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Finally! How to program a non-SKS key/fob. Detailed!

Discussion in 'Knowledge Base Articles Discussion' started by amethystjw, Mar 1, 2008.

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  1. amethystjw

    amethystjw Computer Geek

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    Eureka! Problem solved at last!

    If you have a 2004-2007 non-SKS (Smart Key System) Prius and you're trying to make a new or used fob work with your car, I finally found the answer. Lots of people have been asking about how to do this for a long time but all of the directions I've found were slightly incorrect. Again, my directions have only been tested on a non-SKS Prius, one that has fobs with a black logo on the back (not a silver logo). I successfully performed these steps on a 2005, by the way. The buttons work now to lock and unlock the doors and, when inserted into the dashboard, the new fob will allow me to start and drive the car.

    First, let's get the vocabulary straight. When I'm talking about the traditional metal key, I'll call it the "metal key". When I'm talking about the black plastic thing with three buttons on it (lock, unlock, panic) in which the metal key is stored and which itself fits in a slot in the dashboard, I'll call it the "fob". Also, I'll refer to your existing, perfectly fine fob as your "old fob" and I'll refer to the fob you just bought/found/stole as your "new fob".

    Note that these keys/fobs serve up to four different functions. Each is explained in detail below.

    * Unlocking the doors with the old-school metal key

    * Starting the computer so you can drive the car by sticking the fob into the dashboard slot -- The most important function!

    * Traditional remote door locking/unlocking with the buttons on the fob

    * SKS: The magical feature where the door unlocks when you approach it and car starts without you even touching the fob, which again, I know nothing about because my car does not have this feature. You'll know if you have an SKS key if the Toyota logo on the back is silver. Mine is black.

    The Metal Key
    This part is easy. Buy a blank OEM key from someone on eBay. I bought mine for $10, free shipping. This isn't very important. You don't really need this key on a regular basis. You'll only need it if the battery in the key fob dies or if the auxiliary battery in the car dies. If you can't find a genuine blank that fits into the fob, just have your hardware store copy your original onto a standard blank. It won't fit into the fob but hey, at least it'll unlock the door if your battery is dead.

    Addition: A fellow Priuschat contributor reported that his Toyota dealer quoted him about $8 for the metal key, including cutting it. Maybe my $10 eBay key plus whatever it costs to have it cut wasn't such a bright idea after all!

    I've locked my keys in my car on many occasions over the years. One solution to make that situation easier is to copy your metal key onto a $2.00 hardware store blank and tape a couple of super strong magnets to it and stick it to the inside of the wheel well above one of your rear wheels. I use magnets from old Sonicare toothbrush heads and have never had a key fall off, even after driving through deep snow and down bumpy dirt roads. Another good hiding place I've used with previous cars is under the hood near the windshield wipers but the Prius's hood is not magnetic, oddly. Anyone know why?

    The Fob (for operating the car)
    This isn't hard, as long as your new fob is not broken and you are able to follow simple directions. The whole process will take less than two minutes.

    1. Insert old fob into slot and remove it 4 times in a row, then insert it a fifth time and leave it in.
    2. Open and close driver door 6 times.
    3. Remove old fob from slot. Car is in fob programming mode at this point.
    4. Insert new fob and leave in the slot for a full minute. Watch the blinking red anti-theft light on the dashboard. When it stops flashing and goes dark, your new fob is all set.
    5. Remove the new fob and you're done. You should test both fobs to be sure they work properly.

    The Fob (for remotely unlocking/locking the doors)
    This is similar to the previous directions except it has to be done at the full moon and you must not be wearing matching socks.

    1. Open the driver door with no fob in slot and the doors unlocked.
    2. Insert old fob into slot and remove it twice within 5 seconds.
    3. Close and open driver door twice.
    4. Insert and remove old fob once.
    5. Close and open driver door twice again.
    6. Insert old fob in slot and close door.
    7. Without pressing the brake, press power button, wait a second, press it again, wait a second, press it a third time to turn car back off.
    8. Remove old fob from slot. You'll be in "add mode" at this point.
    9. Car should lock and unlock doors twice to verify it is in add mode.
    10. Press and hold both buttons on new fob simultaneously for a second and a half.
    11. Within 3 seconds, press just the lock button on new fob.
    12. Car should respond with one quick lock/unlock to verify that the new fob is all set. If the car responds with two lock/unlocks, that means it didn't work. I don't know how to troubleshoot that problem. Maybe just try again.
    13. To end this programming, open a door or put fob in the slot.

