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  1. #1
    Supporting Member JamieH's Avatar
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    Royal Clover (and possibly other) fashon key cross compatibility.

    I thought I would make a new post for this info. And hope others can contribute to it.

    To start, fashion keys are essentially unique aftermarket keys. If you like neat, 90's JDM things, fashion keys are likely to be of interest to you.

    Many of us here on MazdaRoadster know about them. Some collect them, some have some for actual use.

    Well, that actual use part is where things can become troubling. There's very little first hand info about the cross-compatibility of keys. Matter of fact, one of the only sources that even list cross-combatibilty, Heartbeat Los Angeles, doesn't really have any hard fact info. I am not knocking them, as the post on their site has some age on it. And I have contacted them about this and with this info so they can update it.

    These keys have codes thay denote what they are for or fit. For Miatas that code is M356. M356 keys will work for actual use on NAs without issue. Have them cut by your locksmith or what have you and tou're ready to rock.

    Meanwhile, there are others that have been thought to be cross compatible. One of those being M360. (There are others, but my focus here is the M360 coded keys.)

    Well, bad news folks. M360 keys are not cross-compatible with M356. They are not meant for Miatas. At least, as-is.

    Which is unfortunate as M356 keys have skyrocketed in cost in the past year or two. While the M360 keys have also gone up in cost, yet less so. So they seemed like a lower cost alternative. And they still can be, but with increased work/effort.

    Let me run this down for you step by step.

    Last week I jumped on buying an M360 Cameo key as the price was much more sensible than I have seen for M356 Cameo keys.



    This did not come from Heartbeat. This was a random facebook encounter.

    Now, I knew it was an unknown whether or not an M360 key was actually cross-compatible or not. But I was willing to take that risk. At the very least I'd have factual info at the end, and I do.

    Every fashion key I have bought has been with intentions to cut them. To date I have only bought 5. 1 M356 Duetto (silver), 3 M356 Pole Positions (silver), and most recently, 1 M360 Cameo. Only 1 of the Pole Position has yet to be cut, but will be if I ever lose 1 of the other 2 (not for sale).

    I have used the same locksmith and method to cut everyone of them. Each has been cut/copied off of original OEM primary keys. 2 for my '97 Betty, 1 for my '95 Rose.

    So when I went to have the M360 key cut, I did the same. Previously I have had 0 issues, the keys worked as intended on all locks/tumblers. But this time, there was definitely issue.

    After being cut, it did not work on any of the locks/tumblers. And it would not insert fully into the ignition cylinder. Dang, oh well, at least I know now.

    Yet, once I got home I figured what the hell, can't make it work less any worse. So I got to work trying to learm how to male it work if possible.

    So out came my digital dial caliper. Measure, measure, measure. And here os what I learned.

    There's essentially 3 key, pardon the pun, issues.

    1. The key is narrower than a an OEM key. So if cut by/against/copied from an OEM key, it is cut too shallow.

    2. The blade area inside, right after the section meant to be cut for the notches is too wide. This stops the key from being inserted all the way into the ignition cylinder

    3. The point at which the blade ramps up into the start of the shoulder is too short. This also hinders the key from being inserted all the way into the ignition cylinder.

    If all 3 of these issues are sorted out before the key is cut, it should be able to be cut by/against/copied off another key and mostly work. Should, as I obviously can't confirm that since I fixed those issues after it was cut.

    Mostly work. Let me clarify. That means doors, trunk, and ignition cylinder. But not the glovebox or center console. At least for as far as I went. If I had to guess, I'd say the extra thickness of the M360 is keeping it from working on the latter two. It still does not insert into the glovebox and I could not get it to turn in the center console (thought the center console is likely from a possible separate issue).

    So what did I do? Well, 1st I measured each notch on my OEM key and compared it to the M360 key. I then hand filed the notches on the M360 to match the OEM key as close as I could.

