Alfa Romeo Owners Club of Australia Forum

State Divisions => New South Wales => Topic started by: Diamond Ric T on July 21, 2018, 08:15:00 PM

Title: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: Diamond Ric T on July 21, 2018, 08:15:00 PM
Good day fellow "Alfistis"

My Alfa 147 has gone bung.
A week ago it displayed the dreaded "IMMOBILIZ FAILURE" on startup.
I removed and reinserted the key and the car started without a problem.
Several days later the problem recurred.
This time I got it after about four attempts.
Car worked fine for next few days.
Then got it again and the car went after about 2 retries.
Horror of horrors, I was in Wollongong - 51 km from my home and it went down big time.
It knew where to leave us stranded. What a pain!
Called NRMA who charged me because I was out of the 50km radius by 1 km and then waited 6 hours for a tow back to Sydney (yes - six hours).
Just wondering if anyone could hazard a guess as to what could be wrong. I have tried the usual stuff like disconnecting the battery for 2 hours and reconnecting etc. Battery is very strong - no problem there.
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: bonno on July 21, 2018, 08:31:42 PM
Ric
Try the master or spare key and see if this fixes the problem.
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: CitroŽnbender on July 21, 2018, 08:58:50 PM
Shame it couldn't go 1km on the starter motor!  ;)

I get this fault reasonably often with either key (both are factory re-issues, not clones). It's my belief a flaky connection or the transponder aerial (ring) is damaged.
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: bazzbazz on July 21, 2018, 09:53:25 PM
It will be one of two things.

1/ As CB mentioned, a faulty Immob Aerial. It is the plastic ring around the metal of the steering lock. This is easily replaced with a working item sourced from wreckers.

2/ The fault can also be in the Body Computer itself, the only way to determine would be by a diagnostic check with the correct Alfa Softwear.

I would of course suggest taking the easy route first and changing the antenna ring.
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: pasey25 on July 22, 2018, 07:39:55 AM
It will be one of two things.

1/ As CB mentioned, a faulty Immob Aerial. It is the plastic ring around the metal of the steering lock. This is easily replaced with a working item sourced from wreckers.

2/ The fault can also be in the Body Computer itself, the only way to determine would be by a diagnostic check with the correct Alfa Softwear.

I would of course suggest taking the easy route first and changing the antenna ring.

Wouldnít the cheapest/easiest route be the diagnostic check first?
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: CitroŽnbender on July 22, 2018, 09:10:28 AM
Good point, I think the economy probably depends on your prior resources.

If youíve a working diagnostic suite that can suitably distinguish between (say) a transponder aerial fault and dialogue error, then absolutely. But if all you have is a basic ďscan toolĒ result that says something like immobiliser error, then your best result may be suck-and-see with a substitute part.

Then again, some may choose to channel their inner LJK Setright/PG Wodehouse and not do much else. :)
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: Diamond Ric T on July 22, 2018, 11:32:51 PM
Ric
Try the master or spare key and see if this fixes the problem.
Unfortunately it came with only 1 key -  and that was an aftermarket key.
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: bazzbazz on July 22, 2018, 11:35:31 PM
Ahhhhh, just a light bulb moment, are you able to open the key to make sure the immobilizer chip is in the key?

Don't laugh, I ask for good reason. (And no, I am not saying the Chip fell out of the key, work with me here people)
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: Diamond Ric T on July 22, 2018, 11:37:04 PM
It will be one of two things.

1/ As CB mentioned, a faulty Immob Aerial. It is the plastic ring around the metal of the steering lock. This is easily replaced with a working item sourced from wreckers.

2/ The fault can also be in the Body Computer itself, the only way to determine would be by a diagnostic check with the correct Alfa Softwear.

I would of course suggest taking the easy route first and changing the antenna ring.

Wouldnít the cheapest/easiest route be the diagnostic check first?


Thank you all for your support and advice. I checked with my diagnostic program (ALFA OBD) today and it returned error B1003, which is a transponder error "Transponder not connected or faulty" I would like to remove the steering column cover but I have removed the three screws and it wont come loose. I am feared to force it lest I break the plastic.
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: Diamond Ric T on July 22, 2018, 11:42:53 PM
It will be one of two things.

1/ As CB mentioned, a faulty Immob Aerial. It is the plastic ring around the metal of the steering lock. This is easily replaced with a working item sourced from wreckers.

2/ The fault can also be in the Body Computer itself, the only way to determine would be by a diagnostic check with the correct Alfa Softwear.




