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I just bought a 05 800ss without a "red" key. Didn't even know about the "red" key issue untill I had brought the bike home. Now this bike was to be my wifes and seeing how we can't go more than a week without her losing her car/house/gate/etc... keys I've been STRESSED OUT about the impending $1200-$2000 bill that is no doubt right around the corner!

However thanks to Michael Moore at www.ducatimonster.org I may have found a cheaper alternative...

(From Bryan, aka 'the Beav')

Bike only has black key-

I’ve read rants about the conspiracy theory that Ducati and/or their dealers contrived some sort “brilliant” scheme to strike it rich selling gauge clusters, ECU’s and ignition locks to people who loose their red key or buy bikes without even knowing the red key exists and it just doesn’t make sense. Installing immobilizers in order to turn their loyal followers into an angry mob for sport doesn’t make sense either. It’s just not good for business. I offer a new theory that I think we all can relate to the inconveniences of. Vehicle transponder/immobilizers were introduced as a result of insurance bodies refusing to underwrite vehicles that did not have some form of passive electronic immobilization. “Passive” meaning that no action had to be undertaken by the user to 'arm' the system. Initially, not every corner locksmith in all of Ducati’s distribution markets had the equipment to duplicate the transponder keys so Ducati, in attempt to make it easy for consumers, spec’ed an Italian made system that allows the owner of a vehicle to code new keys by using the bike’s own ignition switch! Pretty cool deal, but you can’t loose that red key. The use of transponder keys is now so wide spread that almost any lock smith that specializes in automotive keys will have the equipment to “clone” the code from an existing black key on to a new “zero value code” transponder key blank. Currently, the difficult part is acquiring one of these blanks in the US (Silca KW17T5). No, the Ducati key that you buy at the parts counter won’t work because it already has a proprietary code on it, therefore it can only be programmed by the ignition/red key method. A very helpful locksmith went to great lengths to find me a blank, however he was told by one of his suppliers, who claimed to be the major importer of Silca transponder key blanks to the US, that they have to import 1,000 blanks at a time so it may take three months to three years before that particular blank shows enough demand to warrant stocking it. Thus far, I have only found one source for this key blank in the US. There is a guy on eBay who is selling these blanks for $45 shipped. If you send him your key, he will cut and clone it for an additional $25 (I bought one it works great!) Initially, all the lock smiths I talked to said, “A Ducati? You’ll have to go to the dealer. The dealers seem to only be aware of the locks/gauge/ECU/new red key method to make a key. The good news on that front is, due to the whining by both consumers and dealers about the nearly $3000 cost of this method, Ducati has negotiated new pricing from their OEM suppliers and just recently been able to bring the price of the whole deal down to around $750. In comparison, the usual cost of a transponder key is around $30 - $40, with an additional $30 - $50 to clone and cut it. It seems that owners of immobilizer equipped Ducatis, Ducati dealers, as well as locksmiths have been baffled by the seemingly huge mystery of the red key because we simply haven’t been armed with the knowledge of the correct transponder key blank we need to make a key. In my idealistic “World Domination Plan”, every DML member needs to flip open the yellow pages and call five automotive locksmiths and ask if they can get a Silca KW17T5 transponder key blank. I think it’s likely we would either find a good source for the blank or the ‘critical mass’ would create enough demand to warrant stocking the blanks and the whole “You cannot make a copy without the red key” issue would finally come to an end!


If you are considering buying a bike without a red key, use it as a bargaining chip to get the price down, but don’t let it scare you away or immediately assume that the bike is stolen - crazed girl friends and repo’s happen! If you already own a bike that has no red key, don’t despair, you have some options for additional keys and no, you don’t need a red key to remap the fuel injection.


If, you have a black key, but no red key, you can make a copy of the black key. You will need a Silca KW17T5 transponder key blank and a lock smith with one of the following cloners (Ilco/Silca - RW2 or RW3, Strattec - Quick code, Jet – Smart clone, Bianchi - Repli-code).



If you want to buy the bits from your Ducati dealer that you’ll need to get a new red key, you’ll need a new gauge cluster - $220; ECU - $249; ignition/keys - $249.


If you want to McGyver it, take the dynamic D sticker off of your black key, push the cross pin out so you can pull the key blade out of the plastic head, then fish out the transponder and JB Weld it on the inside of your ignition housing. Then go get all the $5.00 keys made you want!
 

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Here is another excellent thread on the"red key mystery"

Good information to have...
 

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A question for you... Does the transponded unit (sender?) inside the key have some sort of a battery? I.e., is the entire system a ticking time bomb where red key ot no eventually you'll need to replace essentail parts?

-don
 

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ahastings said:
I see you live in Severn. Me too.
Small world huh!? I PM'd you.
 

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DUCeditor said:
A question for you... Does the transponded unit (sender?) inside the key have some sort of a battery? I.e., is the entire system a ticking time bomb where red key ot no eventually you'll need to replace essentail parts?

-don
I don't think so. I have a feeling the whole thing is more of a passive RFID system. I've never had to change a battery in a key for any car I've owned, I don't think the Ducs are any different.

