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automatic starter

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9 replies to this topic

#1 p3pppx


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Posted 16 November 2003 - 11:05 PM

I have a '00 Outback 5spd. With winter soon upon us, the wifey wants to get an automatic/remote engine starter so the car will time to warm-up.

The problem she has only been able to find them for automatic transmission, does anyone know of one that will work with manual transmission. Particularly the Outback since you have to depress the clutch pedal to start the engine.


#2 slideways


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Posted 17 November 2003 - 12:26 AM

Remote starters that work with manual transmissions do exist, they are just tougher to find.

Here is one company I found that produces models for manual trannys.




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Posted 17 November 2003 - 04:40 AM

Just think of a few things that could go wrong upon starting the engine. Cat in the fan belt comes to mind as one possibility.:o

#4 calebz


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Posted 17 November 2003 - 08:33 AM

Originally posted by CROSSTBOLT
Just think of a few things that could go wrong upon starting the engine. Cat in the fan belt comes to mind as one possibility.:o

That could happen just as easily starting form inside the car.....

#5 EOppegaard


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Posted 17 November 2003 - 09:22 AM

I have used a remote starter on my 93 Legacy Wagon, automatic for almost 3 years now. Never had a problem with it. It's made by design tech, nothing fancy at all. Picked it up at BJ's and installed it myself.

As far as the cat is concerned...I have two and they are still alive.

Or, just make sure to hook up the horn relay to the starter, it will give a nice warning blast if kitty happens to be hiding :banana:

#6 alias20035


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Posted 18 November 2003 - 01:06 AM

Don't be lazy!! Sorry to offend but how pitiful is is too start and warm up the car just so you will not be cold for the first few minutes of driving it? Buy her a coat.....

Automatic starters are bad....

Here's why:

1. waste fuel
2. engine warms up faster under load (driven)
3. idling damages catalytic converters (they overheat)
4. idling causes unburned fuel to get into the oil. which reduces oil life and causes engine wear
5. safety hazard, many runaway cars have killed people and many people have accidently poisoned themselves with carbon monoxide by accidentely starting the car in the garage and not realizing it
6. auto starters decrease trade in and resale value (typically $1000), why: reasons 3 and 4 above.
7. most states and provinces have a law against idling vehicles. Most laws state that you can not leave an unattended car idling for more than 30 seconds, if at all, and even when attended you can not idle it unless it is required to defrost the windows.

Odds are that remote starters will be banned outright in the next few years.

There are automatic starters for manual transmission vehicles, they require you to activate the system by pressing a button, removing the key and getting out with the engine still running. Then when the button is pressed to lock the doors the engine will shut off. This way the system knows that the car is in neutral. Most states and provinces have outright banned auto starters on manual transmission vehicles even with this safety feature, since it is still possible for something to go wrong.

Here in Canada many cats are killed by fan belts in winter, but not all from remote starters....... The cats crawl to be near the heat of a warm engine.

#7 p3pppx


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Posted 18 November 2003 - 02:31 AM

Thanks for the reply everyone. I looked at the designtech site and there are a few options to review.

alias20035 I agree with the points you've outline to a certain degree:

Whether the car is started by remote or by key it's points #1, 3, 4, apply just the same.

Point 2 may be true but I understand that warming up the engine increase the life of the engine as opposed to going from a 20 degree engine block to 30mph (metals are more brittle when cold) And the amount of fuel to have a cold engine move the car I would think is no more than letting the engine warm for 7mins.

nevertheless, it's her decision but hopefully the price and hassle will be a deterent enough.

#8 disko


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Posted 18 November 2003 - 03:02 AM

I own a '99 Impreza L with a remote start/alarm and have had absolutely no trouble with it, although I have found its usefulness far more limited than I had thought. I was working at Circuit City in the car audio department when I bought the whole thing, so it didn't cost me much more than $75 and a pizza for the installers.

As far as the previous poster who mentioned taking $1000 off of the trade-in or sale price for a car with a remote starter, we are in the process of trading the car in for a WRX and have been told by more than one dealer that it adds to the value of the trade-in, not detracts.

I wouldn't recommend putting one on a car with a manual transmission though, for all sorts of reasons. A place like Circuit City or Best Buy wouldn't do it, most likely.

Oh, and I would be very surprised if remote starts get "outlawed," considering they are available as options on a lot of cars nowadays.

#9 alias20035


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Posted 18 November 2003 - 04:48 AM

I see there are a few disagreements about a few of my points. This is good, it gets people to think (including myself)....

As for warming the engine on a cold day to avoid wear and tear, there are a few points I can add:

As engine tolerances have improved greatly, there is no longer a real concern about having to warm an engine up significantly before driving. Subaru's are known for extremely tight tolerances except for piston skirt to cylinder clearance (which causes piston slap). Warming it by idling has little affect on piston slap (which is not really detrimental anyways), aside from reducing the driving time for the skirt to expand and stop slapping. I have warmed my 2001 Outback up to see it would reduce the piston slap, it didn't, it just took say 6 blocks for piston slap to go away instead of 8, but the piston was slapping the whole 5 minutes while I idled the car....

