LR4 Key issues

TheGreatSantorini

New member
Sep 23, 2020
3
0
27012
2013 LR4 I have had for about a year and a half. No issues so far, other than it being about time to replace lower control arms. Until Monday morning:
I hopped in to go to work, key in left pocket as always, and got the “SmartKey not found” message. Took the key out of my pocket, held it in my lap, started just fine. Hopped in to go to lunch, started with key in my pocket no problem, twice. Went to leave work, would not start with key in pocket or in lap. I got it to start using the under the steering wheel backup. Replaced the key battery that night.

Tuesday: Walked out in the morning and it would not unlock with key in pocket, had to put key in the same hand I was pulling the handle with to get it to work. Had to start using the under steering wheel method. On the drive to work, after about 10 min., the “SmartKey not found” message popped up on the dash. When leaving work, unlock worked like normal, had to start with key under steering wheel.

When I got home I did some trouble shooting. Lock/Unlock using the buttons on the fob works great out to 100-120ft. Cannot lock using the button on the handle, cannot “proximity” unlock unless the key is in the hand I am pulling the handle with. This is at all doors. As for starting: 20% of the time it will start with the key in my pocket, 30% of the time it will start with the key held at various distances from the steering wheel, the remaining 50% I have to put the key under the steering wheel.

I disconnected the battery for 10 min, as I have read that a “reset” can sometimes solve this. There was some corrosion on the battery terminals, so I also cleaned them and reconnected. No change after another round of troubleshooting.

So, questions: Do I have a bad key, or a bad KVM? I have also read that it could be a vehicle battery or starter issue, how would I troubleshoot this? Trying to avoid the dealership, because money and I also enjoy troubleshooting stuff.
If it is a key issue: Whats the best replacement strategy, Gap tool?
If it is a KVM issue: How many Rover Monetary Units will that set me back, roughly?
Any other suggestions?
 

discostew

Well-known member
Sep 14, 2010
5,853
317
Northern Illinois
2013 LR4 I have had for about a year and a half. No issues so far, other than it being about time to replace lower control arms. Until Monday morning:
I hopped in to go to work, key in left pocket as always, and got the “SmartKey not found” message. Took the key out of my pocket, held it in my lap, started just fine. Hopped in to go to lunch, started with key in my pocket no problem, twice. Went to leave work, would not start with key in pocket or in lap. I got it to start using the under the steering wheel backup. Replaced the key battery that night.

Tuesday: Walked out in the morning and it would not unlock with key in pocket, had to put key in the same hand I was pulling the handle with to get it to work. Had to start using the under steering wheel method. On the drive to work, after about 10 min., the “SmartKey not found” message popped up on the dash. When leaving work, unlock worked like normal, had to start with key under steering wheel.

When I got home I did some trouble shooting. Lock/Unlock using the buttons on the fob works great out to 100-120ft. Cannot lock using the button on the handle, cannot “proximity” unlock unless the key is in the hand I am pulling the handle with. This is at all doors. As for starting: 20% of the time it will start with the key in my pocket, 30% of the time it will start with the key held at various distances from the steering wheel, the remaining 50% I have to put the key under the steering wheel.

I disconnected the battery for 10 min, as I have read that a “reset” can sometimes solve this. There was some corrosion on the battery terminals, so I also cleaned them and reconnected. No change after another round of troubleshooting.

So, questions: Do I have a bad key, or a bad KVM? I have also read that it could be a vehicle battery or starter issue, how would I troubleshoot this? Trying to avoid the dealership, because money and I also enjoy troubleshooting stuff.
If it is a key issue: Whats the best replacement strategy, Gap tool?
If it is a KVM issue: How many Rover Monetary Units will that set me back, roughly?
Any other suggestions?
It could be the key, but not likely. Very unlikely that its the KVM. Did you check the voltage of the batteries in the keys? Did you try both keys? The keys start to loose function and range at about 2.8 volts. New battery should measure about 3.2 volts.

