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Old 03-01-2018, 06:17 PM   #1
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New Aire’s - Keyless Ignition The Good & Bad - Mike Mas

There’s sports cars gadgets and there’s RV’s gadgets, however sometimes they don’t always cross into each others fields without some growing pains. Recently the first “Keyless Ignition” found its way to Newmar’s 2018 New Aire. Now instead of fumbling around trying to get the key in the ignition, a wireless Key Fob system allows you to just simply push a button to fire up the engine. The problem for motor homes is; there is no turning the key on without immediately starting the engine. There is only; Off - Acc - On.

Sure, I love my push button ignition on my F150 and my other cars since I’m in and out of them dozens of times a day. Do I need one in my RV? I could go either way, since my RV is mostly used on rare occasions, I could deal with a key. Regretfully, unlike the trouble-free ignitions of modern cars, the keyless ignition on the New Aire, does come with some baggage.

Not Diesel Engine Friendly - Myself, I don’t feel keyless ignitions are the best route for RV’s for a few reasons. The first being; when you start a diesel engine, its always best to let the “Screen Diagnostics” go through their sequence before actually starting the engine.

Second problem is; “Cold Starting Procedures”. While I’m aware that direct injection and common rail engines need little help with cold weather starting, the New Aire’s 6.7 Cummins still uses a pre-heating elements on the intake for extreme cold weather starting.
With our “Keyless Ignition” we lost the opportunity to pause starting until the elements reach the correct temperature, since the second you hit the “On” position, the engine cranks over. I recently had to do a cold engine start at 15 degrees, while I was expecting a delay to allow time for the heat circuit to work, instead the engine cranked right over.






Another problem is; unlike a key ignition, where you can turn the key back off from the accessory position, with the keyless ignition, you’re required to cycle it to “start” before you turn it to off. Even though your foot is off the brake so it won’t start, the electrical system and dash still begin a start up routine and even the entry step makes some goofy sounds for a few seconds as it toys to retract.

We now also have to adapt to new “Key Fob” procedures. Since the key fob has poor range, it must be within a few feet from the ignition module to work . When the key is in range, a blue light on the switch lights to show the fob is talking to the module. Many times I’ve sat in the seat with the fob in my pocket, only to get a “No Key Fob” warning and an aborted starting procedure.

On other occasions, even when I have a blue light to show fob connection, I’ll push the start button 5 or more times and the engine will not start. While I’m yet to find out why this happens, I did find a work-around where if you push the start button with the actual Key fob body, it will start the engine. Lately, I’ve developed a habit to just use the key fob to push the button to avoid the problem.

Another hick-up is you have to store the key Fob away from the drivers area, because if you don’t- it will “Quickly” deplete the Fob’s battery. As an example, I took the coach out for a cruise the other day and when I returned, I made the mistake of leaving the key fob on top of the dash. Two days later, I went to start it up and my fob battery was stone dead. It appears that as long as the key fob is in range of the ignition module, the Fob keeps pinging the receive module. What bothers me is; what if you have a trip for 3-5 days with the fob by the ignition, does this mean we’re going to have to re-battery these things every week or so. I’ve only had my New Aire 3 months now and seldom drive it, yet this is my third battery! I did call Freightliner who supplies the keyless system to Newmar and they are aware of the problem and looking for answers to address the problem.

Finally, attempting to put a new battery in the remote is a chore. Rather than have a batt door (which it desperately needs) you’re required to pry the remote apart like a Clam Shell. As it reluctantly pops open, you’ll be confronted with no less that 6 pieces that all separate at one moment.

Anyhow, I do have some good news - when I went to replace my battery, I deliberately left the battery out of the FOB and I was still able to start the engine, by pushing the button with the edge of the fob body. While I’m certain we can all live with the New Aire’s keyless deficiencies, I’m hoping there will be some advancements in the near future, until then, I’m sort of missing my old keys!

Regards - Mike





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Old 03-01-2018, 06:48 PM   #2
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I would go back to Newmar and insist on a fix for the cold starting process. Sounds like a prematurely released option based on the difficulties you're having.
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Old 03-01-2018, 06:49 PM   #3
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Does anyone know if the 2018 Mountain Aire (specifically, the 4047) has this keyless ignition? I sure hope not. Sometimes, technology is used by engineers "just because they can." Sounds like keyless ignition systems in motorhomes is the poster child for that.

TJ
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Old 03-01-2018, 07:01 PM   #4
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Agree the Key FOB in the NA is poorly executed. This of course is a FreightLiner issue, not Newmar. I posted about my FOB problems early on in my New Aire Observations thread.

