Subaru Impreza Upgrade Alarm

Subaru Blog Posts

The 3rd generation Subaru Imprea was released in 2007. It addressed most of the security vulnerabilities of the previous generation car, in that all models come with a factory immobiliser, plus the pillar-less windows are gone. There is also a basic alarm on some models.

It’s worth noting that Subaru did not offer an immobiliser on any model until March 2003 and even then this only applied to models sold in New Zealand. More details of which can be found here…

Generation 3 Subaru Impreza 2007-2011 (WRX >2014)

Upgrade Alarms

The CAN-BUS system on the Impreza is interesting as locking and unlocking it with the switch on the drivers door generates the same data as a remote lock/unlock. This is a problem for most aftermarket CAN-BUS alarms as they can be tricked into arming/disarming which is also an issue with most Nissan’s and some Mazda’s as explained here…

The good news is that the Cobra AK4615 has this covered so has a switch inhibit built in to the alarm to prevent the vulnerability. Nearly every other brand of alarm I’ve looked at is compromised by this so be warned!

The Cobra AK4615 in action on the Impreza:

Some photos of the details:

Ultrasonic Sensors painted black to match the STi trim

Push to start Subaru Security with Cobra LED in the traditional key location

I recommend a ADR card for models with the smart key and push to start to protect against key cloning.

Changing the Remote Battery on the Smart Key

Remove the key blade section of the remote, then use a small flat blade screw driver and prize open as shown in the photo below.

How to open your Subaru Smart Key

Inside you’ll find a CR1632 battery.

Smart key takes a CR1632 Battery

Posted in CAN BUS Alarms, Subaru, Upgrade Alarms | Tagged | Leave a comment

Fraudulent Alarm Installations!

If there’s one thing worse then having your car or possessions stolen, it has to be getting ripped of by the person you pay to protect it for you.

This morning I got a phone call from  a gentleman who had a 2005 Subaru Legacy and had paid $523.25 for an alarm that he felt was not working correctly.

I suggested that he should take it back to the installer as it was under a year old and still under warranty with them. He said he found them very hard to deal with and was intimidated by them, so I reluctantly agreed to give it the once over.

Edited invoice to hide installers and customers details.

What I found was shocking, he thought he had a Cyclops P775 alarm/immobiliser. He is what I found:

Under the Bonnet

Second hand Remac siren (Remac went out of business years ago!)

Under the bonnet was a super old siren made by Remac who are no longer in business, my guess is that the siren is well over 15 years old. There was no bonnet switch fitted either.

Behind the Dash

A Dynatron alarm module dated 2006

No effort to hide the alarm (not that many installers actually bother) and a alarm dated 2006. The unit is clearly second hand and is missing a screw in the case.

Inside the alarm module

Super old circuit board and missing immobiliser connections

Upon opening the alarm module I found that there was no glass break sensor connected and only one immobiliser cut (note the red ring highlighting the terminals. I also noted a super old circuit board which was so old that it had no provision for the transponder module. I think the internals pre-date 2006 but I’ll have to do some homework to confirm.

Super lazy effort fitting the LED!

I’ve suggested that the customer should go back to the company that “Supplied and installed” his alarm and demand a full refund. If they refuse then I’ve recommended taking them to the small claims court.

Posted in Installers, Muppets, Thieves | Leave a comment

Keyless Car Theft & Remote Hacking

Smart Proximity Key

Smart Keys or proximity remotes offer the convenience of being able to lock/unlock and start your vehicle without having to touch the key.

The downside to this easy to use system is that they are far more vulnerable to hacking then your traditional remote and key.

Since Immobilisers became standard equipment back in to 1990’s (OK maybe 2000’s and later for some models in NZ) the easiest way to steal a vehicle has been by taking the keys. Now however the key does not even need to be taken to gain access to a vehicle and its becoming a big problem.

What is Relay Attack?