I would of course suggest taking the easy route first and changing the antenna ring.

Wouldnít the cheapest/easiest route be the diagnostic check first?


Thank you all for your support and advice. I checked with my diagnostic program (ALFA OBD) today and it returned error B1003, which is a transponder error "Transponder not connected or faulty" I would like to remove the steering column cover but I have removed the three screws and it wont come loose. I am feared to force it lest I break the plastic.

Unfortunately not able to get into the key. The plastic moulding appears to be completely solid. There is a coloured spot on the top of the key - a different colour plastic inside which lies the chip. You know, I really curse this technology. It causes much more trouble for the legitimate owner than the thief.
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: CitroŽnbender on July 23, 2018, 09:37:50 AM
Unless you have absolute certainty the body computer, ECU and locks are original this would be my tack.

1. Photograph the key blade.
2. Get the programming codes per VIN (I used Andrew at Alfamotive last time, price was fair).
3. See if the transponder code works.
4. If yes, then order new dealer key, program it in.
4a. Get blades (flip shells) cut to match from Keys in the Post.
4b. Have official chip cloned locally and program in used transmitters ex Fleabay.
5. If no, buy full used set of ECU, key, immobiliser chip, body computer.
5a. Follow 4a and 4b.

NB The column jacket lower comes off first, itís lightly clipped in addition to the three fixings. There are two more concealed fixings for the top part of the jacket, close to the steering wheel hub. From memory a small Allen head screw with washer.
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: Diamond Ric T on July 28, 2018, 12:00:58 PM
Thank you immensely for the leads and ideas. I am currently working through them at present. Being one of the most stubborn people on the planet, I will get a fix for this:)
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: bazzbazz on July 28, 2018, 12:31:31 PM
Just one little suggestion, before you go delving any further, check all the fuses. If all the fuses are ok check the connection/lead going to the ring antenna and it connection to the Body ECU.
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: sportiva on July 28, 2018, 04:02:51 PM
I don't mean to hijack the thread but if we need to swap out all the  immobilizer components are these the parts we will need?
The key and ignition switch
The transponder and its ariel
The body computer
The engine ECU
The door handle and lock
The passenger side airbag key switch
Also, do the selespeed and manual cars share the same engine ECU?
Is the black box with the fuses the body computer?
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: bazzbazz on July 28, 2018, 04:17:34 PM
I don't mean to hijack the thread but if we need to swap out all the  immobilizer components are these the parts we will need
The key and ignition switch
The transponder and its ariel
The body computer
The engine ECU
The door handle and lock
The passenger side airbag key switch
Also, do the selespeed and manual cars share the same engine ECU

Ok, what you see there is for a 156, not a 147.

156 does not have a body computer, which where the immobilizer module is located within in a 147.

A/ For a 147 all you need is matching Engine ECU, Body Computer & Immobiliser Chip out of the key.

B/ All items MUST be from the same type of gearbox as the problem car, in other words if yours is a selespeed all items must be from a selespeed. If yours is a Manual your must get the set from a Manual.

C/ Also you must get a unit from a car with the same number of doors. If yours is a 4 door the set must be from a 4 door.

D/ last but least, you must get the set from a 147 with the same type of Instrument Cluster, pre-face lift or post-face lift. Otherwise it won't be able to do a full Proxi-Alignment and you'll be stuck with a flashing Odometer.

You do not need the actual key itself, just the chip, you do not need the Aerial, you do not need any locks, nor the passenger side airbag switch.

And the Manual & Selespeed cars do have slightly different Engine ECUs and are NOT interchangeable.
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: sportiva on July 28, 2018, 04:22:01 PM
Thank you baz for your knowledge and experience, your willingness to share it is appreciated
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: bazzbazz on July 28, 2018, 04:27:52 PM
Also earlier I asked if you could take the key apart to see if the chip was in the key, there was a good reason.

Many a time people lose the spare key, sometimes it can be expensive/difficult to obtain a working immobilizer chip for a new spare key.
So what many people do is get a new key cut as a spare, and so that both keys will work, they take the chip out of the working key and glue it to the underside of the ignition barrel against the Aerial Ring. This allows both keys to work as the immob chip is always present.

I was thinking that as everything was working fine you had a working immob chip, but maybe it had been glued to the underside of the Ignition Barrel, then had come loose and fallen away. But as I re-read your posts this is unlikely as it is obvious that the system suffered a progressive failure over a few days. If my above theory was correct the chip would have come loose and the system would have fully failed all in one go.