The idea of pulling the transponder out of my key and permanently attaching it to the key area is interesting but it depends on how difficult it will be pull.
Maybe cloning the black key properly is the better option?
 

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DUCeditor said:
A question for you... Does the transponded unit (sender?) inside the key have some sort of a battery? I.e., is the entire system a ticking time bomb where red key ot no eventually you'll need to replace essentail parts?

-don
Not a ticking time bomb, a very reliable system used on many high end cars. There is a coil around the lock tumbler that energizes the chip in the key via an electromagnetic field. The same coil acts as an antenna to read the code inside the key.
 

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I have just bought a ST4S with no keys and I have been quoted prices from dealers from $4000-$2500 for gauges, ECU, ignition and keys.

Where did you hear that you can get the set for $750?

Name and phone number of a contact would be great.

I love to get this bike going but $2500 for a key seem kind of steep.

I have looked in a ECU from Ultimap that bypasses the immobilizer but they are VERY hard to track down and they are the same price as you have stated the kit selling for. I would prefer to keep the bike stock.
 

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I bought a 749 'basketcase' a couple of years ago, and have struggled with this problem.
Stay away from the FIM Ultimap u59 ecu. It was originally marketed for the 749 and 999. It does eliminate the immobilizer issue, but even they have not been able to get it working right, despite what it might say on their site.
It seems like the best option is to find a gauge cluster, ecu, ignition switch, red key combo on ebay. They do come up periodically, and go for $1000 - $1200. If the post about the $750 cost from the dealer, that would be the way to go.
 

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I got that impression when I first started looking at them. I was told that some dealers no longer stocked them because they were unreliable. I did however find a dealer that has used the company for some time and they said that the reliability issues's seem have been ironed out. They had some early ones go bad (which Ultimap replaced) but he said they have put several in lately and have had no problems. I think that the ECU they sell today is a third generation ECU.

Has anyone else heard of problems/improvements in the ECU U59?
 

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I put an UltiMap on my 2003 1000ds race bike and it works great. No need for the key (and stock gauges) and it also got rid of the clutch and kick stand switches. The guys at BCM recommended it, and liked it better than a PC.

Anyway, I think I have my stock gauge cluster, ECU, keys, and ignition somewhere in my basement. I wasn't sure how useful they'd be to anyone. Any of you guys interested enough for me to go rooting around in my basement to try and find them?



Eric
 

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I bought a 749 'basketcase' a couple of years ago, and have struggled with this problem.
Stay away from the FIM Ultimap u59 ecu. It was originally marketed for the 749 and 999. It does eliminate the immobilizer issue, but even they have not been able to get it working right, despite what it might say on their site.
It seems like the best option is to find a gauge cluster, ecu, ignition switch, red key combo on ebay. They do come up periodically, and go for $1000 - $1200. If the post about the $750 cost from the dealer, that would be the way to go.
that sounds like a good and best option but the question is! Its this a plug and play thing? or not cuz i have that issue. bought a 749 from a insurance place with no red or black keys and i haven't being able to get it working and i don't want to spend more money on buying at the dealer thoses items?!!
 

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that sounds like a good and best option but the question is! Its this a plug and play thing? or not cuz i have that issue. bought a 749 from a insurance place with no red or black keys and i haven't being able to get it working and i don't want to spend more money on buying at the dealer thoses items?!!
I purchased a 2006 800SS theft-recovery bike that had the ignition switch destroyed and did not come with keys. I bought a used pre-immobilizer ignition switch and key on eBay for $30 and have the bike at HordPower Racing in Ohio, where J.D. Hord will be installing an FIM unit. He says it will be pretty much a "plug and play" installation because the unit comes with a bike-specific map already installed. Nonetheless, he will put the bike on his dyno and make sure it all is good to go. The unit also can be programmed to use one of the dash idiot lights as a shift light. Nice.

There is a 749 compatible unit avaiable. However, it seems that FIM is aware of some backfire issues with the map. Here's the link to the FIM Web site. You'll find lots of info on the ecu and an appication guide, as well. I was in contact with BCM, who quoted me $900 for the unit. They were due to get units in right about now. Hord will be sourcing my unit for me, so I haven't spoken with BCM since November.

$900 is a chunk of change. But when you figure the cost of a PCIII and dyno time, it doesn't look so bad afterall. Plus, the programmability of this unit is CRAZY!

Kurt
 

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1000 DS ECU and gauges available

I've got a 1000 DS ECU, gauges, red key, black keys, and lockset available that I bought from an ebay seller. I had intentions to use it on my 800 after buying it as a salvage title without the red key, only to find out that all I needed was the fuel pump relay. So here it is for what I bought it for $800 and you pay the shipping if anyone really needs it.

Mark
 

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I need a new gauge for my 2003 999. Am I able to use my current red key and ECU with a new gauge or will I have to buy a new complete set?
 

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taking out transponder from key

I like this. I just took mine out of the key to glue inside the ignition housing. I have an 05 monster that I got with just one key-of course a black one. Had a spare blank from an older (2000) duc that I am going to get cut tomorrow-so I will have my "normal key" and then a spare one-and then the ability to buy 5.00 blanks from here on out.. Thanks for the "macgyver" tip!!
 
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