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Old 06-14-2016, 11:33 AM   #1
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 297
Year: 2003
Chassis: E-450
Engine: 7.3 Turbo
I lost my only key...

Got the bus home a little over a week ago, but last Thursday/Friday the keys went missing. I have NO idea how or where this happened, but an entire weekend of doing nothing but looking for the keys has yielded no results.

Called all the locksmiths in my area, they say that they can't pull the ignition lock without the key and that doing that is the only way to find the electronic code that a new key would need in order to deactivate the immobilizer.

I was told to check with the dealerships. They say that they only keep the key codes for the VINs for 10 years, then they just delete them. I can't wrap my head around why they would do this.

Dealership said try locksmiths, but so far I keep getting told that they can't do this job without having the code.

Surely other people in the world lose keys to vehicles over 10 years old that have the transponder thingy in the key, right? Do any of you have suggestions? The only idea we have come up with short of finding the keys is replacing the entire steering column.
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Old 06-14-2016, 12:49 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Brand? I can't imagine the immobilization system is that ironclad that they can't pull the entire ignition key cylinder and install a new set with keys programmed... May not be cheap but seriously cannot be impossible either.
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Old 06-14-2016, 01:02 PM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
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Year: 2000
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Engine: ISC 8.3
I didn't remember which bus you got, and your profile doesn't indicate, but I did find a post where you mentioned a 2003 Ford-based shortie. I'm guessing that's the one you have, and that its driver controls are essentially the same thing one would find in a Ford super duty pickup of similar year?

Having the key on hand is the easiest way to remove an ignition cylinder, but surely not the only way. Alternatives would be more destructive.. drill out the keyway, etc.

Transponder keys are a problem the remote start industry has already solved. If you look for a remote start solution for a Ford pickup similar to your bus, it may turn out that their transponder bypass solution could work for your bus too.
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Old 06-14-2016, 01:07 PM   #4
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Location: Spring Valley AZ
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Year: 2000
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It's an 03 Ford e450 wth the 7.3 turbo
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Old 06-14-2016, 01:11 PM   #5
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 297
Year: 2003
Chassis: E-450
Engine: 7.3 Turbo
Yes, 03 Ford e-450. The response the local dealerships, repair shops, and locksmiths are giving me make ZERO sense. They all say something completely different and not one has indicated that they could help.

I called a dealership further away who told me to call a specific person. I did and he is telling me that he can have me 2 new keys that are guaranteed to work within a few hours. We'll see...

If not, I'll look into that familywagon, I hadn't even considered workaround solutions yet. Good idea.
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Old 06-24-2016, 05:59 PM   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 297
Year: 2003
Chassis: E-450
Engine: 7.3 Turbo
Update: Turns out there are no transponders in 03 e450s. If you find yourself in a similar problem in the future, don't just listen to what a locksmith tells you. It took me looking into this issue myself to find out that I didn't need one. Use resources like this:

Locksmith Charley's Transponder Information - Selection Page¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬* ¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬* ¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬* ¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*¬*

Or just google search "transponder reference chart"...

When that was figured out it was just a matter of having the ignition replaced.
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Old 06-24-2016, 10:18 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: alaska/texas
Posts: 22
Year: 90
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: safe-t-liner
Engine: cat re
Rated Cap: 79
Sounds like you may have found a real locksmith, most areas have 1.
The key you need made is fairly simple to make, the vehicle uses a 8 cut H75 key. the ignition has wafers in positions 2 -8. the door lock can be read to provide cuts for positions 1-6. The other wafers will be easy to figure out. Of course there are other ways to make this key but this is usually the easy way. If this was a 2006 and newer the transponder would usually add about 15 minutes to the job for programming.
Good Luck
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Old 06-24-2016, 10:59 PM   #8
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 297
Year: 2003
Chassis: E-450
Engine: 7.3 Turbo
Crawler, that seems to be the case. The guy I finally found by chasing down recommendations normally doesn't work with the public, but wow is he good. The first set of keys didn't work right because it turned out that the ignition had already been replaced (still waiting on the service records to show up in the mail). Those were ready in under an hour.

When that failed, he had a new ignition ordered and put in in less than 48 hours. Excessively reasonable when it came to the price.
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Old 06-25-2016, 04:07 AM   #9
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 252
So glad that worked out for you. Maybe the cutaway market is different but it seems to me any fleet operation would want to keep their ignition key varieties to a minimum because keys routinely go missing and you don't want an 18-ton landmark taking up space in your yard instead out on the road doing its job just because the key is too hard to duplicate. In the OTR trucking world, some brands can cut a key without ever touching the truck just by the VIN or some fleets simply use the same key for the entire fleet with the authentication being the driver's ID or an activation code to disable the immobilizer system... Of course these trucks also have remote management and satellite tracking so unless they leave the planet they're not going to be able to hide from authorities.
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Old 06-25-2016, 06:11 AM   #10
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: EHT New Jersey
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Year: 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jake_blue View Post
*snip*it seems to me any fleet operation would want to keep their ignition key varieties to a minimum because keys routinely go missing and you don't want an 18-ton landmark taking up space in your yard instead out on the road doing its job just because the key is too hard to duplicate. In the OTR trucking world, some brands can cut a key without ever touching the truck just by the VIN
I had a similar problem about 15 years ago, as an EMT with a regularly assigned bus. Someone took my truck out before my shift and took the key home with them. Went to the local Ford dealer with VIN in hand, and the Service Department said "Nope, we can't do that. Unless it was bought here". The DoD used to be that way with the M10xx CUCV fleet; *every* Guardsman I knew at my old Army Guard battalion had their own keys. The only reason for signing out the logbook was to get the key for the padlock on the steering wheel. And Volvo dealers can get you a new key cut by VIN in a few days. Makes me wonder why, now, with the ability to have every VIN recorded in a database, more car companies don't do that.
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