Remoter Starter choices!

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SoobyToo58
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Remoter Starter choices!

Post by SoobyToo58 »

Hello all,
Here's to a Happy New Year for everyone!
I'm interested in installing a remote starter in my Baja and I have some questions for those who have one in theirs, whether installed by others or themselves. I'm especially interested in those who have had theirs for a while.
I've never had a remote starter in any of my vehicles and that's probably because I'm kind of old school in my thinking. For example, I prefer a vehicle with hand crank windows rather than electric windows because in my mind it's just one more thing to cause problems and hand crank windows are much cheaper and easier to repair or replace PLUS hand cranks are just another little bit of physical activity that we all need to stay healthy.
I see obese people in the supermarket riding those electric carts and I always think to myself, maybe if you walked you wouldn't be so damn big and you wouldn't need the damn cart.
I see commercials for sneakers that you don't have to bend down and tie the shoelaces on and I think, Jeez, if you're too lazy to bend over and tie your shoe laces then sneakers aren't gonna help you. You're gonna die in pain of heart failure because you haven't gotten up from your easy chair in 5 hours.
Sorry about that. I'm ranting.
I'm getting old and the winter cold is starting to be more than just a bother when I have to get into my cold car nowadays. Having a remote starter would be a massive luxury for me.

So... any suggestions or recommendations for a particular Remote Starter? Price is always a consideration. I'm not poor but money's too tight to mention.
I'd like one that can also replace my Baja Remote Key Fob and have the starter remote as one unit. I hate big bulky keys and prefer not to carry around two Fobs.
Like almost everything else on my Baja, I'd prefer to install it myself. Electrical repairs and troubleshooting and electronics are a big weak point with me so that's a consideration BUT given concise logical instructions I can put together or install almost anything. (I've been doing almost all of my own vehicle repairs large & small, easy & difficult for about 45 years now.)
Last, does Subaru offer a Remote Starter kit for the Baja and if so, would you recommend it?
Any advice or three cents worth on the subject would absolutely be appreciated!
Thank You!
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anarchy1024
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Re: Remoter Starter choices!

Post by anarchy1024 »

I had a remote starter installed in mine around 2011-2012, and it's still working. Not sure the model number of the overall system, but it's a CompuSTAR, and the remote model is 2W901R-SS. It's likely been superseded by many models already.

My Baja is manual, so if yours is auto, this may not be a consideration. To make sure the car isn't in gear when trying to start it, instead of relying on the neutral position switch, it has a special "procedure" to "arm" the remote start feature. When parking, set the parking brake, release the foot brake, and take out the key; the engine will continue running. Get out of the car (while the engine is still running), and close the door. The doors will automatically lock, and the engine will shut off. The remote start system now knows that the transmission was in neutral when the driver got out of the car. If the door is opened for any reason, the system will not allow a report start until that procedure is done again, since it can't guarantee someone didn't put it in gear while the door was open. (Yes, it's still possible to trick the system by leaving the window down and reaching in to put it in gear without opening the door, so, you know, don't...). None of that is applicable to automatics, since the car won't (shouldn't) crank unless it's in neutral or park.

It has a two-way remote, so when you lock or unlock the doors, or try to start, the system reports back to you if the command was successful (helpful if you're in a mall/office or otherwise can't see/hear the car). It also notifies you on the remote if someone opens the door after you lock it. You can also query the temperature in the cabin and battery voltage. The range is also quite good (I've been in the center of a shopping mall or far end of an office building, and it communicated fine). None of these are features exclusive to this system/brand by any means... they're just features that the OEM remote doesn't have. So, I'd say it can completely replace the OEM remote, at least for daily use.

It was a Christmas present, so I'm not sure how much it cost to purchase and install (not that it would be relevant 10+ years later, anyway). Likewise, no idea about ease-of-installation and things like that, since I wasn't the one who installed it.

