Installing a remote starter

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.

Suzuki Swift with Viper remote starter and XpressKit immobilizer bypass

A Viper 4103V remote starter and an XpressKit immobiliser bypass

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).

Suzuki Swift with Viper remote starter and XpressKit immobilizer bypass

Turn the wheel to access each screw.

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.

Suzuki Swift with Viper remote starter and XpressKit immobilizer bypass

This is the third and final screw to remove.

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.

Suzuki Swift with Viper remote starter and XpressKit immobilizer bypass

View from below, looking up. Remove this metal shield by undoing two screws.

Once you’ve removed the metal shield (shown above), you can start to make sense out of which wires you need to connect.

Suzuki Swift with Viper remote starter and XpressKit immobilizer bypass

Where to start? Don’t worry, it’s much easier than you might think.

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.

Suzuki Swift with Viper remote starter and XpressKit immobilizer bypass

This is the main cable that does all the work.

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.

Suzuki Swift with Viper remote starter and XpressKit immobilizer bypass

The ignition wires are the most important in any remote starter connection.

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.

Suzuki Swift with Viper Remote Starter and PKALL XpressKit immobilzer bypass

Always solder your connections. Any other wire-joining method is asking for trouble.

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.

Viper remote start installation instruction guide

This little wire is your parking lights wire. Tap into it.

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.

Viper remote starter brake light connection

Looking up: last of all is the brake light connection.

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.

Viper Remote Start aerial under dashboard

Wires? What wires?

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.

Suzuki Swift immobilizer

This is the immobiliser unit.

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.

XpressKit immobilizer connected

This is an immobilizer bypass device.

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.

XpressKit PKALL

This is what’s called the “nest” stage.

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.

Viper remote starter instructions

Clean and 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.

Remote start on a stick shift

Getting access to the gear shifter is a piece of cake

First of all, pry out the plastic panel which surrounds the gear stick. A flat-head screwdriver will work.

Remote start safety system for stick shift manual transmission gearbox

Unclip the gear stick gaiter from underneath.

Next, unclip the gaiter from underneath. It comes out quite easily.

Viper remote start on a stick shift

Unfortunately the surface around the gear stick isn’t flat, so we’ll need to fix that.

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.

Remote start safety system for stick shift manual transmission gearbox

This plastic cap from a paint can will do.

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.

Remote start safety system for stick shift manual transmission gearbox

This is one of the magnetic switches. I will use two.

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.

Remote start safety system for stick shift manual transmission gearbox

I used two sensors and two small neodymium magnets.

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 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 above, I used a small neodymium magnet (from eBay) on the front and back of the gear stick. These work much better than the magnets that come with each switch.

All done, tested, and working great.

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. :)

15 thoughts on “Installing a remote starter

  1. Hi,

    I bouth a start buton for my swift. And the start button is connected to a relay box.

    It has folowing whires :

    Black – to the ground
    Red – to the + 12V

    And there are two blue whires. This are for the start of the car.

    Can you please tell me were to connect these blue whires???

    ThX,…

    • Hi Nenad, I’m not sure unfortunately. Are there are instructions or a guide with the starter button? Is the button illuminated?

  2. Hi,
    Yes there is a manual,..
    The set contains : Push button with light,Relay Box,
    From the button goes two white whires connected to the relay box.
    From the relay goes out ;
    Red whire,black whire and two blue whires.

    I installed the button near the shifter, and I connected the red to the 12V+
    And the black to the car body (ground) like it says in the manual.

    When I turn the key the button litte¨s up.

    But the problem is i dont know where to connect the remaning two blue whires. im afraid to do some thing wrong.

    In the manual the blue whires go :

    The blue whire be connected to terminal 15 (ign.) behind the ignition switch.
    with another one connecting terminal 50 behind the ignition switch as well. (the power path that passes through ign.)

    To start the engine: turn the key on and push the button. Release as the engine fires.
    To turn the engine off – just turn the key off.

    I can scan the manual and send it to you per mail,…

    ThX,…

  3. Hello there. Thanks for great post. Can I ask you a question if you dun mind. I own a 2007 suzuki swift in NZ! I am a noob DIYer. I am trying to DIY a footwell light for my swift but I am having trouble locating the dome light wire underneath my steering wheel. Do you think you can help me with this? if can, I would really appreciate it! Thanks and hope one day I can share my success story with you.

  4. I love this idea! I am an aircraft mechanic and was thinking about using proximity switches on the shift bushings of my civic but this.. this… this right here is exactly what I am going to do. also anyone reading this if you dont solder your connections your doing it wrong and asking for issues down the road!

  5. Hi!
    In the 11th picture in this tutorial (captioned “Wires? What wires?”) there are 2 dints on the dashboard right up the back near the air vents – do you know what these are for? Driving me crazy not knowing!!!!!

    • Your car has them too? I thought it was just mine! I really have no idea what they are for. I assumed the previous owner of my car screwed something into the dashboard near the windscreen. Well, at least now we’re both confused! :)

  6. I don’t see anything about bypassing the clutch switch. I’m looking at doing this with a Hyundai Veloster but don’t want to start until I’m sure of everything.

  7. To by pass the factory immobiliser I just took the chips out of the keys and permanently glued one of them near the ignition switch, works great. You need to take the transponder chip out of all your keys as the car wont start if there is two transponders chips near the ignition..

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