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2009 Kia Rondo 2.4l (Canadian)
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My question has a few parts to it:

[tl;dr No crank with immobilizer warning light. Replace ECU with another paired with key to avoid predatory dealer b.s.?]

First, the biggest issue is my 2009 Rondo (Canadian made 4-cyl) won't crank and shows a solid "key and car" logo light on the cluster. Before this, the car started just fine, drove, and parked. Then minutes later it wouldn't crank. No audible relay clicks or anything.

Land vehicle Vehicle Speedometer Odometer Trip computer


I took out the battery, charged to full capacity for a few days while waiting for capacitors in ECU to drain, unlatched the two terminal clusters on the ECU, blew out any dust, and reattached. Battery is fully charged with proper voltage and CCA. Battery back in and left like normal for a full day. Still same observations (no start with security key light on dash solid.)

OBD scan tool shows no codes pending or stored.

Every accessible fuse has been tested and confirmed with continuity both under hood and inside by driver's left knee.

I tried repeat turning multiple times to "ignition II" (just before start) and leaving in that position. Exactly 30 seconds later the warning light goes out, but still no start.

Speedometer Odometer Trip computer Gauge Car


Alarm is disarmed with working remote through pressing unlock button as is normal and expected.

Does the key need to be re-learned? If so, how is this done without involving a dealership and incurring great expense? (My local dealership is unable to test key or ECU functions out of the car, and it would still have to be towed in, so $$$ and no guarantee they can fix it...and if so, then a return trip on the tow truck.)

If the ECU is determined faulty, I have a replacement ECU and paired key ready for a reasonable price (I have to confirm it's a Canadian model, though I believe it will be.)
How then would I "transplant" the transponder chip into the plastic of the ignition key I have now? (Or cut off metal key part and solder onto new chip end? Relocate rfid antenna loop coil away from keyway so it doesn't pick up the signal from old key? Just swap out a new ignition lock cylinder?)

Would it work if I get a U.S. ECU that isn't built with chip-in-key security and install that with existing ignition key?

Font Rectangle Label Number Paper product


Sorry to bombard you with questions like this, but I have absolutely scoured online resources for hours and have come up with almost nothing.

If you can't personally think of suggestions, but know a Kia guru or at least someone well versed in such issues I described, send them a link so they might weigh in on it.

Thanks again for any constructive and thoughtful feedback that might work toward progressing this troubling issue!
 

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2008 SpectraSX, 2014 Optima LX,2006 Jeep Liberty, Linux Mint Mate
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6,966 Posts
The ECU "reads" the key by using a coil of wire around the ignition key lock assy...
You have replaced the key/ECU but did you check that coil and wiring from it going to the ECU?
If the ECU can't read the key the car won't start... like the saying "a chain is only as good as it's weakest link" your weak link may be that coil... and changing the ECU/lock assy/key... won't work unless the key can be electronically read...
Dave
 

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2020 KIA Soul Ex+
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632 Posts
This happened to me in my Rio a few weeks ago. A relay/fuse box under the dash failed. My symptoms were just like yours......not saying it's the same problem obviously.......but my Kia dealer diagnosed it in 30 minutes.
 

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2007 Rondo and 2000 Tacoma
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335 Posts
I give up 🤔

…….also in an unrelated matter, could you tell me how many miles (or rather kilometers) you have on your original alternator. I’m trying to decide if I should pull mine and check brushes at 124,000 miles.
 

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2009 Kia Rondo 2.4l (Canadian)
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think I'm at just under 200k Km or 120k mi.

I think unless you're having charging issues, I wouldn't touch it. Also, most alternators are so stubbornly press-fitted with internal components hard to access that unless you want a major project (when a $30 scrapyard swap alternative exists)...

Bet the dealership wants too much for just brushes anyway.

As for the issues I was having, funny thing is, the light sequence depicted is apparently normal. Seeing the key anti-theft logo was a distraction and led my troubleshooting astray.
And it didn't help that I had no memorable context to go off and compare to what a trouble-free Rondo looks like when turning the key.

Hint: Gotta go back to the basics of mundane no-start issues.
 

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2009 Kia Rondo 2.4l (Canadian)
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It's way dumber than that, lol.

Not the fuse (remember, from the original post, all were checked and intact) and not the starter, because in fact I got it running.

Ask yourself the things you would first try if (completely ignoring any concerns for the immobilizer or ecu) you encountered the same conditions of it running fine, being shut off, then failing to restart.
 

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2009 Kia Rondo 2.4l (Canadian)
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
With 400+ views and a couple days for those interested to ponder, I'll tell you now.

Never had this problem before, but I witnessed the exact few minute timeframe when a component failed. In this case, it was nothing more than the shifter (now all of a sudden) needing to go into neutral to start and refusing to do so in park.

That was it. Key in, turn, press brake, shift to neutral, and start.
It didn't deteriorate gradually over time and I never had to jiggle the shifter. Whatever electrical contacts got worn out, the threshold of their functionality was surpassed with just ONE more cycle of park-to drive-to park.

