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Old 08-16-2015, 08:25 PM   #15
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I like that one. It would go well with my "ignore the dog, beware of homeowner" sign.


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Old 08-17-2015, 08:30 AM   #16
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Protag: There appear to be 5 different Viper systems (that the Geek squad will install) available on the Best Buy site. I'm not interested in remote turn on (well, not for my van anyway), but do want to make sure I'm getting enough protection. I don't know enough about these systems to appreciate the differences between a $199 system and a $739, although I never like to overspend if I don't have to. Can you recommend?
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Old 08-17-2015, 08:44 AM   #17
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:28 AM   #18
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Although the web site below doesn't include MB, the idea of the small hose clamp around the lock/clip mechanism will still work. On the major brands, it takes a thief 5 seconds to defeat the key lock with a screwdriver and hammer. But with the Jimmi-Jammer system, they have to pound out the lock itself, and that takes a lot more work and noise. I also highly recommend the Viper alarm system. Between the 2 setups, it will at least deter a break-in. BTW, the fellow with the Corvette should have lessened the sensitivity so a slap on the windshield wouldn't set it off. On my Viper when first set up, a wind storm that shook the truck would make the alarm sound off. Now, I set mine so that if you pound on the door, it goes into a warning mode and if hit again, it sets off the alarm. I had my first (and only) break in at 2pm in Phoenix in a mall parking lot. After the 2 installs, no more incidents except for the warning signals.

Jimmi Jammer Model Selection
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:33 AM   #19
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I don't see a Jimmi Jammer for a Sprinter van on the website. They seem to want a specific vehicle to reference.
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:48 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kfrere View Post
Protag: There appear to be 5 different Viper systems (that the Geek squad will install) available on the Best Buy site. I'm not interested in remote turn on (well, not for my van anyway), but do want to make sure I'm getting enough protection. I don't know enough about these systems to appreciate the differences between a $199 system and a $739, although I never like to overspend if I don't have to. Can you recommend?
I recommend that you not get a Viper system at Best Buy. One reason— hidden costs of hundreds of dollars for vehicle-specific components on every one of their packages. Another reason— their prepackaged systems may include components you don't need or want and shouldn't have to pay for. But hopefully the information that follows can help if you still decide to get a system at Best Buy.

Go to a "preferred" authorized Viper installer, and custom-design your own package that contains exactly the components you want and none that you don't. A search on the Viper website for the Lenoir City, TN area lists two Preferred installers, Radio Clinic in Chattanooga, and Electronic Connection in Morristown.
Where to Buy Viper Products

Now, addressing the issue of components…

First, there are three basic systems to choose from. Basic security, keyless entry, and remote start.

Go with basic security. This includes a shock sensor, which is pretty sensitive. You'll sometimes get a false alarm by a close thunderclap, but rolling boom boxes being driven nearby seldom set it off unless they have the bass turned up to 13. Also includes starter kill, which prevents the vehicle from being started after the alarm is triggered until the alarm is reset. Has a six-tone siren, self-explanatory. Side note, if you install two sirens, one outside the vehicle and one inside under the dashboard, you'll at least deafen anybody who manages to get in. It puts out a whopping 135dB.

Side note, all basic Viper systems have a "valet" feature that you will need if you ever put your Interstate in the shop. There is a switch on the antenna that disables the whole system, including battery backups, so that a repair technician can't accidentally activate an alarm inside the shop. I forgot to use the valet feature once, and the Mercedes repair technician performed emergency "surgery" on my alarm siren to shut it up because the remote key fob wasn't recharged and wouldn't work. Cost me a pretty penny to repair, too, but since it was my fault for not deactivating the system, I didn't try to have Mercedes pay for the repairs. Side note, the "valet" feature will not deactivate the system while the alarm is active, only when it has already been switched off, so thieves can't use it to silence the alarm.

You want the best two-way remote you can get. Go for the Full-color LCD Remote. It provides you with more information than the monochrone LCD.

Smartphone Interface includes a "track and locate" feature that is nice to have, especially if there are multiple drivers in the family and you want to know where the van is at any given time. Also will send you text messages if an alarm goes off. But if price is critical, you can get by without this interface or add it later.

