Gen1 Prius, make sure you have a backup ignition key!

Discussion in 'Generation 1 Prius Discussion' started by 3prongpaul, Dec 26, 2017.

  1. 3prongpaul

    3prongpaul Hybrid Shop Owner, worked on 100's of Prius's

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    The 2001, 2002, and 2003 Prius is a royal PITA if you lose your last key that can start the car.

    Many dealers quote over $1000 (plus a tow) to make the car start again since the dash has to be taken apart and immobilizer computer module must be replaced or reflashed. If you only have 1 key that starts the car, get a proper electronic copy made ASAP.

    If you're too cheap to get a proper key made, at least do this (immobilizer bypass) so you won't have to worry about "bricking" your car when you lose your last chip key.



    Note, the video talks about using the valet key but you can do this with a master key as well.

    If you already have a master key (black head, security light goes off right away when you insert key into ignition) you can duplicate the master key to plain silver keys at any hardware store. Key blank is usually part number TR47.

    If you have zero keys you are screwed. As of Dec 2017 I have a few immobilizers with matching master keys available. $180 shipped. If you get a key made that will turn in the ignition the items I send you will allow the car to start/READY once you take the dash apart and swap the immobilizer ECU, which is still a PITA to do but overall a lot cheaper than the dealer. Call my shop, Boulder Hybrids for details. 303-325-7411



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    #1 3prongpaul, Dec 26, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
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  2. Brian in Tucson

    Brian in Tucson Active Member

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    There's a difference between the Valet and the Master keys, but if it's all you got go get a spare or two made. If all you have is a valet key, you can make it work in the trunk by taking the lock out and removing the last wafer going in. If you don't want to do it yourself, take it to a locksmith. You can have non electronic keys made for about $3. and epoxy the electronic key to the bottom of the steering column. Electronic keys can be made at a variety of places besides the dealer. My spare came from ACE, I believe.
     
  3. 3prongpaul

    3prongpaul Hybrid Shop Owner, worked on 100's of Prius's

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    As I mention in the video, if you only have a valet key take your VIN and proof of ownership to dealer and ask them to cut a "plain silver key to open the trunk" based on keycode. It will turn every lock in the car including the trunk (and allow you to lock the trunk so the cable inside won't work). This will likely be easier and cheaper than removing the trunk lock assembly and/or paying a locksmith.

    Note; The silver key will not allow the car to start (i.e. go READY) unless you have the immobilzer chip system sorted out/bypassed.
     
    #3 3prongpaul, Dec 26, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
  4. WHCSC

    WHCSC Member

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    Why do you have to get the first silver key cut at the dealer? Can't you do the same thing with the cheap cut keys from Ace?
     
  5. 3prongpaul

    3prongpaul Hybrid Shop Owner, worked on 100's of Prius's

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    It depends on your situation. If you have a master key (black head, security light goes out immediately when you insert key) and it's not too worn you can copy at any hardware store. If you only have a valet key (gray head, security light stays on for 2-3 seconds then goes out) or your key is really worn I suggest a new key cut by code by the dealer. That way it will work well and IN EVERY LOCK OF THE CAR. A valet key does not allow you to turn the trunk lock cylinder which means you cannot open the trunk with key and/or force lock the trunk so the trunk cable becomes inactive.
     
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  6. nimblemotors

    nimblemotors Re Member

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    If you have lost all keys, you can purchase a new immobilizer with two keys already programmed into it,
    AND a new ignition lock cylinder, standard ignition product US577L.
    Currently at RockAuto for $174.
    If you have the ability to solder small chips, the immobilizer has a Microchip 9366 eeprom that contains
    the chip ids of the keys programmed to it. These chips cost 33 cents at digikey.com,
    but must be flashed. I'm still trying to figure out what the 'virgin' flash contents are.
    However if you have another prius with a working key, you can copy the contents of that eeprom, and then use the other cars working key on your car with a non-chip key in your ignition, and then add your chip key to your immobilizer.

    Here are the details for a non-prius toyota, which is similiar but not the same,


    2001 TOYOTA PRIUS 1.5L L4 ELECTRIC/GAS Ignition Lock Cylinder | RockAuto

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. nimblemotors

    nimblemotors Re Member

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    Actually, it is very easy to remove the trunk lock cylinder from the trunk, then you can take it to any locksmith, and they will make
    a key that fits it, my local place charges $30 for this service.
     
  8. 3prongpaul

    3prongpaul Hybrid Shop Owner, worked on 100's of Prius's

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    For some people yes it's easy to remove the trunk lock cylinder. Not everybody has that ability that's why I mention going to the dealer with your VIN. Similarly, not everyone knows how to reflash EEPROMs or where to source virgin immobilizer files from.
     
