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Old 01-08-2020, 05:50 AM   #1
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DIY Ravelco?

Has anyone here installed an actual Ravelco device---they're appearing on FleaBay for "cheap" and I've purchased one. A bit of internet reading shows them pretty much bulletproof and undefeatable to the average vehicle thief which is what I'm seeking to protect against--anything to slow them down while the on-board car alarm siren draws attention.

I intend to go a bit overboard on splicing the chassis wiring into the Ravelco device just to make sure I'm not disabled due my own poor wiring connections. I'll use uninsulated crimp terminals followed by soldering and finished off with shrink wrap tubing. I will also place the exposed part in an inconspicuous position that wouldn't be the first place a crook would look. I'm thinking near the inertia fuel shut off--given my final drive of the day routine pulling the cap would be very easy and replacing it during first drive would also be easy

So I'm asking if anyone has an actual experience installing on of these? What suggestions or advice would you have regarding installation procedures to follow? Share whatcha know!

TIA
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Old 01-08-2020, 05:14 PM   #2
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I have zero experience installing one, but the thought of having to go around to the passenger side door every time you stop to install or remove the plug sounds a little inconvenient. You said you would only pull or remove the plug once a day, that wouldn't be too bad, but unless your in the van all day, you would be missing out on getting protection every time you stopped. Personally, I'd pull the plug every stop, even if only for a few minutes, but I'm extra paranoid I guess.
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Old 01-08-2020, 05:42 PM   #3
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My only installation input would be about the key plug. Mine is in the typical place, just under and to the left of the steering wheel. Maybe I’m just impatient, but it’s taking a lot of getting used to putting that darn thing in its place. If it were in an inconvenient place, my swearing index would go even higher.

I have been tempted more than once to leave the key plug in, “just for a few minutes.” But then I remind myself of the point of having it and how I would kick myself silly if the van got stolen “just that one time.”

Good luck on the install.
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Old 01-09-2020, 07:19 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies Otter and A/T too---good food for thought. I did get a small chuckle over Otter's thoughts--yes indeed why have it only to leave the cap in place full time?

So my biggest and perhaps foolish concern is over night parking where my paranoia is highest, even in my relatively crime-free neighborhood. I can't recall a vehicle theft close by in my 20+ years but that's meaningless in the overall scheme of things.

I do have remote-actuated deadbolt locks that makes entering the rear cargo area nearly impossible--short of sawing the hinges off there's no way to defeat them, the front doors completely unprotected. Other than a dome light actuated alarm they're vulnerable. The upside there is nothing of value is kept upfront and the dividing partition greatly limiting access to the rear. Even if crooks enter the rear from inside without knowledge of where my manual defeats for the deadbolts are located they're basically trapped inside.

That being the case and my thoughts of the hot wiring and driving away to part my van out at another location pops up. The Ravelco would greatly reduce that concern.

Most of my daily driver stops are short lived and I know that in and of itself isn't any sort of safety its not a huge concern. Its for that reason I'm leaning towards "hiding" the exposed part, perhaps another way to slow thieves down while the siren is blaring.

I didn't mention I use sun screens over the windshield and front doors, putting those in place has me working from the driver's seat for two of the three pieces, the final or right side requiring me to access the passenger's seat area. As such the best hiding place is near the fuel cut off switch. From what I understand most car thieves look for conspicuous things like the Ravelco cap or they'll fumble around near the driver's seat thinking any starter or fuel system kill switch will be easily found.

So my thoughts run towards if they can't even crank the van and can't see kill switches etc quickly they'd run away. I could be wrong but that's the way I'll proceed at the moment.

Still open to anyone's installation tips or experiences.

Thanks again!
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Old 01-09-2020, 08:21 AM   #5
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Will not be s “hot wire”, it will be a screw driver or shiv into the ignition key slot and off they go IF they can get it started. We had the Ravelco installed about five years ago. It took at least a full year to make removing the “key” part of the routine of locking the van. It is pretty easy to feel like just leaving it plugged in while I go into the bathroom at the rest stop. Then, like Otter states, I think how quickly the rig could be gone for my lack of two seconds of removing the “key” and putting it in my pocket.

What I have struggled with more is the Ravelco stickers! I have not put them on because - 1. I pretty much dislike stickers, 2. If the van is being cased I have tipped the thieves off as to how to come prepared.

