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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our 2009 Kia CEED (1.4 Petrol) seems to be immobilised and was flat-bedded home by the AA. Turns over but won't start - tried both keys. Changing the antenna coil didn't fix it. Any suggestions please on what to try next? One suggestion is to bypass the imobiliser but I don't know anyone experienced in hotwiring cars! I can't get a recommendation from my local indy garage for a specialist technician to look at it, and AA advised to take to main dealer who say they will start with expensive diagnostics and won't suggest any fixes from the symptoms. I'm told by a friend in the trade that it could be a right-off needing a new ECU so would be grateful for any advice as otherwise it's a great car.
 

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Did the AA read any codes which had been set? If not, the first step is to get diagnostics done (preferably by a local independent who will not charge a fortune) and go from there. Sudden failure to start, with no previous problems can have a multiplicity of causes, from a defective sensor to a "stuffed" ECU. It's even worse when no codes have been set, as you don't know where to start looking, and throwing new parts at it more in hope than anger is just pointless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Many thanks Astra99 and Richard B. AA guy spent ages looking at the car while the second key was retrieved. No codes on ODB and no 12v going to the fuel pump. Also key in car symbol on panel didn’t do out which is why he suspected the immobiliser. Car was then flat bedded home but started the next morning. That was two months ago and Fault reappeared just before Christmas. Sounds like finding an auto electrician with good reviews is my way forward. I’ve bought and ODB device and again no codes. Sounds like ECU. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
An excellent Auto Electrician looked at our Kia CEED this morning and also couldn't find any faults or error codes and confirmed the immobiliser light staying on when turning over is a bad sign and suspects a new ECU is required from the main dealer. (Antenna coil has already been changed.) The cost of a new ECU and the labour is likely to be greater than the value of the car (~£1,600). Does anyone know if it's possible please to fit a reconditioned ECU like the ECU kits that are available for other makes? Nothing is coming up on the web and the auto electrician doesn't think it's possible with Kia and it has to go to the main dealer.
 

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If it is the ECU I would look on ebay to see if you can get the correct part number as yours and get a main dealer to reprogram it, worth talking to service department to check on costs etc and see if you can work a deal (see if they can plug car in and confirm for £xx? and then fitting replace) Worth asking as you have nothing to lose.
 

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@ImobCEED - I can't answer you question directly, but if I had something similar I would first of all try a professional engine tuner - the sort who uses a rolling-road to check BHP and torque figures and who offer remaps.
These type of engine tuners will be able to access your ECU and almost certainly be able to re-write the code so the immobiliser is in effect turned off.

I'd probably expect to be paying £200-£250 for a good quality bespoke rolling-road remap, so the cost ought to be in that ball-park as the effort is similar.
You should choose the professional carefully and confirm they can read your ECU code and know how to do the work, as getting things wrong can "brick" an ECU.
Some companies might have the ability to perform the task by you sending them the ECU and them returning it to you once the task is complete, and others will need the car present to perform the task.

Of course, you'll then have a car that can just be started with a key blade, so another form of security device might be considered to keep the vehicle safe.
Insurance companies don't like this sort of "modification" either, so it's best to keep such matters between you and 4 walls..... :)

Anyway - I hope this helps a little
Cheers
Jeff
 

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@ImobCEED - I can't answer you question directly, but if I had something similar I would first of all try a professional engine tuner - the sort who uses a rolling-road to check BHP and torque figures and who offer remaps.
These type of engine tuners will be able to access your ECU and almost certainly be able to re-write the code so the immobiliser is in effect turned off.

I'd probably expect to be paying £200-£250 for a good quality bespoke rolling-road remap, so the cost ought to be in that ball-park as the effort is similar.
You should choose the professional carefully and confirm they can read your ECU code and know how to do the work, as getting things wrong can "brick" an ECU.
Some companies might have the ability to perform the task by you sending them the ECU and them returning it to you once the task is complete, and others will need the car present to perform the task.

Of course, you'll then have a car that car just be started with a key blade, so another form of security device might be considered to keep the vehicle safe.
Insurance companies don't like this sort of "modification" either, so it's best to keep such matters between you and 4 walls..... :)

Anyway - I hope this helps a little
Cheers
Jeff
I would imagine that most insurance companies will run a mile from a a car which has been remapped and the factory immobiliser deleted.
 

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I would imagine that most insurance companies will run a mile from a a car which has been remapped and the factory immobiliser deleted.
No, you are not correct.
In my 40+ years of driving well over 200 stock and modified vehicles I can assure you that Insurance companies will quote for such business - I currently own several vehicles that were built long before immobiliser security systems were employed and do not have any issue in insuring them - however that is not the topic I was engaging in, and nor was I making recommendation for a remap either.

The OP has an 11+ year old car that seems to have an issue with the immo configuration on the ECU (as loosley diagnosed by the AA).
I was mearly offering an alternative means to resolving a non-starting issue with immo problem which might be cheaper than a new/second hand ECU or scrapping the car.

