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Smart Key Warning Light Issue

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Hi there,

Just yesterday parked my car at the local park and when I went to start it again it wasn't turning over to accessories or on. It was stuck in "Lock" and was illuminated on the push to start button. Also noticed a orange/yellow light that shows a key symbol on it which was showing up on the dash. Never before seen that. Couldn't get it to start so tried disconnecting the battery and reconnecting to hopefully restart it but after doing that the orange/yellow symbol with the key on it is now gone. Only the red security light is flashing and I cannot press anything. The illuminated "Lock" is no longer showing on the ignition button either.

NRMA came out and tested everything, all seems to be good. We tried a couple tricks I saw on youtube/read on forums which involved moving the steering wheel up/down ,left/right quickly while trying to start it. Also tapping a hammer on the steering electrical system box? We didn't remove the housing underneath the wheel, which other people seemed to do on the videos, so i'm not sure if the dude was able to really get at the box correctly.

After a lot of mucking around with 2 different roadside assistance people, tow truck came, used the shift lock latch to get it out of park as it was locked in there. And it has been towed to my place. Sadly the windows are down as when you disconnect the battery you need to program the windows again so it remembers to do that lil tuck in maneuver.

Key works fine, as I put a new battery in it just in case, locks and unlocks correctly. Battery is near new. Fuse box is good. The display recognises when the key is in its housing and the door is open and warns me to take the key out. But no recognition otherwise. 

Is this possibly still a steering column/steering electrical box issue that a lot of Nissan cars have had trouble with? Or is this possibly something to do with the security system as everything seems locked out? The steering wheel was also not locked. (I assume it should be as part of the shutdown process when turning off?)

Unsure what my next move is to get her fixed, currently the car is blocking my driveway as we didn't have the man power to push it.

Any help would be appreciated

Model: 2009 Nissan 370gt coupe or V36 coupe imported still in Japanese. Car is completely stock too.



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Okay man I had this exact problem that you describe today and it was fixed by replacing the battery. Your battery might be near new but maybe it’s faulty or not connected properly. 

I hope this works for you too.

Edited by Redfield
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Battery seems to be working fine though. All the lights work, NRMA guy tested the battery and seems all good. I wonder if disconnecting it for longer than a minute or 2 and reconnecting it could work. Just in case the system has a memory and keeps defaulting back to the issue.


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It's certainly worth trying. Otherwise, maybe your BCM is not happy. Ultimately, quickest and easiest way to diagnose this is to have someone with a scan tool pull the error codes and go from there.

Otherwise, if it is anything to do with steering, then without knowing the fault code and taking a gamble, I'd be looking at the steering lock relay and locking module itself. I've attached the relevant pages from a US FSM, so pinouts ought to be relatively similar enough to diagnose that part at least.   

Mods, if this is likely to get this forum in any kind of trouble, feel free to remove the attachments with my apologies.

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Thanks for the well informed reply The Max.

Hopefully the scanning dude is available tomorrow, does $160 for a mobile scanning service sound reasonable? That's what he quoted me. Once I know where the issue lies then ill refer to your post again to see how to fix it.


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I paid $1600 to buy the replicated Consult3+ scan tool and software from AliBaba back in 2012, at a time when Nissan were charging $12k for theirs, which included a Panasonic Toughbook notebook.

So long as he doesn't rock up with some crappy little Android application and a Bok Choi Wun Hung Lo OBD2 tool, I'd say he's charging a fair price for his services.

  • Haha 1
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Wow okay, they are expensive! I have found some cheap ones online, I assume they don't offer any where near the features and support of these legit scan tools.

Car Scan

Here is the scan. Seems like a BCM issue as you have predicted (is that very common with these cars?). Also something going on with the IPDM Engine Room? (no idea what that is).

The guy didn't seem too versed in this or in these cars in general, so he said if I want more help he will need more labor hours to really have a go at it. Now that the errors are known though, what is my best next move?


Thanks again for all your help!

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IPDM is the Intelligent Power Distribution Module, which lives next to your battery (sandwiched between the battery compartment and the front guard panel).

Basically, it's the one which manages the distribution of power to many (if not all) electronic components in the vehicle, powering up only what is needed, when it's needed. This includes your steering lock module. Once you give me access to your scan results, I can take a look at the FSM for the relevant codes and see what they refer to. If there is something going on with both BCM and IPDM, then my guess is that the problem will be between the steering lock module and the IPDM. The IPDM is then throwing an error code back to the BCM, to let it know that something didn't go right.

