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Old 02-12-2013, 04:57 AM   #1
cityhawk
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Default Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

When I purchased my 1993 SW2 in 2000, I wanted to add a security system both for convenience and, well, security, being that I live in the city. The car has power locks, which made the adaptation of a RKE feasible.

On the recommendation from a friend of mine who had a security system installed on her car, I went with the same company and they installed a "DesignTech" system.

The system wasn't great, but it worked OK for the most part with the main exception being that the alarm would sometimes randomly sound when I opened the door to get out after shutting the car off.

Well, sometime in the past year, it just stopped working and neither fob works even with new batteries. The company that installed the system no longer exists. When I google DesignTech, I come up with DIY systems...I figure the DesignTech system is probably not worth repairing, so I wondered if anyone had any luck with aftermarket security systems? The DesignTech wasn't terribly expensive to install and using a key to lock and unlock the door seems so.... 20th century, not to mention a pain in the butt when dealing with getting toddlers into the car.

...
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

Go with either Viper or Clifford. They both have been around for a long time and now are part of the same company, Direct Electronics. I had the Viper 5901 Responder LC3 SST Security/Remote installed at best buy and had no problems with the unit itself, just a couple of the door actuators went bad and they replaced them for free. The good thing about Best Buy is that if anything ever happens to the system, they will replace for free. The install is lifetime guarentee.

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Old 02-12-2013, 08:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

I can't even wrap my head around wanting a security system on a Saturn.

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Old 02-12-2013, 09:59 AM   #4
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by underthehood View Post
I can't even wrap my head around wanting a security system on a Saturn.
Apparently you have never lived in an inner city neighborhood or parked overnight in a big city hospital parking garage.

Thanks for the tip madness10. That sounds like a great idea.

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Old 02-12-2013, 10:05 AM   #5
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

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Originally Posted by cityhawk View Post
Apparently you have never lived in an inner city neighborhood or parked overnight in a big city hospital parking garage.

Thanks for the tip madness10. That sounds like a great idea.
Actually you are SOOOOOOOOO wrong. Grew up in Chicago, lived in Chicago most of my adult life. Only last 20 years or so in small town. And I STILL cannot wrap my head around someone stealing a Saturn. Heck even living in Chicago never had a problem. Had a Dodge Aries and Ford F150 XLT Super Cab. Both new and the Ford really optioned to the nines.
Maybe Chicago folks are just "better" folks?

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Old 02-12-2013, 11:03 AM   #6
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

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Originally Posted by underthehood View Post
Actually you are SOOOOOOOOO wrong. Grew up in Chicago, lived in Chicago most of my adult life. Only last 20 years or so in small town. And I STILL cannot wrap my head around someone stealing a Saturn. Heck even living in Chicago never had a problem. Had a Dodge Aries and Ford F150 XLT Super Cab. Both new and the Ford really optioned to the nines.
Maybe Chicago folks are just "better" folks?
In the early 2000s some time, the Saturn was in the top 10 most stolen cars in the country.

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Old 02-12-2013, 01:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by papoopeepoo View Post
In the early 2000s some time, the Saturn was in the top 10 most stolen cars in the country.
Specifically the '94's. They were most susceptible to the "use any key you want" syndrome though any year s-series can get the same...

My '97 SW2 had a dealer installed aftermarket alarm system. The 1st owners paid to have it removed at one of the first checkups and they lived in a city in CT so if that doesn't tell you anything about aftermarket alarm systems... :/

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Old 02-12-2013, 02:58 PM   #8
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by papoopeepoo View Post
In the early 2000s some time, the Saturn was in the top 10 most stolen cars in the country.
I do remember an episode of the Sopranos where one was stolen from a teacher Tony knew. I thought it was too funny. The car was chopped so they "acquired" another one and repainted it. Laughed my ass off reminded me of an old Amos and Andy episode

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Old 02-15-2013, 01:21 AM   #9
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

You never know who might steal a car even for just a joy ride. The Saturn on the roof that we've seen posted here a few times might have been such a stolen vehicle. One time someone driving what must have been a stolen car, some kind of Oldsmobile or Pontiac, I can't recall... two guys plowed into the side of my L-series after clipping the front of my SW2. Did about $6000 worth of damage to the LW300 which was covered by my insurance and did about $1400 worth of damage to my SW2, mostly front suspension parts, which I had to pay out of pocket (this was in September of 2002). The two guys got out of the car they were driving (which was likely totalled) and ran away on foot. This all happened the night I was having a party at my house, so some of my guests who were sitting out on the front steps actually witnessed it. Sometimes cars are stolen because they're worth a lot in parts, and sometimes they're just stolen for the helluvit because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time and were easily stolen.