Just thought I would explain my post just in case you all thought I had gone off the rails. (again)  ::)
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: Diamond Ric T on July 29, 2018, 05:19:24 PM
Thank you bazzbazz.
One day - a few weeks ago - I saw the IMMOBILIZ FAILURE dash warning. Upon trying a second time, everything worked so I disregarded the warning. slowly but surely, the problem came back. So goping from 1 fail to every 20 attempts, I went up to 50/50 and then, finally, 100%fail. My ALFADIAG program has reported an error in the transponder. Mr Minit keyman reckons almost surely that the key itself is losing power. I am going to take it (the key) over tomorrow to see if he can read a code from it. If he can, he can sell me a substitute key that hopefully will work. Fingers crossed.

Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: bazzbazz on July 29, 2018, 05:33:53 PM
In this case the Mister minute man does not know what he is talking about. The immobilizer chip in the key is PASSIVE!! The car interrogates the chip in the key, the chip is not powered in any way.

The battery normally contained in the 147/156 key FOB is for the remote central locking, not the immobilizer system. The problem in with the car, not the key.

ALFADIAG is simply saying it cant see the chip, usually due to

A/ The Aerial Ring failing. (They do on a regular basis)
B/ The connecting cable to the Body computer having a bad connection
C/ Faulty connection/Fault in the body computer itself.
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: Diamond Ric T on July 30, 2018, 05:26:00 PM
Today I may (or may not have) lurched forward in this very frustrating immobiliser problem. The smart money was on the aerial ring that surrounds the key barrel. Today I took the one from my other 147 (which I know works) and put it on the non worker. I took the one from the non worker and put it on the worker. The worker still worked and the non worker still failed. Double blind test. Proves that it had nothing to do with the transponder aerial ring. I took the key to a locksmith and explained to him that it was a passive key. He tested it and said that it could not be read.  Dead as a dodo. I called an Alfa service centre here in Sydney and he said that the type of key that I had was notorious for "dying". (It is a blue key - made in Spain). He gave me an option. They can use the VIN of the car to identify the code and have a genuine replacement created. Not sure how much yet but he said maximum $500. Seems like it's pay the spondooly or the car goes to the boneyard.
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: CitroŽnbender on July 30, 2018, 05:45:36 PM
If Vlad from Arese can't help, give Mick at Shop4Parts a call tonight. You should be able to get new genuine keys for a bit less overseas. 

Option B is an "immo off" procedure to the system, I'd think this is about £100-120 plus return post to the UK - not sure if I'd want it done locally, for a number of reasons.
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: bazzbazz on July 30, 2018, 05:47:22 PM
You got a photo of this "Blue Key" ?

The only way you can kill the immob chip for the 147 is to somehow smash the glass chip inside the key. Stood on the key lately?
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: Diamond Ric T on July 30, 2018, 06:19:02 PM
Hi Bazzbazz
Here is a photo of the key. My great fear is that if I pay all the loot for a new key and it doesn't work.
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: CitroŽnbender on July 30, 2018, 06:27:35 PM
Ric, I suggest you crop the photo to obscure the blade.  :)
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: bazzbazz on July 30, 2018, 07:41:44 PM
Gotta be honest, never seen a key like that, but find it hard to see how the chip in the key could "Die Slowly". You have to understand, the passive chip in the key either works or it doesn't, it's either broken or its not. The fact that yours had somewhat of a progressive failure, suggests logically that it must have something to do with a failure/faulty connection within the Body Computer.

Also you need a rather advanced reader to read the 147 chip, a standard reader won't read the chip. (Alfa Romeo being too bloody cleaver once AGAIN!)

Did you unplug/plug/clean the connecting lead from the aerial ring to the body computer where it connects to the body computer?
Did you check that lead for continuity?

Any Alfa wreckers in your area?

Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: CitroŽnbender on January 30, 2019, 09:02:51 PM
I see we are here again.  :)

Bazz: What actually happens if one puts a three door body computer in a five door? They appear to have the same part number. Can't you edit the body configuration in the module?

Ric: I have some stuff: a three door facelift body computer and manual 2.0 ECU, one only original key chip, VIN "tag" and cluster with 128K, you could have it in your hands within the calendar week.  Also, available soon, a 2.0 manual pre-facelift kit with two original key chips and 165K.
Title: Re: Intermittent failure of immobiliser
Post by: bazzbazz on January 30, 2019, 10:41:29 PM
I've done it myself a long time ago, tried to put a 2 door body computer into a 4 door car, the unit wouldn't recognize there were any rear doors.