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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All,

Short version: I have a 2004 Isuzu Rodeo that is mechanically fine, kept in near-new condition, but will not start as the immobilizer, computer, and key are not synched. The repair guy who programs engine computers talked with Isuzu over the phone, and I'm out of luck. Even *if* I could ship the Rodeo to California, Isuzu no longer has all the tools and parts necessary to repair it. Junkyards will give me $200-$300. How do I maximize recovered value / minimize my financial loss?

I did see these posts about working around the immobilizer, with no luck so far:
I'm going to try Buster28's two options next week, starting with EZCarKeys. But if that fails, what's the best way to extract savings on the loss of my Rodeo? I can't part it out myself.

The Long Story: I've been in the Isuzu community for a lot of years. I followed Randii from his original home to 4x4wire, I had a Blue 1993 Isuzu Amigo 4x4, followed by a White 2004 Rodeo 4x4 with the direct injection engine. I met a lot of friends there over the years, but was less active after the transition to planetisuzoo (although I still have my blue membership card, #11045).

I have 85k miles on the Rodeo (I motorcycle a lot). I was called up for the military so I put on new tires, changed the oil, and all was good. Three weeks and zero drips on the driveway. I drove away from AZ, and not far into the trip, my co-pilot and I heard the sometimes-loose skid plate rattling again (stripped thread). I was actually low on oil and made it 1,600 miles before it seized. The oil light never came on, and of course there is no oil pressure gauge.

When it died (rural road, middle of nowhere, 9 pm), the Check Engine Light came on first, then the oil light. I added 4 quarts just to get to the bottom of the dipstick. I found the oil all over the bottom of the Rodeo (didn't leak before) so I would guess the rear oil seal started leaking not long after I left. One half of the engine was melted and mangled, the other side was just mangled. A rebuild out of the question.

The 2004 Direct Injection engine is (a) the only interference engine Isuzu made, and (b) the rarest of the Isuzu engines. I've seen the comments about it on this board. Old 3.5L DI engines are expensive, rebuilt ones are quite expensive. While deployed overseas, I got it towed to base, then to a mechanic who went through 3 used engines to get a good one (First two had low compression and needed rebuilds, 3rd engine had 92k miles and was good). He only charged me $1900. Relevant: My battery was dead, and he was jumping it to start it, every time.

I picked up the Rodeo and drove it to base. I replaced my battery the next day, and the day after that, the Rodeo died while driving it. I was in a different town, and took it to a different mechanic. The engine computer was replaced, and couldn't be reprogrammed. Both boxes were sent to a engine computer repair shop (chip was fried; they didn't have a replacement). They put in a third computer which *did* take the programming.

The Rodeo still would not start. That's when the programmer got in touch with Isuzu and learned he would be unable to fix the conflict between the new computer, old ignition key, and old immobilizer. Isuzu's advice was to find a 2004 DI Rodeo and get the keys, engine computer, and immobilizer and swap all three with mine. Finding a computer is easy, but finding all three for a 3.5L DI engine is virtually impossible.

So here I am: A 2004 Isuzu Rodeo 4x4 Direct Injection in great condition, but for the lack of a computer code, it will not start. How do I extract maximum value out of this mechanically sound, electronically blocked vehicle? I have not given up yet (see the two links above) but am running low on hope. Also, I'm sad that I might be exiting the community as I expected to have this Rodeo for another 10 years. I had a new nice stereo, my ham radio, and it ran great. Heck, 1,600 miles with little to no oil. Now it's a $6,000 paperweight. (NADA value)

Final Thoughts: To drive home after a year of mobilization (Middle East + returned in time for Hurricane Duty) I bought a 2002 Chevy Suburban with 175k miles that needed new tires, on the spot for $3500 ($4100 total). I didn't even have to put the bike rack on back, it swallowed up all my old bags, my new gear, plus my bike rack and bicycle inside with room to spare. But I miss the Rodeo. I still have the original 2004 brochures.

Thank you for any help you can provide. I will post the outcome of contacting the two re-programmer options, above.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The engine will crank, but will not catch. Even when putting starting fluid directly into the engine, it will not start.

The car is at a foreign car mechanic in Texas; they use a guy who goes around programming ECU's for multiple repair shops.

I received a reply from EZCarKeys.com and they think if they get the old ECU (in addition to the immobilizer box), they can reprogram everything. I pointed out that on the original ECU, it took an electrical beating, but they stated they only need the memory. I'm not certain what that means, but I'm willing to take a chance.

Given that I might be able to get this fixed, I changed the subject line. I'm hopeful that I will not have to put it on criagslist or ebay motors and see what I can get for it. If you have any more suggestions, I'm open to them. Thank you.
 

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I suggest you contant Jerry Lemond on this Board. He pretty much knows everything about Isuzus. He can likely confirm your need all three parts (i.e. keys, engine computer, and immobilizer) theory. He also likely has all the parts you need.
 

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Wayne said:
The engine will crank, but will not catch. Even when putting starting fluid directly into the engine, it will not start.
The Immobilizer sends an enable signal to the PCM when the Ignition Key code has been verified to allow the engine to be cranked. Since you can crank the engine there may be a failure not related to the Immobilizer that is preventing the Ignition system from operating.

