Trailer Security Guide - Car Trailer Basics 101, Part III

Equipping Your Trailer & Tow Rig For Maximum Security

Rich Lagasse May 10, 2010 0 Comment(s)
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• Wire the relays. Should you want to engage the trailer exterior lights and/or the trailer brakes should a break-in occur, a relay for each is necessary, but is not part of the kit. We used 40-amp Pro-Link relays (#SPDT40P), which are available from most auto parts stores. The two yellow wires in the alarm wiring harness are used for the trailer exterior lights and brakes. These are connected to terminal #86 on each relay. There are three other connections for each relay. Terminal #87 is connected to a constant 12-volt power source; terminal #85 is connected to a trailer chassis ground; and terminal #30 is connected to the trailer running light line from one relay and, on the second relay, to the trailer brake line. Most typical trailer wiring setups use the green wire for the running lights and the blue wire for the trailer brakes. A diagram is provided as part of the installation instructions. It sounds more complicated than it actually is. Once all the wiring had been run and connected, we covered the wire bundle with convoluted wire covering.

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• Once everything is mounted and wired, it's time for a test of the system. Install the 15-amp fuse in the fuseholder, close all the doors, and press the right button on the remote transmitter fob. The red LED light should come on solidly at first. After 30 seconds it will start to blink, letting you know that the system is armed. Now, with the remote in hand, open one door to see if the alarm engages. You have to press the disarm button (button on the left) to disarm the system. Next, test any other doors one at a time after resetting the alarm, to make sure that all transmitters are receiving a good signal.

• The last step is to affix your alarm Warning Label. We wanted it in a highly visible location, and decided to place it just beneath the LED alarm light to draw attention to the light.

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Vehicle Anti-Theft Protection
Now that the trailer is more secure, we thought about how to best add protection for the truck itself. While the truck is alarmed and has a fuel shutoff, we thought an additional layer of security would be a good idea, since it seems there have been a number of instances where the entire rig has been stolen. Layering theft devices can make it take longer for a thief to be successful, and may make them try an easier mark. We were looking for an easy-to-use and effective means to prevent the truck from being stolen, as well as one that's reasonably priced. After researching the devices available, we narrowed our choices to four types:

The first was a wheel immobilizer, or tire boot. Several types are available to fit various wheel sizes and hub types, but the best we found were those which secured access to the lug nuts so that the wheel couldn't be removed. Some wheel clamps only go around the wheel, but don't cover the lugs. Thieves can easily defeat those by simply removing the wheel and installing your own spare tire. The best units were pretty expensive at $600-plus, as well as being a bit cumbersome to use. As a result, we felt we wouldn't likely take the trouble to install it as often as we should, making it less effective.

The second device considered was a more sophisticated alarm system, even though our truck is already equipped with the factory alarm and fuel shut-off system. Unfortunately, professional thieves have found ways around some of these systems, and people seem to ignore the sound of an alarm. Consequently, we dismissed that as a choice.

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The third device was a tracking system. We felt those would be effective in discovering a stolen vehicle but they seem to be more of an "after the fact" security device, and our purpose was to prevent the vehicle from being stolen in the first place.

Our Choice: That led us to search further, and we found one particular device of interest called the Ravelco Anti-Theft System. It's been in use for 33 years and, according to their web site, has never been defeated. After reviewing all the features of the system, and speaking with the company, we decided that the Ravelco was the system which best met our objectives. Some of the principle features we found attractive were that it does not use battery power, so a battery failure won't cause a systems failure, it comes with a lifetime guarantee, and systems failures aren't possible. Also, each unit is uniquely coded (there are over 100,000 combinations), it cannot be hotwired, and all the connections are hidden in the engine compartment. All connections are made through the factory wiring harness (with soldered and sealed connectors), and it's virtually impossible to detect. They even go so far as to install additional nonfunctional wiring, to further confuse anyone who would try to bypass the system. Without the plug installed, the vehicle is literally impossible to start, as the system interrupts the electronic fuel pump, ignition circuit, starter circuit, and ECU. Within the engine compartment, there is nothing visible to let you know that it's there.

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