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Key Upgrade: F150 Switchblade Key Project

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Old 05-21-2012, 09:55 PM   #1
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Default Key Upgrade: F150 Switchblade Key Project

If there is one thing about my new truck I don't like, it's the key. It's unwieldy, sort of ugly, and in a world of $50,000 window stickers and keyless econoboxes, it's just plain stupid. It simply won't do. Folks like us should be able to have a hard-working truck and a good-looking key that can take a beating.

So, as a long-time VW guy, I appreciate the flip key/switchblade key. It's clean, it's small, I think it looks nice, and it doesn't poke holes in your pocket. The one I had for my Jetta lasted 11 years and still worked fine. I replaced the battery once.

Initially, I didn't know if I could even get an extra key, so I started Googling, and Google led to eBay, and eBay led to Rugged wheel liners and, but I digress.

If you have thought about an upgrade like this you probably encountered the same issue I did. There are lots of auctions with lots of keys, and some have 2 buttons, or 3 buttons, and all of them say they work with some cars, but don't go up to 2012. The specific key I wanted was for a 4-button remote with remote start. Note: I didn't care if remote start worked, I don't think I'll use it a lot. I just wanted a switchblade key and have the main functions work.

So, I looked at the offerings, and decided to contact a seller about their key. The first person responding said it wouldn't work with my remote start remote. I sent a follow up message asking specifically if the remote would work with my truck, but the remote start wouldn't work, or if it wouldn't work at all. The response was that the key and transponder would fit all Ford models for 2012, but there was not a remote start button, so that would not work.

I went ahead and ordered the key. It was not the cheapest, at $55, but the other sellers were less clear about the key and whether it would work for a 2012 F150. (This is actually cheaper than most places will sell you a basic transponder-only key.)

I bought the key Thursday night, and received it Monday. Pretty good, considering it came from NV to MA. The key looks like a genuine Volkswagen keyfob. Holding it next to a genuine VW keyfob, I see no obvious differences. It is a quality piece. It is, however, about half a gram heavy on the back end (anyone?) because of the lightness of the Ford key. VW blades are cutouts, so they are substantial.

Here is where the fun begins. I took the key to Lowe's. They wouldn't cut it. They said they could only cut their own keys, and for $70 they could cut one. Then I went to Home Depot. They also wouldn't cut it. They said they couldn't, because they didn't want to be responsible when the new key would turn the ignition but wouldn't start the car. I told them that I could program it myself, but alas, they wouldn't come around. However, for $70 they would sell me their key and cut it. (Um, but then, it still wouldn't start the car.) They suggested I go to the dealer or a locksmith. I was rather frustrated.

As I drove home, a light came on. I pulled into Walmart, and went to their hardware department. They guy there didn't know a lot about the keys, by which I mean he didn't know that he shouldn't be helpful and refuse to cut my key. He was reluctant to cut my key in case it didn't work, but he agreed to do it. He let me play around with blanks, looked up what he thought was the right blank, and finally pulled a cutting cassette and cut a basic blank. It looked good, so I had him cut my key. I paid the $1.89 for the cut key(he didn't charge me to cut mine) and headed out.

When I got to the car, I put the key in and turned the ignition. It turned. So I programed the key:

Insert Admin Key 1: Turn to On, Turn to Off. Remove Key.
Insert Key 2: Turn to On, Turn to Off. Remove Key.
Insert New Key: Turn to On. Wait a few Seconds. Turn to Off. Remove Key.

The instructions are in the manual. Anyway, it worked.

Now, for the remote features. Insert any working key. I have read that you should have the door open and unlock all doors before doing this. Turn the key on and off 8 times finishing in the On position. The truck will lock and unlock the doors to let you know it's ready. Now, press any button on each of your keys. The horn may honk to let you know it's working. Make sure you do this with every key or else you may accidentally deprogram existing keys. You cannot add keys; you are programming all of them. Or so I have read.

Anyway, the final product(original key on left for reference):

Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.

The key starts the truck, the lock/unlock/arm buttons work, and the panic button works. I don't think that remote start works, but I am not worried about that.

For those of you interested in doing this upgrade, it works, and I think it is well worth it. Be mindful that you may have difficulty finding someone willing to cut the key, but once you get past that hurdle, this is a simple, fairly inexpensive upgrade to your vehicle, and your pocket.

Enjoy!
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:08 PM   #2
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Nice writeup!

Now if ford would just do push button start and proximity keyless entry.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:45 PM   #3
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I think I did this well over 2 years ago. My flip key is still working perfectly after daily use. It looks quite worn, but I'm happy with my purchase.

When it's time for a new one, I'll be looking at getting one like yours. Who was the seller?
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:52 PM   #4
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I was contemplating doing a push button start mod, there is a thread about it somewhere, but its rather spendy if I recall
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:06 PM   #5
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Yep, you are correct.
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Old 05-22-2012, 05:29 AM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback. I really wanted to share this with the forum to provide a definitive answer that, yes, these keys work, and how to do it, as the information I found was pretty spotty and there is a lot of bad information about having to pay a ridiculous amount of money to get extra standard keys. If you go into Home Depot or Lowe's not knowing any better, they are going to charge you $70 for a basic transponder key that you can get on ebay for $20, and it doesn't even have remote capabilities.

I bought the key from Remotes, Inc, here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/300704604341...84.m1439.l2649

I would buy from them again.

Some people have reported that pressing the lock button additional times initiates the remote start, but I haven't found that to be the case.
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:33 AM   #7
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Thanks for the review I'll be getting.My only concern is I need remote start to work.
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:37 AM   #8
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This... is awesome. Nice write-up. I didn't realize you could get such nice-looking OEM quality aftermarket key transponders.

Unfortuantely, I actually use my remote start every day... would need one that suppored that feature. (My first vehicle with remote start.. didn't think I'd use it.. but I do all the dang time!) Do they just not make a 4-button transponder or is there some technical reason why you can't add that to an aftermarket transponder?
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nixx View Post
This... is awesome. Nice write-up. I didn't realize you could get such nice-looking OEM quality aftermarket key transponders.

Unfortuantely, I actually use my remote start every day... would need one that suppored that feature. (My first vehicle with remote start.. didn't think I'd use it.. but I do all the dang time!) Do they just not make a 4-button transponder or is there some technical reason why you can't add that to an aftermarket transponder?
Thanks.

They make a 3-button key and a 4-button key. I bought the 4-button key. Unfortunately, the 4th button is for the trunk, not the remote starter. Some people with the 3-button key have said that if they press the lock button multiple times, the truck starts, but I wasn't able to replicate this behavior with my key.

It's worth noting that there are a couple of different versions of this key. One is based on the Audi/VW keyfob - this is the one I have - and the other appears to be from a BMW or other keyfob. The references to remote start working may be for the other key. I'll try a few other things over the next couple of days and see if I can make it work. Maybe there is a secret to changing the trunk button to remote start or something.
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Old 05-26-2012, 10:13 AM   #10
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Any updates on if this will remote start the truck? I plan on getting one for the Mustang GT and for my truck! Since I use the remote start also I would like to get one that works with it. So does anyone know or has anyone got this to work yet? I just emailed one of the sellers on Ebay to ask but nothing yet! I have the all in one key with the remote start but as it has been said it does dig into your pockets.
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Old 05-26-2012, 10:13 AM
 
 
 
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