Retrofitting a 2008 Hyundai Tucson with Keyless Entry

We purchased a second hand car a few years ago. When we got it, it came with one key, and no keyless entry remote. Some 2008 Hyundai Tucson’s came with a keyless entry remote, but there was no way for me to determine if our car had the necessary hardware. If it did, I could simply purchase a new key and get it re-programmed. However queries with Hyundai only resulted in new-car sales pitches, and I wasn’t going to risk wasting $100 to buy a key and get it re-programmed with no guarantee.

Instead, I installed a garage-remote receiver in my car. The car has central-locking which is triggered by using the key in the door. Using a remote controlled relay, one can send the same signal to the central locking system as the key switch does. I used an old receiver I had lying around, similar to this. There are many different remote control kits available that can be used here. The important things to check are that they will operate off 12 VDC and how much current the receiver uses when idle.

The ETACS (Electronic Time and Alarm Control System) in the Hyundai Tucson draws up to 4mA black current. That is, when the car is off. Ideally you want a receiver with a similar, or lower current draw. My receiver draws about 10mA. Not ideal, but I did the math and determined that as long as we drove the car once every two weeks, we shouldn’t come anywhere near to flattening the battery (less than 2 Ah per week).

The switches in the door keylocks simply short the signal line to ground to trigger locking/unlocking. I chose to use the passenger/assistant door key switch. If you use the driver door key switch, you may have to push the unlock button twice to get it to open, as when unlocking with the key, once has to twist the key twice.

All the connections you need are by the ETACS, and the ETACS also has space around it (in my manual transmission in any case) to mount the receiver.

The ETACS is located below the gear lever. To access it, one has to remove several sections of fascia. You can see how to do that looking at the photos in the below gallery:

Once all the screws are undone, you can remove the last section by pulling it away from the center console. There are hooks, but no clips, so it should come out fairly easily.

The ETACS has three connectors going into it. They are all clipped in place. The below image shows the important pins, as viewed from behind, the connector (direction from which the wires go in), when plugged in.

While your battery is still connected, check the voltage on each of the pins. Battery+ should read around 12.5V, while all the other ones should measure near 0V. Check for continuity between the Ground, Signal Ground and a grounded part of the vehicle. Then you can try locking and unlocking the car, by shorting the signal ground line and the applicable lock/unlock signal.

Once you’ve tested that these function correctly you should disconnect the battery from the car, and then you can unplug the ETACS to connect the necessary wires.

If you have the tools to solder or crimp the connections in, I definitely advise that. I used dual-row screw terminals, although I acknowledge they’re not the best option for auto use. Connect the Battery+ and ground lines to the power connection on your receiver, preferably including an inline fuse.

My receiver has two switches. Both of them are normally open, and when activated will connect two terminals. As such on the one switch I hooked up the lock and signal ground lines, and on the second switch I connected the unlock and signal ground lines.

Once connected, make sure everything is insulated, and connect it back up. Connect your battery again to test out your remote. If it works correctly, find a way to mount your receiver, using foam where applicable to prevent rattling. Add insulation to any of the wires which may rub against sharp edges.

2008 Hyundai Tucson 2.0 GLS

I’ve been spoilt in the last few years with the vehicles I’ve been able to drive on a daily basis. And I fear it has spoiled me (1, 2, 3, 4). When we moved to the US, I didn’t have work lined up and had to wait several months for a work permit. During that time we were living off a grad-student salary and savings. Very quickly we realised the need (or extremely strong desire) for a vehicle to get aroudn and out of LA. Although living in close proximity to public transport, it lacked in many areas. So we were shopping on a budget. Definitely pre-owned, but we wanted something we could at least take into the wilderness. 4WD wasn’t off the cards, but not a necessity.

As such our vehicle search landed us with a lowish mileage (72,000 miles) 2008 Hyundai Tucson. It was well-priced, likely as a result of its manual transmission and “small” 2.0 petrol engine. Besides a couple scratches on the bumpers, it was devoid of major dents or indication of having been in an accident. And so it became ours. It had two open recalls, which the Hyundai dealership quickly sorted for us free of charge and has otherwise been problem free.

Since getting it we’ve replaced the tires and brake pads, as well as the front rotors. An oil change and other minor maintenance have been all its required. Almost 10,000 miles in, and it’s still going strong. It doesn’t use oil, has been surprisingly capable off-road, and the platinum paint job hides the dirt well.

But as I mentioned I’ve been spoilt, and this car is underwhelming to drive. My 1996 Audi competes with this Hyundai on features. But it’s a car. It gets us from A to B, and doesn’t complain. The 2.0l engine is surprisingly sprightly, but lacks torque when climbing long hills at highway speeds; of which the Americans are fond. Was it a bad decision? definitely not. As we’ve gotten to know California better, my only regret is not having looked for a 4WD version. The ground clearance has let us do a good amount of exploring, and while the boot (trunk) isn’t large, it’s ample for two people, and camping for four has been achieved. Even in a bit of snow.

If you’re looking for an amazing car. This isn’t it. It has power steering, it has electric windows, and it has a radio (with front loader). It has AC, that battles on the hottest of LA days, but is otherwise capable. It has airbags and we’ve added a towbar. It is a car; it is ours; and we like it.

There isn’t really anythign else to say about it. It has done all that we’ve asked of it, but bar the fact that it is our Tucson, it is nothing special.

Would I suggest you buy one? Sure. If it meets your needs, and you can get one for a good price. Hyundais of this generation have a good reputation for reliability. And I expect this car to convey us many more 10s of thousands of kilometres before we eventually give it up.

Although we could afford a new car, why? We either cycle or take public transport to work. The car sits at home during the week, besides the odd grocery run. Otherwise it sits in waiting; waiting for our next adventure. It is a car, and it is ours.

