Programming a Transponder Key for 99 TLC

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How do you guys know if the plain key is a master key?

Thanks,
BC
 

e9999

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could somebody post the exact official procedure if different from the above, maybe?
that would be great!
 
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Yes, the exact procedure would be very helpful. I bought a key on eBay with built-in transponder about a month ago, but never had a chance to get it cut and programmed. The dealer will charge me $78 to get it cut and programmed.
 
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I'll get my manual out and copy it over, but it may be different for every model year, so I don't know how that's going to help.
 
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I got a 2000 LC - it should be the same for a 99.
 

e9999

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sejinro said:
Yes, the exact procedure would be very helpful. I bought a key on eBay with built-in transponder about a month ago, but never had a chance to get it cut and programmed. The dealer will charge me $78 to get it cut and programmed.

if you mean the real transponder (key without remote or battery) is there a need to program it? didn't think so just from memory...
 
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Yes. They have a chip in them that communicates with the computer. Even the valet keys have this. Otherwise, it won't start, but you can manually unlock the doors.
 
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I just got 2 transponders created yesterday from a locksmith ($78 total). Here's what he did. I have a 2000 LC.

1. Close all windows and doors
2. Insert master key (do not turn on just insert)
3. step on gas pedal/release 5 times
4. step on brake pedal/release 6 times
5. take out master and insert transponder key (do not turn on just insert)
6. step on gas pedal/release 1 time
7. wait @60 seconds until security light (car w/key symbol near radio) turns off
8. remove transponder key and step on brake pedal/release 1 time
9. insert new key and start (security light should not show when key is initially inserted) as normal to test

He just did these steps back to back. There's probably a time limit like mentioned on the initial message but the guy just did it in succession. HTHs.
 

e9999

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this is just too funny!
doesn't 'it sound like one of these TV programs where they have gullible people off the street do weird things (hidden camera etc)?
 
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Sometimes funny works. It's about as complicated as curing hiccups!
 
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My experience with LC ‘transponder’ keys: I bought a 98 about a month ago from a private party. It came with one black key and a separate Toyota Remote. The LC owner’s manual shows the master key to be black (along with the built-in remote) while the Valet key is gray. This led me to believe that the key I had was indeed a master key, but without a built-in remote.

Not wanting to chance the possibility of losing my one key, I checked around in my area (Phoenix, AZ) and found a locksmith that offered to cut and program two keys at a cheaper price than the Toyota dealer ask for a single key. But after two 30 mile trips to his place of business he informed me the new key he made would not program and he had no idea why. He assured me that my key was a master, but for some unknown reason he could not program in a new key. He even went through the procedure whereby all programming, except for the one in the ignition lock, was erased.

I searched the Internet to see what my options were and ran across a Webpage hosted by Locksmith Charley. This is an interesting page with much info on transponder keys. He also made the claim that he had the equipment to dump all key programming in the ECU and could start from scratch. I was greatly encouraged to find that Locksmith Charley’s place of business is in Phoenix. So with high hope, off I went to see what he could do.

Charley is a interesting gentleman, and seems very knowledgeable about not only locks and keys, but also computers and electronics. He first tried to program a new key for me but ran into the same problem as the previous locksmith. His only suggestion was to dump all programming and start over. His cost for this procedure is $150. Having no other choice, I agreed. He then went to my LC, dropped the glove compartment, removed some brackets and popped out the ECU. In his shop he removed the ECU cover and connected a little dip-clip to what I assume was an 8-pin flash-memory chip. The dip-clip was connected to a small electronics box that interfaced to a computer. In a matter of minutes he cleared the memory in the ECU, re-installed it and programmed me two additional master keys and one valet key. He also threw in one of the master key at no cost. My total outlay for three keys was $225---a little more than I wanted to pay, but probably worth it.

I found no information on the Internet about Toyota’s program to offer a new ECU. Not that it would have done me any good since I did have one working key. (How could I claim “all keys lost” for free ECU if I were able to drive to the dealer?) But even so, I probably did as good, cost wise, dealing with Locksmith Charley.
 
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I don't remember anyone saying the ECU replaced by Toyota was free. Several people have clearly said it was over $1,000.00 to replace. The FSM says you can not program new keys without a master key. It sounds like that is wrong, and Charley is a smart computer programmer or hacker. That being said, the lesson here seems to be "don't buy a car that has a transponder key security system unless you have at least one original factory master key."
 

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In certain cases Toyota will supply a new ECM, on a one-time basis, to qualifying individuals. The recipiant is responsible for the installation and programming and replacement key charges.

D-
 
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My understanding from talking to Charly, and reading the FSM, is that new ECUs have the flash memory cleared; that is set to all ones. In this condition any transponder key can programmed into the memory. I believe that each key emits some sort of unique code that is picked up by a little coil behing the ignition lock. Programming consists of storing this unique code in the ECU flash memory so that it remembers that particular code. Then, when a key is inserted for use, the ECU compares the code from the key to see if that code has been stored. If it has the starting sequence is enabled, otherwise starting is not allowed. Up to seven master keys, and three valet keys can be stored.

When the ECU is new, or cleared by someone like Charley, no master key is needed for programming.
 

e9999

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this new stuff about clearing the ECU is seriously good stuff.
But it's odd that Toy couldn't do that and has to replace the whole thing when you lose the master key, don't you think?
 

e9999

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dang, that guy is good!
 
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thanks suasponte2/75 for the transponder key programming procedure!
If anyone cares, this worked on my 2001 Highlander Limited.
Tim
 

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