles built for sale in certain export markets where it is required equipment.
  5. Intrusion Sensor Transmitter - An intrusion sensor transmitter is located in a bracket above the right rear corner of the headliner in the passenger compartment of vehicles built for sale in certain export markets where it is required equipment.
  6. Liftgate Ajar Switch - A liftgate ajar switch is integral to the latch for the liftgate in the vehicle.
  7. Security Indicator - A security indicator is integral to the ElectroMechanical Instrument Cluster (EMIC).
  8. Siren - An alarm siren is located in a hollow behind the right end of the front frame crossmember outboard of the right front frame rail. A single screw secures the mounting bracket to the right end of the front crossmember of vehicles built for sale in certain export markets where it is required equipment.
SENTRY KEY IMMOBILIZER SYSTEM
The Sentry Key Immobilizer System (SKIS) is available as a factory-installed option on this model. Vehicles equipped with the Vehicle Theft Alarm (VTA) are also equipped with SKIS. The SKIS provides passive vehicle protection by preventing the engine from operating unless a valid electronically encoded key is detected in the ignition lock cylinder. The SKIS used in combination with the export premium version of the VTA adds a steering shaft lock feature that provides passive protection by preventing the vehicle from being steered unless a valid electronically encoded key is detected in the ignition lock cylinder, but is only available in vehicles manufactured for sale in certain markets where it is required equipment.
The SKIS includes the following major components, which are described in further detail elsewhere in this service information:
  1. Sentry Key Remote Entry Module - The Sentry Key REmote Entry Module (SKREEM) is sometimes referred to as the Wireless Control Module (WCM). The SKREEM/WCM is located on the instrument panel to the right side of the steering column near the ignition lock cylinder housing and an integral molded plastic antenna ring circles the ignition lock cylinder like a halo. The SKREEM/WCM and its antenna are concealed beneath an ignition switch bezel on the instrument panel.
  2. Sentry Key Transponder - The Sentry Key transponder is contained within the Remote Keyless Entry (RKE) transmitter integral to the head of the ignition key.
  3. Security Indicator - A security indicator is integral to the ElectroMechanical Instrument Cluster (EMIC).
 
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Yes, the SKIM system lets the engine start but shuts it down after two seconds. You or your girlfriend need to have a qualified locksmith with the necessary computer and interface wipe out the existing SKIM code, program a new one, and provide new keys. You should then be back in business. But GET THREE KEYS! That way if you lose one, you will still have two which are needed to SKIM-program a new key using just the car. A locksmith or hardware store then only needs to cut the mechanical part of the key. Aftermarket keys cost about $12 on EBay, unprogrammed and uncut.

On PT Cruisers the driver door alarm switch was deleted during the 2006 model year, though the owners manuals were NOT revised.

The whole system is tied into the car's powertain computer. A qualified computer technician can alter its programming to delete the SKIM theft protection but the alarm function is in the body control module (instrument cluster).

My honest opinion: you should have been using the system as intended, the whole time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Update: locksmith came out to the car this morning. I couldn't explain to you why but the old key was suddenly working this morning after I threw in a new battery. Maybe something automatically reset itself, maybe the new battery really did do something. The remote lock didn't work even with the new battery but we were honestly happy to just get back on the road as I've been driving her to and from work myself which had been fucking up my own work and sleep. Since the locksmith was already there we got a new key cut and programmed (was the old(?) style without the buttons). Felt kinda bad having the car at the mechanic for a few days just to drive off without ever needing their service...

Big thanks to everyone for the info, never touched a chrysler or anything in FCA mechanically in my life so I felt so lost and frustrated. Having not seen the car until it was already not starting I honestly believed the person who was there who said it was an alternator. To think I could've skipped the tow entirely and just had the locksmith come out. To be fair the alarm stuff that made it a lot more obvious didn't even come up to the tow truck was already taking the car.

I had already ordered a backup key so maybe I can use the fob on that one. Wish I had caught the suggestion to get a third one while the locksmith was still there.

Just adding in for information sake. Yeah on my 2007 PT Cruiser there's no passenger side lock. There is a trunk lock but as far as I can tell it's a "dumb" lock separate to everything else? Could be wrong on that though.

Thanks again folks. It's funny I was just researching this exact kind of thing for my own car and was planning on buying a backup key for my car when apparently the PT Cruiser's key started acting up. Honestly wish I had just paid the locksmith to do my car while I was there. Getting the PT Cruiser is a huge amount of stress off my back. Appreciate the quick and detailed responses, hope someone who has the same issue in the future finds this thread before they go get their car towed : )
 
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