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Auto Theft Prevention/2005 Ford Escape random alarms


QUESTION: Hello Rob,
I hope you can help with this issue! 2005 Ford Escape randomly the alarm goes off. All hours of the day, cold days, or warm nights, doesn't matter. I chased this problem for over a year. Just lately it has become so annoying that im determined to fix it! The part that has become so annoying is the door ajar light on the cluster going off. Along with an audible long chime & dome lights illuminating.  This issue has NEVER caused the vehicle to run any differently. If the vehicle is parked & locked, this is when the panic alarm is activated. (which in my opnion, is the vehicle reacting to a sudden door ajar signal thats not pres,ent) So, my only solution to this problem is to NOT lock the vehicle, EVER! This is my wifes main transportation, bless her heart,she has been very patient about me trying to resolve this. She has noticed that everytime the "idiot light" illuminates "door ajar" if she moves her (drivers) seat (6way power) it usually quickly makes the light turn back off. Sometimes for good, sometimes it just keeps coming back on shortlg afterwards.
I also want to add, this Escape is 100% stock. Meaning everything that has required attention, it has always been fixed with OEM parts. (brakes, struts, so on..) it has never had a remote start, or alarm other than the factory anti theft device. We bought the vehicle used from a Ford dealer & it has been a very reliable one st that. Its just this damn alarm thing is driving me crazy!
Can you provide me any insight or ideas on this dilemma of mine?

ANSWER: Hi, since you bought the vehicle used, you really have no way of knowing if this is a factory installed alarm or an aftermarket. Alarms from the factory were about a $600 option and it was rare to see a factory alarm installed on one of these vehicles. I am not saying it didn't happen, just very rare!

You cannot even go by the key fob because some after market units employ them as well.
It could be that you don't have a factory alarm, but merely a keyless entry working with an after market alarm.
Let's start out by determining what is in the vehicle.

When the alarm triggers, do you hear a siren or the horn?
What lights flash? The parking lights or the headlights?

Your problem sounds like it is tied into the current sensing from the door. A very common issue both factory and aftermarket was the door jamb pin switch if so equipped. The door will be shut, the pin switch triggers the alarm which also relates to your footboard issue.
Get back to me on the alarm.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Your absolutley right, the simple fact that we bought it used does make it difficult to say if the vehicle has ever had a alarm. To answer your questions;when the vehicle alarm activates its the horn that beeps. The parki g lights are also the only lights that flash. It acts as if the panic button was pushed. I do know that the key fob buttons were not activated in the past also though. There has been multiple times the alarm has sounded when both key fobs were well out of range & not being handeled either.
Just to give you some idea of my ability with cars, let me explain. I have attended 1 year of auto mechanics @ my local community college. I also worked at a local garage for a couple years during that time. That was back in the early 90's in 1994 i was fortunate enough to get hired @ Ford Motor Co. which where i still work. I am 45yrs old & have always worked on my own vehicles, as far as anything from oil changes to engine swaps, ive also converted a few transmissions from automatics to manuals in my younger years. I do admit though my experience with electrical issues & body work are not my speciality. Which is why i called on a expert for this advice. Dont get me wrong, i am by no means saying that im a"know it all" i only wanted to let you know that when you ask certain questions about this problem, i do have basic knowledge of what im looking for.
Upon research of the Escape problem, it seems to be quite common to have this happen. Most people are saying that the right rear door latch seems to be the culprit. However, none of the other threads ive read have ever mentioned that the door ajar light goes out if you move the drivers power adjusted seat. Most people state that the right rear door is either pushed hard from the outside, or opened & slammed aggressively. Is what has worked for them. I just recently came across the forum that mentioned that door. I have tried bypassing the hood switch that is located near the washer reservior. Its just a push button switch that activates if the hood isnt closed all the way.
Sorry that i rambled  on for a while there, i just want to give you as much info as possible to help you possibly disect the problem.
Thank you so much for your quick response as well!!
My name is Steve & i live in Dundee, MI.

Ford keyless entry fob
Ford keyless entry fob  
Hi Steve,

Ok, starting to sound a little suspicious. Most factory systems flash headlights. Most aftermarket flash parking lights. The pin switch under the hood is common with aftermarket.
Please send me a picture of you key fob both sides.
Is there a yellow or red light inside the instrument panel saying theft or something when triggered? I am not referring to the past red led that flashes when the key is out of the car.

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Rob Painter, ASE, CFL, CFEI


My background in auto theft is extensive. I have been directly involved in the repair of over 10,000 theft recovered vehicles. I also do insurance investigation as to how a vehicle was last operated. My clients are insurance companies and attorneys. Was featured in the A & E auto theft documentary "Stealing Wheels" July 26, 2000. Has consulted with Daimler Chrysler steering column engineers to make their steering columns harder to defeat. Holds patent # 6,039,140 for 8 different variations to protect air bags from theft.