Forget Remote Start. Unless you're subject to terrorist threats and have a strong desire to start the car without being in the car to be blown up, you don't need it. Warming the van before you get into the vehicle in the winter or cooling it before you get into it in the summer is nice, but not essential, and would require you to park it and shut off the engine with the heater or A/C still running so that it's already on when you start the engine again. Also, in cold weather, I don't know if it allows adequate time for the glow plugs and DEF heater (if your Interstate has the Bluetec system) to do their thing before starting the engine, so be sure to ask your installer about it if you decide to buy this feature.

Forget Keyless Entry. If you don't have remote start, you don't need keyless entry, either, because you won't be driving it without a key, and the key will give you more unlocking options than will the Viper remote. However, keyless entry will come in handy if you're the type to lock your keys in your vehicle more than once— but if you're that type, you'd also be the type to lock your Viper remote and/or smartphone in the vehicle as well. That's what spare keys are for.

As for accessories, those are add-ons to the basic security system.

Glass Break Sensor is a must. Smash-and-grab thieves will invariably break a window to get in. The sensor is sensitive enough to detect someone tapping the glass with a piece of metal even if it doesn't crack or break the glass— my installer demonstrated it by tapping a window with my ignition key.

Tilt Motion Sensor is good. Will set off the alarm if someone jacks up the vehicle to steal a tire, or hooks it up to a tow truck. Even stepping up onto a bumper or side step will rock the van enough to set it off. Can also detect a flat tire (if it's a flat on the front that causes one corner to settle while it's parked, but of course a flat on one just dual tire won't cause a rear corner to settle).

Battery backup is good. Especially since Sprinter vans have that chassis battery disconnect down by the accelerator pedal so that thieves could easily kill power to an alarm that doesn't have a backup battery. However, be warned. Once you install this system, disconnecting the battery using the plug down by the accelerator WILL set off the alarm, so you can never disconnect the chassis battery without using the valet feature to disable the whole system first.

Battery Backup Siren is also good. Siren has its own built-in battery and should be mounted somewhere underneath the vehicle where it's harder to get to than the main siren under the hood. If someone snips the wires to the main siren, the backup siren still does its thing.

Electroluminescent Indicator is good. Not only does it flash to indicate the alarm is activated, but it has the Viper logo, which is more of a deterrent than just a flashing light. But you'll still have the flashing light on the alarm system antenna, too.

Invisibeam Field Disturbance Sensor is a waste of money. Don't get it. Not only is it subject to many false alarms by people walking close to the vehicle with no intention of breaking in, but a Sprinter van is actually too big for the sensor to cover the whole van adequately.

Trunk Release is unnecessary in a van.

Programmable Voice Module is unnecessary. Having the alarm system talk to you to tell you it's armed is bling for bling's sake and there's no need to show off unless your intention is to use your Interstate to pick up young impressionable coeds— but hopefully we're all past the midlife crisis stage where we would even consider something so crass.
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Old 08-17-2015, 11:03 AM   #21
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I don't see a Jimmi Jammer for a Sprinter van on the website. They seem to want a specific vehicle to reference.
Doesn't matter. The way to jimmy a Sprinter is to insert an inflatable gizmo called a pump wedge at the top rear corner of a front door and inflate it to bend out the corner of the door, then reach in with a wire probe and pull up the locking knob on the door. I watched my Sprinter dealer do that on mine after I had it towed in and the keys were accidentally locked inside. After they deflated the pump wedge, you couldn't even tell the door had been bent; it sprang right back to its original position. And no damage at all to the locking mechanism.

Hopefully no Sprinter van thieves are reading this…
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Old 08-17-2015, 11:08 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by kfrere View Post
I don't see a Jimmi Jammer for a Sprinter van on the website. They seem to want a specific vehicle to reference.
I noted that the MB Sprinter wasn't listed for the jimmi-jammer, however, show the scematic of the setup to your mechanic or body shop. They can get into the door and place the small hose clamp around the lock clip as shown in the diagram. Once the hose clamp is in place, it will take a sledge hammer and screw driver to break the lock.

Any of you with an American made truck can get jimmi-jammers and I highly recommend them, ESPECIALLY Ford Super Duties and F-150's.
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Old 08-17-2015, 11:18 AM   #23
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I personally am going to stay out of St. Louis (and with less incentive, New Orleans). I drove a lot of miles extra coming back from the west coast at the end of last summer just not to have to drive any where near St. Louis. There was loose talk then about a protest that would shut down I70.
It is too bad that such a nice thing as a AI seems to be a magnet for bad folks to destroy. I guess that is a factor in a decision to buy or not buy one.
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Old 08-17-2015, 11:38 AM   #24
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Maybe our luck is changing! I spent a few hours over the weekend trying to diagnose the problem with our a/c cycling on and off and trying to determine if it was an a/c issue or inverter problem.

