Forum Chat #62 – Tracker, again!!

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Welcome to Bamford Rose and another forum chat. This week, it’s tracker again and again and again. This tracker problem is inevitably going to be every single car that has ever made, at some point in its life, it’s going to have a hiccup with the tracker. It’s so much of a common place problem. Check out our previous videos on the subject. But basically, what happens is, although the subscription elapsed many years ago, and the tracker tags have been lost, unbeknown to the new owner, the tracker is behaving exactly the same way as it always did, in that it’s searching for the proximity card, it’s sending a signal out to the receiver station via the GPS area in the boot. It’s just that because the subscription is elapsed, then no one’s monitoring it and no signal is being sent back to the car to remotely immobilize the car.

What happens then is that internally, the CAN communication network of that tracker fails. And this can do a few things. One is a battery drain, so you will lock the car. And in that worst case overnight, that faulty tracker will deplete the car’s main battery. The next is the spurious signals are sent out on the CAN communication network line to the body module, which interprets them as real signals, and may or may not instruct things of other electronic modules. So, there can be any number of electronic gremlins across the car. And there’s actually nothing wrong, but the root cause is the tracking module.

Finally, what will happen is the body module will lose communication with the tracker module completely, and you’ll get into the car and try and start and it won’t start. And a common call I get then is that someone thinks they need a new starter motor, when actually it’s just the body module inhibiting signal to the start motor, and no crank is available.

Fix is really, really easy. Disconnect the tracker from the harness, and reprogram the body module with tracker inactive. But time and time and time again on forums everywhere, I read people experiencing electronic faults, and the tracker isn’t being identified as the first port call, no matter what the problem is. You know, you must eliminate a tracker first. If you don’t, then something that’s really cheap and really quick to do and eliminate, then you can go around the houses and pay for stuff, diagnostic time, or parts that you don’t actually need.

Again, this is something that should be picked up at your regular service interval. Because I’d say a good couple of years before the tracker actually fails, you’re going to have telltale signs in the fault code history.

Now, here’s a screenshot of what a completely failed tracker looks like. And maybe if you’re on the path to complete your failure, you’ve just got a few niggles, then you’ll get a couple of these codes, instead of this full house of codes.

It’s going to take the AMDS laptop to interrogate the tracker module. You’re not going to be able to do this with a generic fault code reader. So, any electronic gremlins you have, no matter what they are, no matter what you might think is the root cause, always check the tracker first, and plug in and look for any one of these codes.

Hope you find that forum chat useful, and we’ll see you on the next one.

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