Should you install your own remote start? - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 10-27-2003, 12:58 PM   #1
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Default Should you install your own remote start?

I have seen quite a few posts asking whether or not they should do a remote start installation themselves. Here are my thoughts after going thru the process.

First, some background. My car is a 93 sse. I am a computer guy, never really been much of a car guy. Finally took interest in really becoming a car guy in the last 6 months. I have never touched anything electrical in my car before this project. The system i installed is
DEI Valet 554r
This system is about as advanced as you can get. It has everything.

To prep I did a LOT of reading. Reading to find what the best model out was, reading the manuals of each of the models to determine which would be easier to install. Reading to determine which features i wanted. I would suggest the boards on the12volt. They are a great source of information. Searching for wiring diagrams, I found 3 different diagrams for my car, and I thought it was odd that they had different wires labled in different positions. This turned out to pay off, for example i found a Tach connection inside my car and did not need to route my tach wire thru the firewall. There were a few wires like this that some spots were easier to tap into than others.

I would say I did about 40 hours of research for this project. After I had all of the parts I needed, I spent about 2 hours going thru and labeling each wire where it would connect in my car, how they would interconnect etc. This step helped a LOT. Since they were labled, i tore off a label right before i connected it in. So i knew what was done, and what was left.

I had all of my documents printed out ahead of time and laid out. These included:
Installation manual for my remote start
Installation manual for the Bulldog vats bypass
Dash disassembly guide i found in the techinfo here
3 different wiring diagrams
chilton (wiring diagram in chiltons is worthless)

I had a buddy helping me, this made the process a lot easier because he did some of the long wiring processes, like routing the wires under the hood etc. This also made it better because it was someone to chat with as the process went. 20 hours solo i would have went insane.

One note, if you have the vats system (key with the pellet) i would deffinately suggest that you use the bulldog 791 vats bypass module. For bypassing vats, you have 2 options, make the relay yourself, or buy a module. the relay will cost you about $10 to make yourself, you have to figure out the resistances yourself, and you have to interrupt one of your vats wires. The bulldog vats bypass costs $25, figures out the resistance itself when you first turn your car on, connects to one of the wires, does not interrupt it, and works perfectly.

As you go thru the process, start with the wires you know, without a doubt, which ones they are. Test them with your multimeter so you see what kind of readings you are getting when it is activated etc. By doing this, it allowed me to find some wires that I wasnt positive about their location, it helped me find some better locations for the wires by tracing and testing, and it helped me figure out how to design my relay for my rear defrost input.

If you have any questions about any of the wires, post them. The group of people here were wonderful for my questions and very prompt. Special thanks to Andy Green, your advice and your posts of the dashboard diary made everything MUCH easier.

Lastly, if you are thinking about doing this, you should be a very patient person. 20 hours of work is a long time and when one little wire isnt connected right, tracing the problem thru 40 wires can be a daunting task. Also, make sure to have another vehicle available, I ended up making 3 trips to the store even after my extensive prep work. All in all it was a great experience and I understand my car'* electrical system soooo much better. I would deffinately suggest this project to any enthusiast with the drive to take it on.

I finished my remote start yesterday, and our first snow in Fargo is hitting the ground today. Talk about perfect timing!

Randy
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Old 10-27-2003, 01:07 PM   #2
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Congrats on the successful install Randy.

This narrative of your installation process will be encouraging for any do it yourselfer interested in this undertaking. Its a big complicated process for someone who is not electrical or mechanically proficient, but looking for a challenge

And yes...great timing indeed.
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Old 10-27-2003, 01:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
20 hours of work
That sucks that it took that long to install. The hardest part for me was trying to get the the lil diode thatgoes right underneath the ignition. I hated that part cuz if it out of alignment by just a lil the car wont start.
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Old 10-27-2003, 02:48 PM   #4
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Gotta give respect where it'* due. I would have probably ended up trashing my car.
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Old 10-27-2003, 05:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrash187
Quote:
20 hours of work
That sucks that it took that long to install.
Heck, I think 20 hours is pretty good for a project of that magnitude.

