1996 450hp n/a
Z28 Camaro SS
1995 Trans Am
4th Gen Appearance
F-Body Install & Fix-it Guides
My Previous F-Bodies
My Favorite F-Body
1995 Ninja ZX6
Generation $5 Starter Kill
by Brent Franker
The information on this page is actually taken completely from my alarm installation page. I decided to separate it in case someone might want just a cheap starter kill and may not even think to read the alarm installation guide.
This page will describe how to do a simple yet effective starter kill for your 4th Generation Camaro or Trans Am. This page is going to describe in detail how to do the actual wiring necessary for the starter kill. If you need or would like information about how to remove the necessary interior panels (the glove box and the panel above the passenger's feet) , please see the alarm install guide by clicking on the link below. The following link will also describe in detail how a standard automotive relay works. If you don't already know, you might want to check it out first before continuing on!
Below I will first describe how a conventional starter kill works in conjuction with an aftermarket alarm system. This will give you an insite of how a normal starter kill system works and will also explain how the pins on the relay are used. I'll then go on to explain how to hook up the stand alone starter kill system which needs no alarm system. All you will need is a $5 relay and a few connectors. I've been using this on my 96 SS for a while now and it works quite well :)
OK, there is the conventional starter kill and then there's my starter kill :-)
First off, I'll tell you about the conventional starter kill.
Most of the starter kills are "neat" in the way they function and are very reliable. Starter kill circuits use standard automotive relays. What I mean by "neat" is normally you would think of a relay as being either energized or de-energized i.e., when the alarm is activated the relay is energized and when the alarm is de-activated, the relay is de-energized (or vice-versa). If this were the case, the failures of alarm starter kill relays would probably be much higher because this relay would be energized say 1/2 the time. This could also cause your battery to go dead if you let the car set for extended period of time due to the small current draw by the relay when activated. Well, this is not at all how they work. Study the diagram below.
If you read my main alarm installation page and learned anything from it, you'll see exactly what the above relay configuration is doing for you :) But, if you didn't, I'll try to explain it. Pins 85 and 86 are for the coil. The starter interrupt output from the alarm is connected to pin 85. This wire from the alarm is nothing more than a ground signal whenever the alarm is armed and an open when it is not armed. Pin 87a goes to the starter and is where the relay's armature rests when the relay is de-energized... the electrical path is completed from pin 30 to 87a when the relay's coil is de-energized. Now, instead of supplying a constant 12v to the other side of the relay, you'll notice that this 12v supply is coming from the ignition switch. Since this is the actual starter wire, it is only getting 12v when the key is turned to the start position. So, with the alarm disarmed, if the key is turned to the start position, the relay doesn't actuate because there is no ground from the alarm (alarm disarmed). But, if the alarm is armed, and the key is turned to the start position, the starter wire will get 12v up to the point of the relay. When this happens the relay will actuate (since a ground is being supplied by the alarm to the other side of the coil) and will "pull" the armature of the relay to pin 87 and thus breaking the starter's 12v circuit from pin 30 to pin 87a and not allow any "juice" to go to the starter. With this type of relay configuration, the only time the relay will be actuated is when someone tries to start the car with the alarm armed... which should be NEVER! :) Because of this design, starter interrupt relay failures are basically nonexistent.
To connect this up to your F-Body, it seems most install books reference using a YELLOW wire at the ignition switch. Well, since most alarm installers connect the starter kill here, this is exactly what the thief is expecting and looking for. I happen to have a factory service manual for the 96 F-Body and have found a much better place for this connection :) I prefer to use a PURPLE wire which is downstream of the theft deterrent relay. This wire is in an unsuspecting location on the passenger side right before it goes through the firewall and is difficult to get to. A perfect place! What makes this even better is that you already have the car torn apart to the point it needs to be to get to this wire! If you remember above from the hatch release, this theft deterrent relay is right above the hatch release relay in the glove box area. See picture below.
Now that you've found the relay you're probably noticing that it is a pretty tight working area back there. Never fear, there is a better place to cut the PURPLE wire and make your connections. See picture below.
