Servicing the 2008 – 2009 Chrysler 300C

The 300C is equipped with the Mercedes-inspired FOBIK system, which some refer to as a “Smart Key.”


As the Chrysler Corporation battles for its life in this new era of bailouts for the auto industry, we seem to forget that the Chrysler Corporation brought us some of the most innovative and interesting cars on the road today, including the original Mini-Vans, the PT Cruiser, and the 300C. The...


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As the Chrysler Corporation battles for its life in this new era of bailouts for the auto industry, we seem to forget that the Chrysler Corporation brought us some of the most innovative and interesting cars on the road today, including the original Mini-Vans, the PT Cruiser, and the 300C. The 300C instantly became a hit primarily due to its radical styling and the muscle-car option of the legendary “Hemi.” It wasn’t long ago that every celebrity from hip-hop artists to Paris Hilton wanted to be seen in one.

Up until recently the 300C had a sibling, the Dodge Magnum, but Chrysler discontinued production of the Magnum in 2008. Since sales are slow, the remaining Magnums are being sold as 2009 models, but in fact, production stopped in 2008. The unlocking and door information in this article will apply to the Magnum, but the Magnum was never equipped with the FOBIK transponder system.

FOBIK SYSTEM

The 300C is equipped with the Mercedes-inspired FOBIK system, which some refer to as a “Smart Key.” This system is well on its way to becoming standard equipment on all Chrysler vehicles. Currently the FOBIK system is available on the Chrysler 2008+ 300C, 2008+ Town & Country, Dodge 2008+ Caravan, 2008+ Challenger, 2008+ Charger, 2008+ Journey, 2009 Ram and the Jeep 2008+ Commander and 2008+ Grand Cherokee. In addition, the VW Routan, which is essentially a rebadged Chrysler Town & Country, also uses the FOBIK system.

Each FOBIK contains a mechanical key that is designed strictly as a back-up to unlock the doors in case of a dead battery or electronic failure. This key is released from the fob by sliding a small spring-loaded catch and pulling the key from the fob. The key by itself does not contain a transponder and cannot be used to start the vehicle. If fact, there is no ignition lock to insert the key into. The FOBIK must be inserted into the ignition switch and turned in order to start the vehicle. There is no mechanical security involved with the ignition switch and the switch can be turned manually without the key, which will not start the vehicle.

Each FOBIK also functions as a remote to unlock the doors and on some vehicles also provides a remote start capability. When replacing a FOBIK, it is important to choose a replacement that has the same number, type, and style of buttons as the original, so that the new FOBIK will provide all of the proper functions.

A used FOBIK that has been programmed into a vehicle cannot be reprogrammed for a different vehicle. The programming process, like the transponder in the mechanical keys permanently “burns” vehicle specific information into the FOBIK, and this information cannot be cost-effectively changed.

Programming of the FOBIK system can be accomplished with a variety of aftermarket multi-function devices from Advanced Diagnostics and Silca. In addition, Chrysler factory tools such as the StarSCAN can also program the FOBIK system, assuming that they are equipped with the proper software. Regardless of which machine you use, when you program the FOBIK into the vehicle, the remote functions of the FOBIK are programmed automatically at the same time.

The only mechanical lock on the outside of these vehicles is the door lock on the driver’s side of the vehicle. This lock can be rekeyed and serviced with the standard Chrysler 8-cut service kits.

UNLOCKING THE VEHICLE

Like most new vehicles, the 300C and the Magnum use a multi-layer weather stripping system at the base of the window. To prevent the lower layers of the weather stripping from rolling under the wedge, insert the “Latch Shim” (LKM P/N WE12B) or a similar tool between the weather-stripping and the glass. Once the shim is in place, insert the wedge between the shim and the glass. This prevents damage to the weather stripping, and it keeps the lower layers from rolling under the wedge, which will only restrict the movement of your tool.

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