Originally Posted by 73shark
There's at least one member, Protaganist, that has installed an aftermarket alarm system. He'll probably weigh in and let you know.
That was a pretty safe prediction. I read every post in the "Sprinter and B-vans" forum, and being a know-it-all (or at least "know-it-some"
) engineer, I can't resist weighing in on topics of interest.
I have a high-end Viper alarm system. Which I have to update now that I have a smartphone. A smartphone interface sends you a text message anywhere in North America whenever the alarm goes off, as long as both you and your protected vehicle are within range of a cell tower. If you can't store your Interstate at home, or if you still work for a living and can't be home when the alarm might go off, this is the best feature to have. If nothing else, you can call law enforcement or a trusted neighbor to check on your vehicle whenever an alarm is triggered.
Other key features of my Viper system include:
- A glass-break sensor. This is sensitive enough that if you tap on the glass with a coin or key, the alarm sounds. It's an audio sensor specifically keyed to the sound frequency of breaking glass.
- A tilt sensor. This will detect any attempt to hook the vehicle up to a tow truck, or to jack it up to steal those expensive aluminum rims.
- An internal motion sensor. If someone manages to get in without triggering any other sensor, this will detect them moving around. It will also detect a door opening. Downside is, you can't turn on the alarm while you're inside the vehicle, so it's not a lot of use while you're camping. The way I figure it, if someone breaks in while I'm inside, I have my own means to protect me and mine.
- A battery power sensor. If someone disconnects the power, it triggers another alarm powered by its own internal battery.
- Alarm sirens both inside the vehicle under the dash and outside the vehicle under the hood. At 135dB, this alarm is loud enough to cause physical pain to anyone inside the vehicle except hard-core rap afficionados who are already half-deaf.
- A bright flashing "Viper" logo decal on the windshield. An alrm system works best if you advertise
that (1) you have one, and (2) it's active.
Two features I didn't
get are the proximity sensor and the remote start.
- Proximity sensors detect when someone is close to the vehicle and give a warning, "Step away from the vehicle." I hate those, after all the times I've triggered one when the guy who has one parks next to me, and going back to my
car triggers his
alarm. As far as I'm concerned, that sensor is only good for convertibles, open-topped Jeeps, and pickups with no cover over the cargo bed, where a burglar doesn't have to smash in order to grab.
- Remote start enables the engine to be started without the chipped key. In other wods, it defeats the vehicle's manufacturer's own anti-theft devices without replacing them with something equal or better, so it's less
secure. I'd rather have to manually start the engine, with the right key.
Originally Posted by Isuzusweet
A good car alarm will help but who reacts to car alarms anymore??? So the perp has enough time to pop the hood and kill the alarm.
As noted above, top-end alarm companies like Viper and Drone have thought of that. Any attempt to disconnect the battery triggers another
alarm, powered by its own internal battery. The downside is that I can't use the disconect switch by the accelerator pedal, either, because it triggers an alarm, so there's a limit to how long I can let my Interstate sit without running down the battery. I can safely go about three weeks and still have enough power to start the engine, but just to be safe, and to prevent the dreaded Airstream Separation Anxiety, I drive my Interstate somewhere
every two weeks or less, even if it's just to the grocery store. It is terribly handy to have an on-board fridge when buying groceries, you know.
The most effective anti theft system is a fuel shut off switch. Find the wire that feeds power to your fuel pump in the tank and add a switch in that line.
Not necessary. Newer vehicles with ID-chipped keys include a fuel shut-off, including Sprinter vans. If you attempt to start the engine with the wrong key— or no key— the ignition switch prevents both the electric fuel pump and the starter from getting any power.
By the way, if you have more than one vehicle with ID-chipped keys (both my Interstate and my Honda Fit have them) it's best to keep those keys on separate rings. If they're on the same key ring, you can wind up with the ignition switch trying to read both
keys because they've both close enough to the ignition switch, and locking out the starter and fuel pump.