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Discussion Starter #1
KiaMech, I'm very impressed with the accurate information you've posted in this forum, and hope you and others will be able to help with my "Phantom door locks". I've been to the dealer now 4 times, resulting in the ETACS unit being replaced twice and remotes reprogrammed. Once they kept the car for two days, then the service manager told me the mech had removed the dash, found and replaced a crimped wire, and had the problem fixed. They didn't! What makes it especially hard to fix is it does not act up consistently, and rarely in the presence of the mechanic.

Here goes........Since the day I brought my brand new 2003 Sorento home from the dealer, the locks have locked all by themselves. It is not because I reach a certain speed, although they'll lock while I'm driving down the road. It's not because I step on the breaks after the last door closes, it's not because I put it in gear, and it's not because I lean on the lock button. As I'm approaching my car in the parking lot I can hit the remote twice to unlock all doors. I watch the lights flash telling me the signal reached the car. Within seconds I hear the locks slam shut just as I'm reaching for the handle. I hit the button again and open the back door before they have a chance to lock again, then by the time I can close the back door and grab the front door handle, they've locked again. When my Dad visits, he has practically wripped the pgr door handle off, while we play cat and mouse with the lock button. Out of frustration he now requires I open his door for him, then walk around and get in. But, it doesn't do all this every time, but most times. Safely parked inside my garage I always leave my keys on the console. I now have to leave a window down knowing that when I leave, the doors will be locked again. I've tried several times to reach through the driver window, hit the unlock button, then walk to the hatch to load something only to have the locks slam shut just as I'm reaching for the handle. I go back and hit the unlock, only to have them lock as I approach the hatch. I finally take the remote back with me and grab the handle as soon as it unlocks. It does this a lot, but not always. If I want to leave my engine running as I quickly grab my mail, I have to leave a window down knowing the doors will be locked when I return. This has nothing to do with a vibration, because it does it while the car is statiionary inside the garage. Sometimes they'll lock immediately upon entering the car, sometimes they'll wait until I'm a mile from the house, sometimes they'll wait until I'm 20 miles from the house. It does not seem to matter what speed I'm traveling. I've been traveling down dark lonely streets late at night, only to be sent through the sun roof as all the locks suddenly slam shut! There is no one single denominator that makes the locks close. They truly have a mind of their own, and lock whenever they **** well please. While parked. While driving. Engine running. engine off. Sometimes right away. Sometimes two hours later.

OK, I wont drag this out any longer, I think you get the point. This problem is different than the other lock problems I've read about in this forum. Please ask me some questions that might help you solve this. I can give you my Memphis dealers name and service rep if you like. Oh, I already know that the doors lock when the system "grounds", thus a possible bare wire somewhere. But if that's the case, why can the car sit still in the garage for an hour, then suddenly the doors lock with nobody touching it?
Thanks for any help
Rod
 

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2003 Kia Sorento
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Wow, you've done your homework. You've also ruled out a few things, and I'm glad your dealer replaced the ETACS because that definitely would have been my first guess. The dash has been removed, and we can assume that any wires that might have been pinched from the factory, are not pinched now.

My first guess, you've got a faulty key lock switch on one of the front doors (or wiring related to them).

Pound on each of the front door handles and see if you can get the doors to lock by themselves. This may or may not work.

Then, put your key in the lock and see if it operates like it should, where all of the doors lock and unlock when you turn the key. The drivers door is a two-step unlock, so twisting the key twice will unlock all of the doors, and once just unlocks the drivers door. I think it will work fine, but if a switch is sticking, this *could* unstick it.

If that doesn't do anything, get in the Sorento (if you can), and pound on each of the door panels by the switches, but not on top.

All you're trying to do with these steps is make a connection. I think, something (a switch, wire or connector) is so close to a ground that any movement at all is enough to make a connection. You're just trying to duplicate that movement to narrow down the problem area.

There are a few other possibilities, but start with this first because I think you'll find your problem, or at least narrow it down.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I'm on my way down to the garage to try this. Just for your information, I have been going down to the garage all day long, awaiting your reply, and playing with the locks. As I stated before, I leave my window rolled down so I can reach in a hit the unlock button. No less than 10 times today I reached through the window, unlocked all the doors, opened the driver and rear passenger door, closed them, and walked away. When I returned an hour later, all doors were locked again. Twice, the doors locked IMMEDIATELY, before I was even able to open them!

