2006 Escape PATS failing (sometimes)

I have a 2006 Escape, and it has 44,000 miles on it. Because of that, it's out of warranty of course.
However, since last Monday, it has failed to start several times. Then
if you wait a little while, it will finally decide that we indeed do have the correct key, and the PATS unit will let us start the car.
I called the dealer, and he said to try the other key, which I did. It actually started 6 or 7 times, then failed. We waited about 10 minutes, and it started. My wife drove it home, where it sat for 2 hours, and then the PATS light just flashed and would not let me start the car. The next morning, she went out and it started immediately, and she took it to work.
About noon, I went to pick it up to take it to the dealer to see if they could fix it. It took about 8-10 tries, then I was able to get the PATS security light to go off, and the car would start.
The dealer has had it since last Thursday, and they finally got it to fail on them today. However, instead of working on it while it was failing, they waited an hour and it was working again. It seems to quit failing about 10 minutes after the first failure, and then maybe it will work for a while. The car will never die once it starts.
I have only 2 keys, the ones that came from Ford when we purchased the car. I have tried both of them, and they have both failed at one time or another.
The Dealer keeps saying they have never heard of it, and I presume they will not ask for any support from Ford, so I though I would ask if anyone here has ever seen this problem?
I hate to junk a 3 year old car, but they seem to not want to try to help. My next option is another Dealer, but they said that the original selling Dealer would probably give us a deal since we purchased it from them, and the salesman said that these cars were so good, we really did not need to purchase any extended warranty.
Thats about it...anybody seen anything like this before?
Thanks for any info.
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You need to call the dealer and ask to speak to the dealership owner. Climb as high as you can in the chain. Make it clear to them that you are willing to pay for reasonable troubleshooting but you expect them to get the factory troubleshooters involved if they cannot fix it, and your absolutely not going to pay for a bunch of shotgunning. Shotgunning is the process of getting the customer to pay for part after part after part, in an attempt to guess what the problem is. Also make it clear that if they replace ANY part that you expect to get the OLD part that they removed, given to you when you pick up the car. (this is insurance in case the new part does not fix the problem) Make it clear that if they don't fix it that your going to be calling the national Ford customer service people and filing a complaint, and that you will not be bringing your car to them ever again for service, and your going to tell as many of your friends they are a terrible dealership, and your also going to be posting your story and naming names on all the online forums you can find. Be pleasant but firm.
Get all of this out of the way BEFORE they start the game of nickle and diming you in an attempt to get you to go away.
There are internal password-protected dealer-only and mechanic-only forums that the general public cannot access, that the dealership mechanics can ask these kinds of questions on.

Do not go to another dealer. You have an intermittent electronic failure which is the most difficult (ie: time consuming) kind of problem to fix. Obviously because of that it is the least profitable kind of problem to fix. The dealer will naturally elect, if given a choice, to work on the more profitable work out there.
My crystal ball says that since both keys have the same problem that the problem is not the keys, it is the electronic pickup unit in the vehicle. Since the car has such low mileage my crystal ball says it is highly unlikely that something has rattled loose. Since the problem appears to not happen when the car is stone-cold, and does happen when the car is warm, my crystal ball says it's a thermal issue such as a cracked solder joint in the receiver in the car, or other electronic part failure on that board. My crystal ball's advice is worth exactly what you paid for it.
Ted
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Ted,
Your crystal ball has told me more than what the Dealer has done. I felt the same about the keys, and if I don't get something today, I am going to start up the chain of command to go with it.
To me, it sounds like something has happened in the pickup too. The Dealer's guy even said there was a code that said it did not pick up the key, which leaves me thinking that it's something in the pichup unit. Surprisingly, they have not tried to shotgun it just yet. However, he did want to start making keys, which sounds like the start of a shotgun process. The strange thing is that this just started Monday. Never failed even once before that. However, once it started, it became a car that was no longer trusted. And as your crystal ball states, I can't see something shaking loose, since it will fail, then without ever touching a thing as far as shaking some wires, it will start fine if I let it sit.
I'll update it once I have something more to say.
Thanks again,
Sherman
On Tue, 15 Jul 2008 22:29:26 -0700, "Ted Mittelstaedt"

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says...

