Immo 2 theft deterrent system troubleshooting and procedures (for up to 2002 cars)

Immo-2 table of contents

Immobilizer general system information and troubleshooting
Recoding the key without a vag-com/VCDS OR Recoding a new key with  VCDS
- required to make new keys work with the immobilizer
Emergency start function
:  this lets you drive to a repair place
Swapping out the ECU
:  you must use this function if you change the ECU
Instrument cluster swapping
:  this is where the immobilizer is located, resets odometer, etc.

Immobilizer general system information and troubleshooting

This page focuses on immobilizer 2 specific information and procedures (about 2000-2002).  For general immobilizer information and troubleshooting, see 1000q: immobilizer general information.  If your TDI is 1999 or earlier, it does not have an immobilizer.  VW started introducing the immobilizer in 2000.  If you have a 2003, see 1000q: immobilizer 3.

The immobilizer is an anti-theft device located in the instrument cluster which shuts off the engine about a second after you try to start it.  It uses a small RFID chip in the key and an antenna or "pick up" at the ignition cylinder.  You cannot do an immobilizer bypass with normal "car theft" tools but it's possible to rewrite the car's computer to remove it.  This is beyond the skill level of all but the most sophisticated car thieves so why would they waste time stealing your 2000-2002 car?  I would leave the immobilizer in place since many insurance companies give a discount for anti theft equipment as well

You need the SKC to use a new key or instrument cluster, but you can still swap ECUs.  It has an emergency drive function that will let you drive to the dealership or mechanic for them to fix but you must know the SKC code.  You can buy a used key and it will work if you reprogram the immobilizer chip using the SKC.  The SKC number is explained below.

If you are looking to get a replacement VW smart key, see 1000q: VW key/remote FAQ for more details.  When buying or programming a new key, you must find one that is for immobilizer 2 generation.  Later keys have a different part number and won't work. 

The main symptom of a faulty immobilizer system is the car shutting off after about a second or the anti-theft immobilizer light on the dashboard flashing.

VW Smart key replacement

The part numbers below are only a guide, double check the correct part number with your parts vendor, this website is not responsible if you order the wrong key!  

-If you have a car with build date 11/98-09/00, (about model year 1998-2001) your remote probably looks like #1 pictured below, part number should be VW# 1j0 959 753 f

-If you have a car with build date 10/00- 05/01 (about model year 2000-2002), you probably have the remote that looks like #1, it should be VW# 1j0 959 753t.  

-If you have a car built after 05/01 (about model year 2001-2002), you should have remote #2, it is either VW# 1j0 959 753 am or 1j0 959 753 dc, it could have immo 3.  You don't have immo 4 unless you have an mk5 car.

Secret Key Code (SKC) info - you MUST have a SKC to work on the immobilizer!

Since this information could be used for illegal purposes, this content is for forum members only.  Registration is free so please sign up and post an introduction or your problem of why you need the SKC number.  Do not copy/paste the information elsewhere and be careful who you share it with because this information should not be common knowledge!  This exclusive content and the information below can be viewed in this post once you have posted an introduction.  You must have at least 1 post to view.  If you have nothing else to say, just post an intro with where you're from and what car you're working on.  Do not post a "blank message" to intentionally bypass forum rules or your account will be blocked.  A blank message prevents any help and if that's what you want, that's what you will get.

How to disable the immobilizer on your VW Jetta, Golf, or NB

Since this could be used for illegal purposes, this content is for forum members only.  Continue reading in the exclusive forum section.

How to make a remote starter work with the immobilizer system

First, make sure the transmission is in neutral if manual or park if automatic.  The remote starter kit must come with a relay box for immobilizer equipped cars.  You put the key inside the relay box and hide it somewhere in the car.  When you use the remote starter, the relay box passes the signal from the chip inside to the pickup antenna around the ignition cylinder and then starts the engine as if you used a key.

