Installing Remote Car Starter

| UltraRob | Friday, February 3rd, 2006 at 5:51 pm

Here are the details of installing the remote car starter on my wife’s van. We got it last fall from some 80 year old woman that had put 12,000 miles on in 4+ years. The only thing about it was that it didn’t have remote door lock/unlock. With 2 little kids this turned out to be a pain. Also the beginning of December it got down to -16 degrees and we don’t have a functional garage so the vehicles sit out in the cold. The one we have is in pretty bad shape and one day the 1 piece swing up garage door came off it’s track and if it hadn’t caught on some boxes I would have been flattened. As it was I only was doubled over and got my back tweaked a little.

I can never come up with good Christmas gift ideas but getting a remote car starter that also did door lock/unlock seemed like a great idea. I was in the parts store near our house and they had a deluxe remote starter for $80 and they only had one left. On the package it said it was the world’s easiest to install remote car starter. I got it but also checked one other place but they had sold out of them. My wife had called about remote lock/unlock and just that was $250 installed. I figured I had the Monday off after New Years and I could get it put in and be done with it. My first hint it wasn’t going to go well was when I went to the wiring instructions on the web and a lot of the links were broken. I couldn’t even get it to print out because they had put the wiring info in a scrolling table. They had another link to print it but it was broken. I hate when people get clever with web pages and make it hard to use. They had buttons for pictures but they also were broken. They also had buttons for notes. Now these worked but referenced other documents by a number. The web is about linking not references. The documents are by title not by a number so it took some looking to find what I needed.

I found diagrams for the 2nd start wire, the door locks, and the parking lights. The one for the door lock/unlock was for older vans but it was the same except the resistor values had changed. Monday morning I figured I’d just run over to Radio Shack and get the resistors and relays I needed. The relays Radio Shack had were 4 pin and a few of the ones I needed or 5 pins. I was also going to need to solder 5 resistors together to get the 180 Ohms for the 2nd start wire although I may have been able to get by with 2 100 Ohms. At some point I decided to call tech support because the package says they have 7 day a week support. They had a message saying they were closed but still put me on hold for the next operator. I held for a while since I was searching on the web but as I expected no one ever picked up. I spent most of the day trying to get parts but did get a few wires run.

Tuesday I did get the resistors I needed at Centennial Electronics since they were closed on Monday. I think it was Wednesday when I finally found an installer at one of the local car audio places that had a personal stash of 5 pin relays and sold me some. I then turned the bi-fold door I was painting for the basement remodel project into a work bench for wiring up all the relays and resistors. I talked to some of the hardware guys at work and they said I should shrink wrap the resistors to reduce the chance of the solder connections getting broken. These are guys that find it no big deal to design circuitry to measure the length of a network cable by the signal reflecting off the other end.

I put off actually connecting everything to the vehicle so that I could get training in on the weekends. Since I wasn’t supposed to do much last weekend after having the flu, I started back into it on Saturday. Everything seemed to be going smoothly until it came time to initialize the unit after hooking up the 2 start wires, ignition, power, brake sensor, and ground. I went through the steps they said to do and it didn’t initialize. I gave it one more try and all the gear indicator lights came on, all the dash lights, and the windshield wipers started going. I turned the remote unit off and disconnected some wires. I then tried starting the van with the key but it only clicked. Now I was really freaked out thinking I had fried some $500 computer chip. I had noticed when I had run to get something first thing in the morning that the battery had seemed a little weak. I thought of jumping it but was scared to if something was fried. I took the battery over to the parts store and after about 10 minutes the tester showed the battery needed to be replaced. Once I put the new battery in, the van started right up. What a relief!

I then tried to initialize the unit again but it wouldn’t. I then remembered I’d seen somewhere that the start wire had to be connected directly to the remote start unit for initialization instead of through the relays. Once I connected it that way it initialized just fine. I then reconnected the relays and tested it. It actually started! I then hooked up the horn so it would honk just before it started the van and can also be used as a panic alarm. It can also be used for door lock/unlock. The horn and the brake sensor were the only easy wires that didn’t require additional circuitry. The door locks went pretty smooth except it didn’t work at first. It didn’t take long with the multimeter to figure out the wiring diagram had a couple wires tied to 12V when they needed to be to ground. I found a diagram on that confirmed it. I also found when I hooked into the wire for the parking lights that there was a wire shown going to 12V that needed to go to ground.

It was very satisfying getting everything working but I’m not sure I want to do it again.

4 responses to “Installing Remote Car Starter”

  1. BasicJim says:

    You didn’t mention the brand, but I am pretty sure that I know which brand. I ran into the same issue with their website and broken links. I found that the info the did have was wrong and had much better info. I have done 3 installs of that brand with some sucess, but would have it professionally done on any car newer than 2004!

    Congrats on the install!!

  2. JB says:

    Amazing work. Just seeing all those wires hanging under the dash makes my back hurt.
    I wired up a duel battery system with a battery switch on the dash. Seems simple enough. but I tried to get fancy putting an LED indicator light on the dash. Once finished I hooked up the battery, by the time I got back around to the inside of the truck, it was full of smoke! yikes. The light couldn’t handle the current, shorted out and all the wire melted. hah.
    That 12volt has some good stuff on it.


  3. Brooke says:

    i m thinking to buy a car stereo from sound and alarm. anyone please guide!! or nyone has a better deal for me??

  4. […] on Sunday she only wanted me to do an easy spin. That gave me Saturday to make another attempt at installing the remote car starter and remote door locks on my wife’s van. In the time between my last attempt, I had soldered up the required […]

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