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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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P38 Key Fob Repair/Rebuilding/Switching the Insides, with Pictures

If you have any questions about any of this, please feel free to message me, I will help you in anyway I can.

After struggling with the locks and the Key Fob on my 99 Range Rover, I decided the other night to take apart my original key and see what the problem was with it. Again, this site is awesome for information, and after doing some searching, I have seen that others have done this, or at least tried. I figured why not take a crack at this.

When I bought the truck, the previous owner informed me that the Key Fob had not worked for over 5 years. He first thought that it was the battery, but when he placed a new one in and the light didn't go in, he figured it must have been something else. The original fob housing was damaged and the pad was beat up, so I (not knowing what I know now) went on Ebay and purchased another new "working fob" that of course did not work.

If you look at your fob closely, you will notice that there is a small pin at the end of the key blade. I took my punch set and removed that and put my blade from my broken key fob on it. At least I had a nice looking key fob, but still not working remote.

After looking at the fobs, I noticed that mine was missing the "battery bridge" (Small pice of metal that the lid of the batter touches to make the circuit complete) on the key fob board inside the key. When you open your key fob up from the back, you will see it. (NOTE PICS BELOW FOR LOCATION) and this was most likely the cause of the fob problem. Sure enough, when I opened my original fob up, took the insides out, and held the battery back to the board and hit the buttons, the light came on and lit up when I hit the buttons. So now, I know that my original fob did work, but would it synch up?

The next step was to take the fob, along with my ebay key, and place the key in the drivers door. I then held my original fob board next to the key, and tried the synching procedure (locking and holding down lock button, then unlock holding unlock button) and IT WORKED! synched right up no problem at all.

SO NOW...time to fix my original fob and place it in the new key that I got off ebay.

PS - - I also got a free key from a junkyard, so I decided to use that as the test key to see what the process was to get it open. This helped me see exactly what I had to do and not do during this process.

PLEASE TAKE YOUR TIME IN CUTTING THE KEY OPEN!!! IF you rush it, or try to just pry it open it will break. Especially the part that holds the key ring on. (NOTE MY PIC BELOW).

TOOLS NEEDED:

1 - Pencil Soldering Gun - Use a Pencil Soldering Gun only! If you do not know what it is, look it up. If you use anything bigger then that, it will put off too much heat and you can melt the board, or the electronics on the board. I was able to use the solder that was on the board still from the original piece, so you may not need any solder at all.
1- Small Hacksaw Blade - to cut the key fob open.
1- flat head screwdriver - used to GENTLY pry the key open once you cut.
1- tweezer - to hold the batter bridge in place and put it in the hole once you heat up the solder.
1- small container of super glue or epoxy (your choice) to glue the key back together AFTER, AFTER you test it to make sure it works!
1- Magnifying glass - to see better (I have great eyes, but it is a very small part you are working on).
1- Glass of fine scotch to celebrate a job well done after it works (cigar is optional).


STEP 1 - GET YOUR ORIGINAL FOB CUT OPEN:
I suggest doing this by hand. I have seen others use a Dremel, but if you more then likely going to cut through the "slots" that hold the key top and bottom together. If you look at the picture below, you will see what I am talking about. I used a very small hack saw blade and a vise to hold the key (wrapped the parts I was not cutting in a towel so the vice would not hurt the plastic of the key fob) and cut it around the seam very slowly.

When you do finally get the key apart, please take it apart slowly!!!! Why? Because the spring that is in the key blade that makes it "pop" open super fast will just fly out, and the button that you press to make the key blade "pop" out will also go flying and you will have to look for them.

keyfobCUTOPEN.jpg

LOOK BELOW - This is what happened when you rush!

keyfobdontrush.jpg

STEP 2 - STUDY THE KEY FOB BOARD TO GET FAMILIAR WITH IT:
My Range is a 99, but the key that I cut open to get the parts off of was from a 96 Range (Look at the differences in the board electronics). In this picture, you will notice what I was referring to earlier as the "Battery Bridge" in the first pic. Also, when looking at the first pic you will notice that my board (The one on the right) looks liked someone tried to repair it before. Notice the melting of the board at the top.
keyfobdifference1.jpg keyfobdifferenceFRONT.jpg
BACK VIEW FRONT VIEW