My aim is to make sure that my SW2 is not among those easily stolen. My car has been broken into twice, though once I suspect was just vandalism. The other time, they were looking for something (I suspect an iPod or some such, since I had left the cigarette lighter out of its socket and my car has an AM/FM cassette, and someone might have thought I had a lighter-powered accessory on board). I always plug the lighter back in now.

...
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1993 SW2 MT 181,000 hard Boston city miles ("Rozzie")
Gone but not forgotten:
2001 LW300 ("Elle")
1999 SW2 MT
Project cars:
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1928 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan

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Old 06-13-2013, 12:25 AM   #10
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

Find a local alarm installer and then go quiz some customers. All of these aftermarket systems have issues so do your homework. The Viper and Clifford function reliably but none of these are built for a lifetime service life. Just keep it simple and they last long enough.

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Old 06-13-2013, 08:56 AM   #11
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

What did you end up going with cityhawk? Directed makes good units, and owns a bunch of brands (Viper, Python, Clifford, Avital...) like a previous poster stated. Usually the weak point is the installer or the remotes, but a properly installed system should outlast the car it's installed in.

I've worked for a couple different Directed dealers (Circuit City, Best Buy) doing installation work and sadly there were lot of incompetent installers out there across the board, not just at those places. So know your installer beforehand and ask about their level of experience and if they have any examples of their work. Also make sure they don't use t-taps! Only soldering or crimp connections are generally considered best practice for a reliable installation long term. That said the Viper 350 and Python/Clifford equivalent is good basic alarm with pretty durable remotes.

Last edited by scotty6486; 06-13-2013 at 09:03 AM..

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Old 06-15-2013, 02:25 PM   #12
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

Someone in my house put the box somewhere where I can't find it at Tue moment... But it was a Viper system... I want to say the number was a 360 in the model but I could be wrong. I'll have to look it up. It was a security system with alarm and RKE. It didn't have the remote start feature (even if I wanted it, I have a manual transmission so it wouldn't work anyway) I had it installed at Best Buy.... Total price something like $160. When I find it, I'll verify the particulars.

...
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1993 SW2 MT 181,000 hard Boston city miles ("Rozzie")
Gone but not forgotten:
2001 LW300 ("Elle")
1999 SW2 MT
Project cars:
1966 Corvair Monza convertible
1928 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan

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Old 06-15-2013, 11:27 PM   #13
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cityhawk View Post
It didn't have the remote start feature (even if I wanted it, I have a manual transmission so it wouldn't work anyway)
They have a kit for that now.

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Old 06-15-2013, 11:40 PM   #14
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

Quote:
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They have a kit for that now.
Most more modern remote starts have programming built in for manual transmissions, but they require you to do a series of steps before you leave the car so that you can remote start it before you get in the next time. It usually looks something like pressing the remote start button before you take the key out to keep the car running, placing the shifter in neutral, exiting the vehicle and closing all doors and press lock, then the car will shut down and the remote start knows that the vehicle was not left in gear. However if you open a door before the next time you want to remote start it, you have to start the car and do the whole sequence over again or it won't start remotely.

You can also just not use the manual programming and always make sure your car is not in gear, however no reputable shop would install/set it up like that. It will move if you remote start it in gear, I've seen it happen once.

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Old 01-19-2014, 01:52 PM   #15
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cityhawk View Post
Someone in my house put the box somewhere where I can't find it at Tue moment... But it was a Viper system... I want to say the number was a 360 in the model but I could be wrong. I'll have to look it up. It was a security system with alarm and RKE. It didn't have the remote start feature (even if I wanted it, I have a manual transmission so it wouldn't work anyway) I had it installed at Best Buy.... Total price something like $160. When I find it, I'll verify the particulars.
Please post an update and some comments on this system. I am looking at at installing aftermarket RKE actuators on two separate 3rd gen SC2 cars.