Do you have any other type of RFID-enabled devices? This can be security cards, another car, some credit cards, etc...
As a final test, when it doesn't work, try separating the key from anything else, even if that means emptying your pockets and/or trying to put a purse in the back seat for a minute.
As mentioned, the receiver is the most likely culprit. It could be as simple as an intermittent wire. Or it may be out of position and cannot read the key.
I believe the 10-minute timeout is a security timeout done when it senses the wrong code too many times. It could even be something involving the communication between the receiver and the computer getting scrambled.
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FWIW, I would go out to the parts store and pick up a can of electrical contact cleaner. Spray the inside of the ignition switch down as best you can, there could be a piece of dirt or even metal shaving/particle blocking the key sensor that might be interfering with the signal.
I know you didn't mention anything about aftermarket equipment, but it may be worth a look. Has there ever been any alarms or remote starters installed on this vehicle? I had trouble with my '98 Malibu that had a remote starter installed and then removed when I bought the car. Whoever took the equipment out, hacked the wiring when they put it back together. Never used any solder or proper butt connectors, just black tape wrapped around twisted wires. My car would do the same thing, sometimes it would start, other times I would try to start it, and it wouldn't fire and the Theft light would flash for 10 minutes until it timed out and let me try again. When I took the dash apart and looked at the wiring, the small wire running to the key sensor had about 3 splices and 2 different pieces of wire attached to it. These sensors are very sensitive and the smallest difference in resistance would stop the sensor from reading the proper signal from the key, which is what was happening in my case because of the hack wiring job. Once I spliced it back together properly, I haven't had another problem with it since.
Otherwise, I would start nagging Ford for a replacement ignition switch and see if they can change the tumblers so you don't need a different key for the door and the ignition.
Sharky
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Unlike the GM anti-theft systems (PASS-Key / PASS-Key II / VATs), the Fords PATS does not have electrical contacts in the ignition switch. It uses a radio frequency signal transmitted through the air. There is an antenna in the steering column at the ignition switch. It broadcasts a challenge signal which prompts the chip in the key to send a response code (via RF). A problem with the antenna or antenna connection can cause a system failure. As pointed out, other RFID devices can cause a problem. The Mobil Easy Pass key FOB thingy uses the same chip as in the Ford keys. You can cause interference problems if you have one of these on your key ring. Some credit cards also include the same RFID chip. I've never had a problem caused by this, but I can see how it could happen. I have also heard of people claiming that because they were near some large RF source they would have "flaky" problems.
My best guess (only a guess) is that the antenna connection has been disturbed.
See:
http://www.ford-trucks.com/tsb/fulltext/show_article.php?tsb =*01-6-2 http://www.bulldogsecurity.com/pdf/Model718.pdf http://www.sievekingprodco.com/helpspg1504.html http://www.p71interceptor.com/remotestart /
Regards,
Ed White
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Well,
As a follow up on this issue. I bit the bullet and took it back to the Dealer to be worked on. When they finally got it to fail, they determined that the PCM was bad, and if you can believe this, it has a 80,000 mile warranty. So, they replaced that, made 2 new keys under warranty. They also said while they had it apart, they could replace the reciever, then they would know that they replaced every thing. The new reciever was 50 bucks, so, since it was an intermittant thing, I said to do it.
So, I actually got 2 new keys out of it, so that is why I said to replace the reciever. Car has been back over a week, and has not had a failure since, which makes me believe it is fixed.
They were 99% sure it was the PCM, but now we have all new for not a lot of $$.
Thanks for the info,
Sherman
wrote:

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