It appears from the schematic the Immobilizer controls the injectors and the starter relay. Have you checked to see if the injectors are being pulsed during engine crank? What is the Immobilizer Indicator Lamp showing?

Click on schematic to expand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Buster28 said:
The Immobilizer sends an enable signal to the PCM when the Ignition Key code has been verified to allow the engine to be cranked. Since you can crank the engine there may be a failure not related to the Immobilizer that is preventing the Ignition system from operating.
I want to make certain I understand this clearly: If the immobilizer is working, it sends an input the ECM as a simple "GO" command. Thus if the immobilizer was not receiving the code from the key, the engine will not crank.

Thus because the starter cranks, it might not be the immobilizer. The shop said they were spraying starter fluid into the engine and it would not catch and run. A direct spray of fuel and air should bypass the issue of injector control and implies an ignition issue, which I don't see in the schematic. They're a good shop that's done work for my friends in the past; I feel pretty certain they would have checked for a spark but will verify.

Buster28 said:
It appears from the schematic the Immobilizer controls the injectors and the starter relay. Have you checked to see if the injectors are being pulsed during engine crank? What is the Immobilizer Indicator Lamp showing?
Thank you for the schematic.
Lamp: I will follow up with the mechanic.

If the key is sending a signal to the immobilizer, which is then supposed to
-- Engage the starter relay control (Output via ECM wire 27, black/blue)
-- Allow injectors to fire (Output via ECM wires 1,-3, 16-18)
Do you know what type of signal to look for on the wires? I would assume the starter relay is a simple DC and can be measured with an voltmeter to ground. But the fuel injector control I would not know what to expect. Thank you.
 

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To check for injector pulses disconnect an injector 2 Pin connector and install a Noid lamp in place of the injector. If the injectors are pulsed and the engine cranks you could have an ignition problem. If the injectors are not pulsed the Crankshaft Position Sensor could be defective. The Immobilizer didn't cause the engine to quit running initially. Don't assume the Immobilizer is the problem.
 

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SAME DEAD 2003 AXIOM.

MY situation is different. I am considering to buy a reposessed Axiom where the repo company screwed the pooch and did not obtain the transponder key.

They have 2 keys which mechanically unlock the doors and steering column.

But after examining the keys even the Ilco key is not even a transponder key.

In short I am physically examining the car on Friday. There are no lights on the dash and I believe either the battery has a dead cell (won't jump) or there is a fuse inside or relay outside that prevents the electrical contacts in the ignition from saying "yeah there is a correctly smithed key in my tumbler."

If it is just the battery, fuse, relay, or actual ignition tumbler, where is my next screwdriver venture?

I've only found one company that extracts the immobilizer to read the PIN and a few others that can program a transponder with a OBD-II device but WHERE DA F IS THE IMMOBILIZER? I have talked with 5+ salvage yards who have igintion tumblers with keys but they have no clue what I am talking about and the vehicle has been already crushed....
 

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I don't for sure that a 2003 Axiom has an Immobilizer. 2003 Rodeo and 2004 Rodeo/Axiom have an Immobilizer that looks like the image. The Immobilizer is located under the dash. The transponder ignition key has a NFC chip imbedded in the plastic that communicates with the Immobilizer using a code. A transponder ignition key with the wrong code or no code is ignored by the Immobilizer preventing engine start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
To keep this thread as on-topic and concise as possible for future readers, I didn't post updates and let it drift down the page. I promised I'd update with the answer, and I deliver. 8)

I mailed the ECU, immobilizer, and keys to EZKey Locksmith.
They reprogrammed the devices and mailed them back.
The parts are reinstalled and the Rodeo is running.

The Check Engine Light (CEL) comes on with P0602, "Control Module Programming Error." (Or P602 for people searching without the lead 0.)
The mechanic clears the code, it comes right back.

I have contacted EZKey Locksmith to see if that might be related to the engine replacement, the used ECU, or some other issue. I requested what action I should take.

I am open to anyone on this board that had a similar hard-code they couldn't clear. A search only showed one thread, no conclusion.

The Rodeo is running for now. A few cautious test drives with the CEL on will determine how I feel about driving it back from Fort Worth to Arizona in December. I can't get it inspected (and thus can't drive it after the registration expires) with a lit Check Engine Light, but it is running.
 

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I glad you got Rodeo running,Long Story SO YOU CAN USE IT. I love driving mine too. Don't know anyway to get CEL light off ,than pulling dash to remove bulb if you want. Good luck :idea:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The Rodeo starts with both keys. But the Check Engine Light comes on with P0602, "Control Module Programming Error." The mechanic clears the code, it comes right back. They tried the proper diagnostic tools, they tried disconnecting the battery and grounding down the cables, etc.

With the new/reprogrammed ECM, when they turn the key and power the system, the 15 Amp fuse that goes to the coil keeps blowing.

They ran all the standard diagnostic tests. In the mechanic's opinion it comes down to the ECM. They put a 20 Amp fuse in. That fuse doesn't blow, and the Rodeo will start. But it's running poorly, like it's putting in too much fuel.

