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Sister-in-law lost the keys to her 98 Avalon. So I replaced the lock cylinder with a new one. Tried cranking it and it's turning over but It's not cranking and I now see it has the security light blinking. I know this has to do with the Immobilizer. The guy I talked to at the dealership said that since it is older then an 05, the only thing that can be done is replace the ECU since it cant be reprogrammed and we don't have the "master key". I'm trying to see if anyone knows if this is right, cause I don't trust anyone at a dealership.
 

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I had a similar problem when I unhooked my ECU on a dead battery while I was chasing an emissions issue. Key would crank but not fire it up after reconnect.
Turns out even if your ECM is bad, you can't just get another ECM from the junkyard or other donor car, because they used Denso as well as Delco made ECMs for various first gens. An XL would have a different firmware than an XLS... it would have to be the EXACT model ECM for your car to be compatible, and then don't forget you have to get a new key made to program it with.
 
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