I continue to have problems with the FOB. Constantly get "Check FOB" warnings. These warnings go away above 20 mph but they always come back when I slow down. Initially I thought it was a BlueTooth interference issue but turning off all BT did not correct the problem.

Typical automotive FOB's use both active and passive RFID. I am guessing this one does the same. Active RFID is used for door locks. Hit the unlock key and the FOB transmitter sends out ping to the RFID receiver in the coach to open the door. When you get within 3 feet of the ignition switch (which is always pinging for a FOB) the passive RFID in the FOB wakes up says here I am. That is when the ignition button light turns on.

So my guess is that there is some interference in coach which is getting in the way of the passive RFID discussion between the ignition switch and the FOB, thus giving me the "Check FOB" message and chime.

I have been rearranging components and wiring to get stuff away from the ignition button but without any change. There is an antenna in the ignition switch but FreightLiner could not tell be where it is located. FreightLiner was no help on the phone. Whats me to drive it 120 miles to a FreightLiner dealer.

I just discovered that my EEZ tire monitor is pinging out an RFID signal. I thought it was a passive device. I had the monitor mounted very close to ignition button, so I moved the tire monitor to a new position. Have not had a chance to test this change.

Lastly, you are correct you can start the coach without a battery in the FOB by using the end of the FOB to push the ignition button. Everyone should be aware when you do this the engine will start without your foot on the brake. No idea why but it does.
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Old 03-01-2018, 07:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by turbopilot View Post
Agree the Key FOB in the NA is poorly executed. This of course is a FreightLiner issue, not Newmar. I posted about my FOB problems early on in my New Aire Observations thread.

I continue to have problems with the FOB. Constantly get "Check FOB" warnings. These warnings go away above 20 mph but they always come back when I slow down. Initially I thought it was a BlueTooth interference issue but turning off all BT did not correct the problem.

Typical automotive FOB's use both active and passive RFID. I am guessing this one does the same. Active RFID is used for door locks. Hit the unlock key and the FOB transmitter sends out ping to the RFID receiver in the coach to open the door. When you get within 3 feet of the ignition switch (which is always pinging for a FOB) the passive RFID in the FOB wakes up says here I am. That is when the ignition button light turns on.

So my guess is that there is some interference in coach which is getting in the way of the passive RFID discussion between the ignition switch and the FOB, thus giving me the "Check FOB" message and chime.

I have been rearranging components and wiring to get stuff away from the ignition button but without any change. There is an antenna in the ignition switch but FreightLiner could not tell be where it is located. FreightLiner was no help on the phone. Whats me to drive it 120 miles to a FreightLiner dealer.

I just discovered that my EEZ tire monitor is pinging out an RFID signal. I thought it was a passive device. I had the monitor mounted very close to ignition button, so I moved the tire monitor to a new position. Have not had a chance to test this change.

Lastly, you are correct you can start the coach without a battery in the FOB by using the end of the FOB to push the ignition button. Everyone should be aware when you do this the engine will start without your foot on the brake. No idea why but it does.
Thanks for the reply Turbo, did not know about the foot off the brake engine start up. I guess its an emergency thing.

Freightliner is aware there is problems, you wonder why there is issues when almost every car has this offering and most all work perfect. What really puzzles me is the battery usage deal. Making it worse is the miserable technique for changing the battery. Mine takes a ton of pressure to break apart, feels like its going to destroy the case. I guess they thought it would last 2-5 years.

Yeah I miss turning the key and waiting for the diagnostics and needle swings.

Jim, regarding the question on the Mountain Aire having the Key-less, I'm going to guess you'll see this on almost every 19-20 pusher since the New Aire has it. Guess we're like Oldsmobile any new stuff gets put on the New Aire for IRV2 testing LOL!

Mike

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Old 03-01-2018, 08:00 PM   #6
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Jim, regarding the question on the Mountain Aire having the Key-less, I'm going to guess you'll see this on almost every 19-20 pusher since the New Aire has it. Guess we're like Oldsmobile any new stuff gets put on the New Aire for IRV2 testing LOL!

Mike

I can live with it being in the '19s or '20s; I just don't want to find it in my '18 when it is delivered in June.

TJ
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Old 03-01-2018, 08:19 PM   #7
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I can live with it being in the '19s or '20s; I just don't want to find it in my '18 when it is delivered in June.

TJ
Jim,

Even if you get have Keyless in your new coach, its not a real problem, once you understand its quirks, its nothing you can't live with.

