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I'll never buy a TJ with an aftermarket alarm


Nimbley

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 21, 2018
Messages
140
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Somewhere in the desert
The thing is thieves are good at what they do. No alarm is going to keep someone from taking your vehicle if they want it. Aftermarket alarms are all a waste of money. I had an 86 K10 stolen and it had a kill switch that I thought was completely hidden. My ex wife had our Durango stolen even with the factory passive anti theft armed.

I work in the auto industry and have been able to bypass any factory alarm on cars that came in on the hook. A new corvette, an A6 Audi, Nissan 300zx, and many more. With a little knowledge no alarm will keep you from starting and driving off in any vehicle. If you have a professional scan tool all you have to do is get the door open and I haven’t found a car yet that I can’t get open in less than 5 minutes. In Arizona car thieves are very good at what they do. A few years ago there were even thieves getting VIN numbers and going to the dealer to get new keys made, and got them. My K10 was never recovered. The Durango was recovered but totaled. The detective said it had 32 illegal immigrants in it when they finally caught them after a high speed, across the desert chase. All the seats were pulled and it was packed like a sardine can. The suspension was barely hanging. Down here they love vehicles that can cross the desert and hold a lot of people. It’s a serious problem. Almost everyone I know has had a car or two stolen. A guy I work with had his new F-350 taken in broad daylight. They caught the guy filling it up with fuel and it already had the seats out and packed with bottled water.

I remember back in the 90’s when Alpine alarms were popular. The local mockingbirds would copy the sound. Used to crack me up. Like Jerry said. If they really want it they’ll just pull it up onto the tow truck.
 

KCsTJ

TJ student
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Jan 9, 2018
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2,784
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Farmersville, TX, United States
Personally I see two issues with aftermarket alarms. First, not many people do anything but cover their ears or ignore a car alarm when it goes off. Too many false alarms... "Crying Wolf" too many times will make people immune to such warnings and they'll ignore them all. Second, most are installed by minimum wage kids who barely can get a car stereo working but with absolutely terrible wiring practices. Wires that are just twisted together, often just barely covered with electrical tape ready to fall off when it gets hot, sometimes not even covered at all. Wires that are crimped together with a pair of pliers as the crimping tool, ready to fall out from a faulty crimp.

Good alarm systems are expensive, and good alarm systems aren't good at all when you have some high school kid trying to follow wiring instructions that make no sense to him due to no electrical/electronic education.

Factory alarm systems are pretty good, primarily because they're properly installed.

But alarm or no alarm system, many car thieves simply ignore the horn honking when it happens and drag/tow/carry the vehicle without even trying to hotwire/start it. That's what happened with my '97 TJ stolen nearly ten years ago. A witness said the thief backed a flatbed tow truck up to it and dragged it backwards up onto the truck bed and took off with it. He never even opened the door. The witness said he never dreamed it was being stolen, he thought it was being taken to a shop to fix it.
Jerry that suggests that your jeep was specifically targeted. Imo someone knew your 97 tj was well built and they had a plan and they knew what they were doing and specifically went after it.
Then either parted it out or hid it in a large box truck and took off, but somebody knew what mods it had and was too tempting.
 

Nimbley

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 21, 2018
Messages
140
Location
Somewhere in the desert
Jerry that suggests that your jeep was specifically targeted. Imo someone knew your 97 tj was well built and they had a plan and they knew what they were doing and specifically went after it.
Then either parted it out or hid it in a large box truck and took off, somebody knew what mods it had and was too tempting.
Absolutely correct. Someone knew the value. That’s exactly why my K10 was stolen. I had over $15,000 invested and that was the late 90’s. It was a beautiful truck. The cop told me is was likely parted out in less than 12 hours.
 
