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Looking for some advice - recently bought (on a whim…) an early, neglected 4.6 HSE. Amongst the many things to sort, it has only one key - which is an aftermarket flip fob (previously split and cable-tied together) in the style of the original. The fob LED illuminates when the lock button is pressed, but it doesn’t lock or unlock the car.

The key blade locks, unlocks and starts the car - I assume this means that the immobiliser has previously been bypassed via the BECM.

I’d like to have a working remote to avoid relying on the door lock not falling to bits, and I don’t have the EKA code - what’s my best option?

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It probably just needs syncing to the car. If the battery has been flat or disconnected it will lose sync so is normal. If it is locked with the key, it can be unlocked with the key so the immobiliser will still be on but being turned off when you unlock. It has probably had a cheapo replacement case fitted and not glued together properly but if the LED flashes, that is a good sign and suggests it is working.

To sync make sure all doors, bonnet and tailgate are closed, put the key in the door lock. Turn to lock and hold there, while holding the key turned press and hold the lock button on the fob until the LED starts to flash faster (about 3 seconds). Release the fob button then turn the key back to centre. Then turn to unlock, hold, press and hold the unlock key on the fob until it flashes faster then release. Turn the key back to centre and try pressing a fob button, that should have synced it so it will now work.

Assuming it does and you are in the UK, take your V5 and some form of ID into a LR main dealer and ask them to provide you with the EKA code. They should give you a printout with things like radio code, EKA, lockset bar code, build date, etc. free of charge. Go to your local Timsons and ask them to cut you a key blade (you'll need to tell them it is a BMW blank) so you'll have a spare that you can use while you send your fob to Jon here https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/265688990980 to be refurbished. Even if the sync doesn't work, you'll still be able to use your cut blade while Jon works his magic on your existing fob.

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Thanks very much - will attempt and report back once the rain stops…

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The fob is broken on my '94. It works fine with the key.

The only time problems start is if you lock it with the fob.

If you lock with the key, then it will unlock with the key and start just fine.

If you lock with the fob, and then unlock with the key, you end up immobilised and need the EKA.

At one point i was locking with the key and unlocking with the fob, that also worked fine, however at some point the BECM went in a huff and stopped listening to the fob and i gave up trying to get it working again.

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Had a go at re-pairing the fob earlier - fob does appear to work (perhaps intermittently), but will only lock and unlock the rear doors, whereas using the key in the lock operates them all - presumably there’s an issue with front central locking actuators.

Seemed to confuse itself and “ENGINE IMMOBILISED” appeared - some messing with the key again and it started. Local Timpson couldn’t cut a new key, so I’ll try again when I’ve found somewhere that can.

Also have no response from the tailgate button - I know this is earthed via the driver’s door,; not sure if it’s linked or not.

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Sounds like you have an iffy driver's door latch. That would explain the tailgate not working (if the driver's door is unlocked, it supplies a ground to the tailgate) and the central locking not working on that door.

My local Timsons had to order in the BMW blank to cut my key but any key cutting place should be able to do it.

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Thanks. Supposedly they use a different vice for cutting these keys - I know somewhere that should be able to sort it.

If the latch is at fault, what’s likely to need replacing (i.e. can I buy a replacement, or is it going to be trying to swap microswitches)?

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What year is the car? Up to 99 model year, the latches are identical to those fitted to the MGF and can be bought from here https://www.ukmgparts.com/product/mgf-mgf14-exterior-bodyshell-panels/door-lock-rh-mgf-tf-rhd-fqj102262pma at around half the price of the P38 latches. The P38 has a 6way and a 1 way plug, the MG latch has a 6 way and a 2 way, all you do is ignore the grey wire in the 2 way plug. 99 and later cars use the same latches but with a different 8 way plug (with only 7 ways used) but there is nothing to stop you chopping the pugs off and swapping them, wire colours are the same.

Swapping microswitches can be done but it isn't straightforward and is a real PITA.....

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Thanks, that’s really helpful (it’s a 1995 car) - another thing to do along with the door handle cams…

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EKA code came next-day via the local dealer (apparently the request goes to JLR Classic) - surprised.

Also, tailgate button not working is down to the connector having a broken clip - works fine when held against the button.

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Revisiting this, had ten minutes today - presumably there’s no issue with removing the batteries in the (not properly synced) fob if solely using the key to unlock and lock? The bodged fob case is pressing a button internally somehow and the LED is almost always illuminated. I’ve worked out that the central locking via driver’s door lock doesn’t lock the passenger door, but manually locking the passenger door with the lock button does lock it and the rear doors.

Timpson couldn’t provide a blank key blade (after half an hour’s drive to the branch which apparently could), and then proceeded to butcher my spare fob blank - now to find a Silca HU109FP or equivalent…

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No problem with using a dead fob as a manual key, not until you wear out the keyswitch in the latch anyway. That is the problem with the cheap fob cases, they don't hold the pcb securely so it can move inside the case.

Usually one door not locking means the CDL switch has failed so it doesn't try to lock it as it thinks it is already locked. However, if pushing the sill locking button down locks the other doors, that would suggest it is working. I suppose the only possibility is that it is failing so manually pushing the sill button down moves it further, just enough for it to operate?

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Just had a chance to have another look - the key and the driver’s door locking button lock and unlock everything but the front passenger door; the front passenger door locking button locks and unlocks everything but the driver’s door (with indicator flash). I can see the passenger door card has been off, so someone has been there before me…

As for keys, I can recommend “auto-locksmith” on eBay - £10.50 for a plain key cut from a photo, arrived in a couple of days and actually works.

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Very odd. It almost sounds as though someone has been playing with the wiring and linked the two front latches for some reason. Any sign of any spurious wiring around the BeCM?

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Nothing immediately obvious (although there is a random wire with an inline fuse under there, and the radio wiring has been butchered). Bigger issue now is that neither original nor copy key will unlock the door - assume the loose handle has somehow misaligned the lock barrel. Got in with the fob (which decided to work, but seemingly doesn’t unlock the driver’s door), but it will have to wait as I’m away. Let’s hope the battery doesn’t go flat in the meantime.

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Philip do you have a link for auto-locksmith? I haven’t been able to find it with a google search.

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Here’s a link to the eBay account.

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Thanks Philip

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Gilbertd wrote:
The P38 has a 6way and a 1 way plug, the MG latch has a 6 way and a 2 way,

Revisiting this - some MGF latches which seemingly have the correct part number have only the single 6-way connector for the LH door, presumably they aren’t the right ones. What is the smaller second connector?

Had the fob refurbished and it works (although can’t use it until the central locking is fixed).

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Ah, the later catches appear to have a single plug.