I would like an audible unauthorized entry alarm with notification to our cell phones. The notification would be helpful in the cities, but useless at a trail head. The alarm would be a bit of a deterrent to hopefully attracting some attention.

JWA - you have addressed the rear door license plate vulnerability???
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Old 01-09-2020, 08:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1der View Post

I would like an audible unauthorized entry alarm with notification to our cell phones. The notification would be helpful in the cities, but useless at a trail head. The alarm would be a bit of a deterrent to hopefully attracting some attention.

JWA - you have addressed the rear door license plate vulnerability???
I know I'm gambling that my short stops won't have me returning to find a missing van if I don't continually use the soon-to-be Ravelco. I'm honestly re-thinking where I could install it for ease of access while still being mostly inconspicuous.

Yeah by whatever means they start the vehicle they'll be gone with it---I use "hotwire" as a generic term meaning unauthorized starting and driving away..............


Seems to me Viper or some such outfit do make an alarm that interfaces with either a key fob alert or by now there is an "app" that'll send alerts to your phone. I mean in this gadget world someone is NOT making such a thing?

I want to believe I've over come that horrible door key lock vulnerability by installing deadbolt locks. When activated I can hand you the keys and you'll simply NOT be able to get the doors open. Once the stock door cylinders are unlocked they move outward maybe 3/16" before the deadbolts come into play. Even a pry bar won't dislodge them--pretty impressive.

Having been a victim twice of those flimsy door locks being punched out and stuff stolen I almost feel like I have a PhD in Ford van entry restriction.

FWIW anyone interested in the dead bolts I'd highly recommend the latest offerings from The Auto Bolt---very impressive new products.
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:38 AM   #7
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Had a buddy who got his F-550 camper recently stolen from a higher end golf course neighborhood while visiting family. These camper setups clearly draw attention. However, having had to recently jump my van after it sitting for 6-8 weeks, what happens with the dead bolts in this scenario if the battery is completely toast?
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:33 AM   #8
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I don't think you need to worry too much about someone bypassing the Revelco. Even the most prepared thief is going to find it takes a long time to trace and reconnect the interrupted circuits. It's my understanding that installers tightly bundle the wires together with the stock wiring so it looks just like the factory bundle. I've heard reports of someone wanting to remove the system, and his mechanic had a very difficult time figuring it all out, so placing the plug where it can be seen might just make a knowledge thief give up before he starts, knowing it will take a huge effort to defeat. As for rear door security, I installed a simple gate latch to the doors on the inside. When latched, it is impossible to open the doors from the outside. The only down side is that it's pretty inconvenient when I forget it's latched and try to open the doors from the rear, so I have to go back inside and lay on the bed to unlatch. All in all though, it's very inexpensive (under $5) quick to install (15 minutes) and very effective.
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Old 01-09-2020, 01:01 PM   #9
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I had a Ravelco in my '87 Saab, and never did get used to removing the cap when I left the car...until I attached it to the key ring by a stretchy cord. Then I couldn't easily leave the car without removing it!

For me, that worked. Otherwise the whole purpose was defeated by leaving the cap in most of the time. You can put a quick release on one end of the cord for those few times you might need to leave the cap on and remove the keys.

When we got our SMB, I asked the alarm guy about a Ravelco and he said they had problems installing them on the Sprinters, Anybody else heard that?
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Old 01-10-2020, 07:39 AM   #10
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I've not many alarm installers who really really know what they're doing. Their training is pretty non-existent and there's no standard of training or competence within that industry. Looking at some of their work you quickly see they're making quick dollars with a relatively low level of quality wiring. Not all are that way but the larger percentage would fall under that less-than-glowing assessment.

I can't imagine why incorporating a Ravelco into a Sprinter---those devices simply interrupt the starting and fuel supply circuits. Something could be causing another problem but I don't see how or why.

B.Rock asks what happens when/if the vehicle battery loses its charge? I've devised a pull string where I can manually release the dead bolts in such an instance. As I suggest the brand/type I've used as well as The Auto Bolt can both be equipped with this same sort of defeat---the trick then becomes hiding it well enough crooks wouldn't take time to search for it.

In my case opening the passenger door I can open the 60% door via that pull string as its located within easy reach. Without power or even if the lock solenoid fails while locked its easily defeated.

The rear doors aren't quite as conveniently accessed however with a little effort moving things out of the way I'm able to defeat those when/if needed.

Honestly I'd NOT want to use these types of supplemental door locks without a secret access method.
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