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dudehitt

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
402
Location
Phoenix
It really all depends on the install quality. My scion has one mainly for the remote start capability. I installed it myself 10-12 years ago. It doesn't do anything since the remote was destroyed a few years ago by a valet, but it doesn't cause any problems. Don't get anything installed at best buy or audio express or whatever you have. Do it yourself. If somebody wants the car the alarm isn't slowing them down. They can easily bypass the starter cutout. That's what i did to make it home from work when my remote died. Remote start to get the ac rolling 5 or 10 minutes before i left work when it's 118 degrees was worth it. Paying more for the one that keeps the clutch switch for the remote start was worth it. You couldn't get that from the factory back then.
 

Kiwi TJ

I don't suffer from insanity I enjoy every minute
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Ride of the Month Winner
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May 3, 2016
Messages
4,499
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Auckland New Zealand
Absolutely correct. Someone knew the value. That’s exactly why my K10 was stolen. I had over $15,000 invested and that was the late 90’s. It was a beautiful truck. The cop told me is was likely parted out in less than 12 hours.
I cant see you driving one of these....Why would anyone want to steal this K10 ;) 😁


Maruti-Alto-K10-Colors.jpg
 

psrivats

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2018
Messages
1,712
Location
OR, USA
New rule. I will never, ever, EVER buy a TJ having a 3rd party alarm system.

I'm going to need back surgery after the time I've spent today laying under this dash. Is it normal to have all these extra fuses under the dash, not part of the standard fuse block? Are they stock fuses or added by previous owner?

I watched videos and read about how to remove an alarm system, but this mess does not seem to match what I saw and read.

View attachment 98397

Additional fuses found while lowering this spaghetti nest from under dash:
View attachment 98398

More fuses found after removing front dash plate under steering wheel:
View attachment 98399

I had a similar experience removing the Automate brand alarm the PO put in mine. I spent ~5 hours undoing that junk and it was very involved. It was not easy by any means as well. I installed a factory OEM skim module installed afterwards based on the info on the how-to section of this forum.

Good job removing that junk.
 
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I

indio

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 15, 2019
Messages
126
Location
Chicagoland
I got the alarm system removed. Some parts were installed proper with solder, but some only had twisted wire and electrical tape. The "vampire draw" went down from around .25 to .15 amps. Better, but still not acceptable.

Question. Mounted on the body sidewall under the driver side dash (to the left of driver legs) , there is a wire junction box with solenoid on the bracket next to it (see photo). When I connect the battery, that solenoid energizes, and remains energized until I disconnect the battery. Seems odd. I don't think that is correct behavior? It will always be drawing electricity.

I think that solenoid is responsible for all or part of the remaining vampire power draw. I wasn't able to find much info online about that solenoid. Does anyone know what that solenoid is for, and why it might be energizing?

Solenoid.jpg
 

dbbd1

go away...
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2019
Messages
877
Location
Oregon
That looks stock, weird. See if it remains energized when you close the doors (or pull fuse#4)
 
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indio

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 15, 2019
Messages
126
Location
Chicagoland
That looks stock, weird. See if it remains energized when you close the doors (or pull fuse#4)
Yep I think it's a stock solenoid expected to be there, mounted to the stock bracket. I'll try the door thing and a few other tests.
 

AZ erik

Member
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
26
Location
Arizona
I know the feeling. I thought it was a pretty cool feature when the PO told me about it but it caused nothing but issues. Take your time, mark the correct wires and again, take your time.
View attachment 98675
Ahhh memories. 25 years ago I was upside down in many a car, truck, suv, tractor, boat etc nether regions either putting it in or taking it out. I thought being the owner would be easier, but when I had to crawl in and fix my installers installs I had to make some tough decisions. 1 was to send this *&%*&^ Camero over to a friend of mines shop for them to "fix it once and for all". Stupid remote start that refused to work 100%, and once it stopped the whole damn car would stop for several hours. If the remote start failed, the car wouldn't start with a key either. Remember those dumb ass chips in keys?? My friends shop spent 6 hours on it, thought it was fixed, 3 days later... nope! (In order for it to wok you actually hid a key in a box that would 'turn on' with the remote start, brilliant idea...) Then come to find out she trades the car into a local dealer, he sells it to someone, who gets the friggin receipt for the original install at my shop! Thankfully I had packed up and moved to Phoenix! F^&*n phantoms!! Watch out for a white 84 t top z28 in Tucson.

