2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

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2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:33 am

Ive search high and low for an answer to this, and the few references or exact same issues posted by people don't have any solutions. I swear its like people are running out of will power to help each other out with issues on the internet.

This issue is driving me beyond nuts. Im sitting in the car right now at 2 am at a campsite the while the doors try to unlock themselves randomly (no key in vehicle) its shut off and it will literally try unlocking all and single doors (the drivers door when it single). It will do the same thing when droving randomly and the length and pattern is random. I did noticed that i was able to turn the fog lamps on which draw so.e decent power and at one point this would guarantee trigger a door unlock for all doors........ odd i know. There is zero pattern to when it strikes really. I have attempted to clear the pcm by removing the positive and just leaving the negative connected for about 10the minutes which did clear it. I thought for a short while that it fixed it but I was wrong. I removed the fuse for the power locks and they stopped but the exterior lights that are triggered with an unlock still come on, shooting my headlights at my poor camping neighbors who are trying to sleep.

So it appears as those something larger is at play... any feedback on how to find this gremlin, prior experience, words of encouragement, lending of a nice sledgehammer?

My only other thought is a stuck or faulty relay? Does that even make sense? Interesting thing is it hist happened again and if i listen closely i hear the very subtle pop of the car speakers coming on and off..... hmmmm. So many possibilities.
Last edited by Welch on Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:47 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:02 am

Electrical problems in modern cars can be incredibly frustrating. Check with a dealership mechanic to see if they've ever heard of anything similar. If it's not a known problem that others have had, you could do a visual inspection of wiring and the fuse block as much as possible. Maybe a frayed or chewed wire is randomly completing a circuit. Another possibility is a bad controller chip, again that's something I'd ask a dealership mechanic about because imo they'd be the quickest way to find out if these systems have a common controller.

Another thought - are the doors meant to automatically lock os unlock at certain times, like above a certain speed or when put into drive or park, or when the ignition is turned? That could point to a faulty sensor in the transmission or maybe a switch in the ignition.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:46 am

Welch wrote:Ive search high and low for an answer to this, and the few references or exact same issues posted by people dont have any solutions. I swears its like people are running out of will power to help each other out with issues on the internet.


Or it's just a rare problem. I'm going with the dealer mechanic suggestion.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:51 am

I agree with MadMan. The doors probably lock on their own when you hit 5mph or so and the sensor for it could be faulty. I've heard of several people have small animals chew wires in the engine bay or underneath and end up with weird issues - adding to the fun possibilities.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:25 am

Sorry I can't help beyond the above suggestions (for a short-term fix to spare your neighbors I'd just disconnect the battery for the duration). But take the time to step back and wonder at a world where you can even be frustrated at the lack of help you're finding on the internet... while sitting at a campsite at 2 am.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:28 am

All of the above, also note a body control ecu could be faulty. they almost always control the door locks,done light etc. Well at least in toyotas.

If you have not been to the dealership yet its time to see if he experts know anything, it could be a common problem that has a TSB=Technical Service Bulletin for it hopefully. good luck

Also make sure all the remotes have the battery's removed from them, see if that makes it go away...could be a problem with the alarm system too factory or aftermarket.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:40 am

UberGerbil wrote:But take the time to step back and wonder at a world where you can even be frustrated at the lack of help you're finding on the internet... while sitting at a campsite at 2 am.


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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:24 pm

Still another possibility is RF interference that is being interpreted by the car's alarm control unit as keyfob commands.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:41 pm

Take the batteries out of your keyfob. My moneys on an intermittent button there.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:29 pm

sluggo wrote:Take the batteries out of your keyfob. My moneys on an intermittent button there.

On newer cars, the fobs tend to not work inside the car. On my 2006 Freestar, my mom's 2006 Freestyle, and my dad's 2010 F150 you have to be outside the vehicle to make it work. Worht a try, but I don't expect good results.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:36 pm

ludi wrote:Still another possibility is RF interference that is being interpreted by the car's alarm control unit as keyfob commands.