With modern oils (particularly synthetics), the lubrication system is able to function very well down to about -45 celcius. As recently as 25 years ago no oil would pump below -10 or so.

Warming an engine used to be recommended because cars were unreliable and were generally carburated. Often driving a 1970's car (and many 80's US made cars) was impossible with a cold engine, as the distributors, carberaturs and other mechanicals would not function properly, causing misfires and stalls. Fuel injection, distribruterless ignition systems and other modern electronics eliminated all of these problems.

Cars in Canada (any many northern US states) are equipped with an electric block heater, which is basically a 300-400 watt immersion heater which heats coolant in the water jacket of the engine. It is recommended that the block heater be used at temperatures below -7 celsuis. Block heaters can hold the engine temperature at better than -5 celsuis when it is -35 out. Block heaters use a few cents per hour to operate (about 5 cents at 11cents/KWH), but more than pay for themselves in fuel savings (saves me at least $10/month in fuel). It also cuts the time (driving time) to warm up the engine by at least 75%. At -30 my engine is warm within a few blocks (2 minutes). Contrary to popular believe you don't need to have the block heater on all night, it is only necessary to have it on for 3 hours before running the car to properly warm the engine. I have a 7 day programmer timer that also features a built it thermometer so it only activates the block heater below -7c.

The two most popular mechanics in Canada are Phil Edmonston (auther of the Lemon Aid used car guide) and Phil Bailey (regular contributer to many Canadian newspapers) both share my opinion that warming an engine by driving it is the best practice, and at most just idle the engine for a minute or less and drive. Only when the engine is really cold (not plugged in) should it be warmed, but even then only for three or so minutes. The only exception to this rule is to defrost the windows (don't try to thaw an inch of ice of the glass though). Most other tv mechanics also agree with this including Pat Goss of Motorweek, and Bill Gardiner of MotoringTV (MotoringXXXX where XXXX = Year, ex Motoring2004).

For preventing and reducing frost build up on the inside of your windows here are a few tips:

Don't use carpet floor mats, use rubber mats instead.
Empty the snow, slush and water from your car mats regularly, preferebly every chance you get.
Don't keep wet stuff (sweaty hockey gear for instance in your car), when you get home take it out.
Regulary clean the inside of your windows (with Windex or other glass cleaner)

The goal is to reduce humidity within the car and to have a clean glass surface that is less likely to attract water vapour. The reason to use rubber floor mats and keep them dry is simple; the air blowing from the heater will melt any ice and evaporate the standing water. This humidity gets into the fabric of the vehicle, and is released back into the air when the car is warm, increasing the humidity and causing frost. Once a car is "wet" on the inside, it will be very hard to dry it out in winter.

As for resale value, remote car starters used to be an added cost option, but now the tables are starting to turn on them. Because these systems are connected to the ignition system, door lock system, etc, the factory warranty is immediately null and void on these components, Subaru doesn't even have to prove that the starter caused the problem as the warranty states that "modification in any form will invalidate the warranty". Also remote starters, in general, show a lack patience and care and for the vehicle. While the starter alone is only partially responsible for this, in general most cars with starters show other damage due to lack of care.

I do have a car to back up my cold starting "drive it to warm it" practice. My 1993 Legacy AWD wagon had 466,000 km on it when I struck a deer and totalled it. I had just changed the timing belt (an out of sequence change due to a failed crankshaft oil seal), and decided to pressure test the cylinders. The pressure from each cylinder was 180PSI +/- 1 PSI, which is incredably good. I had never warmed the car and being from Canada the car sees at least 4 months a year of -20 celsius nights. I religiously plugged the cars block heater in though.

As for legality, some states still outlaw remote start on manual transmission vehicles, and others have effectively outlawed them by outlawing idling. In the emmisions control states (CA, NY, ME, MA, NJ, VT, NH??) it is illegal to idle a car while unattended (in some states attended as well), and if you can't legally idle a car, you can't legally USE a remote starter. Its kind of like driving into Virginia with a rader detector, you can legally do it as long as it is turn off and stored in the trunk (out of reach of driver and all passengers is the rule of thumb the police are supposed to follow).

Recently Canada jumped on the bandwagon (since we are a signatory to the Kyoto Greenhouse Gas Emmision Reduction Protocol) and thus far most provinces have outlawed idling vehicle except where safety is concerned.

Its not the remote starter that I am against, I am against the unnessessary pollution and wear and tear the usually accompanies it. My only real negative comments about a remote starter are the facts that it does add some safety issues, and that it just adds another component that may fail.

#10 p3pppx


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Posted 19 November 2003 - 01:23 AM

well alias,

you certainly make an exhaustive argument, and convincing. I have to admit I had been adhering to the practice less from experience than outdate(?) advice, which apparently is not applicable to newer/late model cars.

I think I'll forward this to the my other half and see what she thinks. I for one don't need a remote started, especially if it needs to be tied in to the alarm, ignition, etc.

Thanks for the information.

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