    The Fob (for SKS functions)
    Nice try. I warned you at the beginning of this document that I don't know anything about SKS since my car is not SKS-equipped. From the many, many threads and comments I've read on programming SKS fobs, it's clear that it is impossible to do yourself and must be done by your Toyota dealer. That said, one reliable source claims that following the directions above for programming the fob to remotely unlock your doors will also make the fob's SKS functions work, assuming it's a silver-logo fob. I'm curious to know if that really works so please post your results if you try it.

    That's it. I hope this helps! I wish I had found such a thorough document as this when I needed to program my own new fob! I bought my spare fob used on eBay for $60 shipped. I also bought a blank metal key for $10 shipped from a separate seller.

    Oh, and there is some discussion about new fobs (2006, 2007, 2008) being backwards compatible with older cars but older fobs being unable to work with those newer cars. I have no experience with this situation, though.

    One more thing. If you are unlucky enough to have lost all of your fobs and keep reading that you're totally screwed and will need to pay $1,200 for a new ECU, that may not be true. Check this out: http://priuschat.com/forums/care-ma...21501-end-don-t-lose-your-keys-else-myth.html
    Then again, if you're so unlucky to have lost all of your fobs, I'd bet that you won't have much luck on this front, either!
  2. Rae Vynn

    Rae Vynn Watch out, I have a degree in BS!

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    This would be the Discordian Ritual for programming a fob.
  3. 05 Solar Prius

    05 Solar Prius New Member

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    Ok folks THIS is really how you do this, and yes it really does work. I bought three old keys on ebay anywhere from $23.52 to $50 even. Make sure you have on your original key and have looked on the back for a black toyota logo. This WILL NOT work for the smart keys with the SILVER toyota logo. To get started go to ebay and find an auction for a black logo key. Bid and win and when it gets there, follow these instructions carefully. The parts in red are the difference from above.

    The Fob (for operating the car)
    This isn't hard, as long as your new fob is not broken and you are able to follow simple directions. The whole process will take less than two minutes.

    1. Insert old fob into slot and remove it 4 times in a row, and insert it a fifth time but leave it in there!
    2. Open and close driver door 6 times.
    3. Remove old fob from slot. Car is in fob programming mode at this point.
    4. Insert new fob and leave in the slot for a full minute. Watch the blinking red anti-theft light on the dashboard. When it stops flashing and goes dark, your new fob is all set.
    5. Remove the new fob and you're done. You should test both fobs to be sure they work properly.


    Now for the door lock functions.


    The Fob (for remotely unlocking/locking the doors)
    This is similar to the previous directions except it has to be done without a full moon and you Must be wearing matching socks. (kidding)

    1. Open the driver door with no fob in slot and the driver door unlocked and opened. Other doors can be locked or unlocked, it doesn't matter.
    2. Insert old fob into slot and remove it twice within 5 seconds.
    3. Close and open driver door twice.
    4. Insert and remove old fob once.
    5. Close and open driver door twice again.
    6. Insert old fob in slot and close door.
    7. Without pressing the brake, press power button, wait a second, press it again, wait a second, press it a third time to turn car back off.
    8. Remove old fob from slot. You'll be in "add mode" at this point.
    9. Car should lock and unlock doors TWICE to verify it is in add mode.
    10. Press both buttons on new fob simultaneously for a second and a half!.
    11 Within 3 seconds, press only the lock symbol button. yes it does matter which!
    12. Car should respond with one quick lock/unlock to verify that the new fob is all set. If the car responds with two lock/unlocks, that means it didn't work. I don't know how to troubleshoot that problem. Maybe just try again.
    13. To end this programming, open a door or put fob in the slot.
    14. Enjoy the savings from NOT buying a fob from the dealership!!!!!
    15. If you want metal keys, DO not buy them from ebay, they quoted me $7.92 CUT by them from dealer.
    7 people like this.
  4. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    Good news for Aussies.
    I have been told that a lot of the things an owner can do to their car in the US couldn't be done to the Australian cars including adding extra key fobs. Well I just used the above information and now have the ebay secondhand key-fob I have been meaning to take to the dealer for programing set up to my 2004 base model Prius!!

    Thanks to amethystjw & 05 Solar Prius for the information. Most likely saved me $70 and some messing around going to the dealer.

    It took a few tries but that was my fault trying to read and do at the same time. I was messing up the sequence. If you mess up I think you need to put the car in ready mode then shut down and go again. I also found sitting in the car on an evening without a full moon and no socks with white leather New Balance 621s on worked best, this may vary with shoe size. I tried to do it with the window down while standing outside the car but it did not work. Again most likely because I'm stupid.
    Thanks tons people.

    OK, so all you Aussies who need an extra fob for your standard Prius, you can save on the fob and program you own car to accept it. Now I just need a manual key cut.