You can imagine how embarrassed and relieved I was that things were working again and I didn't go on an elaborate, expensive, and useless quest for parts.

I just wish Kia didn't design the dash lights to show the lit up key immobilizer logo when the car doesn't start and remains in the ignition II spot as described earlier.

I made it a point to let on what happened incrementally to give an opportunity for those with more wisdom than me who would have known and offered advice and take away any credibility from any others with comments claiming "Oh I knew that. That was so obvious." :)

Reminds me when I helped a coworker over the phone. Her car stalled. When trying to start it, she had difficulty turning the ignition. I knew she had to wiggle the wheel a bit to free up the lock. Then she called again because it would turn, but not start the car. Well...it was still in drive from before, lol. Things like that, you know?
 

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Kia Rondo EX V6 2009
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3 Posts
Hi, I bought a Rondo EX 2009 with the 2.7 V6 yesterday. This morning, I have the same problem as you: hazard and horn goes on like an alarm and won’t start. I have the solid key in car light in the cluster. I tried unplug battery, recharge it… Nothing!! Still the solid key in car light on and don’t want to start. I tried neutral: no changes… This is my first Kia and begins to 🤮💩…

I have electric door lock, but works only with the Inside door lock button. I don’t know if I can operate door locks from outside. I didn’t know there have an alarm on this car and the ancien owner didn’t know either. I don’t Know either how I put the alarm on…

Is somebody have a clue for me please??
 

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157 Posts
Hi, I bought a Rondo EX 2009 with the 2.7 V6 yesterday. This morning, I have the same problem as you: hazard and horn goes on like an alarm and won’t start. I have the solid key in car light in the cluster. I tried unplug battery, recharge it… Nothing!! Still the solid key in car light on and don’t want to start. I tried neutral: no changes… This is my first Kia and begins to 🤮💩…

I have electric door lock, but works only with the Inside door lock button. I don’t know if I can operate door locks from outside. I didn’t know there have an alarm on this car and the ancien owner didn’t know either. I don’t Know either how I put the alarm on…

Is somebody have a clue for me please??
Sounds like your immobilizer doesn’t recognize the key. This isn’t something that just happens overnight. Sounds like you got scammed.

Did it start yesterday? Do you have a fob with lock/unlock? Does the key unlock the doors from the outside when you put it in the door?
 

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Kia Rondo EX V6 2009
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3 Posts
Ok now it starts… 🤷🏼‍♂️
As you said, I looked into the owner manual and it’s written about the immobilizer on the English part (French is my mother language). So I took the two keys I got with the car, put them together and I started the car.
Finally, I think I have a key who the fob is not good and I tried to start it this morning with the wrong key. Now it’s working and I put back the horn fuse… 🤪🤪

Thanks for the advice. I think I will go to the dealer this week with it to know more about it.
 

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2009 Kia Rondo 2.4l (Canadian)
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Your issue actually sounds different than mine if the alarm is going off. Remember, my problem didn't involve anything with security (though the key light was lit.)

It's possible the previous owner has either not been locking their doors or only using the key to lock them. I think you'll get the alarm if you lock from the inside with door open, close, and unlock with key. I don't believe turning the key in the ignition (even assuming a recognized chip) is going to shut it off.

I'm unclear if you experience the alarm going off as soon as the door opens or only when you turn the ignition. You can always mechanically operate door locks from the outside with the key. Now here is the question I dread: Did the seller give you the remote with it? This is absolutely crucial and if not, then you make him look for it. You need the remote to deactivate the alarm and engine kill by pressing the unlock button icon on it. I have to press mine really hard by gouging my thumb in and working it around. It's ridiculous.

But yeah, I believe all your problems are solved once you get that remote. Without it...sigh, not fun. You'd have to find a matching remote, chip, and ECU from another V6. I believe the alarm portion and key fob matching are integrated into the same unit. Or you might get lucky and there's the possibility to find a U.S. sourced ECU (which apparently doesn't look for a security key) and the remote (again, if I'm right about all this being a combined unit and the U.S. model didn't have an alarm, then you can just swap ECU and use your existing key without even bothering using the remote.)

I only speculate on this having not done it myself. Your alternative to this or getting the original matching remote is likely a costly trip to a dealer to program a new remote to your car.
 

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Kia Rondo EX V6 2009
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3 Posts
Yes the seller gave me the remotes, but he removes an electronic module from nowhere because he said the horn always still works. Now both remotes doesn’t work anymore. I will try to reinstall it and see how it all works 🤞🏻🤞🏻

But first of all, I’ll go to the dealer to check with them all the specs my car is supposed to have. Maybe I gonna need to reprogram the wrong key too…
 

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2009 Kia Rondo 2.4l (Canadian)
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If the key turns the ignition, it's very likely it matches the ECU. I'm assuming at one point during your brief ownership that started with that same key? And the problems started only after locking from the inside? I also assume the remotes don't work to lock or unlock the doors?

If you're lucky, it's just dead batteries in the remote. You can test them at auto parts stores where they have the little reader on the counter. Again, you may have to mash the bejesus out of the buttons for them to activate and put out a signal.
 
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