Reprogramming an RV8 alarm fob to the ECU

Jeff Swann (Woodcote Green 0519) from Leicestershire describes the do-it-yourself method for programming the RV8 alarm fob to the car's ECU. (May 07)

Many RV8s returning from Japan to the UK (including mine) are missing the elusive remote alarm fobs without which the multifunctional car alarm and engine Immobiliser will not work unless a new fob is sourced and programmed to the vehicle's ECU.

It is debatable in fact whether RV8s exported to Japan were ever issued alarm fobs in the first place as it seems that the vehicle's alarm system may have contravened Japanese noise pollution laws and as such was 'outlawed'. In cases where the car is without an alarm fob, it was necessary to take the vehicle to a specialist equipped with the Rover Testbook equipment to have a new one programmed to the car. However, after conducting extensive research into the operation of the RV8 alarm system it became apparent that owners can perform this simple task themselves.

This sequence for programming the alarm fob is as follows and MUST be carried out within eight seconds.
Switch ignition on
Switch ignition off
Open boot with key and leave open
Switch ignition on
Switch ignition off
If the sequence is followed correctly and within the time limit, the horn will sound briefly and the red LED on the upper right of the dashboard will light and remain on for about 20-30 seconds indicating that the alarm ECU is in 'LEARN' mode. It is now possible to programme a maximum of two key fobs whilst the light is on.

Press and hold down the button on the first key fob until the red LED on the dash flashes
Repeat instruction 6 for the second key fob if required.
The red LED will extinguish if both key fobs have been installed correctly.

NOTE: If only one fob is programmed, after instruction 8 turn the ignition on and off to finalise programming.

Obviously it is better to have two keys and a helper to open the boot whilst the other person operates the ignition, but it is possible for one person to do it alone.

It is strongly recommended that owners keep a spare set of fob batteries in the vehicle glove box.

Both perimetric and volumetric alarms now function perfectly as does the immobiliser, but it is important to remember that for the volumetric side of the alarm to function correctly there must be no movement or displacement of air inside the car for 15 seconds after arming the alarm. Additionally, all Rover alarm/immobilisers use a 'rolling code' system which means that if the remote button is pressed whist you are away from the car, the vehicle will lose its code and the fob will not function. If this happens, press the remote fob three times next to the vehicle and on the third press the fob will re-synchronise and operate normally. This also applies if you change the battery in the fob.

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Getting a new RV8 alarm remote or plip
Back in 2003 Keith Baylis, who was the parts manager at what was then Ames MG in Bury St Edmunds (before the collapse of MG Rover), provided the following information on RV8 replacement plips:

Replacement or additional transmitter units were reported to be available under part number YWX10007 despite reports from a member that his local Rover dealer had told him they were unavailable for the RV8. But in May 2003 the enthusiastic spares manager at Ames MG Rover in Bury St Edmunds, Keith Baylis, reported in a V8 Bulletin Board posting that the old unit was "banned by the EU" - something to do with its frequency. So he set about locating and obtaining supplies of a new remote for the RV8. In July 2003 he reported he had traced some new RV8 remotes under part number YWX000320 which were then made available at Ames MG Rover at £38.70 plus VAT.
Alternative source of replacement RV8 remotes or plips
As a sequel to RV8NOTE260, Jeff Swann sent a note to say "just to let you know that I found the original packaging and part number for my RV8
replacement alarm remote and it is exactly the same as the one advertised on Automotive Electronics website which has the part number for LUCA-418-1a.
I think the part number/s you had was/were the part number MG Rover allocated to the replacement part some time ago". (24.8.07)

Replacement RV8 remote from Automotive Electronics.
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