Cold winter mornings suck. It takes 15 minutes to warm up the snow-covered car, which means you’re halfway to work before you can feel your hands again.
Not anymore! Even though it’s still summer, I thought it would be a great time to install a remote starter in the Suzuki Swift for the coming cold months. So, I bought a Viper 4103v remote starter and chucked it in the car.
I created these basic instructions on how to install a remote starter in your own Suzuki Swift if you also get sick of waiting for you car’s inside temperature to be comfortable during cold winters (or hot summers for that matter).
Start by pulling off the panel below the steering wheel, and lowering the steering wheel down so you’ll have access to all the screws. Start by removing the two front facing screws with a Phillips-head screwdriver.
Then remove the single screw which goes in from underneath the plastic steering wheel case. After you have removed those three screws, the plastic case will seperate (with a little force) and you can put it aside.
Once you’ve removed the metal shield (shown above), you can start to make sense out of which wires you need to connect.
Don’t be scared by all the wires – most of them won’t be used! In fact, if you’re only using the basic remote start function (and not all the many options that come with the remote start system) then you’ll only be connecting about 9 wires in total.
I recommend using a Viper remote start system above other brands. I had a cheap Bulldog brand remote starter in an older car, and it was dreadful. It worked for only 8 weeks before malfunctioning and starting my car by itself in the middle of the night (then not shutting down unless I got out of bed and disconnected it inside the car). I learned my lesson and paid a bit more for a better brand. I really, really recommend you do the same.
Now, to start the installation, let’s connect the important cables first. Locate the main ignition cable cluster underneath the steering column (pictured above) and unplug it.
At this point you should follow your instruction manual which comes with your remote starter to figure out which wires to connect. However, I can tell you what each wire in the harness does (listed in order, facing the plug):
YELLOW: Ignition output (+12 volts output when key in the “ignition” position)
GREEN & WHITE: Starter output (+12 volts output when key in the “start” position)
WHITE & BLUE: Main input (constant +12 volt supply from battery)
WHITE: Accessories out (+12 volts out when key in the “ACC” position – low current)
BLUE: Accessories out (+12 volts out when key in the “ACC” position – low current)
GREEN: Ignition out (+12 volts out when key in “ignition” position – low current)
Some of these cables are high current, and at least one of them will be “live”, so be careful. Disconnect one of the battery terminals to ensure you don’t short-circuit one of those high-current wires. Seriously, just take 2 minutes and do it. You don’t want your Suzuki Swift to go down in flames. Just imagine the call to the insurance company afterwards, or the look on your girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife/landlord’s face.
Follow your instructions to see exactly where each wire on your particular remote start system needs to be connected. In my case the system needed two high-power inputs ( 2 x red wires) but the Suzuki Swift only has one (1 x white & blue) so I connected the three together which works well. You’ll probably find that you’ll need to do the same.
Your remote starter will need a connection to your parking lights, so the lights will flash when you start the car, use the system to unlock the doors, go into Valet Mode, or even turn on the rear window demister (yeah, it even has that option!). I won’t be using any of those which makes this one a really quick and easy install.
Anyway, tap in the Light Flash Output to this little orange & yellow cable. Make sure you thoroughly wrap your soldered connections with electrical tape afterwards.
The last wire the remote starter needs to tap into is the brake light wire. This means that you can cancel the remote starter simply by pressing the brake. This also means that if someone manages to hotwire, or steal your car while it’s remotely running, as soon as they press the brake the engine will cut off.
Locate which wire becomes alive when you press the brake pedal, then disconnect the plug circled above and tap into it. The location and length of this wire makes tapping into it really tricky, but with a little patience and a lot of swearing and grunting, you’ll get there. Please don’t skip this step. It’s not worth the risk.
As you’ve probably figured out, I don’t like wires showing in my car. This means I have to go to some extraordinary lengths to hide cables, but the result is always pleasing. For example, in the above photo I put the aerial inside the plastic cover above the instrument cluster. Looks much tidier than being stuck on the windscreen. It also makes the car appear as boring as possible – something useful for deterring thieves.