A military installation or exercise nearby might be a source of electromagnetic interference
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:36 pm

We haven't heard back from Welch, so I can only assume he gave up and just ignored the unlocking doors and went to sleep. And then was eaten by a patient bear with a universal key fob.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:32 pm

UberGerbil wrote:We haven't heard back from Welch, so I can only assume he gave up and just ignored the unlocking doors and went to sleep. And then was eaten by a patient bear with a universal key fob.

that made my day lol

vargis14 wrote:If you have not been to the dealership yet its time to see if he experts know anything, it could be a common problem that has a TSB=Technical Service Bulletin for it hopefully. good luck

that's a paradox if i've ever seen one lol

but yeah, Welch, take it to the dealership. If they say they can't find the problem or don't get it fixed I'd start researching your state's consumer protection (lemon) laws. Audi had to buy a car back from my dad when I was little because they couldn't fix a problem with the sunroof.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:35 pm

I dislike going to dealerships for service as much as the next person but when it comes to wierd crap like this they really are the best bet.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:04 pm

I didn't get eaten by a bear :P. So... I was typing all of that on my phone, and am now back home on my computer, and I've got a full nights rest under my belt so I can respond back.

So... I had already taken the batteries out of BOTH key fobs thinking that was the issue, no change so its not that. I've also reset the PCM like I believe I mentioned before, removed the fuse to the door lock motors/rear trunk hatch (one fuse) and I noticed the lights still coming on, but much rarer of an occurrence. I decided not to unplugged the battery like I had done the night before when we slept in the vehicle and kept being woken up by the clicking, by the time I crawled back into the tent, the lights came on (pointing towards our tent of course) only a few times before it stopped for good that night. I put the fuse back in because apparently there is NO key to get into the trunk on this model, so no power = no trunk, short of crawling through the back seat split and pulling the emergency latch.

So the morning after my post I woke up and started to pack away the tent that had not been destroyed by a bear ( :)) and jumped in the vehicle. I heard a few clicks at random intervals. I was approached by another camper who's vehicle had been killed from too much inverter + laptop use the night before. I went to give him a jump (not sure if this had ANYTHING to do with it) but... after giving him a jump I didn't notice a single click ALL the way back to Fairbanks (360+ miles away). The car didn't try to unlock itself at all.

So far this morning too, nothing that I've noticed but I haven't been driving it around as I'm taking a day to recoup from all of the driving. I'll have to see what happens when it does decide to start acting up again. I'm not sure if its possible that a relay is sticking??? I don't fully know what symptoms a failing or failed relay would show? On another note, I managed to make the trip of 360+ miles (tent to door) in 5 hours and 20 minutes ;) with only 1 quick stop at the Mt McKinley viewing point.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:51 pm

Power relays don't "stick" in the way you're describing. The "sometimes driver's door, sometimes all doors" behavior describes a feature of the keyless entry system (one click for driver, two clicks for all). So either the ECU was sneaking 'shrooms and started playing with the lock commands, or it was receiving RF interference that mimicked the keyfob signalling patterns.

The fact that it comes and goes with high-current-draw (the foglights, the jumpstart) seems to indicate an electrical gremlin, since both of those events would cause a momentary voltage dip in the electrical system and apparently "jostled" the malfunctioning ECU.