The problem is that it'* deceptively complex. You start with a little package and a whole bunch o' wires, which doesn't look like a big deal and (depending on where and what you're buying) might cost as little as 40 bucks or so (the BulldogSecurity RS-82 remote starter is only $44.84 at Wal-Mart). But hardly any of those wires go to the same place as another wire; they all have different destinations, and the instructions can take you only so far towards identifying _which_ wire on _your_ car is exactly the right one. And it'* Horseshoes and Hand Grenades time: It only counts if you find the _right_ wire, not the one next to it, to make your connections with.

Beyond that, you also have to dismantle various parts of your car, some of which have their own hazards and some of which can be VERY expensive to repair or replace if you break or damage them, plus of course you're always at risk of disabling the car as well; at some spots along the way, you _will_ be disabling it (temporarily), so a backup car for parts chasing is practically mandatory.

To this day, I'm slightly amazed that department stores are selling these things over the counter, not so much because people will hurt themselves with them or anything like that, but because it is so challenging to do it yourself that I can't believe the return rate would make it worthwhile for them. (I successfully nabbed a post-Christmas, returned starter kit from Meijer for half price by pointing out that not only was its instructional video missing, but the packaging was so chopped up that it wouldn't even hang on the rack anymore.) Even Wal-Mart sells them, and I would dearly love to know what the successful installation percentage is among Wal-Mart customers. (No offense; I'm a long-time Wal-Mart shopper myself.)

I like installing them because it'* just plain challenging, and I like that. However, it never really got that much easier for me along the way, from one installation to the next, although I did learn a lot about relays, how to use them, the difference between positive and negative pulses, etc. But I can't honestly say that anyone can do it _just_ if they're patient and read the directions; you really have to have a knack for working on automotive electrical systems (not _electronics_ so much, but 12-volt systems and how they work in a car). Some people are really good at swapping engines, but that wouldn't qualify them for installing a remote starter. As I've said before, this is about the only product I know of for which J.C. Whitney actually prints a warning in their catalog about how difficult it is to install. They're not kidding.
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Old 10-27-2003, 10:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acg_ssei
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrash187
Quote:
20 hours of work
That sucks that it took that long to install.
Heck, I think 20 hours is pretty good for a project of that magnitude.

The problem is that it'* ....install. They're not kidding.
I wasnt putting him down. I was just surprised on how long it took. I give him props for taking this task on by himself. Everybody does it at their own pace. Some people pick it up faster than others. That why when you go to Circuit city/ Best buy they can have it done in 4 hours. For the basic remote start & keyless entry. Yes I know how expensive some parts are. Yes it is a pain to tear apart both the driverside & passenger side kick panel and underdash.
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Old 10-28-2003, 02:36 AM   #7
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After reading this, I have kinda given up on installing Remote Start on the wife'* Astro. I was pretty interested in the $40 WalMart jobby myself. But I know myself well enough to know if it didn't work after a couple of hours, I'm liable to get fed up and do something dum.

If she reall wants it, I'll spend the money and have it done. Unless Randy is gonna be in Minneapolis soon...
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Old 10-28-2003, 02:46 AM   #8
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it cant be that hard by a bulldog they even come with a video
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Old 10-28-2003, 04:46 AM   #9
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But I also heard that the bulldog systems aint that great and dont last long.
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Old 10-28-2003, 09:16 AM   #10
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That'* great news, I've been messing around with car stereo since I was 12 and I still cant connect a remote starter , but for the head ache , and having to be on my knees , hands al dirty , having to buy relays, tape , connectors , I'de rather just pay for the installation.
I paid 400.00 fo rthe works , lifetime warranty , window roll up , starter , trunk , window sensor , microwave sensor , and car alarm , with pager . Car was done in 4 hours , plus the 1 hour wait for him to start .
Believe it or not , I love the system sooooo much , I am installing a feul injection kit in my Monte Carlo so I can add one to that car to .
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