Re: the comment about installing alarms on saturns:

Everyones situation is different. I might hav agreed with you a couple years ago. Currently my 19yr old daughter lives in a different state. Lives in an apartment complex, and works as a YMCA lifeguard in a 'not-so-nice' area. She also works making balloons for tips and often has >$300 in cash on her and no time to get to the bank before class/work.

You also need to recognise that not all vehicle break-ins are to steal the car or stereo. There have been several cases where rape/abductions start off with the perp hiding in the back seat.

I know that a car alarm will not prevent this 100%, but I am currently working projects for both my teenage girls and want to add any margin of protection possible.

...
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:10 PM   #16
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

Side comment:
Buy her a compact, ridiculously bright flashlight and a case of batteries for it. Nobody gets to hide in shadows. And if they do, they will only see spots.

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Old 01-19-2014, 06:12 PM   #17
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

Quote:
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Side comment:
Buy her a compact, ridiculously bright flashlight and a case of batteries for it. Nobody gets to hide in shadows. And if they do, they will only see spots.
Good idea. That will complement the S&W .38 LW that she wants.

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Old 01-19-2014, 08:52 PM   #18
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by underthehood View Post
I can't even wrap my head around wanting a security system on a Saturn.
You never had your car stolen. Mine was taken from the parking garage at work. It was missing for ten days. Dec17th to the 27th and kinda messed up Christmas!
They stole the battery and all the fuses,all my tools in the trunk,ripped the ignition up,and damaged the shifter. That doesn't cover the $315 just to get it back from the tow yard! An alarm would have saved me a lot of headaches!!
My car was a rolling ashtray with a floorboards the exact shape of a trash can and they still stole it! They had to choose between cleaning it or putting in gas. They chose to clean it! They found it when it ran out of gas!!

Last edited by coolcat2; 01-19-2014 at 08:58 PM..

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Old 01-19-2014, 09:05 PM   #19
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

If you do get an aftermarket alarm, get one pro installed with a lifetime warranty on the install, usually over a period of years, the relay for the ignition kill dies leaving you stranded, since you are mainly concerned about unauthorized access, you might be able to get another brand alarm like Prestige, or Crimestopper and instal it yourself and leave out the ignition kill for greater reliability; Directed electronic's stuff needs a special computer to plug in and set all the options, a majority of the other aftermarket alarms do not need this.

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Old 01-19-2014, 09:23 PM   #20
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Default Re: Recommendations for aftermarket security systems?

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If you do get an aftermarket alarm, get one pro installed with a lifetime warranty on the install, usually over a period of years, the relay for the ignition kill dies leaving you stranded
Planning to install myself. If possible, I will probably not connect some of the options. the "ignition kill" is one that immediately comes to mind. I do not want my kid stranded if the alarm system decides to act up and not let the car start.

Quote:
...since you are mainly concerned about unauthorized access, you might be able to get another brand alarm like Prestige, or Crimestopper and instal it yourself and leave out the ignition kill for greater reliability;
I just want something that will give her reliable RKE for the doors and trunk, have a 'panic' button, and make a crap-load of noise if somebody tries to force entry the car. Honestly... this is not a BMW or Jag we are talking about. I do beleive the typical perp trying to break into a saturn is looking for a quick score. If they are that determined to make off with this car, then... thats why we have insurance. I just want to ward off the knuckle draggers that might think about a quick break-and-score.

Quote:
...Directed electronic's stuff needs a special computer to plug in and set all the options, a majority of the other aftermarket alarms do not need this.
I will look into these options. But I really don't think I will need to worry about too many custom options. Just want RKE, the flashing led, panic horn/flash, and chaos when its tampered with.

I think all that can be accomplished on the viper units using there standard program.

I am still trying to figure out if I will have any compatibility issues with the existing factory RKE module and wiring. And... Where the best place to splice in the wiring would be.

...
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