I had friends with a Chevy Blazer, nearly ten years ago, that had the full electrical convenience package and demonstrated a similar bug. One day the dome lights didn't function correctly; the next day it was problems with the radio, the following week the power seat controls became intermittent. I think that one finally went away without requiring the services of either fire or a priest, but all it really takes is for one critical connector to lose its weatherseal and suck in some moisture.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:42 am

The anomalies disappeared after two onsets (three including time going forward) - the jump sequence, and displacement out of the camping area. They were also rarer whenever circuitry throughout the shell of the car was isolated by pulling the fuses, thus shrinking the RF ingress surface. The jump sequence's benefit is likely unrepeatable and will be hard to test for, we can rule that out until it gets assessed at a dealer and it may well be a parallel yet separate issue. Other than circuitry degrading intermittently over a set time period, intermittent external RF interference is the likely culprit. Because the events stopped after both time and locational displacement out of the area - he left the next day. These facts point to a displacement away from an RF interference source. Either that, or the car's ECU and door-trunk bus discovered "self-healing mode" and R4D4 in the back shunted all auxiliary power to repairs...

Rising military use of the 390MHz band is nowadays responsible for cycling off a lot of consumer appliances using those frequencies. Especially near a base or exercise area where much broader signals shaping might be conducted by a military EW exploitation unit in training, like an airborne surveillance or counter-IED squadron. These aggressive emitter types are problematic even to fellow military units.

Another possibility is that some boor was sporting a nasty transmitter around the campsite to do mischief, but this would be absurd given the time and trouble involved.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:52 am

I suspect a bad ground somewhere. These cause all kinds of weird electrical gremlins as you get insufficient voltage differential, power flowing back through other paths connected to the same ground and all kinds of other weird effects. In doing the jump start the connector may have gotten knocked to make better contact or depending on where it is then the jump may have drawn sufficient current through it to help fix it.

One other thought is that I think doors auto-unlock in the event of an accident, but with it just being the drivers door sometimes then I don't think it would be that path as it would trigger all doors to unlock.

In most cars the PCM (powertrain control module) is separate from the body control module. Pulling PCM power isn't going to help if the body control module still has power.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:22 am

trackerben wrote:The anomalies disappeared after two onsets (three including time going forward) - the jump sequence, and displacement out of the camping area.
I suspect it was a buried UFO with a little bit of the exterior surface exposed. Quick check: Do you find yourself to be a bit more clever than usual? :)
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:57 am

My '04 Kia sorento started locking itself about a year ago, it turns our the fob lock contacts had become corroded, I ebayed a new one and it fixed the problem for a few months. now it's doing it again. I don't think it's the fob this time though. I press the unlock and it immediatley locks itself I press unlock again and it will stay unlocked. Of course first I'll check the fob again, but ten I'll have to dig further in. Maybe the receiver?
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:50 pm

The issue isn't locational, as it occurs both in the ignition on and off state and in multiple locations (My home and 380+ miles of road). Some of these areas are so remote that I think its safe to rule out RF interference from outside sources (anything other than the vehicle).

Thanks for the info about the relays, I really have not researched or looked into how exactly they operate, so I wasn't sure if that was a possibility. The idea that a ground is at fault seems the likely culprit from everything. I did have the vehicle do about 1-2 minutes of unlocking again last night on a small 15 mile trip. So its not gone, but its not occurring nearly as often. Its also not a key FOB for me as I've said I removed the batteries out of the only 2 keys we have. My thoughts at one point was also the receiver end of the device. I wasn't able to find a fuse for JUST that receiver. It would be nice to shut down power to that specific hardware to determine if the issue occurs. This sort of sucks because it was a good thing to have the issue occurring regularly. Now that its much rare (for now) its very difficult to test a solution as I might not see signs of failure or success for days if at all.

I'd assume that I could use a Multi-Meter to track down part of this issue. In theory, if I were to probe the unlock/lock switches at the time of the anomaly, could I tell if the switch itself was actuating or receive a request from the button. Could I also check the wiring with a Multi-Meter to determine if the system is fluctuating in an odd way that signifies a faulty ground?
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:58 pm

Welch wrote:I'd assume that I could use a Multi-Meter to track down part of this issue. In theory, if I were to probe the unlock/lock switches at the time of the anomaly, could I tell if the switch itself was actuating or receive a request from the button. Could I also check the wiring with a Multi-Meter to determine if the system is fluctuating in an odd way that signifies a faulty ground?