Here's where I find most of the key not found issues. There is a small box velcro attached to the headliner close to the drivers head. If you pull down a little on the headliner near the left side of the sunroof opening you should be able to reach up and pull it off the headliner for better access to the connector. It's got 3 wires going to it. Battery, ground, and a data line. All info from the key goes thru that box. It's called the RF Reciever. All antennas scattered around the vehicle are sending out a frequency that excites the key, the key broadcasts it's data to the RF reciever. My guess is that one of those wires is corroded or broken, and probably where it comes down the B pillar on the right side. Near the floor.
 

TheGreatSantorini

New member
Sep 23, 2020
3
0
27012
I was only provided with one key when I purchased. I had planned to buy an IIDTool and make spare, but was kind of putting it off until I had an issue. Looks like I've got my excuse now. New battery measures 3.2 volts.

I will check the RF Receiver this afternoon.

Thanks for the response.
 

umbertob

Well-known member
Apr 26, 2007
221
10
Altadena, CA
I purchased some bad (most likely old) replacement batteries for those fobs before, I also started thinking I had bad transmitters or receivers, then replaced batteries again and everything was good. I know the voltage appears to be OK on yours, but just for the heck of it, try popping in a new one from a different brand and a different store, batteries are cheap and you never know... Make sure it sits snugly in its receptacle, with zero play. Good luck.
 

discostew

Well-known member
Sep 14, 2010
5,853
317
Northern Illinois
I purchased some bad (most likely old) replacement batteries for those fobs before, I also started thinking I had bad transmitters or receivers, then replaced batteries again and everything was good. I know the voltage appears to be OK on yours, but just for the heck of it, try popping in a new one from a different brand and a different store, batteries are cheap and you never know... Make sure it sits snugly in its receptacle, with zero play. Good luck.
The fact that his key will unlock the door from 120 feet makes me think the key is working. seems like the regular old smartkey not found. Also getting the smartkey not found message while driving is kind of pointing at the car itself.
 

TheGreatSantorini

New member
Sep 23, 2020
3
0
27012
I purchased some bad (most likely old) replacement batteries for those fobs before, I also started thinking I had bad transmitters or receivers, then replaced batteries again and everything was good. I know the voltage appears to be OK on yours, but just for the heck of it, try popping in a new one from a different brand and a different store, batteries are cheap and you never know... Make sure it sits snugly in its receptacle, with zero play. Good luck.
I did get a suggestion to source a Varta brand battery, as that is supposedly what the dealership uses. I don't know why it would work, but I ordered one off amazon which should be here tomorrow.

The fact that his key will unlock the door from 120 feet makes me think the key is working. seems like the regular old smartkey not found. Also getting the smartkey not found message while driving is kind of pointing at the car itself.
Clarification on the smartkey message while driving: I have only had it twice while actually driving, over 9 trips. I have been able to reproduce it by starting with the key under the steering wheel, exiting the vehicle, and getting back in. Seems like the receiver may be picking up the key initially, but then not reacquiring it.

I was able to pull the headliner down enough to get a look at the RF Receiver, and was able to get my hands on it by removing the rear dome light. The wires are too short to pull it out and check the connection. Wiggling things around up there did produce some benefit for a few starts, but the proximity locking and unlocking still would not work. Possibly a bad connection up top, or the intermittent nature of the problem syncing up to produce false results.

Any tips on getting the headliner pulled down more? I have removed both grab handles on that side. It seems to be hanging up on the upper B-pillar trim. The pillar trim and headliner both act like the other has to come off first.

I did check at the bottom of the B-pillar and found no corrosion or breakage on any of the wires in the loom before they disappear under the plastic floor, or signs of water in that area. Is there a way, or need, to get under that piece? Looks like the driver seat will have to come out for that to happen.
 

discostew

Well-known member
Sep 14, 2010
5,853
317
Northern Illinois
You could make it easier on yourself by going right to the KVM to make your measurements. check for any antenna faults first. What I usually see is the data line iis coroded and about to break in one spot. But if you get a good clean signal on the data line at the KVM then I would think thats not your probem.