Repairing the factory fitted Bosch immobiliser unit fitted to UK 2.0L 16V  and 2.5L 24V Ford Probes.

  By Michael Crummy...                     Last update 06/03/02
  fast URL

  Designed for viewing on a 800 x 600 display - a 1024 x 768 version 
  is available HERE  ...  but this is updated less frequently.

        SITE INDEX

  The Problem - why the immobiliser fails
  Which fails first ... the distributor or the immobiliser
  Immobiliser repair - info on repairing the immobiliserW
  Circuit board pictures - updated
  More circuit board pictures   - includes location of immobiliser
  Testimonials - success stories
  Guest Book - more success stories
  Immobiliser Forum
  Other Probe fixes - some other Probe info / fixes
  Beer - people keep offering me beer and whisky for my efforts - find out
                   where here !!!    Peter Carmichael from Fort William has the honour of
                   being the first person to personally reward me for my efforts.


"Fantastic info, had no problem since the repair 
which was done in september 2000."       

Tom Covington 21/11/01

"...just thought I'd let you know that I haven't had 
an immobiliser problem since... (Sep 2000)"

Colin Melville 17/12/01

"After having combed the entire internet looking for solutions to my Florrie
conking out all over the place I have finally been led by the nose to a site
which is the probe-ably the most useful website known to man (and woman) if
they own a Probe.

If anyone has had the misfortune of dealing with the same problems that I am
at the moment check out this site - you'll be glad you did!! "

Wolfpaws on Probetalk 3rd January 2002

FAME AT LAST - this site visited by FORD

"Our LOCAL FORD GARAGE were interested to see your website, as they are frustrated about the cost of dizzy replacements for Probe owners."

A direct quote from Sharon-Elaine on the Ford Probe 
Owners Club UK Forum 21 June 2001

So FORD dealers come to this website for information on 
repairing FORD cars ! Interesting ... Eh ? 


The Problem...
The Bosch immobiliser fitted to UK Ford Probes is subject to failure due to excessive current flowing through some of the solder joints - these high currents occur when the distributor components start to fail. Chances are that if you've had to replace the distributor or its components, then the immobiliser will also have sustained some damage, and will continue to plague you with embarrassing cut-outs. There appears to be a school of thought which blames the immobiliser for ignitor failure...see my opinion of this here.

The symptoms of immobiliser failure can be identical to "ignitor unit" failure and are often mistakenly identified as such,
resulting in needless expense for a new distributor. Failure can lead to intermittent engine cut-out, subsequently resulting in loss of power steering and braking power, which is potentially catastrophic if travelling at any speed. It can also manifest itself as a failure to start after switching off the engine. It is therefore potentially dangerous at worst and at best can be acutely embarrassing. In my case the car had an uncanny knack of cutting out at traffic signals and would only restart after a few minutes - very frustrating !! 

It is also interesting to note in hindsight that my car would always cut out at almost the same places every time - going round a particularly tight bend for example...I suspect the chassis flexing was enough to break the already stressed solder joints.

Recent information received indicates that a sharp slap to the passenger side of the centre console can sometimes bring the immobiliser back to life temporarily by rattling the defective solder joints enough for them to make contact.

This particular model of immobiliser is known to have been fitted to some or all 1994 16V and 24V models but may have been fitted in other years. The author accepts no responsibility for loss or damage arising from the use of this information. All repairs are carried out at your own risk.

E.S. Alternators in Glasgow, who supply relatively cheap replacement distributors for the Ford Probe (219 + VAT = 257.33 with a one year guarantee), are familiar with the Probe distributor and immobiliser problems. If you are unfamiliar with soldering it is highly advisable to entrust the repair of the immobiliser to them or somebody with soldering experience.
E.S Alternators      Tel : 0141 776 3689   Fax : 0141 776 1115
Unit 7
Eastside Industrial Estate
G66 1QQ

email address :

It really works... testimonials from some very happy Probers 
Due to the ever increasing number of emails I am receiving concerning the immobiliser fix and to make it easier to find the actual repair information I have moved the "It really works" section HERE 

If you find any of the information supplied useful or interesting then please take a few moments to sign my guestbook...Thank You


Or why not exchange experiences in the NEW Forum

And here it is...the information you were really looking for

Removal of immobiliser unit

1) Locate the immobiliser. It's behind the centre console at floor level. No need to remove the centre console, just the 2 small side panels (1 screw, 1 clip). The immobiliser is attached to a metal plate secured by 2 rivets on the driver's side and 2 star screws on the passenger side.

2) Remove metal plate - best to have the right tools - a right angled adaptor for the screw bit will help - the star screws are tight and awkward to get at (a right angled allen key of suitable size should work). Drill out the rivets and withdraw metal plate.  I have recently discovered that it is much easier to remove the metal plate from the driver's side.

( I have to admit that I ended up having to hacksaw through the bracket to get the immobiliser out ... it was 22.30 and I was doing it by torchlight... and I was determined to get it out that night ! Brute force and ignorance sometimes works )

3) Unbolt immobiliser from steel plate and disconnect the cable connector.

Repair procedure

4) The immobiliser is plastic and is held together by 3 screws - undo these to reveal the circuit board. There are two big black boxes on the board (one bigger than the other) - these are the switching relays -  the solder joints underneath them become damaged due to the high current flow which occurs during distributor component failure. This causes them to lose contact with the board either sporadically or permanently. 2 solder joints on my board looked distinctly dodgy - dull and rough instead of shiny and smooth. I removed the solder using a soldering iron and solder sucker, then re-soldered them. For good measure I also re-soldered as many of the other joints as I could, although it appears from correspondence received that the two joints noted below are the only ones involved in the failure.  
See "IT REALLY WORKS" for examples.

5) Re-assembly is the reverse of the above as they say in all good Haynes manuals. Replace the rivets with new ones. The pop rivets and the rivet gun are not expensive items.

6) Reconnect and start engine and enjoy a few more years of fun motoring with a big smile on your face since you've just saved yourself approx 250 on a new immobiliser from FORD.

Here are some pictures of the suspect joints on the circuit board which I have encountered. These may not be the only solder joints at fault, so blanket re-soldering of as many of the other joints as possible is recommended.
One of the joints on my immobiliser board - reflected light shows up a distinct ring around the joint - this joint has been damaged by excessive current and intermittently loses contact with the board causing engine cut-outs.
This one looks distinctly suspect as well. The brown discolouration is flux contained in the solder which has been released by overheating.
The big picture - the location of these joints on the board.
Another example of one of the above joints from an immobiliser from Steve Binns' 1995 16V before it was repaired recently. This joint has definitely been well and truly cooked. Note the whitish solder deposits left on the board due to the overheating of the joint. 

The location of the immobiliser unit behind the centre console (seen from passenger side with air duct removed). This side has screws, the other side is riveted . Be careful of the razor sharp metal edges when unscrewing. This picture taken recently whilst repairing David Hadfield's "L" plate 16V Probe.

Many thanks to the Ford Probe Owners Club UK for much of the traffic to this web page.
Click the banner below to go there.

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