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98 explorer: keys..I already replaced the ign..cylinder..theft light

Customer Question

I have an 98 explorer and I lost my keys, I already replaced the ign. cylinder with a new one that comes with 2 non-programmed keys, in the instruction it says that i have to wait 15 mins for the theft light to stop flashing but it only took 3 mins to do so. what am i missing here? please help need vehicle bad.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Chris (aka- Moose) replied 7 years ago.

HelloCustomer, I'm Chris, a current Ford Lincoln Mercury employee.


Thanks for visiting Just Answer. I will do my very best to help you resolve your concerns


On a ford vehicle the only way to program the keys is by using a IDS or NGS scan tool. This vehicle will have to be towed to a dealer or independant shop which can program keys. There is not a at home method or bypass for a theft system.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I found this on my quest for answers, from your site is this actually posible?

An alternate programming method is possible and is intended to keep a customer from being stranded, and who has no access to a service shop equipped with diagnostic tools. This interactive procedure takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. The elongated time is necessary to maintain the high level of theft protection provided by the system. When initializing the system using this procedure, it must be followed precisely or the system will abort and the procedure will need to be started over.

The alternate programming method operates as follows:

  • Insert an unprogrammed encoded key into the ignition lock and turn ignition switch to RUN. The THEFT Indicator will begin flashing.
  • Follow this procedure three times: After 15 minutes of flashing, the THEFT indicator will extinguish. Within five minutes after the THEFT indicator has gone out, turn the ignition switch once to OFF for a second, then back to RUN. The THEFT indicator will resume flashing for another 15 minutes.
  • After the third time (at 45 minutes from start), the control module will erase all stored keys and memorize the unprogrammed key as valid. This key will now start the vehicle. Additional keys can be programmed using the Spare Key Programming procedure.
Expert:  Chris (aka- Moose) replied 7 years ago.

This is the case on older vehicles. This is not the case on a 98 model. The 98 was the first year for the programmed key in the explorer. I have tried this above procedure on this model and was also unsuccessfuel. Give this a try. Remove the negative battery cable for 5 minutes then lock and unlock the door and than insert the kay and try it again. If it fails then a scan tool is going to be needed.



Chris (aka- Moose), Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 43571
Experience: 16 years experience
Chris (aka- Moose) and 6 other Ford Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I tried the last suggestion and have no luck with it, thanks for your help i really appreciate it.
Expert:  Chris (aka- Moose) replied 7 years ago.
I wish I could make it work for you and be a simple thing. Cars are just not simple anymore. As techs we have to continue going to school just to stay on top. Purchasing tools also is a headache since vehicles change yearly. 1/3 the value of my home sets in 2 black boxes at work.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes I understand if it was a el-cheapo key system I would have replaced it in min.Smile
Expert:  Chris (aka- Moose) replied 7 years ago.
Your welcome
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Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 43571
Experience:  16 years experience
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