Now it’s time to install the immobiliser bypass unit. This taps into the immobiliser transponder pictured above.
It’s actually really simple in how your immobiliser works. Your key has a little microchip in it, and when the chip gets close enough to the sensor (the round thing in the picture above), the sensor tells your car’s computer that it can start.
If you (or a thief) try to start the car when the sensor doesn’t sense the microchip nearby, your immobiliser dashboard light will flash, and your engine will just turn over and over but never actually start.
The problem with immobilisers and remote starters is that they only let people with the key start the car. This means remote starters won’t work. So, you’ll need to install one of these things pictured above, called an immobiliser bypass unit.
The idea is really simple. You connect an immobiliser bypass unit to your car by tapping it into the wires on your immobiliser transponder (the round thing). Then you start your car normally with the key.
The unit then learns the “I can see the microchip; everything’s good” signal that your car says when it detects a key with a microchip nearby. Once the unit has learned the signal, you don’t need the key with the microchip to remote start the car anymore! This is because the bypass unit creates an artificial “I can see the microchip; everything’s good” signal and sends it down the cable. Now the car has been tricked into thinking it can see the microchip. 😉
Update: I’m having issues with this XpressKit immobiliser bypass unit and am currently in correspondence with XpressKit. Stay tuned.
At this point there are wires everywhere, but don’t panic. Most of them are not used, so just wrap them up and tape them up to make it tidy.
Once your cables are organised, make sure they won’t get caught on the steering column or pedals, then secure the remote start unit and immobiliser bypass under the dashboard.
That’s it! It’s not complicated, and even someone with only a basic understanding of car electrics could undertake it. However, for safety’s sake, I recommend getting someone with an understanding of low voltage electrics and someone with soldering experience to help you out. You can’t put a price on peace of mind.
The next step is to create an additional safety system so that the car won’t start when it’s in gear. I did this with the help of two magnetic switches which I bought on eBay, and I’ve included instructions below.
First of all, pry out the plastic panel which surrounds the gear stick. A flat-head screwdriver will work.
Next, unclip the gaiter from underneath. It comes out quite easily.
Now you can see the workings of the gear stick. On the surface, surrounding the gear stick, I needed to install the magnetic switches. However there’s no flat area to put the switches on, so I made a flat area out of a cap from a spray can.
You could use anything, but a cap from a spray can was easy to work with. Using a sharp blade I cut out a hole in the centre, and removed the sides of the cap. You’ll need to also cut a line from the centre to the edge, so that you can fit it around the gear stick.
Once your plastic leveler is sitting on the gear stick base, move your magnetic switches into position. They’ll need to be close to the gear stick, but not touching it.
I didn’t use the big white magnets that came with the magnetic switches, because they’re too big and they’re quite weak. As you can see in the photo below, I used a small neodymium magnet (from eBay) on the front and back of the gear stick. When the magnets on the gear stick are moved forwards or backwards, they trigger one of the magnetic switches.
I used a digital multimeter connected to each switch’s wires and I moved the magnets around until they activated the switches in every gear position. When it was perfect I glued the magnets in place.
Then I connected one wire from each magnetic switch to earth (the body of the car) and I ran the other wires to my “hood switch” connection on the remote starter. The hood switch wire is used so that when the hood is open, the remote starter won’t work.
I tested it to make sure it works, then put the gear stick cover back together. Easy, huh? Now I don’t have to worry about cold winter mornings, or leaving my car in gear by mistake.
I also made a video showing how the system works:
Pretty cool, huh?
UPDATE: Do not buy an XpressKit immobiliser bypass. As far as I can tell, they do not work with the 2006 Suzuki Swift, even though the manual says they do, and XpressKit “customer support” are useless. XpressKit wanted nothing to do with my request for assistance. They told me they won’t help me, and gave me no customer support. I repeat: do NOT buy an immobiliser bypass unit from XpressKit.
There, public service announcement complete.