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RKE module replacement effects

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Old 12 Sep 2012, 09:28 pm
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 3
Default RKE module replacement effects

I just replaced the RKE module in my 2002 Touring with a used one that I got from an Amazon 3rd-party seller. (The mechanic wanted $600 to replace it with a new one, and thanks to dreamst8's instructions in another thread I did it for <$30 plus about a half hour of my time!)

I was expecting to have to take it to the dealer for reprogramming, but to my surprise it seems to just work. My remotes stopped working long ago, so it's no loss to me that they still don't work. However, I expected that the ignition key might not work either due to the key chip programming... my mental model was that the RKE stored the chip codes for all the valid keys, so replacing the RKE would require reprogramming those codes. I'm happy to be wrong, but I'm curious what the real story is, and slightly nervous that it might suddenly change its mind and leave me (or worse, the kids) stranded somewhere.

So how does the system work? Are the key codes stored somewhere besides the RKE module? Or am I backwards and the keys get programmed to match the car instead of the other way around?

Just for the record, I had the not uncommon "door ajar light always on" problem, and tried suggestions from this forum (wd-40, replaced both front door latches) to no avail. I broke down and took it to the mechanic, who hooked it up to the computer and found that, even with the doors closed, when the key was not in the ignition or off, the car thought the driver's door was open, but with the key in the ignition and turned on, it thought the passenger door was open. They suggested replacing the RKE module, and that seems to have done it.

Thanks everyone...
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