Unlikely. You're thinking about the best way to troubleshoot a car built before the late 1990s. As others suggested, you really should contact the dealership. If this problem has occurred elsewhere, then by now Ford has figured out why and issued a TSB that identifies a faulty connector or body sensor component. Usually these repairs are covered by the manufacturer.

But the first thing you can try ruling out, is a badly corroded battery connector (you probably would have noticed it by now) or a faulty cell in the battery. These can cause all kinds of havoc, engine on or off, by degrading the system voltage when off, and degrading the system power quality when the engine is running.

Another thing: was any major maintenance done to the car right before the problem started? If so, there may be an improperly seated connector or ground screw in that general area of the car.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:11 pm

At the very least you need a vehicle wiring diagram to even determine where to start probing, then you may even need something like a CAN bus analyser to determine which module is sending unlock commands to the door locks and then you can start troubleshooting there.

Unfortunately the dealership is likely to take the car, charge a bunch of money for plugging their diagnostics in and not having the random unlock happen, and then return it in the same state it was in minus all the money from your wallet. You need to find a good dealership by hanging out on some car forums and then take it there. Don't go by the man on the street for dealership advice, they rate them on if the guy at the desk says "Sir" and not if the techs no what they are doing.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:35 pm

Our options are limited in my town for dealerships (aka Stealerships). I already called them the morning after the camping trip down at the much larger stealership in Anchorage. They sort of laughed when hearing about the issue and then sent me on to one of their senior techs, who said they had NEVER heard of that before...

Well I happen to know that's BS, because their are a large number of posts regarding this issue (even across brands) and few that are notable the same vehicle and even year. A few of them said the same thing about bringing the vehicle to the dealership... they charged them a bunch of money, and all they did was sell them a new battery, reset the PCM and change a few other things which didn't solve the issue at all. This is one of those things that would cost much more than its worth to try and have them fix as they are going to just throw a bunch of new parts on and then say "Hey sorry, we can't guarantee that its going to fix it", which is complete crap. If they can't fix it, then tell people you can't fix it, don't do it after the fact.

Believe me, the usual options have been expended and thought of, none of which are useful to this particular scenario. I'm faced with troubleshooting it myself, and how to go about that isn't exactly clear, other than having the extra equipment that you stated notfred.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:52 pm

My Altima did this at random intervals for about a week after some water got into the console where the door lock/unlock switch is located. Eventually it stopped happening on its own (I guess whatever was wet down in there finally dried out).
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:03 pm

As someone who likes to work on my own cars, I will say the first mistake the car companies made was to put a computer in a car. Remember Edelbrock? If a mechanic would tune it up right, it would run clean enough to put today's environmental standards to shame. Only those who have worked extensively on cars from the 70's know this. The standard for computers in cars is a money thing. Politics, taxes, and I won't go any further into that discussion. I love my old fully mechanical turbo diesel, so when the EMP bombs go off, and nobody can start there cars, I will be happily driving down the road in my dodge ram pickup. :)
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:03 pm

Believe me, the usual options have been expended and thought of, none of which are useful to this particular scenario. I'm faced with troubleshooting it myself, and how to go about that isn't exactly clear, other than having the extra equipment that you stated notfred.


In that case, see about getting a copy of the wiring diagrams supplement to the shop manual, which should have the wiring diagrams that notfred mentioned. If you have a favorite mechanic, he might be able to print them from his computer. Or...

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid= ... l&_sacat=0

Mainly what you're looking for is any connectors, ECUs, and sensors related to the keyless entry system including lock switches for cracks, moisture incursion, corroded bits, etc.

