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Noah Body
11-23-2010, 06:12 PM
Regrettably, not one part of my misspent youth was spent stealing cars. I have characters who will probably need to hotwire a 2010 Ford E350 van. Anyone know how this stuff gets done? I promise not to report you to the police.

A thousand thanks.

Kitti
11-23-2010, 06:30 PM
hotwire a 2010 Ford E350 van

I don't know about Fords, particularly, but a lot of new-model cars have something called a "silencer" installed by the dealer which basically turns off the car's computer to prevent anyone from stealing it. Don't know if that's a deal-killer or an avenue of weakness for your characters to exploit - I'm not that tech savvy.

Stanmiller
11-23-2010, 07:46 PM
Noah,
Hotwiring alone won't do it these days. Besides the mechanical steering lock, most cars use a key with a chip that responds to an RF signal generated by the car's computer. If the code doesn't match, the computer sounds an alarm and disables the FI system or the starter circuit. So you'll need to either pick a modern car thief's brain or be suitably vague when describing how to beat the coded key.

The steering lock could be defeated with a slide hammer. Dunno if they can still do that or not. But the question should be amenable to properly applied Google-fu.

Stan

jclarkdawe
11-23-2010, 07:57 PM
It's not real complicated. You pop the ignition key lock (which is where you insert the key) out. Best approach is to basically rip the plastic that covers the steering wheel column. This will expose the wiring. One set of wires (positive and negative) are necessary for the vehicle to keep running. Second set of wires (positive and same negative) go to the starter, providing temporary current to spin the starter. Instead of using the key to provide the connections between the wires, you peel the ends enough to expose some wire and connect the wires together.

Alarm systems that are wired further in the system can be dealt with by jumping wires on the starter. With practice, sixty seconds is not that difficult a time to achieve.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Stanmiller
11-23-2010, 08:12 PM
It's not real complicated. You pop the ignition key lock (which is where you insert the key) out. Best approach is to basically rip the plastic that covers the steering wheel column. This will expose the wiring. One set of wires (positive and negative) are necessary for the vehicle to keep running. Second set of wires (positive and same negative) go to the starter, providing temporary current to spin the starter. Instead of using the key to provide the connections between the wires, you peel the ends enough to expose some wire and connect the wires together.

Alarm systems that are wired further in the system can be dealt with by jumping wires on the starter. With practice, sixty seconds is not that difficult a time to achieve.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

But how do they defeat the coded key system, Jim? My Bimmer won't pump fuel to the injectors if the coded key isn't used. I think it's called the Electronic Immobilizer or somesuch.

Drachen Jager
11-23-2010, 08:28 PM
I agree with all those saying, simple hotwiring does not cut it for a 2010 vehicle.

Older cars, you trim and cross the wires. I've heard it's green but varies from model to model.

Noah Body
11-23-2010, 08:44 PM
Why, you incubating car boosters. ;) Thanks for the responses so far!

Stanmiller
11-23-2010, 09:36 PM
Ha! I had a puke-green '55 Chevy 2 door post with a defunct ignition switch as a first car so I knew which wires to cross. So did several other people. It was sort of a 'community' car. One guy 'borrowed' it and stuffed it into a tree. Didn't hurt the tree much (or him either) but the '55 didn't survive.

Of course you could use the desperate move of last resort and have the thieves break into the house/office/guard shack to get the keys. Then all will be simple after that.

Stan

Noah Body
11-23-2010, 09:56 PM
I have that on hot standby should anything else be unfeasible.

PeterL
11-23-2010, 10:09 PM
Regrettably, not one part of my misspent youth was spent stealing cars. I have characters who will probably need to hotwire a 2010 Ford E350 van. Anyone know how this stuff gets done? .

I don't think that it can be hotwired. You might be able to start it by popping the ignition lock, but the computer will prevent most, or all, cars since 2000 or earlier.

PeterL
11-23-2010, 10:14 PM
On second thought, there probably is a wire that tells the computer that the key is being turned properly, and one could short that with the correct voltage. I'd have to look into it, but I know someone who had a car that with a problem in the started switch. He got around it by shorting the necessary wire to the cigarette lighter.

Drachen Jager
11-23-2010, 11:04 PM
Well technically you are correct PeterL, there IS a wire that tells the computer there is a chip present within range of the sensor, but the signal is not a simple on/off it's a code. If the computer doesn't receive the correct code it won't run. Nearly unhackable unless you have access to very high tech equipment.

PeterL
11-23-2010, 11:20 PM
Well technically you are correct PeterL, there IS a wire that tells the computer there is a chip present within range of the sensor, but the signal is not a simple on/off it's a code. If the computer doesn't receive the correct code it won't run. Nearly unhackable unless you have access to very high tech equipment.

With some cars it is a simple on/off, but that car was not this year's model, so the system may have changed. As I recall it, the problem was finding something of the right voltage.

I wonder what one could do with a hand-held scanner.

Stanmiller
11-23-2010, 11:25 PM
BMW (and prolly others) uses a two-code deal, with a fixed code and a code that changes every time an attempt is made to start the car. Both have to match. It's over-engineered, like a lot of other things about the car.

Hmmm, maybe I can swap it for a replacement '74 2002 Tii like the one I traded for a first gen 5 series, way back in '77. Yeah!

Drachen Jager
11-23-2010, 11:35 PM
With some cars it is a simple on/off, but that car was not this year's model, so the system may have changed. As I recall it, the problem was finding something of the right voltage.

I wonder what one could do with a hand-held scanner.

The problem is there's a starter AND a security system. They're not the same thing. It's not a matter of sending the code to start the car, the code has to be sent BEFORE the starter switch will do anything.

PeterL
11-24-2010, 12:47 AM
The problem is there's a starter AND a security system. They're not the same thing. It's not a matter of sending the code to start the car, the code has to be sent BEFORE the starter switch will do anything.

Yes, and the question is what kind of signal would allow the computer to permit the circuit to the starter to operate In the case that I mentioned the proper voltage was the signal, and there was no code beyond that. It is possible that there are more specific signalling systems now, but it is also possible that having the proper voltage would be adequate.

jclarkdawe
11-24-2010, 01:10 AM
First off, remember that a key is always the easiest way to start a car.

Second, what a system is designed to do is delay someone from stealing the car. Given enough time, any system can be defeated.

Third, mechanics have to have a work-around for testing a malfunction. For example, the car's computer chip is an expensive part. Car owners are really pissed when it has to be replaced merely because of the alarm system which one manufacturer built into the computer chip.

Four, car thieves talk, including to mechanics, as well as people who part cars. It doesn't take long for serious thieves to know what's up with each system. Of course, the best and fastest way to steal a car is on a flatbed. Shutoffs don't make a difference then.

Fifth, electricity is real simple. It's either on or off. Shutoff systems work by causing a trip in the wiring system. Usually there is some way around the trip. It just takes some time to figure it out.

I've had some clients who have beaten really cool systems. For example, the safety system where the airbag goes off, the doors unlock, and the engine shuts down has already given thieves a way to open the doors easier than a slim jim.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Drachen Jager
11-24-2010, 02:02 AM
Second, what a system is designed to do is delay someone from stealing the car. Given enough time, any system can be defeated.

Given enough time, proper technical knowledge and equipment yes. Otherwise not necessarily.