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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I bought a '02 Alfa Romeo 147 TSpark a couple of years ago second hand. When I got it it had only 1 key. Recently I lost the key and ordered a new one, however when the alfa dealer garage tried to programme the new key the ECU wouldnt start.
My dealer then told me that I needed a new ECU! This was due to the fact that 2 of the orig keys were lost so when a new 3rd key was attempted to be programmed the ECU shuts down (due to some alfa fatory setting) as the ECU thinks the car has been stolen.

Is this true?

thanks
 

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Giulia Quad, Cayman GT4, Cayenne Turbo
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Did you not get the code card with the handbook.. It's a credit card size piece of card. Grey and normally is in the front of the alfa handbook folder.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
hi,

I actually haven't been in the car since I lost the key but I'm certain I do have it in the glove compartment. When I ordered the key I bought a new code just incase it wasn't there.
 

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Giulia Quad, Cayman GT4, Cayenne Turbo
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if you call the AA they should be able to get into the car for you?

May be worth a shot.

(you won't be able to start it though)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
hi, sorry I wasn't very specific. The mechanic got into car wit new key after calling to my house but coulnt program new key (with code I purchased). He was having issues with ECU so he was able to start the car using a rev counter.
When he brought the car to the garage they diagnosed that the ECU shut down and coulnt be restarted due to this factory setting where the ECU thinks car was stolen due to 2 other keys being lost.
Would the key code that I purchased with the key be different to the one in my manual?
 

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Giulia Quad, Cayman GT4, Cayenne Turbo
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I've never heard of the ECU shutting down! ???

Can someone else shed any light on this?
 

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The key code should be what's set in the ECU not what's in the key. I wonder if it's an immobilser problem ... have you checked the connections to that under the steering column housing? It can come loose ...

I know there's a limit to the number of simultaneous keys that can be programmed at any one time (may be two or three), but I've not heard of a finite limit to the number of keys you can have over time ... as the new ones get programmed in the old ones are removed. This is why you need to have ALL the keys programmed at the same time if you get a replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I spoke directly with the dealer mechanic and he said there is a limit of 2 keys. So when a 3rd one is programmed an alarm is raised on ECU & won't fully start. He said only way to sort it is get a new ECU
 

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Giulia Quad, Cayman GT4, Cayenne Turbo
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I spoke directly with the dealer mechanic and he said there is a limit of 2 keys. So when a 3rd one is programmed an alarm is raised on ECU & won't fully start. He said only way to sort it is get a new ECU
I'm sorry that sounds like a load of crap!!!!!
 

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We need a poll .. ;)

But it does sound a bit far fetched ... plenty of people on here are on at least the third key as most 2nd-hand cars only come with one ... so that would make his quote BS straight-away
 

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Giulia Quad, Cayman GT4, Cayenne Turbo
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Exactly my thoughts Bazza.

I had a card in my handbook on the first 156 with the keycode in numbers in case i needed a new key programmed! :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
yep, thought it was far fetched allright. I'll try ring around a couple of other dealers tomorrow 1st thing and see if they have seen this happen b4. The ECU hasn't arrived yet so if they say that's not the case I'll tow it to another garage

Thanks
 

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Hi,
I am currently having the exact same problem!! dealer also told me it is a fault with the ecu but i ahve also been told this sounds dodgy!
Just wondering if u sorted out the problem and what was the cause!?
 

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I believe that up to eight keys can be recognised at any one time by the ECU. All must be present during programming or they will be deleted and cannot be used to start the car. Only Afla dealers (with the Examiner software can do the programming,yourback street garage or mobile mechanic won't be able to do it hence they think the ECU is faulty.
 

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Hi,
I have recently got this problem fixed and thought i'd share what happened with mine.I took it to an alfa specialist who quickly diagnosed it as a faulty body computer which wouldnt allow any engineer to connect to the car,it cost me about 250 pounds to put right and not 800-900 pounds with no guarantee like my local alfa romeo garage had quoted me for repacing a new ECU system and other parts which did not needed replacing at all.
So in this case i can conclude that my local alfa dealer are complete robbing conning b*****ds! hope this is a help 2 anyone!
 

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I always think that the "it needs a new ECU" option is the last throw of the dice of a baffled (or lazy) mechanic.

You need to find a specialist who knows how the key logic works with the ECU. You'd *think* that would be the main stealer - and on most marques you'd be right - but for Alfas it seems that the independents are where the knowledge and experience are (in general).

The stupid thing is that a new ECU would of course solve the problem as it would need to be setup from scratch and would therefore be matched to your new key as a result - but that doesn't mean your current ECU is duff, it's just not matched correctly. And you shouldn't have to cough up 8-900 quid to solve the problem which is what a new ECU will set you back.

ECU's have pretty basic logic for keys. They just need to match the received code from the key to the code they have stored in their own memory. Currently your new key and code aren't the same as the code in your ECU (it's still got the old key code in it I would assume). Whatever the machanic has tried hasn't reset the new code into the ECU, but that's very unlikely because the ECU is somehow corrupted or failing to match two identical codes - he's just not reset the code correctly.
 

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I've got the same problem, I've never had so much hassle & lack of confidence in a dealer. So I lost the only key, ordered and received a new one, managed to get recovery to get the car to the dealer ,,,, only to be told that the key wont code to the engine while the alarm is still activated and I need a new ECU - quoted at £350. (this is on top of £230 for key (£153) and re-coding)(which they can't do). Did they really supply me with a key that the car can't code to?

I understand from the discussion you all think this is madness,,,, but was there any conclusion? Is the dealer correct & I have no other options? I am still hoping the old key will turn up and I can use the new as a spare & life will suddenly be peachy again, but it isn't looking likely after 3 days.

My 147 is a fantastic car, and I just want it on the road again, but I don't want to be conned (and pay for the privilage for the next 6 months) by a certain dealer that can't employ people capable of even understanding the question 'but would my old key be able to be re-coded if it was found?' let alone answer it.

So please! If you have a conclusion to your own dilemma, can you let me know?
 

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I spoke directly with the dealer mechanic and he said there is a limit of 2 keys. So when a 3rd one is programmed an alarm is raised on ECU & won't fully start. He said only way to sort it is get a new ECU
In a way it is crap, but you need the original master key to open the ECU to accept a new transponder (the new key), the code box can have upto 4 keys programmed to it at any time but one MUST be the master.


There are members on the forum that are able to reset the ECU so that it thinks it's new and in that case you can use your new key as the master, then get more keys cut and buy some other transponder chips, add them all to the reset code ECU and your away again.
 

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It's tough on the dealer as it is a rare problem. If you had ordered a new key when you still had the old one you wouldn't be in this position now. If what they are saying regarding the alarm is true then it is indeed likely you will need all new parts. However there is always the risk they are just replacing parts as they don't really know the answer.
 
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