Hey everyone, first off I have to apologize because although I do have some pictures from my install as you can see I am super lame and have posted none of them here (just kidding I did end up posting a few...). I'm skipping the pictures at this time basically because if you wait for me to go through and pick the good ones and annotate them and upload them somewhere to be hosted by the time that happens we all will be old and gray-haired. Just doing a text writeup at least to start with will save a lot of time and get these tips out there faster. A good DIY person is not going to need my pictures anyways, I have no photos valuable enough to make or break your install.
Let me also just throw this out there: Installing a remote starter yourself at home is a major project and not at all a beginners task. If you haven't done one before, it is way more complicated and risky than swapping out your radio or changing some speakers in your doors or changing to HIDs or most any other piddly electrical mod project you may have done so far. Literally nobody recommends a home DIY shadetree guy install his own remote starter. Not even me. I'm making this post mainly to help the hard-headed you-know-whats like me who are too stubborn to not do it themselves or for the professional who knows remote starter systems really well but is not familiar with the base versa.
If you decide to go ahead with an RS install at home you do so completely at your own risk and believe me, there is a lot of stuff you can mess up so think about it very carefully and do plenty of homework and preparation ahead of time. The more extra junk (features) your remote starter module has the worse this is going to be for you. A simple one-button unit with no windshield-mounted antenna would be the easiest as compared to a unit which also controls power door locks and has an alarm/siren and an antenna you need to route up to the windshield. If controlling or adding power locks is not high on your wish list and you don't need much range, get the one-button with no external antenna and no extra frills. Fewer wires = less suffering and less time.
Of course I want to add power door lock actuators and wanted to have an alarm on my securityless base sedan and I wantted hella long range so I got a nice nightmare kit with all the bells and whistles.
Tip #1: Windshield-mounted antenna (if applicable)
If you want a long-range unit you are going to end up with an antenna to mount up near your rear-view mirror. Tucking the cord into the headliner and tucking it most of the way down the side of the windshield won't be a major issue, but getting the cord through the dash at the bottom of the windshield may take a while. The issue here is that the dash, the plastic side panel on the A-pillar, and the body of the car are basically interlocked very tightly. The only way I can think of to describe this is to take both your hands and curl/cup your fingers as if you are holding onto some handlebars or a chin-up bar, then while keeping that shape with your hands try locking them together and pulling them apart. This is kinda how the edge of the dash is there and it makes it very difficult to pass a wire through it, technically impossible BUT there is one tiny spot near the corner where they left it open. This spot is maybe a fuzz more than 1/4 wide and 1/16th of an inch thin. Its enough to pass a flat cable through but what is going to stick you is the damn connector(s) on the end of the cord which ultimately plug into your remote starter brain. On my antenna wire there were three plugs, one for the antenna itself, one for the LED blinky lights, and one for the valet switch which is also part of the antenna. These connectors were not huge but to that tiny hole in the corner of the dash it was like trying to fit a brick through a mailbox slot.
I jabbed multiple screwdrivers into the corner of the dash and cranked and pried until something probably should have broken. It barely helped at all and I do not recommend you do anywhere near the corner of the dash with a screwdriver or pry bar as all you are going to get is badly gouged plastics. The way the panels lock together they are very strong. In hindsight the only thing I did not try as much as I probably should have is pressing up on the dash from underneath, which is tough to do you are not going to get your arm up there you would need a metal bar of some kind.
So, the dash is assembled super tight in a manner that greatly resists prying, there is one itty bitty slot/hole, how to get the antenna cord through there without gouging the crap out of your plastic? Well its too late for me but if I were to do it over on another car here is what I would do now: cut the antenna cord
. If you try to pass the cord through the tiny slot there connectors and all you are going to have a long painful experience like I did and risk wrecking your connectors by pulling wires out of them or whatnot. Just cut/peel the black flat cable shielding back about 6 inches, photograph or write down what wires connect to what (if they don't all have unique colors) and then cut it off leaving enough for you to solder those wires back together. This might not be the 100% best thing to do to the antenna wire but if you solder it back up nicely I don't see why it wouldn't work perfectly fine. This is assuming you have all copper wires in the antenna wire bundle, if you've got any sort of weird coax shielded thing I would leave it alone and resort to gouging the plastic.
With your connector(s) temporarily snipped off you now have a chance to get that wire through the dash without scratching the crap out of it.
How best to fish it through? What worked well for me was some JUMBO zip ties. I have some zip ties from my local fleet supply store that are three feet long and rated 175 lbs. They are the right combination of stiff and flexible and the right shape to go through a slot hole. Probe the tip around from the top and you should be able to find the slot and push it through until you can grab it from underneath the dash. Obviously the big fat ratcheting end of the zip tie is not going to fit through that hole so you can either 1) sacrifice that zip tie by cutting off the end of it or 2) use the first zip tie to reverse-feed a second zip tie taped end-to-end back up through the dash.