  9. nimblemotors

    nimblemotors Re Member

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    It would easier if someone made a video showing how...All it takes to remove the trunk cylinder is a 10mm socket, 4 nuts, remove two clips and it comes right out, it takes 5 minutes.

    Removing the immobilizer however, is not easy, unless you just cut a hole in the top of the dash, then it takes 5 minutes.

    I agree programming one isn't for everyone, maybe someone can offer the service for less than $150 which is what some locksmiths charge to 'virginize' them. :)
     
  10. bobofky

    bobofky Member

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    I have a 2001 Prius with one master key. I have experimented driving the car with a plain key cut to fit the ignition switch. If I held the master key against the ring around the ignition lock with the plain key in the ignition the car would start and I could drive it. I obtained a RFID key blank from the internet and had it cut to fit the ignition. I could drive with that key using the above technique. I got ambitious and tried to use the Coastal Tech instructions to program the RFID key without success. Now the master key does not allow any other key to be used. I used the Coastal Tech instructions to clear all keys from the master key but the master key still will not allow the other keys to be used. Does anybody have any advice?
     
  11. 3prongpaul

    3prongpaul Hybrid Shop Owner, worked on 100's of Prius's

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    Are you sure the chip key you got is a TypeC key? Not a D key? If it's the correct chip key the chicken dance procedure below should work.

    Try this procedure to reset the key computer;


    Start with all doors closed, no keys in ignition.

    insert your original (master) working key into the ignition.

    turn key from off to ON (not start) 6 times.
    end with key off/lock but leave in ignition
    This procedure must be done within 10 seconds

    Open and close the drivers door 7 times
    end with door closed
    This procedure must be done within 10 seconds

    remove the master key

    open/close drivers door once

    Try the master key again, make sure car starts and goes READY.

    ——————

    Now to add more keys;
    Start with all doors closed, no keys in ignition.

    insert your original (master) working key into the ignition.

    turn key from off to ON (not start) 5 times.
    end with key off/lock but leave in ignition
    This procedure must be done within 15 seconds

    Open and close the drivers door 6 times
    end with door closed
    This procedure must be done within 20 seconds

    remove the master key

    insert the new chip key to register (the black plastic one)

    turn to ON position (not start)
    wait 60 seconds or more

    Remove key from ignition cylinder

    open/close drivers door once

    New key should now start car and READY should appear on the dash near the speedometer.
    If it does, it has been programmed to the car.
     
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  12. bobofky

    bobofky Member

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    Those are the instructions that I tried to follow. Two more Questions:
    1. How can I find out the type of my new key? It was supposed to be a key blank for a 2001 Prius.
    2. How can I get my master key back in the original state where placing it next to the ignition ring would allow a non-Rfid key to work?
     
  13. 3prongpaul

    3prongpaul Hybrid Shop Owner, worked on 100's of Prius's

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    1) You cannot tell visually if you have the correct key especially if it's a Chinese key. Some automotive locksmiths have scanners than can confirm the chip in the key, you could see if anyone close will scan it for you. You may just want to order another one from someone else. It must be a key with a 4C chip, they are not very expensive.

    2) The keys are READ only, so unless you physically damaged the Master key it should work exactly the same way it always has. There is no way to "put it back to original state". Does the security light go off when you insert the key into the ignition? If so, it is still working properly. You may want to remove the antenna ring and put the master key close to the ring (see video in post #1) in order to use a silver key bypass method.
     
  14. bobofky

    bobofky Member

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    Before I tried to make a new key the security light would go out if I placed the master key near the ignition key ring. Now the key has to be inserted into the ignition switch to turn the light off. It works okay for driving the car. Could it be that the attempts that I did to make a new key cause the master key to reach the maximum key count?
     
  15. bobofky

    bobofky Member

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    I finally got the procedure to work and the new key works fine. I am still puzzled about the original key being altered. Neither key will turn off the security light unless the key is actually in the ignition lock. Before my original key would turn off the security light if I held it close to the ring.
     
  16. Green Ste

    Green Ste Junior Member

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    Chiming in on the key programming procedures: I could not get the programming done, for the heck of it, despite exactly following the procedures published in this thread for adding a key. I tried like 6 times. So let me post here what worked for me in the end.

    For a 2002 Prius
    Starting with a working master key, and an online-purchased 4C transponder key that was cut by a locksmith as a copy of the master.
    Note: The "alternative' instructions that can be found online and include pushing of gas and brake pedal seem to be misinformed.