Brake Pad and Disc replacement – 2008 Hyundai Tucson (1st Gen)

The rear brake pads on our 2008 Hyundau Tucson were wearing thin; I’d also noted some vibration after extended braking coming from the front wheels. As such I decided to replace the rear brake pads, as well as the front discs and pads.

I had replaced the pads on my old Audi previously, and while it wasn’t difficult, it was still a hassle. In contrast, replacing the Tucson’s pads is something almost anyone can do, all you need is a size 14 socket.

There are a bunch of manufacturers who all make products to fit your car. I went with Bosch, because they were the only brand I recognised, but there are many other good manufacturers. In fact I was quite disappointed by Bosch, who packaged incorrect parts into one of the boxes I ordered. Amazon were quick to send me a replacement set.

two parts with the same number, but different shape

For the 2008 Hyundai Tucson, I purchased the following parts:

Disclaimer

Properly functioning brake pads are a critical safety component of your car. While the process for replacing these parts is relatively straightforward, you shouldn’t perform the task if you’re not comfortable doing it. If anything doesn’t fit right, or looks unusual, rather get it checked out by a professional. Additionally, after installing new components, your brakes take some time to wear in, and won’t function 100% immediately. For more info on properly wearing in your brakes, look here.

Rear Wheel Brake Pad Replacement

Get the car up onto jackstands and remove the rear wheel. The brake system is fairly prominent. The entire mechanism is attached to the back of the wheel with two size 14 bolts that are tensioned with a spring washer. You don’t need to remove these. There are another two size 14 bolts (caliper bolts) that are more accessible and easier to remove that hold the mechanism together.

rear wheel caliper bolt

Loosen just the top bolt, and the mechanism folds open. You can then remove the old pads and runners if you have replacements. Now is the best time to push the piston back in. I opened the brake fluid reservoir and emptied some fluid from it before pushing the piston back. This way you don’t have to worry about it overflowing. I put the old brake pad on top of the piston, and used a C-clamp to push it back in.

Now you can load the new clips and pads. Depending on what you purchase, you may want to switch shims over from your old pads to the new new ones. Installation is easy, and you can also apply some lubricant to surfaces that you want to slide easy (not the brake surfaces!). Slide everything back together and tighten bolt.

Front Wheel Brake Pad Replacement

The front brake pad replacement is basically identical. The only difference is that instead of loosening the top caliper bolt, you’re going to loosen the bottom one and open the mechanism upwards.

Front wheel caliper bolt

Otherwise the process is the same.

 

Front Wheel Brake Disc/Rotor Replacement

The brake rotors only have two bolts holding them in place, but the entire brake mechanism has to be removed as well. For the front wheels you’re going to need a size 17 socket/spanner. For the rear wheels it’s a 14. Loosen both of the bolts, and have something nearby that you can rest the brake mechanism on.

front brake bolts

Front wheel brake bolts

Then you need to loosen the two screws holding the rotor in place. You need a rather large Philips screwdriver. These screws can be quite tight, I used a bit of WD40 to loosen them up, but if you’re going to be reusing the discs/screws, make sure to clean them properly, you want them to be tight.

My old discs came off very easily. Some people have more trouble, especially on older cars, you can try something like this if you’re stuck. The new discs go on in reverse order.

New SA Traffic Laws 2017

Recently in the news there has been some talk about new intended traffic laws. According to this article they are supposed to come into effect on 11 May 2017.  The laws are:

  • Bakkie drivers may not transport children in the back.
  • Bakkie drivers may not transport more than 5 people in the back
  • Heavy goods vehicles will be speed limited by weight, and require a sticker indicating the speed

This is going to happen. It has been published in the government gazette. Further laws that they wish to implement at a later stage, but have no due date, include:

  • Practical driving re-evaluation when renewing licence
  • Re-examine K53 (update it)
  • Lowering of speed limits in certain areas.
  • Goods vehicles with GVM > 9 tons banned during peak hours.

These laws were first discussed in 2015, but similar to the laws the DoT tried to pass in 2011, have been very poorly communicated to the public, and with any luck will be reconsidered. Both the laws that are changing and the proposed ones were published in the Government Gazette of 11 May 2015. And the Justice Project South Africa submitted some excellent commentary. To what it seems was mainly deaf ears.

I wanted to find more information about these topics, so tried looking around a bit. I first went to the eNATIS website, but their news page was returning a 404 error. The Department of Transport website didn’t go to their homepage (first google result), but asked me for login details. After getting to their proper home page, I couldn’t find any info on any upcoming changes to the NRTA. I then looked through Arrive Alive’s website and couldn’t find any news, and my browser warned me that the AA’s website was untrustworthy.

Let’s look at what’s been published though. On 11 November 2016, the 24th amendment to the NRTR was published in the Government Gazette, it had some definition changes, but ultimately the important parts were that as of 6 months after the Gazette was published, the following will come into effect. paraphrased:

school children may not be conveyed in the goods compartment of a motor vehicle for reward on public roads.

No one may be conveyed in the goods compartment of a motor vehicle for reward unless complying with NTLA provisions.

The amendment also immediately specified the inclusion of the following vehicles into the category not allowed to travel more than 100kmph, paraphrased:

vehicles between 3.5 and 9 tons

So what does all this mean? Basically what I put in the first half of this article. It means the law has and is changing. It means that there quite likely will be more changes later on, but there’s no new information.

The DoT really needs to reconsider the laws it’s implementing and take into count the excellent comments they receive back from the public, specifically organisations such as the Justice Project. They also need to do a better job of publicizing changing laws, and not rely on news outlets to publish these details. Very few people read the government gazette, and even fewer can make sense of what gets published.