STEP 3 - SOLDER THE DONOR BOARD:
Heating up the solder on the donor board, to remove the "batter bridge" Use your tweezers to pull it off.

back.jpg

STEP 4 - SOLDER THE "BATTERY BRIDGE"
Heating up the solder on the original board, and use the tweezers to place the "battery bridge" into the hole. Make sure both points on the "batter bridge" are lined up properly and in the hole. When you look at the board, you will see the holes for it.
keyfobdifferenceHOLEs.jpg
(move your donor board somewhere else so that when you place your key back together, you do not use that one instead.) happened to me!

STEP 5 - MAKE SURE "BATTER BRIDGE" DOES NOT REST ON THE CIRCUIT BOARD:
I am not sure if this is true for all key fobs, but for mine once I got the "batter bridge" soldered onto my board, I thought that I was done. I put the key together to test it, and sure enough the light was not blinking at all. I fooled with this for over 5 hours, trying everything to get it to work. I then took the key apart again, and held the battery back on and it worked that way, so I figured that something was up with the "battery bridge." There is a little metal piece on the batter holder that must touch the batter bridge to make the connection, so I knew it was not hitting it. I then took a very small piece of a wire and placed it under the bridge to hold it "up in the air". Again, I put the key back together and now it worked.

keyfobwire2.jpg

STEP 6 - TAKE KEY APART AGAIN AND MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS SECURE AND WORKING.
I kept doing this because I did not want to glue the key together for it only to not be working, after all of this I would just explode if that happened, so it is better to be overly cautious with it!

To put the key together, you must wind the spring back, with the key button already in the key blade. You will notice that the spring has a small metal arm sticking out of it. This makes the spring lock and not spin around. Look at the pics below, the second pic has a arrow pointing at where the spring arm should rest. Again, take the key blade with the spring arm and button already in it, and pace it on the holder on the key bottom. Start to wind the spring counter clock wise about 3 full turns. You have to hold it down or it will fling off.

Have your board resting already in the top of the key fob, and then place then together. I did the bottom of the key fob on the table, and then placed the top part of it on and pushed it together. The key button should stick out so when you press it, the key blade goes flying out.

When you are gluing this together, make sure to put a little glue on all four corners of the key, in the "slots" that the top and bottom fit into. Then press firmly together.

keyfobspring.jpg keyfobkey.jpg

STEP 7 - SCREW YOUR BATTER BACK INTO THE KEY & TEST, THEN SYNCH IT.
After your key is together finally, take your batter back and line up the arrows on it and screw it in. Make sure you have your rubber o-ring on it or (like mine) the bottom will be to free and fall out. Take your key to your Range, and place it in the drivers door key hole. Make sure your truck is unlocked. Hold the "lock" button on the key fob and at the same time turn your key to the "lock" position on the door (right). the truck locks. The light on your key should go from a slow blink to a super fast blink. Hold for 3 seconds then keep holding the button down and then turn the key back to the upright position. Now, hold the "unlock" button on the key fob, and turn the key to the left, unlocking the truck. Again, the light will go from a slow blink to a fast blink. Hold for 3 seconds and while still holding the "unlock" button down, turn the key back to the upright position, and you are SYNCHED! Test and retest. You are done!

IF you cut slowly, your key should look pretty decent. I have seen some pics of keys cut open horribly and they look like hell. This way, it hardly looks like it was opened up.
Jul262013_1380.jpg

GO HAVE A DRINK TO CELEBRATE! HOPE THIS HELPS SOME PEOPLE OUT THERE!

If you have any questions about any of this, please feel free to message me, I will help you in anyway I can.
 

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LEGACY VENDOR
1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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4,159 Posts
Re: P38 Key Fob Repair/Rebuilding/Switching the Insides, with Pictures

Good pictures!