Should you have an alternative solution for the OP I suspect they'd be pleased to read about it.

Cheers
Jeff
 

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Perhaps my wording "run a mile" was inappropriate - it is very rare for a motor insurance company to refuse cover because it blights the applicant for all future applications (they all ask the question "have you ever been refused...".) but they will hike premiums. The fact that earlier cars had no immobiliser is not relevant. This car has a factory immo and premiums will reflect that - defeating it will show in the cost of insurance.

It is very difficult to accept that an ECU would fail, work again and then fail again. "Needs a new ECU" is technical speak for "I really don't know". It would be cheaper by far to take it to a KIA dealer and ask them to investigate/diagnose. While this will not be cheap they will have diagnostic equipment which can look deeeper than generic OBD readers. You do not have to have the repair performed by KIA.

If the antenna has been ruled out then for a small outlay try replacing the batteries in the keyfob. I know that some kefobs use a transponder chip which is entirely passive so batteries are not an issue, but I experienced the following behaviour with my Sportage:

1) Keyless detection for tailgate release became intermittent then failed entirely. (Plipper and keyless unlock of drivers door still working fine.)

2) then a short while laterpPlipper range much reduced

3) Shortly followed by intermittent "Key not in car" warnings when it was in the car - pressing the fob on the start button did still start the car.

Replaced fob battery and all working fine again (was about 3 years old).

Grasping at straws and I think the age of the car means it is the passive transponder type but for a couple of quid it is worth a try.

Failing that then it is more likely a bad connection somewhere but without a wiring diagram it is hard to troubleshoot. Some models have also had issues with damp ingress to the ECU and removing and drying has been effective.
 

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.......This car has a factory immo and premiums will reflect that - defeating it will show in the cost of insurance.
That is indeed a probability, and as I eluded to that in my original response to the OP I was confused with your first reply.
Not important though.

The important points are supporting the OP with their issue.
I agree that more comprehensive diagnostics are almost certainly required.
The presence of the Immo warning lamp remaining lit when both primary and secondary keys are tried does appear to signify an Immo issue of some sort that is less-likely to be keyfob/transponder related, imho.

As with many dealers these days - the lazy approach due to lack of skilled technicians is, more often than not, to sell a new part speedily rather than troubleshoot a fault thoroughly with a fixed cost - main dealer hourly rates are always going to be high, and this needs to be balanced against the value of the car.
This is again where a good quality (INDY) independent specialist who has the ability to perform complex electronic work (such as remaps and ECU/Instrument Cluster re-coding) comes into play - BTW.... I am not part of this industry and have no affiliation to any such organisation.

I assume, by reading the OP's post-content, that they are not mechanically/electronically savvy, hence why I'd not necessarily dive into the world of self diagnosis/troubleshooting, but perhaps if the OP can recall anything specific that was the same when both issues occured (like washing the car or heavy rainfall, parking differently on those occasions, any windows left open / doors unlocked / lights left on, etc.) or any work that had been carried out to the vehicle just prior to the first event.

Anyway - report back with any further info you have, or if the issues gets resolved what the fix was, as this is helpful for those with similar issues.

Cheers
Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the interest, ideas and discussions. All very useful. I followed RichardB's suggestion and have bought a replacement ECU from Ebay (£50 rather than £650) - getting the part number required some kind help as the label wasn't visible. When I phoned the recommended nearly local Kia dealer they were happy to reprogram an ECU and assumed I'd provide a replacement ECU so it must be a regular repair! They've quoted 2 hrs and luckily didn't say 'as £long as it takes'. I'm sure they'll check the codes first - I'll ask. I'll report back in 10 days. Just need the AA flatbed service again.
I suspect the comment about damp getting into the ECU could be correct as the car is left outside but there are no water leaks into the engine bay which is dry, and it wasn't during heavy rain. I can use my garage in future.
Thanks for the link to 'ECU repairs Cloning & recovery service'. Good to see there's an indy service available at a sensible cost - I'd try that route if Kia couldn't do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Car can be repaired - Kia garage could read the fault code 'failed crank sensor' so no rpm data into ECU. They fitted replacement and engine started. (This fault code couldn't be read by AA or Auto Electrician with expensive expert OBD kit. And were misled by immobiliser warning light not going out - should have been engine management warning light! ) AA were great and took the car to my chosen Kia dealer who were recommended by local Kia dealer as they have the kit for older cars.
I had bought a replacement ECU from a breaker that Kia dealer couldn't fit as it hadn't been cleared down / reset using the donor vehicle details. Will send item back for full refund (thanks ebay). AA guy correctly warned me ECU needed resetting.
Lucky outcome and helpful Kia technician could do the diagnostics and fit new sensor within the 2 hrs work quoted for fitting the ECU.
I've learnt a lot and fortunately we didn't need the second car during lockdown. Thanks everyone for all the guidance and ideas.
 
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