I will go down now and bang on the panels to see if I can get them to lock. I get your point. If I find a door that causes them to lock when banged on, that will be the door that has the grounding wire. But then, why do they lock by themselves when the car is in the garage and no one is around?

Is there any chance that the car is catching a strange radio signal from the air, the same frequency as the remote, that is locking the doors? (Any chance I'm just halucinating on some really good drugs)????
 

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Discussion Starter #4
KiaMech,
When I got down to the garage, the doors were locked again, just as I suspected they would be. I reached through the window and hit the unlock button and jumped in. The doors did not lock right away, so I sat inside the car pounding all around the door panels of the two front doors, but they would not lock. I then jumped in the back seat and proceeded to violate the rear door panels in the same manner. They finally cried uncle, but the locks never slammed shut!

I then put the key in the driver door exterior lock and turned it twice to unlock all doors. INSTANTLY, the doors locked! I turned the key twice again, and INSTANTLY they locked. I then reached through the window and hit the unlock button on the arm rest and INSTANTLY THEY LOCKED!!! I turned the key twice again, and this time the locks made the locking noise about 5 times in rapid succesion, then finally locked. I did the key thing and button thing about 4 more times, each time the locks slamming shut instantly (one more time it did a "rapid fire" thing until they finally locked), and after that I could not get them to lock again. I think this is what happens at the dealer. I demonstrate to the service manager how the locks lock themselves, then they get warmed up (or something) and wont act up for the mechanic.

I'm at my wits end! Do you think I need a couch?
 

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The rear doors don't control each other, so you can stop abusing them.

I still think the problem is "brain" related; no, not yours. Something is telling the relays to activate, whether its the key switches telling the ETACS to do it, or the door switches telling the ETACS to do, is what we have to find out. I still think that the key lock switches are a possibility though.

If the problem (ground) was after the relays, the fuse would blow. But, if the problem was one of the relays, it could also cause the same symptoms. So, reach under the dash and feel around for the small box that "clicks" when you move the door lock switch. This is the door lock relay module. Try tapping this, and see if the door locks do anything.

After this, you'd better know the basics of a multimeter and not be afraid to take some panels off. The ETACS is located behind the ashtray below the radio. I know it's been replaced, but you're going to need access to the three connectors that plug into it so you can see if there is any ground signal relating to the locks going into it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
KiaMech (may I call you KiaMech?),

First I have to apologize not only for the mispelled words in my previous threads, but also for my absence. It seems I was summoned to what is left of Krypton (after the explosion) and queried as to what would possess an American actor (Nicolas Cage) to name their son after the greatest super-hero this galaxy has ever known, "Superman". Not only was I speachless, but dumbfounded as well! I'm afraid all I could do was define "HOLLYWOOD ARROGANCE", (Can I get an AMEN!)

Second, you need to "NOT" sugar-coat this. If YOU think I'm afraid of panels, you need to step up to the plate and say "I'M AFRAID OF PANELS"! I'll have you know, not only do I own a multimeter, but I've actually had it out of the box..................... once.................. and looked at it! Also, I took a direct hit once of 440 mhz (OK, the guy told me the receptacle was a drill bit sharpener), and survived! I sometimes worry about the involuntary twitches, but my shrink tells me they will diminish in time.

I went to my garage and listened for the "CLICK". I guess I never heard it before because of the "voices" in my head! I heard it this time, and practically "beat it off", to get it to react. Nothing! (Remember when I asked you if you thought I needed a couch)? I now tend to agree with you. I think the problem is in the driver side door. What confuses me is, everything your telling me to do, involves beating or tapping on something. What I'm saying is that the doors will lock, all by themselves, while the car is tucked safely inside the garage, with the door down. No movement, no beating, no earthquakes, no hurricanes, no anomalies! It simply grows a brain and decides to LOCK!