    After that, the key worked on the doors and trunk. No further work needed for those. But ah, what good is that? This is a fancy fashion key, I want to see it sticking out my ignition cylinder in the car. I want to use it to start and run the car too!

    So onto issues #2 and #3.

    #2. I initially started out by trying to hand file this section to be narrower. And while I made a little progress getting it to go further into the ignition, it was just far too slow. Out came my trusty dremel! Bingo, bango, bongo, we ain't going to the congo, but we are going to the ignition cylinder! But still not quote far enough on to 3.

    #3. The dremel was out and putting in work, so a bit more ain't gonna hurt it. A fair bit of grinding to extend that section and I was good. Of course I did so over multiple test fits. I can easily remove material, putting it back is essentially impossible.

    Oh and just as a precaution, when I extended the shoulder area I also extended the fuller (groove) in the center. Just to be safe.

    And here is a pic to better explain #2 and #3.



    While it is not boxed fully in the pic, the entire length of what the red box highlights was ground. From tip to shoulder.

    Please excuse my shoddy workmanship. This is not my normal level of acceptible work. I was working in the belief that this wasn't going to work, so I was a bit haphazard. Just about everything I did was trial and error and done by hand/freehand beyond measuring with the dial caliper. Trust me, if you think it bothers you, I can assure you it bothers me too. Still thinking I may try cleaning up the extend fuller a bit more if I can.

    Anyways, here's another pic, but from the side profile. This should show the grinding that was done a little better.



    So what does all this mean?

    1. If someome says or tells you that an M360 key fits a Miata do not listen to them. It does not.

    2. Yet, an M360 key can be made to mostly work if you are willing to put in the work. If you are willing to risk it.

    3. Still perfectly fine to collect. Seems most people soley collect them to have a collection of them. Which is great, they're another example of the odd, neat, wonderful world of the JDM aftermarket.

    These keys are not cheap. They are 100% a luxory item. They are also rare. It is understandable why anyone would not want to risk ruining one. Many people are incredibly apprehensive about even having them cut. I was before I had a couple cut. So never mind others being willing to go beyond just doing something as simple as cutting one.

    I want this out there for the few people that are interested in fashion keys to know. And especially for the even fewer people that intend to have them cut and use them as car keys. I'd hate for anyone to spend the money these things cost to end up with a near worthless paperweight after being cut and not function as it should. You know, as a key.

    Well, I hope this helps some. Hope this info is spread and shared. If you have anything to add, please do. The more info the better.

    P. S.

    If you have any fashion keys coded something else that may be, has been thought to be, or said to be cross-compatiable with M356 Miata keys and want to know if they are or can be made to work, PM me. I'll take key donations and even buy them if we can work something out. Just be mindful I rather not gamble much money on any keys of unknown compatibilty.
    Last edited by JamieH; 10-03-2019 at 12:20 PM.

  2. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to JamieH For This Useful Post:

    CLZinn2 (10-05-2019),Greasemonkey2000 (10-02-2019),oldgrayleather (10-03-2019),Roadster7 (10-02-2019),ueru (10-03-2019)

  3. #2
    5,000 rpm - there be torque here! Greasemonkey2000's Avatar
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    Wow fantastic write up, Jamie!!!
    '01 NB2 aka MisF1re: http://mazdaroadster.net/showthread....218#post207218
    '97 M aka Warbird, gone but not forgotten: http://mazdaroadster.net/showthread....B&goto=newpost
    Instagram: @greasemonkey2000

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    oldgrayleather (10-03-2019)

  5. #3
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power bogaut's Avatar
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    good info here.

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    oldgrayleather (10-03-2019)

  7. #4
    Supporting Member JamieH's Avatar
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    Just in case anyone has their doubts.

    https://youtu.be/0Ju93Ovewos

  8. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to JamieH For This Useful Post:

    Greasemonkey2000 (10-04-2019),Roadster7 (10-04-2019)

  9. #5
    Idling - Listen to it purr...
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    Thank you for saving me an assload of money!! The beer fundage is secure again!!!

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