For the most part, the cold starting is not an issue since you have the block heater. I had to unexpectedly move my coach out of the garage for the door guy, it was 15-17 degrees no block heat and the pup started right up.

By the way, freightliner says if it needs heat time, it will delay the start and you have to hit the button again, but I never seen that happen this winter.

Since you have two fob's even if you lost a battery its no big deal.
Hopefully, the guys at Freightliner will feel sorry for us guys and throw some new Fob's our way.

By the way, Congrats on your new Ride, June is coming up quick!

Mike

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Old 03-01-2018, 08:29 PM   #8
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Pretty sure it doesn't. I remember seeing a key switch in the 4531. Don't have ours till late March.
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Old 03-01-2018, 08:56 PM   #9
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By the way, Congrats on your new Ride, June is coming up quick!

Mike

Thanks, Mike. June may be "coming up quick" for you, but it is crawling along for us.
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Old 03-02-2018, 06:41 PM   #10
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It’s been fine for me. Did 4k miles of driving and no battery issues. Keyless systems are supposed to ping less when engine is running so battery doesn’t drain while driving.
If I want it on but not started, I just don’t depress the brake when pushing the button. And for having no way to go from acc to off - yeah not great but I’ve found quickly pressing twice is fast enough so steps don’t come in.
I have a place I always put my keys when I park so I won’t drain it.
Good to know about pressing switch with the fob!
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:30 PM   #11
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It’s been fine for me. Did 4k miles of driving and no battery issues. Keyless systems are supposed to ping less when engine is running so battery doesn’t drain while driving.
Instruction manual says "Check FOB" warning is canceled above 20 mph. Since yours is working I am going to redouble my efforts looking for interference. I have other FOBs in my pocket from cars with RFID and my iPhone has RFID, so maybe there is a some kind of interference going on.
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:52 PM   #12
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I certainly don’t have an issue w keyless push start in my 6.7 Cummins equipped ram 2500 pickup. I turn it to on, wait for warm up, start up and then step on the pedal and hit the button. are the new Aires not configured that way?
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:10 PM   #13
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It’s been fine for me. Did 4k miles of driving and no battery issues. Keyless systems are supposed to ping less when engine is running so battery doesn’t drain while driving.
If I want it on but not started, I just don’t depress the brake when pushing the button. And for having no way to go from acc to off - yeah not great but I’ve found quickly pressing twice is fast enough so steps don’t come in.
I have a place I always put my keys when I park so I won’t drain it.
Good to know about pressing switch with the fob!
Thanks for the reply Cinergi - I did check the ping (blink sequence of 5/2 red light on fob) and it pings just as fast with the engine off as it does on.
Freightliner is aware there is problems with both battery life and intermittent problems and glossing over the boot time and cold weather starting. When it comes to battery life, I'm not looking for any miracles, short of replacing the Fob with a more efficient transmitter, it looks like we'll be carrying spare button cells in our coach.

RV's like trucks, need a simple option to turn on only the ignition first then the starter and not combine the two in one operation. An easy fix is to add one more position to the button, that would allow boot time and also allow the driver time to delay the start for the intake heater to reach temperature since the heat sequence is not instantaneous. As of now owners are just holding their foot on the brake and starting up regardless of weather.

Freightliner should have known this 3 position "Car-Type" keyless ignition would be a problem on a diesel pusher. Not sure why motorhome manufactures are now trying to be like Cadillac's. Give me a key I'll be fine!

There needs to be four positions; Off - Acc - On - Start.

Mike

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Old 03-02-2018, 08:52 PM   #14
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I certainly don’t have an issue w keyless push start in my 6.7 Cummins equipped ram 2500 pickup. I turn it to on, wait for warm up, start up and then step on the pedal and hit the button. are the new Aires not configured that way?
On my Dodge 3500 keyless with cold weather, when I pushed start, it would delay 4-5 seconds for the heat circuit then crank over, the New Aire does not do that, regardless of cold weather, as you push the ignition it tuns over immediately.

From what a Freightliner tech told me, the start circuit heaters, etc. are only active with a foot on brake start. Without putting a meter on the intake heater circuit to find out, I have no way of knowing for sure. I'm not saying this is a major problem, because my engine quick started at 15 degrees with no block or intake heat one morning.

Regretfully, this is not the only problem, the Fob signal disappears often with the fob only a foot from the ignition and then there is the battery problem.

Fortunate for us, there is two Key fobs and we still have the opportunity to start it even with a dead battery in the Fob, so I don't want anyone to think this is "Life Threatening" in any way, only to make them aware its not 100% perfect!

Mike



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