But JBI raises an interesting point: has any work been done on any of the doors that might have disrupted the plastic moisture barrier?
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:30 am

Darkmage wrote:
trackerben wrote:The anomalies disappeared after two onsets (three including time going forward) - the jump sequence, and displacement out of the camping area.
I suspect it was a buried UFO with a little bit of the exterior surface exposed. Quick check: Do you find yourself to be a bit more clever than usual? :)


If this was back in the early 2000s I would be agreeing with your suspicion. Was pretty nutty back then about UFOs and scifi fantasy. Nowadays I'm knee-down to cruel reality :)
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:16 am

Welch wrote:The issue isn't locational, as it occurs both in the ignition on and off state and in multiple locations (My home and 380+ miles of road). Some of these areas are so remote that I think its safe to rule out RF interference from outside sources (anything other than the vehicle)...


Which rules out RF interference local just to the campsite for sure. The simplest explanation is that your Taurus has the gremlins mentioned. This cozy explanation has the advantage of ruling out deus ex machina and is also common. However my experience with bad door relays on Toyotas is that they just fail quickly and individually, and only go bonkers with an infantile human on the keyfob. Which points to a degrading sensors or ECU problem, and yet this won't be of much comfort given what you and others believe of the unfortunate service history.

Still, why not humor me in my idle and probably unwarranted speculation? Did you ever check what military bases may be near your home and/or somewhere along your 380mi drive? Alaska is big country, but RFI can be downward radiant to a broad 360d horizon from military ECM or ESM emitters airborne at 10-20K feet. Remember all the Iraq war stories about the cellphones and other electronics of entire cities going haywire or dark when Warlock-equipped convoys and units moved in? Combat operations overwatched by electronic warfare EC-130s were very discouraging electronically on Iraqi civilians caught in the EMI locus, even those living in adjacent villages.

Locations near large bases and radar sites would be suspect. The former because of all the EW training these days by units headed for Afghanistan. The latter because most big search radars are sited in Alaska and they're currently undergoing massive upgrades since late last year, some of which are suspected for HPEM (high-powered EMI) effects. What better place away from consumer lawsuits can there be to test such capabilities, or for such EW units working up to deployment, than the remoteness of the far north. Alaska reportedly has more overlapping radar domains than most anywhere else in the US, particularly in remote coastal and mountainous areas and on high inland ridges covering approaches to wide valleys.

Also speculative on my part given Fairbank's central location, but did your route include some coastal road at the end? If so, are there naval stations from which surface ships sortie out along that coast? Most ships underway and outbound work out kinks in their surface EW suites by putting them though a full-spectrum regimen before heading out to sea. If you were by chance within the irradiating horizon of one such ship, an ECU on a low-current bus with wireless pathing like your car's keyless system could be subject to induced signal-like effects with unpredictable results.
Last edited by trackerben on Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 2009 Taurus Doors Unlock Themselves

Postposted on Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:44 am

trackerben wrote:Most ships underway and outbound work out kinks in their surface EW suites by putting them though a full-spectrum regimen before heading out to sea. If you were by chance within the irradiating horizon of one such ship, an ECU on a low-current bus with wireless pathing like your car's keyless system could be subject to induced signal-like effects with unpredictable results.
Whilst at University, I joined the scuba diving club and one vacation we were scuba diving at Cape Wrath on the north west tip of Scotland. We were coming back from a dive one day when the Decca system on our boat went nuts, claiming we were travelling at all kinds of bizarre speeds in all kinds of crazy directions. We called across to our other boat and their Loran system was doing the same. Couldn't work out what was going on until we came around a headland and found the Destroyer HMS York sitting there with everything powered up.

OK so that explained the navigation crazies, but what was the warship doing just sitting there? Around the next headland we came across HMY Britannia sitting at anchor. We made sure we didn't point directly at her and kept our speed down as we were two 6 metre RIBs with everybody in black wetsuits and drysuits. Saw a couple of people patrolling the deck on Britannia but that was about all.

So yes, warships can cause all kinds of crazy EMI, and that was back in the early 90s.

However I suspect in this case it is a bad connection somewhere, but it is going to be a nightmare finding where.
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