Funny thing was I nearly justified picking up a 04 Rubi with a AT because I could put in an autostart (totally needed in Phx) but then the pic of you under the dash sent stabbing pain in my kidneys lol
 
Last edited:

AZ erik

Member
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
26
Location
Arizona
In my opinion a simple kill switch works so much better than an overpriced, over complicated and faulty alarm system.
That hidden magna switch is the key really. That works great. until the relay dies, but always carry a spare or two and know where that is.
 
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indio

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 15, 2019
Messages
126
Location
Chicagoland
Finally had some "TJ time" today. Previously I had removed the alarm system, and that had reduced the "vampire draw" from around 0.25 down to 0.14 amp draw.

Today I began removing fuses in the engine bay fuse box (located on passenger side fender). After removing the 30 amp "F3" fuse, the amp meter went down to 0.0. Cool. At least now I know something on that circuit is drawing the 0.14 vampire amps.

From what I can find researching online, that F3 fuse is for the ignition. So I guess that means something wired into the ignition circuit is drawing the power even when the key is off. Just need to find out what ...

(Amp draw on meter went to 0.0 after removing the fuse shown in photo below)
PulledF3Fuse.jpg


(Circuit box cover indicates the fuse is F3, which I think is for ignition circuit)
EngineBayFuseCoverDiagram.jpg
 

AZ erik

Member
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
26
Location
Arizona
If I had to venture a guess, you have an aftermarket radio that’s tapped in. Or some lights that might work even when keyed off, switch could be flaulty for them, causing a draw.


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S.McArthur

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
May 31, 2018
Messages
771
Location
Greenbrier, TN
This is also a good time to mention that as cool and as much performance you gain from stickers, you are advertising what you may have of value in your vehicle.
 
OP
I

indio

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 15, 2019
Messages
126
Location
Chicagoland
If I had to venture a guess, you have an aftermarket radio that’s tapped in. Or some lights that might work even when keyed off, switch could be flaulty for them, causing a draw.


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It does have an aftermarket radio, which is wired to turn on even when the ignition is off. (Installed by previous owner.) I had previously disconnected the power to the radio, but the vampire draw remained. I will take a second look at it though.
 
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indio

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 15, 2019
Messages
126
Location
Chicagoland
Think I found the problem. Possibly bad ignition switch.

If I turn the ignition switch all the way counterclockwise as much as possible, the amp meter reads 0.14. But if I turn the key one stop clockwise, then the amp draw reduces to 0.01 (which is in the normal range).

Another odd thing, I can remove the ignition key regardless of where the switch is turned. On most vehicles the switch should only allow key removal when in the official OFF position?

I wonder if maybe turning the ignition switch all the way counterclockwise is really an "accessory" setting which causes small battery drain? In that case if the ignition switch is faulty allowing key removal, effectively maybe we are leaving the switch in the accessory position when we park the vehicle, which is causing battery drain?
 

AZ erik

Member
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
26
Location
Arizona
There is a pair of wires for it. A constant which is meant to keep the memory and a switched with would power the whole radio off. I’m thinking that if it’s a ‘high power’ deck it’s draw is due to it not really switching off. 1/4 seems about right. Change the wiring so it’s actually switched and you’ll probably lose the draw. Usually yellow or orange is memory, with a red wire for the switched.


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AZ erik

Member
Joined
May 29, 2019
Messages
26
Location
Arizona
Ignore the above, you found it.

There could be an ‘acc’ if turned all the way back. At which you found your problem. The cause is actually the lock tumblers inside the switch. You could probably spray a small squirt of silicon spray inside the lock to get it to hold the key after you take it in and out a few times in the correct position. I think there’s dirt in the lock letting you remove the key. Canned air and silicone spray. Not wd40 as it’s conducive if I remember right.


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