Telling the difference between immobilizer 2 and 3

If your car is in a transition year and you're not sure if you have immobilizer 2 vs. 3, connect a ross tech VCDS to the obd2 port and access the immobilizer module.  Go to measuring block 81.  If you see your VIN number it's 100% not immobilizer 2.

Problems that are NOT related to the immobilizer system

-If the starter does not engage or the engine does not "turn over" at all, this is not an immobilizer problem.  

-If your car shuts off more than 3 seconds after engine start it has nothing to do with the immobilizer as explained in the general immobilizer FAQ.

-The chip inside the key does not have a battery or other internal electricity source because it is an RFID chip and is "excited" by the transmitter.  Shaking the key or changing the remote key's battery will not fix any problem with the immobilizer.  

-It also has nothing to do with opening or unlocking the doors.  The immobilizer will not be activated by the alarm system, it only has to do with keeping the car running after 2 seconds.  

-It also has nothing to do with the power of the car.  If your car has poor performance or fuel economy, it has nothing to do with the immobilizer.  See 1000q: limp mode for the TDI for more details.

This article is separated into immo-2 and immo-3 sections because they have different procedures.  Immo-4 general overview is also included, troubleshooting procedures are similar to earlier cars.  Note that to work with the immobilizer, you MUST have a VCDS.  You cannot use a generic code scanner, you must use a VCDS cable.  You can only use an emergency start without a VCDS. and even then you must know the SKC code.

Also note that immo-2 and immo-3 keys are not compatible.  If you have an immo-2 car, you must use an immo-2 remote/key.

immobilizer 2 troubleshooting procedures

1.  First, make sure the car battery is charged.  A low battery can cause problems with the immobilizer.  It also results in low cranking RPM during engine start - this will cause the ECU to prevent fueling.

2.  Try another key - you should have a valet key and spare key that also have an immobilizer chip in them.  If they work, then you have isolated the problem to the key.  Again, there is NO battery for the immo chip, it gets power from the ignition switch transmitter.  You can try reprogramming the chip with the procedures linked to below.

3.  Check for error codes - scan the car with a VCDS to see if there is a problem with the system and refer to the appropriate procedure below.

4.  You can try just leaving the key in the ignition to "ON" but not start for a few minutes. Many people report that the light just goes away after 10 minutes as if nothing ever happened.  This and the next solution appear to have something to do with a capacitor discharge or something resetting.  It sounds strange but many report that it works.

5.  Disconnect the battery negative terminal and step on the brake pedal - this turns on the brake lights and discharges any stored electricity.  This may reset the immo system.  I've heard that disconnecting BOTH negative and positive terminals of the battery and then touching the cables to each other only, while not attached to the battery can also reset it.   I think that it takes more time and does the same thing as disconnecting the negative side and turning on the brake lights.  Again, don't touch the cables to the battery, touch them only to each other while both are disconnected from the battery - you don't want to short the battery out.

6.  Check wiring and plugs at instrument cluster and pickup coil at the ignition switch, there is a chance it could be faulty.  You could try wiggling the key in the slot in case there's a problem with the pickup coil.  However, the range of the antenna/chip is about 1" so it's definitely not a range problem.

7.  Put a trickle charger on the battery, put the key to the "ON" position and leave it for a few hours.  If it didn't reset after 10 minutes it's been known to reset after a few hours and never appear again.


Model specific procedures
some procedures below taken from ross tech

Recoding a new key without a VCDS OR recoding it with a VCDS

When you buy a replacement key, you must have it matched to work with the immobilizer.  The remote unlock/lock, etc., has nothing to do with the immobilizer, so that must be matched separately.  You can either use a VCDS to recode it or you can take the old key apart and just remove the old RFID chip and put it in your new key.  The RFID chip is just glued in place; there are no batteries for the chip.  The only batteries are for the remote function.  