I'm hoping that's the case because steering lock modules and IPDM are easy to replace. BCM, on the other hand, is a bitch because it is your vehicle's security system (i.e. the immobiliser), and that requires diagnostic tools that can register the replacement BCM with the ECU, Infotainment system, Instrument Cluster, etc.

If you happen to need an IPDM, you might be able to make use of my old one, which had nothing wrong with it but under the bad advice of some less knowledgeable folk, I replaced it, thinking it would extinguish the bonnet pop-up diagnostic code after my front-end was hit. I couldn't be bothered swapping it back. Something to keep in mind but probably not the module at fault, in my opinion.

Edited by The Max
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Interesting, perhaps that is why the dude said my battery is dead. Its reasonably new and when NRMA tested it there was no issues. This auto electrician said my battery was completely flat, not sure how, as nothing was left on. But the lighting around the ignition button which is usually illuminated isn't so I wonder if that is due to the IPDM? I guess what i'm asking is, is it possible my battery is fine but the IPDM is stopping the power from going to anything?

Was I suppose to get more results from the scan? All he sent me was that photo which I linked in my previous post.

As a last resort i'm thinking of taking it to Nissan but I imagine they would charge me an arm and a leg?

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Hang on a second.

Now we have conflicting information. NRMA guy says your battery is fine, auto electrician says it's not.

Did either of them tell you the voltage of the battery? With the battery at 12.0V, your steering lock module should still actuate. If it's lower than that, it could be a problem indeed.

The photo in your previous post, I can't get access to. You've got it locked out.

If the lighting around your ignition switch is non-existent, then it's more likely that you've got a dead battery than an IPDM problem. Not saying that it's impossible for an IPDM to go bad but it's less likely than your battery. Until we get a more conclusive statement about your battery, I think we're back to blaming your battery for now.

Does your photo have any information about the battery power?

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Car Scan


Hopefully one of those links works.

Yeah that we do, the battery is near new though so perhaps a light was left on or something over the course of this week. Currently have it on a 12V trickle charger so after some hours should be able to test it. Might see if I can get the NRMA out again to do a full test of the battery.

The lighting around the ignition switch and the Intelligent Key Orange Light both vanished ever since the start when I tried to disconnect and reconnect my battery to see if that changed anything. That was a week ago and ever since then never seen those light up again even though id see the lights turn on when I open my doors. Also the security light that continuously flashes.

I do somewhat remember the car taking a little longer (1/2 a second - 1 second) to turn over and start than usual in the last week or so that I could drive it. Perhaps this battery is a dud, was bought 24/05/2020 at Supercheap Auto.

First things first, as you said. Need to know 100% if this battery is any good, because I am starting to question how well it holds a charge now.

Sorry for the screw around Max, you have been very patient and helpful thus far!

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No need to get NRMA out. Buy yourself a cheap little digital multimeter. Measure the battery voltage. Tell me what it reads. If the battery is really bad, the trickle charger may not have enough current to restore any usable life in it. Trickle chargers, usually supplying 1A of current, are only good for maintaining an already reasonably charged battery. If yours is as flat as the other guy suggests, it may not be good enough for the job.

The scan tool photo is meaningless to me without the actual diagnostic code (one letter followed by four digits). Did he not give you those codes as well? If not, then I wouldn't be calling him back in as that makes him and/or his tool about as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle.

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Its a 4amp 12volt charger. Was charging at 3amps and I just had a test now.

Security light is back flashing, which is a good sign, lights work, high beams all the works. Inside lights, locks and unlocks with the key fine. So, battery seems fine as far as I can tell, perhaps something was left on and it died after it was towed? (To be fair I dont travel far to work and back so it barely gets a run in until the weekends). Still no light up on the "Lock" Sign on the ignition though.

He did not give me anything else, I think he wants repeat business so purposely kept the info to a minimum (Also I wasn't exactly sure what to expect in terms of what data I should receive as an adequate service, I understand a bit more now having this back and forth with you Max, so thank you.) I wont be using his services again.

My mechanic has requested I take it to this Auto Electrician he knows who is skilled and lives close by, he wasnt around last week due to an operation but is back this coming week. I'm going to have a chat with him tomorrow to see if he is familiar with the kind of issues my car is providing, if he is knowledgeable in it, then perhaps I tow it to his shop.

If you know another course of action, i'm all ears!

