Field Service Mode - Technically Speaking

James Berry Mar 12, 2014 0 Comment(s)
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Fob-Training Program

Q: I understand it may be difficult to diagnose a problem via e-mail, but I thought I’d try. I just bought an ’02 Z06 with only 6,800 miles, and I’m having a problem programming the key fobs.

The car only came with one fob when I got it, and it didn’t work. I changed the battery, to no avail. My next step was to go to the parts department of my local dealership and order two new fobs. I then made an appointment to have the fobs programmed by my mechanic.

On the day of my appointment, I waited an hour and a half before being told by the mechanic that his programmer was “malfunctioning.” He recommended that I try the local Chevrolet dealer, but I’d like to avoid that expense.

I tried to program the fobs myself, but I can’t get them to work, either. I can get to the point on the DIC where it says FOB TRAINING, but after hitting the reset button, it won’t move on to the PRESS UNLK + LOK step.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Kent Tibbs
Via email

A: The procedure for programming your Corvette’s key fob should be located in the owner’s manual. That said, I’ve had GM vehicles give me problems when trying to program new fobs.

Let’s start by following the normal programming procedure; if that doesn’t work, we can try to “force” the vehicle into learn mode.

Method 1—Key-Fob Quick Learn

This procedure will only add key fobs, with new ones numbered in sequence based on the order in which they were programmed. For example, if two fobs are currently programmed to the Remote Control Door Lock Receiver (RCDLR), a fob programmed using this method will be numbered as Fob 3. This procedure requires that you have a known “good” (functioning) key fob, a replacement fob, and the vehicle key.

Note: Quick Learn is not available when the maximum number of fobs (four) has been programmed. In that case, the Driver Information Center (DIC) will display MAX FOBS LEARNED, and the programming procedure will terminate.

  1. Make sure the vehicle is off.
  2. Open the rear compartment.
  3. Place a known “good” key fob in the interior of the vehicle.
  4. At the rear of the vehicle, insert the vehicle key in the rear-compartment lock cylinder (located in the lower left) and cycle the key five times within five seconds.
  5. The DIC will display READY FOR FOB X (X = 2, 3, or 4).
  6. Place the replacement fob in the glovebox fob pocket with the buttons facing right.
  7. A beep will sound, and the DIC will display READY FOR FOB X (X = 3 or 4) or MAX FOBS LEARNED.
  8. If programming additional fobs, repeat Steps 5 and 6, or press the OFF/ACC portion of the ignition switch to exit programming mode.
  9. Operate the active portion of each fob to exit programming and verify correct system operation.

Method 2—Key-Fob Slot Programming

This procedure adds or replaces a key fob, and it allows you to choose the location (slot) to which the non-programmed fob will be “learned.” If you are replacing a fob, it will erase the fob previously programmed to that particular slot. This procedure requires that you have a known “good” (functioning) key fob, a replacement fob, the vehicle key, and a scan tool capable of programming key fobs.

  1. Make sure the vehicle is off.
  2. Open the rear compartment.
  3. Place a known “good” key fob in the interior of the vehicle.
  4. At the rear of the vehicle, insert the vehicle key in the rear-compartment lock cylinder and cycle the key five times within five seconds.
  5. Install a scan tool.
  6. Use the scan tool to access the following:
    • Vehicle Control Systems
    • Computer/Integrating Systems
    • Module Replacement/Setup
    • RCDLR
    • Program Key Fobs
  7. Select Fob X (X = 1, 2, 3, or 4) on the scan tool. This will be the slot to which you program.
  8. Place the replacement fob in the glovebox fob pocket with the buttons facing right. A beep will sound, indicating that programming is compete. The previously programmed fob is now erased.
  9. If programming additional key fobs, repeat Steps 4-8, or press the OFF/ACC portion of the ignition switch to exit programming.
  10. Remove the scan tool.
  11. Operate the active portion of each key fob to exit programming and verify correct system operation.

(Note that if you want to add or replace a key fob without using a scanner, it’s possible to do so using Method 1. Follow Steps 1 through 4, then stop and wait 30 minutes. The DIC will display “READY FOR FOB 1” after the time has elapsed. [It’s a good idea to install a battery charger to keep the vehicle battery from going dead during the wait.] I’ve had good and bad luck getting this procedure to work.)

Forced-Learn Programming

If the vehicle won’t go into programming mode, you can try to “force” it to do so using the following procedure:

  1. Make sure the vehicle is off.
  2. Open the rear compartment.
  3. At the rear of the vehicle, insert the vehicle key in the rear-compartment lock cylinder.
  4. Place a known “good” key fob in the interior of the vehicle.
  5. Turn vehicle “on” without starting it, then press the start button again to turn it off.
  6. After turning vehicle off, have a helper immediately turn the key five times. This may trigger the “FOB” message on the DIC. You can then proceed with the rest of the procedure as normal.

In closing, I’d like to note that this procedure has on occasion driven me to perform the following additional steps:

  1. Remove beer from refrigerator.
  2. Open can.
  3. Drink.
  4. Repeat as necessary.

Good luck, and keep us posted on your results.


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