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CAN / Immobilizer System Communication

Old 08-16-2015, 09:16 PM
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CAN / Immobilizer System Communication

This is going to be a long one, so strap yourselves in for a riveting adventure in maintenance.

I bough my 2005 Rx-8 (6 speed manual) water salvaged, as I feel confident in my abilities, since I restored a 77 Datsun 810 for my first car, and kept it running for 8 years until an accident. Enter new car. I replaced all the important bits straight away: new coils, wires, plugs, oil, oil filter, trans fluid, diff fluid, brake fluid, radiator fluid. I pulled about a gallon of water out of the transmission, two from the oil, ten from the gas tank, and none from anywhere else.

Next the electronics. All of the electric motor stators were seized for the aforementioned reason, so I disassembled all of them from the halogen lights to the blend door actuator, and got all of them in perfect operating condition. I also polished and verified all of my ground points, check for breaks and shorts on the circuit boards, and re-soldered my climate control **** for good measure (verified working).

After this, I tried to resurrect the beast, only to find that it had no throttle response. Several months of frustration and empty searches later, I replaced the ECU just to see, and that did the trick.

My dark mechromantic ritual later, more problems reared their head (as expected): slipping clutch, bad fuel level sensor, glitchy power steering, erratic speedometer, no traction control, and bad radiator fans. I took the car down again to replace the clutch, flywheel, and pressure plate (for further good measure), drained the oil again for good measure (no additional water, rust, or other bad signs). I futzed with the power steering system for a while, and go it working at times, but I can honestly care less about it. Traction control I chocked up to erratic speed, since it relies on the speed sensors.

Got it back together and drove for a couple tanks of gas (super only). The fuel level sensors worked themselves loose with the help of some Marvel Mystery Oil, but unfortunately the speedo did not; the power steering stopped working completely, my fuel pump died, my front 02 sensor died, and my SSV vacuum solenoid failed. After the pump motor, solenoid, and absurdly expensive o2 sensor, I managed to break the coolant resevoir nipple off the radiator while replacing the fans. More waiting on parts, then installed all aluminum radiator. I drove for about 1000 miles like this, and with the exception of the traction control, power steering, and the cd player (beyond all hope; replacement on the way) everything was working from the cruise control to the tire pressure monitoring system.

That brings me to my current problem. Over the last tank, the speedometer issue has further degraded to the point where it rarely ever reads, and when at zero, the rpm gauge ceases to read. This then further degraded into the rpm and speedo rarely ever read. This further degraded into my stereo becoming possessed, including seeking station on its own, changing climate settings, chainging units, selecting and saving new presets, and turning itself off / on. This further degraded to all of my cluster (except the fuel gauge) intermittenly failing to read, and all the indicator lights coming on. This further degraded into my cluster almost never reading, which displayed an new behavior. When the gauges are not reading, communication to the CAN bus, and the immobilizer system ceases, and the car cannot be started.

To no avail, I have checked the following
- exterior and interior fuse blocks, all continuity and resistances are in tolerace
- exterior and interior wiring harnesses for continuity / resistance / shorts
-> I did find an aftermarket wireless something hooked up to the igntion, which I removed
- gauge cluster diagnostic mode, everything passed
- both keys demonstrate the same behavior (not programming issue)
- both ECUs demonstrate the same behavior (not electronics issue)
- Swapping relays has no effect, and all are in tolerance

And that is where I am at. Any insight, or pointers are welcome, as I have no idea where to go next. I have searched the forum extensively, but everyone with systems like this either had a bad fuse, or faulty antenna. I have eliminated the former, and the latter does not explain the other side effects of the demonic posession.

TL, DNR;
My car won't start due to immobilizer system not working, and I can't find the source.
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Old 08-30-2015, 05:07 PM
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I took out my keyless entry control module, as this seemed to be the failure point. I noticed the board had some corrosion around the chips, so I cleaned everything off well, and stuck it back in.

This seems to have done the trick, as it drove 10 miles with none of the before mentioned symptoms, and has not failed to start (yet).

However, it did develop one new symptom: as I was driving, the emergency light indicator on the dash and floor board lights would all rapidly turn on and off for a short burst. I can hear a relay near the immobilizer system clicking loudly, but didn't have time to track it down. Also, the door ajar indicator light does not go out fully. I have checked all of the door switches, and they will turn the indicator on fully, but will not make it go off all the way.