Now just tape your flat trimmed antenna cable to the zip tie making as small of a profile as possible and pull it through. Once the cable is through obviously go back and solder the connector wires back up and you should be good to go.
Lot of pissing around, eh? This is why I said don't even buy a unit with a window mount antenna if you don't need long-range. Many inexpensive units don't have windshield antennas and if you only want to start the car in your driveway from your window a few yards away then you will save a lot of time by not messing with this part. Alternatively, you may decide to buy a unit with an antenna like mine but not choose to mount it on your windshield (instead put it somewhere upright under the dash) which will reduce your range but save some time and suffering. If it has a button on the antenna make sure you leave it where you can comfortably reach it because most of the time you will need that button as well as the LED lights on the antenna during parts of programming and sometimes for additional features.
You know what I said I wasn't doing pictures but just for you guys here are a couple that may help, one showing the location of where the hole is the other a cautionary warning of what will happen to your plastic if you try to big-stick the issue:
Tip #2: Clutch switch bypass relay
Right so if you are installing a unit on a manual transmission car obviously the car requires the clutch pedal to be depressed during starter cranking as a safety measure, and obviously during remote start depressing that clutch pedal is not doing to happen. You are going to have to bypass the clutch safety switch with a relay. If your chosen RS unit is worth its mettle it will have programmable auxiliary relay driver wires you can utilize to control your relay while cranking. Naturally you need to setup the relay to mimick the operation of the clutch safety switch and allow it to return to normal functionality the rest of the time. There are two wires going to the clutch safety switch, IIRC the switch closes the circuit when the pedal is pressed. Thanks to the design of the stock wire harness (they really threw us a bone here) you can add a clutch switch bypass relay without cutting any stock wires here provided you have some spare male and female spade connectors lying around. Have a look at this picture of the clutch switch connectors, then look at the picture of my bypass relay, and see if it throws on a light bulb in your head:
See where that is going? For those who are familiar with relays it should be fairly obvious what to do from there. If the lightbulb did not come on for you and you are thinking of sending me a PM asking what pins of the relay to use then stop yourself right there and reconsider the entire idea of doing this install yourself because that would be a clear red flag that this project is likely too much for you. Not at all trying to be mean, everybody has a "first" install of this type of thing where you don't have a lot of experience to draw on and thats perfectly fine but I am not here to guide newbies today I'm trying to save some time for the people who have an above-average understanding of what needs to be done so they don't have to battle it quite as long as I did.
Tip #3: Neutral safety switch (for manual transmission)
Most remote starter kits have a programmable "manual mode" that makes it "safe" to use a remote starter on a manual transmission car. In a pinch manual mode is better than nothing but I, for one, do NOT want to do a 5-step dance with my car each and every damn time I park it just to reassure the car that I really did leave it in neutral. Thats obnoxious. But you DO want to make sure the car is left in neutral during remote starting, do not permanently tie the neutral safety wire to ground and skip this critical safety feature! Its cheap and really not that difficult to do.
So what you are going to need is to get yourself a normally open magnetic reed switch. I got this 5-pack from amazon for cheap: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00O9WCOB8/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
The rough idea here is to put the magnet on your shift linkage with some jbweld and then mount the reed switch to where it only picks up the magnet and closes the circuit to ground when the shifter is in neutral. The main thing is to make sure the spot on the linkage you choose is far enough back that it won't contact the cable shield in 2nd, 4th, and reverse gears. What ended up working for me was dremmeling the magnet until it had a notch that would fit the cable linkage nicely and facing the magnet straight up, then mounting the switch facing down in a small block of wood that was cut to the right width to be mounted above the traveling magnet. It is crucial after mounting your magnet to move the shifter lever into every position and be sure the magnet does not come into contact with anything or in any way interfere with the movement of the shifter. It is also critical to test that the circuit only closes in the neutral position. Hence we ensure with good confidence that the remote starter will not function if the vehicle is left in gear, nice and safe and idiot-proof.
Some pictures for you, since apparently I am doing pictures now even though I said I wasn't going to:
Note how the magnet does not touch the cable shield, shown here in 4th gear:
Holes drilled to mount wood block holding the reed switch:
Doesn't have to be pretty, just has to be out of the way of all moving parts and hold the maget in the proper position so it is just above the magnet when in neutral:
Hmmm... seems I neglected to take any pictures of the switch installed. I have a video though. Blerg... fine just for you guys I will start the video upload to youtube... I'll come back and drop that in in a bit...
Moving on.. (splitting into two posts because this is too big)