OK, now that I've described how to do the conventional starter kill, I'm going to show you my way to do the starter kill. If you think about it, if the thief can disable your alarm, and can get by the PASS Key protection (which some can) then he has the ability to start your car. Many of the high tech thieves use code grabbers that can actually intercept the frequency of your transmitter (if you have an alarm). They'll then use their "special device" to disarm your alarm when you walk away from the car. Say bye bye to the F-bod. What I've done is installed a starter kill type circuit which is completely separate from the alarm system. It is stand alone and does not need the alarm system. It is extremely simple yet extremely effective. This works on the complete opposite theory of the conventional starter kill I described above. I still use the same PURPLE wire (much better IMO than the YELLOW wire at the ignition switch!) but in my circuit the only time the circuit to the starter is completed is when I want it to be.
Here is how it works... when you get in my car and turn the key to the start position, nothing happens. It doesn't matter if the alarm is disarmed or even if you have the right/wrong key... nothing will happen period. In order to start my car, I must hold the driver side passenger window switch in the UP position WHILE turning the key to start the car :-) I decided to use this particular switch for a few reasons 1) I didn't want an extra switch which appeared out of place or suspicious 2) I needed a switch that I could access with my left hand while turning the key with my right and 3) The connection for this wire is right near our PURPLE wire!
What this does is activates a separate relay I installed any time the passenger window switch from the driver side is pressed in the UP position and there is power available to the accessories. What this also means is that the relay won't be made up unless the key is turned to the ON position even if the switch is held in the correct position. We're talking multi levels of protection here. So basically, if anyone ever steals my car, it has to be one of my friends or one of you guys reading this page :-) The chances of somebody getting by 1) my alarm system 2) the PASS Key II system and 3) my super secret window start is highly unlikely :)
You're probably thinking right now that this relay will be made up whenever you roll up your passenger side window. Well, you'd be correct, but so what? :) All that is happening is the relay is being made up. There is no power being sent through the relay (except for the coil, of course) because you're not holding the key to the start position.
About the only extra thing you need to know in addition to the above conventional starter kill information is the location of the correct wire for the passenger side window roll-up. This wire is a LIGHT BLUE wire and can be found in the wiring harness just before this grouping of wires exits the car and goes into the door. This is pretty much a pain to make this connection but isn't too difficult if you use a blue quick splice connector. Pictured below is the wire you'll need to connect to if you choose to do this type of starter kill.
Once you make this connection with a piece of "spare" wire, we're ready to make the rest of the connections to the relay. Go ahead and cut the PURPLE wire as described above in the conventional starter kill section. For this starter kill I just used a regular starter kill relay harness (pictured below) and modified it slightly by snipping the red "loop" since we want the 12v that powers the coil (window up 12v) to be different than the 12v coming from the ignition switch and also by taking the white wire shown below and moving it from its center location (87a) to the blank left slot (87). How necessary is the diode? I don't really know. I'm sure it's there just as a precaution. If you don't have a harness like this, you can use regular female type blade connectors (like what would slide over a speaker connection) and slide them over the individual relay posts. These can be found at Radio Shack or even Wal-Mart. The diode you'll probably have to pick up from Radio Shack.
NOTE: The following will describe connecting
wires to the relay pins based on the above picture of the relay harness that I used.
This picture is different than the scanned in diagram near the top of this page!
The coil pins (85 and 86) are "swapped." By that I mean the diagram
shows pin 86 being 12v whereas I have pin 86 being a ground and pin 85 being a ground
where I hook it up to 12v. This is OK so long as you get the orientation of the
diode correct... the banded side must point towards the 12v side, regardless of which pin
you use for 12v. Don't let this confuse you. Either follow the diagram at the
top or the below paragraph but don't try to combine the two because you will get confused!
The more I think about this type of starter kill, I believe it to probably be more effective at preventing your car from being stolen than the entire rest of the alarm system combined. The nice thing about this is that you can get protection like this for under $5 (the cost of the relay and a few connectors) and all you have to do have is a little mechanical skill and be able to follow the instructions I have above. I don't know how many people actually do "weird" and different type stuff like this, but I welcome your comments. Send me some email if you've done an "off the wall" install like this and tell me about it!