I doubt Subaru offers an OEM remote starter for the Baja now, and even if they did, technology has come a looooong way since then, so it would have fewer features, a larger fob, shorter range, less customizability, etc., than any decent aftermarket system you can by now. There are even systems that communicate using cellular networks instead of typical RF, so you can be notified on your phone if someone breaks into your car while you're on vacation (but those typically require a monthly/yearly subscription, because of the cloud/cellular service).

Anyway, I've been pretty happy with the system. Only gripe I have is the non-user-replaceable battery in the remote. The built-in rechargeable Li-Po battery lasted about 10 years for one remote, and the other one is still working "alright" (a couple of weeks between charges instead of months), but eventually they'll need to be replaced, and I could only find one other person who tried to do so, and it was quite difficult. Either way, it's relatively rare for any battery to last that long, so no fault to the manufacturer about quality. However, it is designed to be easy-to-assemble at the factory (one-way snaps, etc.), but impossible to service without damaging it (like many things nowadays....*sigh*).
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greymud
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Re: Remoter Starter choices!

Post by greymud »

@anarchy1024

Thanks for the info. I looked, and there's nothing for the baja specifically, but there may be a cross reference to a legacy or something.
There is a phone ap that may help you with your remote replacement.
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SoobyToo58
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Re: Remoter Starter choices!

Post by SoobyToo58 »

anarchy1024 wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 8:10 pm I had a remote starter installed in mine around 2011-2012, and it's still working. Not sure the model number of the overall system, but it's a CompuSTAR, and the remote model is 2W901R-SS. It's likely been superseded by many models already.

My Baja is manual, so if yours is auto, this may not be a consideration. To make sure the car isn't in gear when trying to start it, instead of relying on the neutral position switch, it has a special "procedure" to "arm" the remote start feature. When parking, set the parking brake, release the foot brake, and take out the key; the engine will continue running. Get out of the car (while the engine is still running), and close the door. The doors will automatically lock, and the engine will shut off. The remote start system now knows that the transmission was in neutral when the driver got out of the car. If the door is opened for any reason, the system will not allow a report start until that procedure is done again, since it can't guarantee someone didn't put it in gear while the door was open. (Yes, it's still possible to trick the system by leaving the window down and reaching in to put it in gear without opening the door, so, you know, don't...). None of that is applicable to automatics, since the car won't (shouldn't) crank unless it's in neutral or park.

It has a two-way remote, so when you lock or unlock the doors, or try to start, the system reports back to you if the command was successful (helpful if you're in a mall/office or otherwise can't see/hear the car). It also notifies you on the remote if someone opens the door after you lock it. You can also query the temperature in the cabin and battery voltage. The range is also quite good (I've been in the center of a shopping mall or far end of an office building, and it communicated fine). None of these are features exclusive to this system/brand by any means... they're just features that the OEM remote doesn't have. So, I'd say it can completely replace the OEM remote, at least for daily use.

It was a Christmas present, so I'm not sure how much it cost to purchase and install (not that it would be relevant 10+ years later, anyway). Likewise, no idea about ease-of-installation and things like that, since I wasn't the one who installed it.

I doubt Subaru offers an OEM remote starter for the Baja now, and even if they did, technology has come a looooong way since then, so it would have fewer features, a larger fob, shorter range, less customizability, etc., than any decent aftermarket system you can by now. There are even systems that communicate using cellular networks instead of typical RF, so you can be notified on your phone if someone breaks into your car while you're on vacation (but those typically require a monthly/yearly subscription, because of the cloud/cellular service).

