ATS (Anti Theft System) Issue

Tiny
CHORDD_D
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 FORD THUNDERBIRD
  • 4.6L
  • V8
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 68,500 MILES
I have this very nice car listed above with original miles. She sits in storage, I take her out two or three times a year, "always" cranks right over once I connect battery. Drove her around town a bit the other day, parked her near where I park for storage, came back to her an hour later to detail, turned key and nothing! It did everything it normally does with the ATS chip inserted under dash, except start, it acts as if the chip is not inserted, but it is. I get all the lights and gauges, headlights, horn, all other electrical items function normally, battery is 3 years old, had it tested by Walmart where it came from, tested perfect, and again by AAA, again, tested perfectly, like new. One clue though, when I turn the key to start position, stand alone clock and radio displays go out, I don't think that's normal. Called the Ford dealer where I bought it, they suggested a few things, take key and cycle the ignition 8 times and on the 8th time try starting, nothing, due to some neutral safety switch issue way back when, they suggested trying to start in neutral, nothing. Tried tapping what I believe to be the starter (looking at engine from front of vehicle, bottom left), nothing. I'm not convinced it's the starter. Something tells me perhaps there's an ATS relay or fuse somewhere that may have blown. Checked all fuses inside of vehicle above driver floor and in engine compartment, all good. The only recommendation I have not yet tried is having someone hold key to on position while I tap starter. I read where someone told another poster that ATS relay under left side dash, perhaps near or on steering column, I just looked under dash in that area with a bright headlamp, I see nothing that resembles a relay, tomorrow I will take panel off under column and see if anything is there, I will also buy a new battery just to rule that out, even though battery testing perfect, perhaps there's something beyond the tests. Attaching a pic of car and video of the starting without and with chip inserted.

Thank you in advance for any and all suggestions, comments, input and shared experiences in regards to this issue.

C.D.
21.07.20 19:10 Pacific (The O.C.)
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Tuesday, July 21st, 2020 AT 7:10 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
Could you take a picture of the chip and where you are inserting it please? It sounds like an aftermarket item as the factory Ford SecuriLock system just uses the ignition key as the theft deterrent item and would show up on the dash with the theft light on if it was the issue.
The Factory system does stop the starter from operating but it doesn't cause the clock or radio to go out, It just turns on the theft light and prevents the starter from operating by stopping the starter relay from operation. There are no anti-theft relays in the factory system. Fuse wise there are 3, 2 of which I can tell are okay as those power systems that are on in the video. The third is in the trunk on the left side up above the wheel well near the anti-theft module. That is the one that powers the OEM alarm and anti-theft. It is an inline 20 amp fuse.
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Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020 AT 7:01 AM
Tiny
CHORDD_D
  • MEMBER
Hi Steve, thank you very much for your time and comments. My vehicle does not have key-less entry if that makes a difference, nor any kind of an alarm system, only this ignition lock device. Here are 3 pictures, one of chip, one of receiver, one of chip in receiver. After I send these pictures and finish lunch I will go out and remove a panel under the steering column to see if there is anything there that may shed some light.

Chordd
22.07.20 12:50 Pacific
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Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020 AT 12:50 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
Yeah, that isn't the factory item. The optional factory system just uses the RF chip in the head of the key. What most of those styles are is a piece of circuit board that makes connections between the wiring, when you remove them it's like cutting the wires. You should be able to remove that panel and follow the wires up to the ones they used to install the device. That is a 6 pin so probably 3 wires were cut and routed to the card. I suspect it is either the Red with light blue trace or the White with pink trace wire that they interrupted.
A way to discover which pins connect to others is to use a simple continuity tester and check them in various patterns, like put the tester on the far left pin and touch each of the others in turn, then the next pin and so on.
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Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020 AT 2:01 PM
Tiny
CHORDD_D
  • MEMBER
Issue solved, yay!
Thank you Steve for all your input, much appreciated. I looked in the back, no modules or relays above left rear wheel. Then proceeded to remove panel under steering column and the issue stared me right in the face, a fried 20 amp blade fuse (see pic). Replaced, put everything back together, inserted chip and she started like she always does, like a new car sitting in the showroom. I love this car!

If I should re-register her, I need smog, 2016 tags on car, lol. Is there anything I could add to fuel or oil prior to smog just for a little extra added help? I've had people offer that I should drive her a hundred miles then go get smog. Any advise there?

I hope this thread helps another someday.

Chordd
23.07.20 15:45 Pacific
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Thursday, July 23rd, 2020 AT 3:29 PM
Tiny
STEVE W.
  • EXPERT
Sounds like they at least put a fuse in the circuit. I would wonder why it blew though as fuses normally go for a reason. Good to hear you found the cause of the no-start.
I would take it on a nice drive to get everything warmed up and then get it tested. Most of the tricks folks use are simply to cover a known problem they have. I tend to like to find and correct any issues like that. Just be sure you have fresh gas and do an oil change as setting for long periods generally does more harm then good. Then check over the rest of the car, tires, brakes, lights, wiper blades and such. Wouldn't want you to get in there worried about passing the smog test only to fail because of a bad tire.
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Thursday, July 23rd, 2020 AT 5:34 PM

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