dculberson UltimaDork
5/11/18 11:01 p.m.

My wife lost one of our only two keys to our Taurus X. I am not comfortable having only one key to our family car, but the dealer wanted $280/ea for additional keys. (Immobilizer keys with keyless entry buttons on them.) I did some research and found you can buy key blanks online and can program your own ignition keys but you have to do two and if the new ones don't work - which happens! - you can no longer start your car.

Further research found an amazing tool: FORScan software. Written by a very helpful Russian man, this software allows you to view the status of and program almost any module in a modern Ford car. It's amazing! Using a bluetooth ELM327 based OBD-II interface I already had and used with Torque, I was able to connect my laptop to the Taurus. I ordered two blanks off of Amazon for $58, and had them cut by an amazing local locksmith. I then programmed the keyfob part - which is super easy - using the instructions the keys included, and then followed the FORScan procedure for "Adding" an ignition key. Both new keys work. Now I can erase all the keys and start from scratch if I don't want the old key to work, but I'm not too worried about that.

So what else is it good for? SO MUCH! Apparently you can associate new CAN modules (ie, gauge clusters!), you can read the very extended DTC codes from the CAN modules (like airbag, ABS, AWD trouble codes, all that stuff that basic OBD-II doesn't support.

FORScan is free (go to http://forscan.org to download) but you have to sign up for their forum and generate a license to use the "Extended" features. The OBD interface has to support full ELM327 functionality - they have a list they know works on their site - but mine was all of $14 from Amazon and it just happened to work 100%.

I'm really impressed. Anyone with a Ford should check it out some time. They do have an iOs and Android app but those don't support all the features of the desktop app.

Donebrokeit SuperDork
5/11/18 11:17 p.m.

Will check this out in the morning.



Gaunt596 Reader
5/13/18 7:54 p.m.

Nice. This would be super slick to have for my focus.

dculberson UltimaDork
5/13/18 8:20 p.m.

Word to the wise: you can brick your car with this software. You can also fix it with this software but it’s important to know deleting the wrong thing (ie your ignition keys) could mean you car won’t start. 

bluej UltraDork
5/13/18 8:46 p.m.

I've been very curious about this software and what it might mean for standalone tuning of Ford/mazda powerplants with oem ecu's. Think gm ecu's and hptuners. 

Tom_Spangler UberDork
5/13/18 9:47 p.m.

I've been meaning to give this a try with the SHO. Apparently you can use it to reset the battery monitoring system. My car evidently still doesn't know that I replaced it's battery last year, so it still shuts down right away if I try to use the accessory mode. indecision

snailmont5oh HalfDork
5/18/18 3:46 p.m.

I wouldn't want to be the only guy in the shop with that program. "Hey, Joe! We need your help. Bring your FORScan."

"Can I borrow your FORScan?  I'll only be a minute or two."

HR would have a field day. 

7/13/18 4:21 p.m.

Just how powerful is this anyway?  Can you do a PATS delete or something with it?

I'll probably go ahead and get this, since it could come in handy with my TVR project.  But I'm wondering just how extensive the capability is.

Is it pretty intuitive for non-computer geeks?  I'm ok with computers, but programming isn't my natural element.  If it's not visual, I can struggle!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/13/18 4:26 p.m.

I've been using it to read and log DTCs on the ND Miata for a couple of years. Pulls out all the weird little nooks and crannies so you can see exactly why the Electical Switching Module is cranky.

7/13/18 4:35 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

I've been using it to read and log DTCs on the ND Miata for a couple of years. Pulls out all the weird little nooks and crannies so you can see exactly why the Electical Switching Module is cranky.

I'm glad to hear you've been using it, Keith.  I know you guys are doing some heavy lifting as far as engine management goes.

I'm in a tough spot on my TVR Ecoboost swap.  They're discontinuing the 2.0 control pack, and I'm trying to figure out how I can run the engine without having the factory ECU freak out that 90% of the car isn't there.  Any wisdom?


Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/13/18 4:45 p.m.

I'm not trying to use it to change settings, it's just a very thorough code reader for me. Most of our work is done via custom C programming of a CAN gateway, with HP Tuners for tweaking the engine management.

I can tell you that amputating significant parts of the vehicle platform can lead to much difficulty, but I don't know enough about the cars the 2.0 came in to say. I'd get a control unit from the oldest platform that used it, hoping that most of the integration is simple. Then use FORScan to find out what the PCM is complaining about and find a way to deal with that. Getting the engine to run is probably the easiest aspect, it's getting the rest of the car to work with a different engine that's a challenge and an old TVR isn't going to care.

7/13/18 4:57 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

In this situation, yes, the TVR could care less about the new engine.

The 2.0 Ecoboost came in a ton of cars and SUVs.  This particular engine is from a 2014 Escape.  It's actually a pretty close cousin to some of the Miata engines, as far as I can tell.

So you use the CAN gateway to turn on and off various modules, and then the HP Tuner to do engine mapping and such?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/13/18 5:07 p.m.

You can't really turn modules on and off with the gateway. While that may be possible with some modules depending on how they're coded, it's not implied. Think of CAN as a protocol like TCP/IP. The latter lets you program your smart thermostat via a nice app on your smartphone but it also lets you run a nuclear power plant on the command line.

Our gateway is device that intercepts the messages on the CAN wires. We're blocking some messages, modifying some and generating some. It's not a friendly little user interface that lets you use checkboxes, it's a piece of industrial computer equipment that needs to be programmed with custom code. Pity.

The engine doesn't care what's going on with the car. The GM PCM and harness is pretty easy to strip down to a standalone. What we're having to work on is keeping the rest of a fairly sophisticated system happy, which is not your problem. Your problem is only keeping the PCM happy enough to run the car, which will probably be fairly easy. It may need certain signals from the transmission and probably some sort of vehicle speed signal which may come from the traction control system, but it may not actually care.

accordionfolder Dork
7/20/18 7:10 a.m.

I'll start my research shortly, but I have a 2000 Excursion with only 1 key - I'm assuming I can use this to wipe and rekey the car like the dealer can? 

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