A Relay Attack normally requires two people. Typically one person stands by your vehicle, whilst the other stands near the front door of your house with a device that can pick up the signal from your key fob.

The fob signal is then relayed to the vehicle and it unlocks like it would when the fob is in range!

The video below shows a car being stolen whilst parked in the owners drive.

What can be done to protect against this?

  • Don’t leave your car keys by the front door or a window. Consider putting them inside a Faraday bag when not in use. You can get one for under $10.00 on Ali Express
  • Always make sure your car is locked (Check that the doors lock with the remote or look for the hazard lights to flash or you are giving someone easy access your vehicle).
  • Some people have suggested using an old fashioned steering lock, but lets face it, you’d rather have a normal key and remote than faff around which makes your smart key somewhat pointless!
  • Consider the Cobra AK4615 CAN-BUS upgrade alarm with ADR card

Posted in Car Security, Car Security News, Thieves, You really should know... | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Mitsubishi Outlander Upgrade Alarm

The Mitsubishi Outlander is now in it’s third generation. It comes with keyless entry and factory immobiliser as a standard but lacks an alarm.

My recommendation is the Cobra AK4615 CAN-BUS upgrade alarm which works flawlessly with the Outlander.

It works with all models including the Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle).

Mitsubishi Outlander GEN 3 2013 >

Here are some photos of what the alarm looks like installed:

Cobra Ultrasonic Sensors in the Outlander

Here is how they look when back in the car:

Cobra LED over-ride switch in the Outlander

Gen 2 Outlander 2006-2012

If you have the Older GEN 2 Outlander then the AK4615 is also a great option as shown below:

Outlander GEN 2 Ultrasonic Sensors

Cobra LED in GEN 2 Outlander

GEN 1 Outlander (Airtrek 2001-2008)

The Airtrek can also use the Cobra AK4615 in PLIP mode or a remote alarm.

The alarm works using the factory remote controls or Smart Key

Posted in CAN BUS Alarms, Cobra, Mitsubishi, Upgrade Alarms | Leave a comment

Obsessive Birthday and Holiday 1st May – 12th May

Obsessive Holiday

Happy Obsessive Day

First off Obsessive Vehicle Security is now 10 years old. The official incorporation date was the 14th April 2008. I was too busy to post anything that day but did have a beer to celebrate (Well it happened on a weekend!)

A big thank you goes out to everyone who has supported me over the last ten years. I still love doing this and look forwards to securing vehicles properly for many more years to come.

Holiday Dates:

I’m away on Holiday for the first 12 days of May. (1st to the 12th May)

The plan is to fly down to Queenstown and explore some of the majestic South Island scenery.

My phone will be off so please use the Contact form if you have an enquiry and I’ll respond when I return.

I’ll be back to work on the 14th May.

Cheers Julian

Posted in Just for Fun! | Leave a comment

Ford Transit Custom Upgrade Alarm

Ford Blog Posts

The factory alarm on the Ford Transit and Transit Custom is woeful. It has no internal movement sensors and will disarm with both the drivers door lock which can be picked or twisted to unlock, or the switch on the inside door card. In other words the alarm disarms when the van is broken into using some of the most common methods!

So what does the Transit alarm do?

The Ford alarm only has door, boot and bonnet protection so assuming it is not tricked into being disarmed will honk the alarm horn if triggered. It’s worth pointing out that the alarm horn is not actually as loud the as main vehicle horn, it makes me wander why Ford even bother but I suppose having two remote keys is better then nothing!

Factory alarm is terrible!

Making the Ford Transit Secure

The good news it that the Cobra AK4615 works with the factory remote and can’t be tricked into disarming without the remote. On top of that the locking wiring can be modified so the back of the van is not unlocked if the drivers door lock is forced or picked.

The AK4615 comes with Ultrasonic movement sensors as standard which protect the cabin area of the van.


Cobra Ultrasonic Sensors in the Ford Transit

I recommend adding a PIR sensor to the back of the van to cover the load area.

