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Old 01-19-2004, 11:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Key chip not recognized, MDX no start

Looking for some advice on solving a problem with my 2004 MDX. Intermittently, the MDX decides that the key I put in the ignition is not the right "chip" for my car. The key turns and starter churns, but car will not start and the green key indicator blinks to indicate incorrect key. When this happens, it will occur for all 3 keys, but it is intermittent and will clear up by itself in a couple/few hours. It has happened 3 times now in the 6 weeks I've had the vehicle -- only good thing is we've not gotten stranded -- YET! The only common theme I can figure is this might be related to cold, as vehicle was cold and weather was very cold each time it occurred. When I asked my service rep, he suggested we bring in the keys to have them all reprogrammed. But since it happens for all keys when it happens and they work 99% of the time, I don't buy that solution.

Anyone seen anything like this? Have any ideas on how to resolve?

TIA, Steve
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Old 01-19-2004, 11:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I heard from a dealer I was talking to about an '03 that had an intermittent start problem. They were trying to sell the car to be with 1900 miles on it saying it was fixed.
I talked to him and the told me that the lady who owned it had tried to start it a few times and it wouldn't work. The dealer never saw it happen, but as a customer service gesture they replaced the car under the lemon law, which is 3 problems that cannot be fixed within 12 months.
The car was located in PA and purchased in Aug. according to Carfax so the problem was probably not the cold.
I ended out buying a '03 that was brand new. No problems. I don't know if this helps but it may be something to look into, the lemon law can save you down the road if the dealer cannot fix the problem.

Gary
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Old 01-19-2004, 03:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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In 10K miles this has happened to me once. Not sure what fixed it, I may have tried another key or perhaps I just took the key out and tried again after a bit.
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Old 01-19-2004, 06:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by GaryJ
I heard from a dealer I was talking to about an '03 that had an intermittent start problem. They were trying to sell the car to be with 1900 miles on it saying it was fixed.
I talked to him and the told me that the lady who owned it had tried to start it a few times and it wouldn't work. The dealer never saw it happen, but as a customer service gesture they replaced the car under the lemon law, which is 3 problems that cannot be fixed within 12 months.
The car was located in PA and purchased in Aug. according to Carfax so the problem was probably not the cold.
I ended out buying a '03 that was brand new. No problems. I don't know if this helps but it may be something to look into, the lemon law can save you down the road if the dealer cannot fix the problem.

Gary
What a great dealership and even better customer service. But if it was eligible for lemon law the we should have better chance with 2k drone

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Old 01-19-2004, 10:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If it intermittently does it with all three keys, I would ask the dealer to replace the immobilizer sensor (in the steering column); I would guess that it is positioned incorrectly, or is borderline flaky electronically.
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Old 01-20-2004, 08:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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During the first three months, my 03 had the intermittent no-start syndrome. When I phoned the service department, the young lady on the phone asked if I had any other keys or metal key chains with the X’s key. What an interesting question…. Like who doesn’t have keys with their auto keys? I informed her that only the key fob that came with the vehicle was used. To my surprise she informed me that I SHOULD NOT use the key chain due to the interference caused by the metal.

The short of it all is that I stripped off the excess baggage, meaning separating the X key from the rest, which amazingly solved the issue.

Give it a try and holler back!
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Old 01-20-2004, 08:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by JMT2003
... Like who doesn’t have keys with their auto keys? ...
I don't. The key chain has the ignition key, thats it. All other keys are on another chain.
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Old 01-20-2004, 09:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I got the same response when I ask about intermittent starts. Do I have keys in my key chain. What a stupid question, I look at the service guy like he had two heads. I am not going to seperate my car keys with my house and work keys. I dont need more stuff in my pockets. So I ignore his advice and the problem went away by itself.
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Old 01-20-2004, 11:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Actually, having your X key separated from the rest of your keys is a good thing.

Depending on the amount of keys on the keychain, and the constant motion of the keys when driving, the added keys can add a nice amount of weight on the key lock cylinder, possibily promoting unnesssary wear and tear on the ignition cylnder.

We keep our key separated. Also, if, for some reason, the keys are ever lost, the "finder" (or potential thief) doesn't have the "keys to the kingdom."

My two cents worth.
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Old 01-21-2004, 12:24 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by JMT2003
...The short of it all is that I stripped off the excess baggage, meaning separating the X key from the rest, which amazingly solved the issue....
Just out of curiousity, were any of those keys for another car with ignition lockout...? Supposedly those can interfere, or regular keys if they happen to sit between the MDX's key and where the receiver is (jiggling them should move enough to get out of the way, in theory...). Does seem like weird advice, though...
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Old 02-16-2004, 11:19 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Finally took the MDX in, and the service rep produced a copy of the Jan 2004 Acura ServiceNews with this story:

Engine Cranks but Doesn't Start; Immobi Light Blinks
Getting complaints from owners of 03-04 MDX of the engine cranking but not starting and immobilizer system indicator blinking? The problem could simply be rooted in how our client turns the ignition key.
For quick starting, advise your clients that when inserting the key into the ignition switch, don't push in against the spring, and when turning the switch, don't do it rapidly This lets the immobilizer receiver read the ignition key's transponder ID code without interruptions.


We are following the advice and have not had any problems.... so far. Seems the tolerance in this system is small. Don't use a keychain and be gentle with the ignition and all will hopefully continue to be well.
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Old 03-12-2004, 09:45 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Interesting. I had this same exact problem with my old Honda Prelude SH.

The car would not recognize the electronic key and wouldn't start.

It was really bad once. I got stuck in traffic so I made an illegal U-turn on a busy 2 lane street and stalled the car bc I was rushing. I got stuck completely perpendicular to totally traffic blocking the road.

The car would not start and I was stuck blocking traffic for a few minutes until it worked again.

That was a horrible experience.
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Old 03-12-2004, 06:46 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I just got a 2004 MDX 3 weeks ago, and the intermittent start problem started happening last week. I also noticed that the memory for the power seats would be erased, the one touch power window will sometimes not work, the TPMS indicator light went on at one point. I'm taking the car in for service next week and will keep you guys posted.
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Old 03-17-2004, 10:34 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Just got an MDX about 2 weeks ago and have 280 miles on it. Yesterday, my wife and 2 year old got stranded in a snowstorm due to the ignition key. Not psyched b/c we bought the car based on its reliability. Suffice to say, she took a cab home and came back with my keys which worked right away.

The Service rep at Acura of Manhattan claimed no knowledge of such an error and we still waiting on call back actually.

I also had an error with the CD player jumping to the tape or radio - often without a bump triggering the jump. I am getting a new radio later this week and am considering following up with the key issue but from the readings on the site, I may just take your advice, separate out my keys and move on.

In any case, kudos to the site as it was useful in helping us make our decision on the mdx and now also useful in maintaining the car. I'll let you know what happens.
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Old 03-17-2004, 11:08 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Sorry to hear about your episode Peter. I was just as worried about the reliability issues.

I got my car back from the dealers and it turned out that my battery was apparently bad so they changed it. But they couldn't replicate the problems with the immobilizer indicator blinking, the intermittent memory loss of the power seat memory, the TPMS indicator and the one-touch power windows not working from time to time. They also couldn't say that the weak battery caused those issues.

Even so, and although it's only less than 24 hrs since I got my car back, those problems have all gone away.

I told the Service Mgr about what I read on this forum; about too many keys on the keychain, key chip not being recognized, and about not pushing the key too hard into the ignition and he said "sometimes too much information is not good, it's just the battery."
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