To salvage your old key chip, remove the chip (indicated by white arrow below) and put it in your new key.  Remove the new key's chip.  You can put a dab of water based glue to help hold it in place.  See 1000q: VW key FAQ for a detailed procedure, this article is more about the immobilizer.

Image of key disassembled - note that the immobilizer chip (white arrow) uses no battery - it is energized by the pick up antenna on the ignition coil.  

To use your new key WITH a VCDS, use the procedure below, from ross tech

This procedure details how to match new keys to Immobilizer-equipped VW/Audi vehicles. As of 11 Mar. 2002, VW and Audi are providing 7-digit Secret Key Codes in place of the earlier 4-digit SKC's. Keys must be coded using the new 7-digit SKC (secret key code) method unless the owner still has the correct 4-digit code.

Important Note: Unless you ALREADY have the SKC information for your vehicle and components then you will NOT be able to do any of the Immobilizer functions.

Procedure for matching keys to vehicles with Immobilizer in the Instrument Cluster:
(includes many 1999+ Golf/GTI/Jetta/New Beetle/Passat, also Audi)

  1. [Select]
    [17 - Instruments]

    [Login - 11]
    Enter zero followed by the 4-digit SKC.
    For example, if your SKC is 1234, enter 01234.

    [Do It!]
     

  2. [Adaptation - 10]
    Enter 21 in "Channel Number"
    [Read]
    The "Stored Value" is the number of keys currently matched.
    Enter "new value" of 0
    [Test]

    [Save]
    This clears out the old key-matchings.
    Enter a "new value" corresponding to the total number of keys to be matched,  including any existing keys
    [Test]
    [Save]
     

  3. [Done, Go Back]
    [Close Controller, Go Back - 06]
    Switch ignition off and remove key
     

  4. Insert next key to ignition and switch ignition on again
    The warning light for the Immobilizer will light up for ~2 seconds, then go out
    Switch ignition off and remove key
     

  5. Repeat step 4 with each key until all keys have been matched.


Procedure for adding keys to vehicles with separate Immobilizer:
(Includes 2000+ EuroVan, Cabrio, and many older non-US models)

  1. [Select]
    [25 - Immobilizer]

    [Login - 11]
    Enter zero followed by the 4-digit SKC.
    For example, if your SKC is 1234, enter 01234.

    [Do It!]
     

  2. [Adaptation - 10]
    Enter 01 in "Channel Number"
    [Read]
    The "Stored Value" is the number of keys currently matched.
    Enter "new value" of 0
    [Test]

    [Save]
    This clears out the old key-matchings.
    Enter a "new value" corresponding to the total number of keys to be matched,  including any existing keys
    [Test]
    [Save]
     

  3. [Done, Go Back]
    [Close Controller, Go Back - 06]

    Switch ignition off and remove key
     

  4. Insert next key to ignition and switch ignition on again
    Count to two ("One one-thousand, two one-thousand") out loud
    Switch ignition off and remove key
     

  5. Repeat step 4 with each key until all keys have been matched.

 

 

Emergency start function

This lets you disable the immobilizer to start the car in an emergency without using a VCDS.  Note that the dealership isn't going to unlock the immobilizer unless you can present proof of ownership.  It will help if you have a key tag with the secret number and a key that will work in the locks.  It will only work on immo 2 cars, so most 2000-2001 models.  Procedure from mogolf.

NOTE*  You must have the 4 digit SKC!  Remember, the dealer cannot give this to you because they don't have access to get it!  See the note above about the SKC.  

1.  Turn ignition on.

2. Twist clock set knob on the instrument cluster clockwise while pressing the odometer reset knob.

3.  If okay, the odometer should show "0000".

4.  The first digit will be blinking, use the reset button to turn it 1-9.  Twist the clock knob to select and move to the next digit and so forth to enter the secret key code (SKC)

5.  When the code is entered, twist the knob and press the reset button at the same time to enter it in.  If it's right, then the immobilizer should still be on but the car will start.  If it's wrong, you have 3 total chances or else it will lock out this function for at least 10 minutes and it will display "FAIL".  Each 3 times you put in a wrong code, it will double the lock out time to a maximum time of 255 minutes.