I had fired off a short email to Airstream support late yesterday afternoon and already have a reply this morning. It seems the issue is with the inverter and it's as simple as changing the settings. The inverter was set at a high charging rate (7-8 amps) and a/c uses approximately 18 amps. This causes the power management system to shed the water heater and a/c to get back under 20 amps when the gen is running.

By changing the setting to a low charging rate (2 amps), we'll keep the amps at around 20 or less and shouldn't have this cycling problem going forward. Let's hope this is corrrect!

Wow! Our first issue that isn't going to cost me $1000's of dollars! It's time for a piece of cake! LOL!
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Old 08-18-2015, 12:00 AM   #25
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well thats good to hear. Security system is well spent money.
I live in SF CA and I have all my cars with motion sensor and basic Viper alarms.
I park on the street and never been broken into.
I can't say the same for the car next to me or down the street that didn't have one.
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Old 08-19-2015, 03:02 PM   #26
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I lived in the inner city of St. Louis for 3 years while attending grad school (WUSTL). I had soooo much trouble with personal and auto security. At the time, as a starving student, I was driving a POS car I had bought for $650. You know how they have "world's ugliest dog" contests? Well, I had the world's ugliest car, and it STILL got broken into. I wouldn't park my Interstate in St. Louis unless it was on a secure lot with an armed guard.

After I read this thread, I wondered if perhaps my St. Louis experience played a role in making me as detail-oriented (some might use the word obsessive) about security as I am. Summary of comments from a variety of other related threads:

(1) Our Interstate is plated Dodge, and I like it that way. If it were plated MB, I'd want to change it to lower my target profile. Ours is also an older vehicle, which probably helps.

(2) If they can't see inside, they are much less likely to smash-and-grab. I don't park my Interstate anywhere without engaging in full window obscuration, including custom sun shades on windshield and side windows. My husband grumbles about this, worrying that the police will mistake it for a camping effort, but I haven't had any such conflict thus far.

(3) No attractive expensive stereo for us. I use a UE Boom portable speaker Bluetooth'd to my iPhone.

(4) I always leave the Fantastic running to create ambiguity as to whether anyone is still inside.

(5) If boondocking overnight, I often post a "beware of owner" sign in my window, the sign with the revolver barrel pointing at the viewer. (Not everyone agrees that this type of presentation would do more good than harm.)

(6) I use a Pacsafe Travelsafe 12L bag to secure small valuables in a concealed interior location. It would probably take bolt cutters to liberate the thing from the vehicle, so that provides a measure of protection against smash-and-grabbers who typically do not anticipate a need for bolt cutters when breaking into vehicles (although nothing in life is guaranteed). I used the Pacsafe in a rental car while traveling this summer, tethering it to the seat frame. It gave me a bit of peace of mind.

(7) I travel with multiple weapons.

(8) Especially in urban locations, I often park and then hang out in the Interstate for about 5 minutes before exiting. That kind of behavior allows me to observe the area for safety and it also confuses the hell out of anyone who may have the area under surveillance, because they are expecting someone to park, exit immediately, and walk away obliviously in the usual fashion. It leaves them wondering what else might be going on inside the vehicle (which they cannot see into).

(9) I own a small business and I have my corporate magnetic signs on the Interstate most of the time. The nature of the business does not suggest that anything tech-y or valuable would be inside. Again, this is intended to confuse would-be smash-and-grabbers - the signage suggests that this is not just another wealthy person on vacation, so there's less fitting of a target profile.

FWIW.
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Old 08-19-2015, 03:11 PM   #27
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Old 08-20-2015, 07:27 AM   #28
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Quote:
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Yikes - doesn't sound good. You are the second owner of a Sprinter based B-van that I know of who had their van robbed in the St. Louis area. Mike Wendland the Roadtrek blogger had his robbed in the St. Louis area.


- - Mike
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If I'm guessing correctly, you parked south of the arch on the road that is adjacent to the levee and river under the bridge for I55. That locale is a hotbed for bus, Van, and RV break ins. The thieves know you are traveling with goodies and nothing but police presence stops these crooks. My advice is to stay away from street parking in the riverfront area and find an attended pay lot in the downtown area.

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