ROB PAINTER, ASE, CFL, CFEI Forensic Vehicle Component Analyst Diplomate, Board Certified Forensic Examiner ASE Certified Auto, Collision, Med/Hvy/Duty Truck Technician Certified Forensic Locksmith Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator Certified Forensic Auto Theft Examiner Certified Auto Theft and Fraud Expert P.O. Box 190 Big Bend, WI 53103 Phone (414) 698-9696 Fax (262) 662-1352 As per federal court rules of evidence (702) (Daubert) my testimony has qualified me as: Auto Theft and Fraud Expert Forensic Vehicle Analyst Fire Origin and Cause Expert In the trial transcript of Holiday vs Progressive Insurance Company (March 12, 2002?Eugene, Oregon) with Holiday being my client-named ?the expert for experts.? BUSINESS EXPERIENCE Founder of the ?Forensic Institute of Auto Theft Analysis? (January 2002). This is the training school that will set the standards in determining the last operation of a reported stolen vehicle-burned or unburned. Much of my testing and procedures have been accepted as the guide for the forensic community. 1986 opened Auto Recovery Specialists Inc., providing exclusive repair of theft recovered and vandalized vehicles. The initial concept of the business was to return vehicles to their original shape before the theft, vandalism or fire. In 1987 bought the rights to the theft deterrent known as the ?Chicago Collar?. Duties include complete component replacement: dash, stereo system, interior, locks and coding, rebuilding steering columns, repairing and installing vehicle security system components (factory and after market), engine components, body repair, glass replacement, repair and service of air conditioning components, brake and suspension repair, and replacement, wiring harnesses etc. to return vehicle to pre-theft condition Complete reconstruction. During the past 17 years directly involved in the repair of over 10,000 theft-recovered and fire damaged Personally examined and rebuilt thousands of steering columns on both import and domestic vehicles Internationally acknowledged as expert in auto theft including court, consulting with insurance companies, attorneys and law enforcement. Consultant on steering columns, locks, stereo systems and vehicle security for Special Investigation Units for many large insurance carriers during the past eight years. Consulting services include but not limited to: How a vehicle was last operated (with or without keys in burned or unburned vehicles), Origin and Cause of vehicle fires, and vehicle defects. Provides services as a consultant and researcher to attorneys and insurance companies, and private industry throughout the US in cases related to vehicles. Has worked with crime prevention officers throughout the US establishing training programs designed to protect the public from becoming victims of auto theft. PATENT: 3/21/00 issued patent# 6,039,140 for 8 different variations of airbag anti-theft devices. PUBLICATIONS Currently authors articles and test reports on an ongoing basis for SIUs and the forensic/vehicle fire industry. Published author: (1,297 slide training course) Auto Theft/ Fraud Training Course) ?The Modern Forensic Approach to Auto Theft Investigation.? (January, 2001) Author: ?Variables to Be Considered In Vehicle Fire Investigation after Suppression.? (Insurance publication-November 2001) Author: ?Ford Magnesium Steering Columns and the Results to Ignition Components after a Fire?. Article for peer review from the fire and forensic community. (November 2001) Author: ?The Truth About GM VATS.? (Article) (November 2001) Author: ?The Truth About GM PASSLOCK TM? (Article) (November 2001) Author:? Auto Theft Investigation: Hollywood vs. Reality? (Article) (February 2001) For the John Cooke Fraud Report. Published author: (Manual) ?Forensic Vehicle Fire/ Arson and Auto Theft Investigation? (October 2000) Published author: (Article) ?Petty Claims? for the John Cooke Fraud Report (October, 1998) Published author (Manual) ?AUTO THEFT: LET THE TRUTH BE KNOWN!? (1998) (Previously distributed by Barnes & Nobel) Co-authored the investigation manual, ?Surreptitious Entry & Auto Theft & Burn & the Investigator.? (1999) Authored test questions on the subject of steering columns and vehicle security for CFL designation to be given by the International Association of Investigative Locksmiths. January, 2000 Published author: (Manual) ?Saginaw Steering Columns-What Has Not Been Told? Training manual for fire investigators. (March 2000) Published (Article) ?Beyond The Lock? (May 2000) Published Author: (Article) Fraud Defense Network-August, 2000 Edition-?Melting Steering Column Tests.? Published author: (Test Report) ?Burned Toyota Steering Column Testing to Determine How Last Operated?. Tool marks and procedures. (December 1999) Currently at the FBI Crime Lab in Washington DC and the US Army Crime Lab in Atlanta, GA for peer review. ACCOMPLISHMENTS Defeated the ?unstealable? Ford Securilock transponder system for a court case 10/10/00. They said it could not be done! Primary designer of a state of the art ?bait? car for a police department to catch car thieves. Worked with The National Highway Safety Transportation Administration and discovered a potential fire hazard on a vehicle and determined origin and cause of under hood fires on this type of vehicle. Featured as ?Auto Theft Expert? in the A & E auto theft documentary ?Stealing Wheels? that aired July 26, 2000. Contacted by Sears and Edelman Marketing to be a national spokesman for an anti theft device for vehicles. (November 1999) Invited to provide evaluation and consulting to steering column engineers at Daimler Chrysler Corporation in Auburn Hills, MI (10/19/99-10/22/99). The purpose of this project was to demonstrate how steering column locking mechanisms could be defeated without the use of a key and how to reinforce the columns against theft. Court Qualified as an Auto Theft Expert and my videos of defeating columns were also accepted by a Cleveland, Ohio Court in October 1999 as a valid piece of evidence. Contacted by Disney Touchstone Pictures for technical assistance in making the movie ?Gone in 60 Seconds? (March 1999) CONSULTANT FOR FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONS ? Former contributor for The Insurance News Network (Auto theft and prevention) includes heading a forum for the public on how to protect their vehicles for 3+ years. ? Former editor and consultant for the public on matters involving auto theft and prevention 2000-2001 on the web at ? The Insurance Career Center (Auto theft and fraud). ? National Association of Investigative Specialists (Auto theft and fraud) ? Expert Find (Auto theft and fraud} TECHNICAL EXPERIENCE ? ASE (National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence) Certified in Auto: brakes, steering and suspension, engine repair, manual drive train and axles, air conditioning. Med/Heavy duty truck: gasoline engine repair, electrical/electronic components. Collision: elec.....

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