Unfortunately I can't go any further with this experiment because my Sorento is still under warranty (God forbid I sacrifice my warranty). I love my Sorento! I have never owned a better car than my Sorento. I only want the locks to act right! Sometime during the next two weeks I'm going to make an appointment with my "Memphis" service manager (Mike, if I can tear him away from lunch with Elvis), and take the car in again. What I would ask of you (KiaMech) at this time is to outline a series of checks that the dealer Mech can go through, that will possibly correct this problem. I'm sorry to say this, but if "Mike" at Gossett Kia cannot fix this problem the next time I take it into them, I "WILL" drive my Sorento out to Washington and let you have a go at it! (Does this scare you?, if it scares you, SAY it scare you)! ;-)

Seriously, KiaMech, thank you very much for your help with my problem. You have offered many, many people unparalleled help with their problems, and I only hope that KIA is reimbursing you for your time in this forum. If not, I would like to send you a little somth'n-somth'n, for your trouble. If you could just add a list of things for the Memphis Mech to check out, I would be forever gratefull.

I leave in a couple of hours and will then be gone until next Tuesday. Thank you again for all your help to me and for all your help to others in this forum. If I don't drive my Sorento out to Washington to have you fix it, I'll let you know what the ultimate fix was.
Rod
 

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You can call me KiaMech, because we can't both be called "butnaked". My name describes what I do, and yours, well I'm gonna try not to think about that.

As if the rest of the world doesn't like America enough, we have a Hollywood Actor name his brat after a Hollywood Superhero. Great. I still like his movies though.

I thought about the fact that the car can be locked in a garage and an hour later the doors lock without movement, and the only thing I can think to tell you is that I've seen this happen before. I don't remember the specifics, but the problem ended up being that two wires were pinched so tightly together they were shorting out. I had to look at the wire insulation with a magnifying glass just to see where the break in the insulation was because to the naked eye it just looked flat, not open. I don't know for sure, but I'm thinking the problem was resistance. Hot, cold, module inconsistancies, something was balancing the resistance on the line of low and high enough to make the module think it was supposed to do something. That's kind of why I thought the wiring from the key switches or the key switches themselves could be the problem. Whatever they found and repaired the last time could also be the problem. If the tech saw that a wireharness was pinched, unpinched it and wrapped it in electrical tape without further investigaction, who's to say that wires he can't see in that harness aren't still shorting together.

The dealership will get **** if you tell them how to do their job. So, instead of handing them a list of stuff we want them to check, just ask questions like:

1. Where was the harness pinched before? Because we want to know. (Don't actually say the "because we want to know part" because they may put you on that couch you were talking about earlier as you're standing there all by yourself.

2. Do you think the wires in the harness are still shorting together? They may have never thought that in the first place, but they may now. They may have just thought that the wires on the outside were the problem (case closed, no need to look further) and didn't think to check the others.

3. Do you think the key switches or wires in the FRONT doors could be the problem? When you're talking about Keyless entry, how many people are going to think that the spot where the key goes could be the problem if you're using the remote?

This could all be a waste of time, because the guy you're going to be talking to probably isn't going to be the guy actually doing the work, but it's worth a try.

They still seem to be trying, which is great. If you **** them off, they may stop, and I'm not sending you parts. Electrical problems can be a real B***H to find sometimes, but I'm sure they'll get it fixed for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
KiaMech,
Thanks again for your help with this. I have finally made my 4th appt with KIA to have the locks looked at. It is next Wed the 14th. I'll let you know what happens. In the mean time, it has been recommended to me that I post this lock problem at www.sorentosite.com. I understand you monitor this web site as well, so you might see this show up there in a last attempt of desperation before the 14th. I'll keep you posted.
Rod
 

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I was wondering what happened with this just the other day. I'll keep a look out for it, and good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
KiaMech......YOUR THE MAN! Just as you suggested, the problem WAS in one of the front doors. Specifically the door switch under the rubber boot located on the post between the driver and rear door. The Kia mechanic apparently found and replaced a loose connector on this swich. They were not able to get the locks to act up after that, and testing the locks all the way home I could not get them to lock by themselves either.

I wont break open the champagne until I've had two or three days to test them, but for now it appears as my problems are over.

When I do break open the champagne, let me know where I can send yours!
Thanks again,
Rod
 

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Actually, I was referring to the lock switches that are attached to the lock cylinders. I wouldn't think a faulty door switch would do it because it really just operates the dome light control. They both go the the ETACS module, so maybe it was confusing it, causing it to operate the door locks
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The service manager used the word "confused" twice while explaining to me what they had done. I wasn't sure if he was referring to me, or the ETAC's unit. :clap:

It's been about 6 hours now and the locks have yet to slam shut on their own, so let's continue holding our breath a little while longer. :amen:

Rod
 
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