    STEPS:
    1. Begin by sitting in the driver seat with all the doors shut.
    2. Lock all doors with the central lock button
    3. Unlock driver door, but do not open
    4. Insert your working master (black) key in the ignition. The red blinking light will stop blinking.
    5. Very Quickly, turn the key from "LOCK" to "ON" 5 times. (You will end with the key in the "LOCK" position)
    6. Immediately, open and close the driver door 6 times very quickly. (End with the door closed)
    7. Immediately, remove your working Master Key. The red light will remain off (that should indicate that programming mode is actually on)
    8. Insert your new (appropriately cut) Master Key, wait for two seconds
    9. Turn the key to the "ON" position and leave it there while you wait for 1 minute.
    10. Turn the key to “lock”, then pull it out. Open and then close the driver door to lock in the programming.

    In my situation, I then put in my original master key and, upon turning, it did not start the car. Aahhh! =:-o
    I then removed the key, opened and closed the driver door once more. After that, both keys, old and new, worked and started the car.

    Step 9 seems to be important: If you have an uncut key, you can leave it in for a minute at that point and the light will not start blinking, but you cannot switch to 'on'. But with the missing possibility to put the ignition to 'on', it looks like the programming for such a new key will ultimately not be accepted. Whenever I put in such a key at a later point, the red light continued to flash and thus did indicate that a master key was not present.

    Since the original instructions in this thread did not work for me, I wonder why these now actually did work. The difference _might_ have been step 2 and 3 which I added (out of a gut feeling, seeing door steps mentioned elsewhere), or being really quick with steps 5 and 6; for each of the ignition and door sequences I took less than a second. I can’t be sure, but will not go back to mess around more with the programming.
    Anyway, maybe somebody will find this helpful. I was happy to find Priuschat, including this thread and some similar ones.
     
  17. primuspaul

    primuspaul Member

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    I bought a car that only had a valet (grey) key. Obviously the chip couldn't be used to program new keys (or I suspect a new FOBs) and the key couldn't turn the trunk. I took it to a home improvement store and told them to make me a copy and to my surprise the key they gave me could turn the trunk, too. Must be something in those electronic blanks or the cutting parameters, since getting a non-transponder copy of the key yields an identical copy (one which has the same mechanical functionality as the original).

    Note that doing the "bypass" does nothing to protect you from damage/failure of the transponder chip. It just prevents you from losing the key. Also, keep in mind that getting a transponder key copied at a hardware store might get you a key with an internal "coin" battery. Since those blanks could be at the store for years and years, it's entirely possible that you'll get a key copied that works unreliably or not at all. There may not be a way to know what you'll get without opening it up. A real permanent transponder will look like a sealed plastic needle (a thick needle), whereas a unit with a battery will look like a small circuit board with a battery holder (and a battery).

    The best course of action if you only have a valet key is to get a transponder copy (with a permanent sealed transponder, NOT a battery unit) and use that while keeping the original key in a safe place, like at home or in a safe deposit box. Also, get a metal key to actually turn your locks so that you put all of your wear on that $2 key instead of the $70 transponder key (the transponder only needs to be in close proximity to the antenna, which is the metal part around the start key hole).
     
  18. beth524

    beth524 Junior Member

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    I have only a valet key- are you saying I can get a transponder copy at a hardware store? What about the fact that it cannot be programmed without a master key?
    Also, if you do the "hack" bu putting the transponder permanently in the steering column, is there a chance the transponder will fail someday, leaving you with no keys?
     
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  19. Brian in Tucson

    Brian in Tucson Active Member

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    Not all hardware stores. I got mine done at an Ace Hdwe in Tucson. Easy peasy, but about $60 as I remember. Might try Walmart.
     
  20. czunit

    czunit Junior Member

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    Thank you for posting all of this. I just cleared the keys and reprogrammed a second master key since my valet key wore down too far and Toyota wanted to charge me $2000 for a new immobilizer since it "can't be cleared". That is baloney.

    I followed these instructions from Costal Tech (now gone) to clear all the keys but the master that is in the lock.

    "You can erase all the keys and start over by turning a working
    master key 6 times and then opening and closing the door 7 times.
    Then remove the key and reprogram again."

    For me I had the door open, finger on the door closed switch on the pillar. Then with the switch closed I turned the master 6 times, then released and pressed the door switch 7 times (makes a ding each time) finishing with it pressed. Then removed master.

    Master still starts car and turns out the security light, but the old broken valet key no longer does anything. That is how I knew it was reset.

    Remember: All of your other keys are cleared, so if you have working old keys you need to reprogram them. I reprogrammed my new key as a master and have put it away for safe keeping.

    Thanks! You all saved me $2,000. That plus the $1500 I saved by not having to get a new Cat is getting to be serious money.
     
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