6.  If you don't press any buttons for 30 seconds it will stop and you have to shut the car off and back on to reset the procedure. 
The emergency start function is not operable again and must be reactivated if: 

- 5 minutes have elapsed since the ignition was switched off and the ignition key removed from the ignition lock. 

- 45 minutes have elapsed since the ignition was switched off, but an ignition key remained inserted in the ignition lock. 

- Upon beginning an adaptation function with VAG 1551.

Swapping the ECU w/immobilizer 2

The immobilizer will prevent the car from running without a matching key microchip. There is a symbol in the instrument cluster showing a key inside a car. If a new (or different ECU) is installed in the vehicle, the immobilizer will prevent the car from running and will cause the symbol to flash. Here is the procedure to introduce a new ECU to the instrument cluster. This must be performed each time ECU's are exchanged. This does not apply to installing a "chip" in the same ECU that is already aligned with the car.

Immo-3 knows your car's VIN. Access 17-Instruments (or separate 25-Immobilizer on vehicles that are set up that way) and look at the first "Extra" field.

If you see something like: "Immo-ID VWZ7Z0W0648696"  You've got Immo-2 (or maybe even Immo-1 in earlier non-US models).

If you see something like "WVZKB58001H231169 VWZ7Z0W0648696" You've got
Immo-3. The first 17-digit string is the VIN. The second 14-digit string in the Immo-ID.

  1. Install the new ECU in the car
    [Select]
    [17 - Instruments]
    [Adaptation - 10]

    Leave channel at "00"
    [Read]
    [Save]
     

  2. [Done, Go Back]
    [Close Controller, Go Back - 06]
    [Exit]

     

  3. Turn ignition OFF for 15 seconds. Start vehicle.

Note: For cars with a separate Immobilizer (Includes 2000+ EuroVan, Cabrio, and many older non-US models), use [25 Immobilizer] instead of [17 - Instruments]. The rest of the procedure is the same.

 

 

 

Instrument cluster swapping w/immobilizer 2

his procedure details how to install a NEW Instrument Cluster in Immobilizer-equipped VW/Audi vehicles with Immobilizer II . As of 11 Mar. 2002, VW and Audi are providing 7-digit Secret Key Codes in place of the earlier 4-digit SKC's. Keys must be coded using the new 7-digit SKC (secret key code) method unless the owner still has the correct 4-digit code.

Immo-3 knows your car's VIN. Access 17-Instruments (or separate 25-Immobilizer on vehicles that are set up that way) and look at the first "Extra" field.

If you see something like: "Immo-ID VWZ7Z0W0648696"  You've got Immo-2 (or maybe even Immo-1 in earlier non-US models).

If you see something like "WVZKB58001H231169 VWZ7Z0W0648696" You've got
Immo-3. The first 17-digit string is the VIN. The second 14-digit string in the Immo-ID.

Procedure for installing a NEW  Instrument Cluster in vehicles with Immobilizer II:

--- Reading the Old Cluster ---

  1. With the OLD Instrument Cluster in the vehicle, write down the current mileage.
     

  2. (Volkswagens only, if you are working on an Audi, skip to step 3)
    [Select] 
    [Display]
    (Less Common Modules) 
    [19 - CAN Gateway]
    Write down the 5 digit number from the "Soft. Coding" field, make note that is the CAN coding.
    [Close Controller, Go Back - 06]
     

  3. [Select] 
    [17 - Instruments]
    Write down the 5 digit number from the "Soft. Coding" field, make note that is the Instrument Cluster coding.
    [Close Controller, Go Back - 06]