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If the "scan guy" didn't give you the actual codes, he can jump off a tall building.

If your mechanic has a trusted sparky, then follow his advice.

The fact some things have come alive, since the recharge, are a clear indication that your battery ran flat, in the very least during the car's downtime. Just because your car is off, doesn't mean it isn't still drawing juice.

Anyway, keep the charger on it in the meantime. It's a decent charger that will achieve a bit more than just a trickle, thankfully.

At this point, without scanning the diagnostic codes myself or putting at least a meter to the connector plugging into the steering lock module, I'm inclined to think that it's probably the steering lock module itself having gone bad.

Good luck dude. Keep us posted.

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Got in contact with the trusted sparky, he pretty much wanted nothing to do with it once he heard it was an Import but is still happy for my sake, to have a go.

Battery doesn't seems to be holding the charge for long, even after charging it for a considerable time, a day later went to see how its going and its dead. I did leave the hood slightly open but I doubt that has anything to do with it. So how is it drawing this much charge while everything is off? Or do I actually have a dud I wonder, might have to buy a cheap multimeter as you said.

The trusted sparky said he will still come over and have a scan but mentioned that the fact it cant even get over to accessories or any response at all from the ignition, he might have trouble communicating with the computer. Is this why the last guy perhaps couldn't give enough information? What are the requirements to get all the info off the computers of these cars? Do you normally have to be able to get a response from the dash at least? Because the sparky seemed unsure if he would be much help considering the scenario and also mentioned he didn't want to waste my time after hearing about the previous auto electrician who ripped me off.

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Yes, you do need the battery to be reasonably charged in order for all your circuits to actually power up. If they can't power up, they can't be diagnosed. The scan tool does not provide power to the vehicle's electronics.

You need to get the basics out of the way first - why is your battery dying so quickly? Dud battery or excessive current draw from the car's electronics.

Disconnect the battery (positive and negative), charge it fully with your charger (overnight, whatever). Once it's charged, disconnect and let it sit for about an hour, measure the battery voltage. If it's sitting around 12.5V, hopefully your battery is OK. If it's less than 12.0V it's screwed. If it's somewhere in between, it's of questionable health.

If the battery is seemingly healthy, connect the negative of the battery and with a reasonable multimeter that can measure up to 10A current, set the meter to measure current, connect the positive probe of the meter to the positive terminal of the battery, connect the negative probe of the meter to the car's positive lead. With the car still turned off (not even Accessories), measure the current draw.

If it's anything more than 0.5A (considering any aftermarket accessories with that limit), you have something seriously sucking the life out of the battery. If you have an aftermarket alarm and/or car audio system, that would be the first place to look.

If you don't see anything more than 0.5A, but the battery dies after even just a few days, let alone one day, then you have a bad battery. Hope you kept the receipt to claim warranty on your battery, depending on how new it is.

With any luck, the sparky will check for these basics anyway.

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So he was only here for a short while as his tools couldn't communicate with the computer. He said he needs some ignition or lights on the dash to communicate with the car. Battery was showing over 13 volts he said and didn't seem to be an issue but he just couldn't get any info from the car.

So how do we find out the error codes if the car won't communicate with the sparky's tools?

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I've called my local Nissan service centre, they said they handle imports and can start work on it Monday if I get it towed over the weekend there. Mentioned this to my sparky as he was quite puzzled as what to do, he said if it was him he wouldn't be taking it to Nissan and that I should find a specialist or someone that can spend some time on it to find out what's going on. He has recommended me another no bullshit sparky who he reckons could be the guy for the job, they aren't answering the phone so I'll have to call them Monday and let them know of the situation.

I am getting quite fed up with the ongoing services all telling me the same thing and diverting me to another mechanic/sparky that leaving it with Nissan almost seems like a good option. Probably because then it is out of sight out of mind somewhat, but I can imagine if they end up not being able to fix it, or if they do and the price tag that comes along with it is huge I wont be too happy.

I didn't expect this to be so difficult to be fair.

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Dude, you're definitely having a rough ride here. My heartfelt sympathies. This is part of the risks of purchasing an import (and why I chose to buy my own Consult3+ scan tool)!

Anyway, you definitely need to take it in to someone with a proper Nissan Consult 3+ scan tool, instead of third party stuff. I can understand why these guys need a third party scan tool (to work with more than just Nissans) but either they don't know their own tools or they are overcomplicating things with import vehicles, which simply aren't all that different.

Are you located in Sydney?

Edited by The Max
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