    Should this thread be stickied?
  5. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    I was lucky maybe that the serial numbers on my old fob and ebay second hand fob were close together.
    [​IMG]
    By patsparks at 2008-03-28

    But it may not have mattered.
    Original on left, ebay fob on right. I concealed last 3 digits of number just in case.
    May be it matters more that the fobs are the same model, again I don't really know.
  6. hobbit

    hobbit Senior Member

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    Source?
    .
    _H*
  7. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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  8. 05 Solar Prius

    05 Solar Prius New Member

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    Me! I'm the source! I did this and it works great.
    If you try it you will find it works too!
    Hey hobbit? Why are you so pissy with everybody?:baby:
  9. hobbit

    hobbit Senior Member

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    Why do you consider a simple request for where you got the
    information as "pissy"? Some of us like having full references
    and traceability, because we're curious types and like to
    see the big picture. Sorry if it sounds like I'm not entirely
    trusting someone who just pops up and says "I tried this and
    it works", but I would have a hard time believing that you
    derived all of this entirely on your own by brute-force trial
    and error.
    .
    _H*
  10. amethystjw

    amethystjw Computer Geek

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    Hobbit and everyone:

    I put the original post together (and will incorporate the helpful clarifications and changes put forth by "05 Solar Prius" soon) by doing trial and error based on some directions I found on Priuschat. The directions I found were based on a printed page that someone used years ago and found and re-typed to post online. I think his handle was "victor". The article wasn't completely accurate but I eventually got my fob working. I can't prove it but then again I'm not writing a technical document to be published in a peer-review journal.

    So that's the source, lame as it sounds!
  11. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    Hey Hobbit, I have 3000+ posts so I haven't just popped up. I did it and it worked. I thought my post explained I had repeated the process described by 05 Solar Prius and I was saying information confirmed.
    I try not to tell too many lies.

    I also confirm the information you gave about the MFD, my MFD died a few days after reading about your fixing one and I dismantled mine and had an expert solder the connections. He saw that about 10 of the solder joints from 60 down to about 40 were cracked on my board (I seemed to have much less of that clear stuff on mine than the one you fixed up) so he re-soldered all the connections on that side of the plug for $25AU. I don't know if it's just me thinking this but the display seemed washed out before it stopped displaying information but now looks much sharper. Thanks heaps for your information, it saved me a lot of money.

    Does it matter where the information came from as long as it works?

    I might add, I tried programming the car to accept this same key fob once before from information on PC but failed, but following this thread I managed to do it.
  12. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey guys, lay off.
    I have to admit that when I was originally reading the process I kept asking myself, "how on Earth would anyone ever consider doing all these things in this order?" I certainly don't have the imagination to come up with, "I'm going to reprogram an old fob and it just feels right to close and open the driver door twice."
  13. 05 Solar Prius

    05 Solar Prius New Member

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    Tony, I did it just to see if it was true or myth. When I found that it works, I giggled as if to say "bite me you gouging toyota dealer!"

    I love a challenge! It was like a puzzle. Do it in the right order and have fun doing it. It was fun!:bounce:
  14. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    It's like the Prius game from Toyota. Rather than just a MPG race against yourself there are side challenges. I pulled this card from the pile, "Lost your keyfob, pay Toyota $400 or buy a fob from ebay for $50 and program yourself if you dare saving $350!"
  15. 05 Solar Prius

    05 Solar Prius New Member

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    Right ON!:amen:
  16. hobbit

    hobbit Senior Member

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    Kudos for dogged persistence in trying all the permutations. It
    would have shortcut a lot of this back-and-forth if the OPs had
    simply mentioned that, i.e. a simple "this is original work" like
    in any academic paper. There is some info from Toyota, in TSBs
    and the like, about key programming, that many people have had
    trouble with over time [not meeting particular timeouts, etc]
    so my first thought was that all this was a rework of some of
    that to clarify an existing procedure that wasn't clear enough.
    .
    It's great to know lots of info about the car and its systems,
    and it's also great to know the derivations thereof because the
    background research is usually interesting and a good read.
    .
    _H*
  17. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    I don't think anyone was attacking Tony just saying it works.
    I have seen similar stuff but this worked!

    I'm going on holiday on the savings.
  18. ddepriest2

    ddepriest2 New Member

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    Wow! This actually works! I researched the web for days to find this exact info. Thank you! You saved me $100.....
  19. 05 Solar Prius

    05 Solar Prius New Member

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    And wasn't it FUN too!:D
  20. Winston

    Winston Member

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    Not to rude, but... If any of you believe that this procedure was discovered through trial and error,... well,....
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