Flimsy Doors are super vulnerable!

The doors on the transit are very flimsy and there is a big problem with them being peeled open in the UK right now. I don’t think it’s an issue in the NZ as yet but I’m assuming it’s only a matter of time before it is!

Cobra LED Over-ride button in the Ford Transit

I would also suggest that internal sirens are a good idea in the transit as well as additional Micro-switches on the rear doors.

For anyone who has a Ford Transit as a courier van I have a nice alarm option for that too.

Posted in Cobra, Ford, Upgrade Alarms | Leave a comment

SsangYong Actyon Sports Upgrade Alarm

The SsangYong Actyon was probably one of the ugliest vehicles ever made until it received a face-lift in 2012. Well that’s my humble opinion and it offends me enough not to put a photo up, but feel welcome to do a Google search if you have a sick bag handy!

Anyway it’s a Ute that comes with an immobiliser, keyless entry and a factory alarm. The thing is the factory alarm is rather basic and can be improved.

Facelift Actyon Sports Ute

The factory alarm has door and bonnet protection and a rather muffled horn. The following video shows it in action.

I highly recommend the Cobra AK4615 which gives you a hidden battery back-up siren, a louder horn and Ultrasonic Sensors. Optional Reed Switch or PIR Sensor can be added if the Ute is fitted with a hard lid or a canopy.

It’s one of the more interesting vehicles electrically and took some cunning (head scratching and cussing) to make the Cobra function as it should do. Still with all struggles comes the satisfaction of knowing the alarm work flawlessly, plus it is another vehicle added to my ever growing database.

Here are some photos of the install.

Alarm LED Over-ride pin Switch

Ultrasonic Movement Sensors

Posted in SsangYong, Upgrade Alarms | Leave a comment

Vodafone Automotive: Cobra ADR (Automatic Driver Recognition)

New Zealand Product Range

By Vodafone Automotive Product Range

Cobra ADR Cards by Vodafone Automotive work with the Cobra AK4615 protect your vehicle from theft by key cloning. This way if a remote key gets cloned the car remains immobilised.

The Cobra System provides the original vehicle keys with an additional passive digital signature. Preventing cloned keys from starting the vehicle without the ADR card being present directly combating the “Hi Tech” theft of a vehicle via key cloning.

Here is how it works:

Three Levels of Protection

The ADR card can be programmed to work on a number of levels. You can choose which options you prefer depending on your requirements.

  • The first level prevents the vehicle from starting unless the card is detected.
  • The second prevents the alarm from disarming with the factory remote unless the card is detected within 15 seconds.
  • The third is an Anti Hijacking option. All are explained below:

Passive Start Inhibition

The vehicle will automatically immobilise 115 seconds after the engine/ignition is turned off. The Passive Start Inhibition will be deactivated upon detecting the ADR card, or if the correct emergency PIN code is entered. The car will then start as normal.

High Security Disarm

When the factory remote unlocks the car the alarm system enters a 15 second stand down period where it waits to detects the ADR card. If the ADR is not detected within this time the alarm will remain armed and becomes fully active.

Anti Hi-Jacking

The Anti Hijacking feature monitors to see if the ADR card is in the vehicle.

Every time the ignition is turned on, or the drivers door is opened with the ignition on the alarm will look for the ADR card. If the card is not detected within 60 seconds the alarm LED will flash for 30 seconds to warn the driver and give them time to enter the over-ride pin number. If the PIN number or ADR card are not detected then the alarm will go off. Once the ignition is turned off the car is then immobilised.

Ideally the ADR card will be kept with the driver if Anti Hi-Jacking is required.

Cobra ADR Card

Turning the ADR Card on and off

To turn the ADR card off press the button until the LED turns off (about 10 seconds).

Press it for 1 second to turn it back on.