Anyway, I've been pretty happy with the system. Only gripe I have is the non-user-replaceable battery in the remote. The built-in rechargeable Li-Po battery lasted about 10 years for one remote, and the other one is still working "alright" (a couple of weeks between charges instead of months), but eventually they'll need to be replaced, and I could only find one other person who tried to do so, and it was quite difficult. Either way, it's relatively rare for any battery to last that long, so no fault to the manufacturer about quality. However, it is designed to be easy-to-assemble at the factory (one-way snaps, etc.), but impossible to service without damaging it (like many things nowadays....*sigh*).
Well, that was a great response. Very thoughtful and well detailed which is what I'm looking for. Thank You for all that! (BTW, you're a very good communicator!)
Having never given it much thought before, I just thought that Remote Starters only started the vehicle. I didn't know they had all those other features.
So, some questions that come to mind are these.
  • You said that the Remote has a built-in rechargeable Li-Po battery. Does it give you a warning when the battery is getting low and needs a recharge soon or does it just all of a sudden die one day making the system inoperable?
  • Does it need to be regularly charged and if so, how? Does it recharge using a USB cord or something?
  • If the remote to the Remote Starter were misplaced or lost, will the original Subaru door locking Fob still work?
  • I see in your photos that the Compustar remote has a Lock & Unlock button. Do those two buttons work in place of, and the same as, the original Subaru door locking Fob?
  • If the remote is in your pocket, is it possible for it to be somehow accidently activated and start your car without you realizing it?
SoobyToo58
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Re: Remoter Starter choices!

Post by SoobyToo58 »

greymud wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 10:23 am @anarchy1024

Thanks for the info. I looked, and there's nothing for the baja specifically, but there may be a cross reference to a legacy or something.
There is a phone ap that may help you with your remote replacement.
Regarding the phone App, exactly what kind of help are you talking about?
Also, where do i find the App if I want it and what is it called?
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anarchy1024
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Re: Remoter Starter choices!

Post by anarchy1024 »

SoobyToo58 wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 9:26 am
  • You said that the Remote has a built-in rechargeable Li-Po battery. Does it give you a warning when the battery is getting low and needs a recharge soon or does it just all of a sudden die one day making the system inoperable?
In terms of daily usage, similar to many other electronic devices, it has a three-bar battery meter on the remote display. When the battery gets very low (less than a day charge remaining), it starts beeping. Also similar to other devices, batteries degrade over time, and eventually don't hold as much charge as they used to when new. Like, when it was new, it would last for several months between charges. After several years, it would need to be recharged every couple months. Now it needs to be recharged every couple weeks.

Note: The voltage shown in one of the photos is the car battery voltage, not the remote. Similar with the temperature; it's the temperature in the car (wherever the control module is placed).
SoobyToo58 wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 9:26 am
  • Does it need to be regularly charged and if so, how? Does it recharge using a USB cord or something?
Mine is charged with a standard micro-USB cable, and takes less than an hour to charge. My parents' uses a single AAA battery (so has no charging connector). Others may use something else.
SoobyToo58 wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 9:26 am
  • If the remote to the Remote Starter were misplaced or lost, will the original Subaru door locking Fob still work?
Yes, the Subaru factory system was not touched; it works exactly the same as always.
SoobyToo58 wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 9:26 am
  • I see in your photos that the Compustar remote has a Lock & Unlock button. Do those two buttons work in place of, and the same as, the original Subaru door locking Fob?
Yes, they work the same, so you don't need to have the Subaru fob with you. It also has a "panic mode" (hold lock for a few seconds), similar to the Subaru fob.
SoobyToo58 wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 9:26 am
  • If the remote is in your pocket, is it possible for it to be somehow accidently activated and start your car without you realizing it?
I've never had it happen to me. The start button is on the side of the remote, and is it bit hard to press (as in, it needs a firm, deliberate press to activate it). Additionally, it needs to be held for a few seconds to activate. There's also an optional feature on the remote that requires a double-press for all buttons. Finally, even if the starter does activate, it'll beep several times telling you the start was successful. If the car was started remotely, it can also be stopped remotely (as long as the key isn't in the ignition), so you don't need to go outside or wait for the timer to expire if you accidentally started it. Mine is set to automatically turn off after 15 minutes.
SoobyToo58
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Re: Remoter Starter choices!

Post by SoobyToo58 »

Again, many Thanks my friend!
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