No codes are being thrown, and no warning lights are on (minus the partially illuminated door icon).
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Old 03-01-2017, 07:50 PM
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How are you cleaning these corroded electronics?

Cleaning corrosion off PCBs can be a bit tricky, if not outright impossible in a lot of cases. Your best bet is to dunk them in an ultrasonic cleaner. A lot of the time there are traces under chips that you're not going to be able to polish off with a cue tip.
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Old 12-10-2017, 02:00 AM
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relay near immobilizer?
sounds interesting. replaceable I'm assuming.
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Old 08-24-2018, 07:15 PM
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I totally forgot to follow up on this, so sorry if you have been using this post for your own troubleshooting; but I will necro it for posterity in case someone else has this problem.

Shortest story: water leaks around the ABS connector and will cause abnormal errors. If this happens, stop IMMEDIATELY and unplug the connector and let it dry out for a few hours.

I cleaned off the PCB using isporopyl alcohol and a stiff nylon brush, but any solvent that deosn't eat plastic and any brush that won't scratch plastic will do fine. The main cause of shorts is fine debris in between the surface mount chips, so you are just trying to dislodge it and carry it away from the contacts.
After that failed as a lasting solution, I started checking all the electrical systems until I came to the ABS system. I unplugged the connector to find the charred husk of a module and about 1/3 of the interior of the connector as well as my problem. Not mentioned in my previous post was the detailing (I just used a hose, brush, and soap; so no high pressure water cleaning) I did to the engine bay so I didn't have to work with all the crud; water must have found an ingress through the seal and became stuck, as the connector has no drain and is positioned so that water travels down the wire and into the connector (facepalm). I bought a new module and pigtail online and had quite a fun time soldering all the wires back together, as the bosch pins are IMPOSSIBLE to find online to do it properly. Everything is back to operation since that replacement, but I still need to have the module recoded to the car to enable ABS and DSC.
The next time I detailed the engine bay, this behavior returned, I knew what to look for, and found about 5 drops of water were bridging the main voltage contact to the signal pins and causing the glitches. I disconnected the ABS module and finished my road trip with no speedo (that's why you have a tach right?) so it could dry out. The short seems to have had no lasting effect since I caught it before thermal damage could occur again.
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Old 09-08-2018, 09:38 AM
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Key wonít turn at all.

i have a 2009 rx8, I went to start it the other day and the key will not turn at all and theirs a red car and key icon that just keeps flashing and Iím not sure what needs to be done to fix it, any suggestions tips or ideas would be great thank you
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Old 09-08-2018, 10:05 AM
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Old 09-08-2018, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Hunkle View Post
i have a 2009 rx8, I went to start it the other day and the key will not turn at all and theirs a red car and key icon that just keeps flashing and Iím not sure what needs to be done to fix it, any suggestions tips or ideas would be great thank you
If the *key* won't turn at all, wiggle the steering wheel while trying to turn the key, it should unlock.

If the key turns but the red car-key light flashes rapidly, your key isn't coded to the car and you'll need to get it programmed. Try a different key if you have one.
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Old 11-23-2018, 04:00 PM
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needing help

I bought a 04 rx8 6 speed manual that had been stolen the theifs lost the key and drilled out the ignition and messed up the steering column so I took the steering column out of my 04 rx8 4 speed auto and put in it when I turn the key all lights work but will not crank what else do I need to do get get it to crank over as I have both cars at my disopsal
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Old 11-25-2018, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by nicktheo View Post
I bought a 04 rx8 6 speed manual that had been stolen the theifs lost the key and drilled out the ignition and messed up the steering column so I took the steering column out of my 04 rx8 4 speed auto and put in it when I turn the key all lights work but will not crank what else do I need to do get get it to crank over as I have both cars at my disopsal
I dont think you can do that without reprogramming the ecu to communicate with the immobilizer system
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Old 12-25-2018, 08:56 AM
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what are the steps required to replace the ECU? do you need an exact match (year, version) or can you flash a different version?
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Old 12-27-2018, 07:02 PM
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The ECU part # is what you need to match...it is on a big label that is easy to.see. then you need to reprogram it with your as built data and you should be good to go.

You need to be patient and follow the directions on the iDs exactly or it won't work. It took 3 trys when I had to do mine
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