As an addition to your post.. if you do want a new shell, or bugger up the cutting etc - or don't want to have to try and glue a cut one back together, then you can get kits like this:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Land-Range-Rover-P38-2-BUTTON-Remote-Key-FOB-Case-/141021772374

which is an empty case, with a blank key blade (which you can swap for yours of course).

Marty
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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626 Posts
Re: P38 Key Fob Repair/Rebuilding/Switching the Insides, with Pictures

Amazing write up, good job.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Re: P38 Key Fob Repair/Rebuilding/Switching the Insides, with Pictures

Nice HowTo thank you,

I opened my key because only on lock the led wold blink.
now when opened up on unlock the led blinks to but as soon as i get it glued together again no unlock led:?


BTW i did not hacksaw it open leaving rough edges but gut it open with a sharp yet strong nife.
 

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Re: P38 Key Fob Repair/Rebuilding/Switching the Insides, with Pictures

Awesome write up, although I'm still going to fork over $300+ dollars to my local RR dealer and have one made.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Re: P38 Key Fob Repair/Rebuilding/Switching the Insides, with Pictures

good write up :)
my key fob light works but nothing happens to the vehicle (1995 diesel) even when very close to it
put the key in the lock and it locks...............and unlocks, it also starts on the same key....i only have one key.....
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Re: P38 Key Fob Repair/Rebuilding/Switching the Insides, with Pictures

What i did in the end is order a brand new outer housing for my key on ebay for € 9,-
http://www.ebay.nl/itm/141039204925?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649
I swapped the organs and wola i got myself a working key`) and a brand new look.
p.s. the housing is almost as good as the genuine little difference in the opening button for the key and a weaker spring i used the one from my old key.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Re: P38 Key Fob Repair/Rebuilding/Switching the Insides, with Pictures

Great job on the write up. I have a similar problem. My round circle piece on the back of the remote, where battery sits on, is missing. I tried soldering a wire in place of that and another to the positive bridge, that was missing on your remote, and no luck. the light doesn't blink upon pressing button. any help?



View attachment 47314
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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Re: P38 Key Fob Repair/Rebuilding/Switching the Insides, with Pictures

Here is the picture when I took the remote apart.



Picture 7.jpg
 

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Re: P38 Key Fob Repair/Rebuilding/Switching the Insides, with Pictures

Hi there
How did you go with the battery contact as I have the same
problem?
 

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Re: P38 Key Fob Repair/Rebuilding/Switching the Insides, with Pictures

@tchaudhry10 , @ceos
Any luck repairing the battery contact? I also have the same problem and cannot pay $300+ for a key, hoping I can replace the piece...
Thanks
 

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Brilliant. I bought a new replacement fob for just over a fiver on the internet and was able to transfer the relevant pieces across. The only glitch I had was that the "bridge" that carries the positive connection from the batteries was slightly out of position. Once corrected, it works perfectly. Many thanks for such a useful step by step guide.
GC Hertford.
 

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Struggling to separate my old casing, is there a way to do it other than using a hack saw? Or slipping with a knife and stabbing ones self? I have my new case all ready and waiting, just can't prize open the old one safely! Thanks, Tom.
 

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Internet and all of us nerdy rover-people shairing visdom knowledge and keeping spirit high when we try to live our dream of owning theese great cars is faboulus.

The key fob on my one month old :) 1999 P38 stoped working this afternoon. The led lights up when pressing and battery is ok. BUT something is loose inside... thanks to this thread I knew what to expect when trying to open it. Finaly I now see the blue box on top is loose. I guess its the transmitter? Soldered it back and... it works! First thing tomorrow will be to order a new set or at least a second key!!! :roll:
 

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Great, thanks for sharing. My (one and only) key stoped working this afternoon for my 'one month old' Rangie 1999. Led is lightning up but nothing happens... and a strange noise from the key fob when shaking it is telling me something is loose! After cutting it open I found the blue box thing loose. Soldered it back and.... it works :) First thing in the morning will be to order a new set of keys or at least a second one.. :roll:
 
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