They put the old/bad security code ECM back in the Rodeo, with the correct 15 Amp fuse. When they turn the key to energize the system, the fuse does *not* blow.

I then contacted E-Z key with the information, and asked their help. Should I send back the new/reprogrammed ECU? I can get another salvage yard ECU, should I purchase that? We'll see what they say, although it will probably involve shipping the ECU back for a diagnostic. They did say they can replace the EEPROM with a new one, instead of just reprogramming it.

If this helps anyone else, it does appear that the key/immobilizer/ECU reprogramming service does work. I just appear to have a dodgy ECU. So I'm not fixed, but I'm closer.

15 December update -- Good info -- not worthy of additional discussion though, so I edited it in.

I called Isuzu and they did a few things for me. They directed me to http://www.IsuzuSource.com which has Par-Tech, Inc. as the official ECM re-programmers/contracted to work with Isuzu. They require the Immobilizer, ECM, and keys, the whole service is $125. I was originally transferred to commercial trucks. Trucks redirected me to passenger vehicles which was to a Par-Tech where I spoke with who I think is the famous Isuzu Jerry. He was very helpful.

Note I have a 2004 Direct Injection engine. Jerry told me the following:
- I need an engine computer for a 2004 3.5L engine, either Rodeo or Axiom.
- It has to be a Hitachi module. 2003 and earlier ECM's were Delphi. I didn't need to worry about part # mix ups.
- The Engine Computer, Keys, and Immobilizer all have to be synched as one. I could have used this advice earlier. :)

I went to car-part.com and quickly found an ECM (My third) that was confirmed Hitachi and had the same part number (8973576930). As a bonus, they gave a military discount and shipped it off to be reprogrammed. The old shop had my keys and immobilizer codes on file, so I used them instead.

ECM Sticker (underlines are for spacing and not on sticker)
3.5L _ AUT _ US
8973576930
ISUAU I-TEC MODULE
12v _ 8973155093
DEZ-010 _ E3 _ 3812
Hitachi, Limited

Also on unit
DEZ-101 _ E3 _ 0413

For those keeping track
  • ECM 1 -- Chip blew after dozens of jump starts during engine replacement.[/*]
  • ECM 2 -- Didn't work at first. Sent off, synced to immobilzer and keys, worked for a bit (although the unit kept throwing a code) and the Rodeo ran fine. After the next time staring the car, it still sort of works, but blows 15 am fuse. Rodeo starts but runs poorly with 20a fuse. I need the car to run without a check engine light to pass inspection.[/*]
  • ECM 3 -- purchased and on it's way to be programmed[/*]
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, we all hate a story without an ending. The people who search later and ask, "Did it work or not?" Or worse, the dreaded reply of "I fixed the problem, it's all good now" and no explanation of what that fix was.

My story is easy. After ~25 years in the Isuzu family, my Isuzu journey is coming to an end.
Shortly after the last update, the 2nd ECM wouldn't let the Rodeo crank start any more.
The 3rd fully reprogrammed ECM set was similar to the second. No starting, no running, no nothing.

I could keep sending back keys, ECU, and immobilizers and hoping....but at some point $100 here and $100 there isn't worth it. I have run out of money to sink into an unknown electrical problem in a vehicle with a replaced engine, and plan on putting it on ebay motors as a scrapper. Good engine, new battery and tires, good body, good everything....except that electrical bug.

The reprogramming resources above do work. I did get everything sync'ed up, and it did run for a while. But she wouldn't stay running, and the symptoms changed from "ran" to "ran rough" to "ran rough with an extra capacity fuse" to "no starting" to "no cranking". My vehicle had been electro-shock therapy-ed into submission.

She was my baby. The perfect size, the perfect balance between on and off road handling, incredible amount of carrying room for gear, had it outfitted the way I liked with top bars and a trailer hitch, near mint condition, and about 6,500 miles per year on her (86k miles until 2017) before she died. The other day, I tossed away all the maintenance paperwork I had on her in case I sold her -- every oil change, filter, belt change, etc, -- all the scheduled maintenance and more, all in receipts tagged with dates and miles, both paper and scanned electronically. I only wish I drove her more.

Note: see my original 4x4wire, 2004 shopping comparison/review here in pdf format.
One thing to note: The black trim on a gray interior (what I purchased) looked much nicer that Isuzu's promotional pictures of black on brown.

I'm currently driving a 2002 suburban 2wd with 180k miles until I decide what to do next. Can't go off road camping this summer without an off road vehicle.

I made a lot of good online friends from the 4x4wire (Randii at first, then Jim Paget, Houlster, MLClark, and more). Some helped me like Jerry Lemond. Some let me come by and learn while they wrenched in Texas (Curtis Johnson) or just hang out (David Chang). I was always said when people on the board left the Isuzu fold. But I understand -- I'm not looking to start over with someone's 2004 Rodeo and 14 years of questionable maintenance records, so we'll see where life takes me next.

Even if I wasn't the most vocal/posting member, I appreciated you all. I'll still check in to lurk every now and then.

I'm keeping my blue plastic Planet Isuzoo card.
 
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