Battery: CR2032


Note: Features vary depending on alarm. This post covers how it works with the AK4198, AK4138 and AK4147

ADR Card works with the following alarms:

  • AK4615
  • AK4698
  • AK4138
  • AK4198
  • AK4147

Posted in Alarm Accessories, Car Alarms, Cobra | Leave a comment

Mercedes Benz Sprinter Upgrade Alarm

Mercedes Benz Blog Posts

The Mercedes Benz Sprinter is a popular trade van and motor home. It comes with a factory immobiliser and keyless entry, however it does lack an alarm.

My preferred alarm is the Cobra AK4615 CAN-BUS upgrade alarm which integrates with the factory remote.

The Volkswagon LT/Crafter is a re-branded Sprinter and the Cobra works fine in that too.

Cobra upgrade alarm works with the factory Mercedes remote

Mercedes Benz Sprinter

Cobra Alarm Installation Details

The Ultrasonic Sensors can be placed either side of the sun visors, or in the centre roof pod that houses the internal lamp (see photo below), the later location works well for camper vans where the vision to the back of the van is often blocked by side cupboards. A PIR sensor can also be added to cover the back of the cabin, and reed switches can also be used if additional hatches require protection.

Ultrasonic sensors mounted in centrally to cover the back of the van.

For those wishing to lock the van without arming the alarm (motor homes) the doors can still be locked using the lock switch next to the hazard warning button. This way the doors can easily be locked without arming the alarm when sleeping inside the vehicle.

Locking the van from inside without arming the alarm

Posted in Cobra, Mercedes Benz, Upgrade Alarms | Tagged | Leave a comment

Respecting Work Hours

Chained to Cell Phone? Not Me….

The curse of having a cell phone…

I actually miss the the old days of only having a landline phone, not because I’m nostalgic, but because people understood that you’ve left the premises and that they could not contact you until working hours resumed.

Now most people respect that I, along with most other small business owners actually need to have time off and have a life. Thank you, I’m genuinely grateful for your custom and support.

Sadly not everyone gets it. I’m not sure if the select few are just selfish and thoughtless, or simply a victim of modern 24/7 society. Either way, I’m not impressed when my voicemail message that clearly states my work hours gets ignored and they phone again and again, or a demanding needy message is left.

Let me explain why I need time off: (For those who don’t get it!)

My spare time is precious to me, like most healthy souls, I enjoy doing none work stuff outside of work hours.

Time off is really important to reduce stress levels, it is also beneficial for both mental and physical health. Don’t take my word for it, do a Google search and understand just how detrimental excessive work hours and not switching off can be for you.

Having time off keeps me fresh, invigorated and performing at the top of my game. You want great service right?

On top of this I enjoy plenty of activities where having a cell phone, or reception is simply not possible. I often choose to leave the phone at home, say I go for a run or a ride, stopping to find my phone simply kills the moment so I don’t have it on me. There are other places like cinemas or restaurants where it’s simply rude to use one.

Hopefully, you’ve got the point by now. If you haven’t then I suggest that you need to learn to respect others and take a good look at yourself. An attitude change will probably improve your relationships with others too!

Sending a SMS starting with Hi sorry to bother you out of hours but…. translates to: I have no respect for you or your time….

But my car alarm is going off!

Read your alarm user manual, find out how it works and use your over-ride pin code if you have it. Check the trouble shooting section of the blog. If that does not work then flick me an email or fill in the contact form and I’ll respond when I can. Or wait until I’m open to make that call.

Remember, I’m not the AA, you don’t pay me annual membership fees to be “on call”.

Finally… I get it, I know you want your car working as quickly as possible, but please be respectful. If I get annoyed about being hassled you’ll end up at the back of the queue. I know you are stressed out, but you can still be nice as super pushy people are ones I’d rather not deal with.

Note: If you’ve sent you this post as an email or sms link it is because you have contacted me outside of hours. Please don’t be offended, but note that my work hours are 8:30am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday.

Posted in Obsessive Website, You really should know... | Tagged | 1 Comment