    --- Reading the New Cluster ---
     

  4. Install the NEW Instrument Cluster in the vehicle.
     

  5. [Select] 
    [17 - Instruments]
    Write down the 14-digit Immobilizer ID number from the "Extra" field.
    [Close Controller, Go Back - 06]
     

  6. Take that 14-digit Immobilizer ID number (along with your VIN number) to your dealer and request your seven-digit SKC, along with the workshop code and importer number ( the workshop code and importer number can be found in the upper-right corner of the Administration screen of the dealer's VAS 5051)

    --- Recoding the New Cluster ---
     

  7. Measure the car's battery voltage, it must be 12.5 V or higher.
     

  8. (Volkswagens only, if you are working on an Audi, skip to step 9)
    [Select] 
    [Display]
    (Less Common Modules) 
    [19 - CAN Gateway]
    [Recode - 07]

    Enter the 5 digit number that you wrote down as the CAN coding.
    [Do It!]
    [Close Controller, Go Back - 06]
     

  9. [Select] 
    [17 - Instruments]
    [Recode - 07]

    Enter the 5 digit number that you wrote down as the Instrument Cluster coding.
    [Do It!]

    --- Matching the New Cluster to the Engine ECU---
     

  10. [Adaptation - 10]
    Enter 00 in Channel Number
    [Read]
    [Save]
    [Done, Go Back]
    [Close Controller, Go Back - 06]
     

  11. Switch ignition off and then back on within one minute but do not start vehicle.

    --- Matching the Keys to the New Cluster ---
     

  12. [Select] 
    [17 - Instruments]
    [Login - 11]

    [Use 7-digit PIN/SKC]
    Enter the 7-digit PIN, Date on which the PIN was generated by the dealer, along with the Workshop Code (WSC) and the Importer number of the dealer that generated the code.
    [OK]
     

  13. VCDS will validate the data you have entered and return you to the Login screen, where the Login Code will show as "XXXXX".
    [Do It!]
     

  14. [Adaptation - 10]
    Enter 21 in "Channel Number"
    [Read]
    The "Stored Value" is the number of keys currently matched.
    Enter "new value" of 0
    [Save]
    This clears out the old key-matchings.
    Enter a "new value" corresponding to the total number of keys to be matched, including any existing keys
    [Save]
     

  15. [Done, Go Back]
    [Close Controller, Go Back - 06]
    Switch ignition off and remove key
     

  16. Insert next key to ignition and switch ignition on again. The warning light for the Immobilizer will light up for ~2 seconds, then go out. Switch ignition off and remove key
     

  17. Repeat step 16 with each key until all keys have been matched.

    --- Entering the Mileage in the New Cluster ---
     

  18. If you are live in a market where the odometer reading is in miles, you should change to km before entering the mileage. To do this, consult the Factory Repair Manual for your vehicle. Here is an example:

    [Select] 
    [17 - Instruments]
    [Recode - 07]

    Change the 3rd digit from a "2" (US) to a "3" (Canada)
    [Do It!]

    Confirm that the odometer in the car now shows kilometers, not miles.
     

  19. [Select]
    [17 - Instruments]
    [Adaptation - 10]

    Enter "channel number" 09 to select channel
    Put in the number of km divided by 10.  Example: If old cluster had 50,357 km, put in 5036.
    Note:  Some clusters may require a Login of 13861 before you can set the mileage.
    [Test]
    Observe the Instrument Cluster and make sure the mileage displayed is correct. Once you save this value, you will be unable to change the mileage EVER!
    [Save]
     

  20. If you are live in a market where the odometer reading is in miles, you should now change back to miles. To do this, consult the Factory Repair Manual for your vehicle. Here is an example:

    [Select] 
    [17 - Instruments]
    [Recode - 07]

    Change the 3rd digit from a "3" (Canada) to a "2" (US)
    [Do It!]

    Confirm that the odometer in the car now shows miles, not kilometers. Make sure that the mileage reading is correct.