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      08-09-2011, 03:13 AM   #1
M3NOLA
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Custom Radar and Laser Jammer Install - STi-R+ and LI Dual

I had my Beltronics STi-R+ and Laser Interceptor Dual installed at a professional shop a couple of weeks ago. I am very happy with the install with the exception of the radar receiver placement. I was told it would be installed behind the bumper cover but when I picked it up, it was behind the grille. Unfortunately, the grille is chrome.

My question for you guys is, is it better to leave it where it is now or to move it behind the bumper cover? The shop said they would move it for free but I assume they wouldn't move it back if I didn't like the results so my decision will be final.


The shop told me an exec from Escort came by the shop while they were installing an Escort 9500 CI on another e92 and he recommended they place it behind the grille. They had previously always installed it behind the bumper cover.

My one concern is that I've read in a couple of places that newer BMW bumpers are very bad a passing a radar signal.

"Some of the newer BMW models,AUDI's and VW's have have very "bad" bumpers,that don't pass Radar signals well.VAG cars have bumpers from PPP-EPDM which attenuate radar signals. Bumpers made with/from PP,ABS+PET, ABS, ASA, EVA, PS will pass Radar signals. Another VERY important thing is to ALWAYS mount radar receiver at least 2-3 inches behind the bumper or any other (plastic) obstacle."

Does anyone have any experience installing the radar receiver from a 9500 CI or STi-R behind a newer BMW bumper cover? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

The rest of my install is below...enjoy!



I told them where to put the LI heads. I didn't want the vertical install and this is the next best placement.



Here's a closeup of the radar receiver behind the right grille.



Here are the LI Dual's mounted level with the bubbles facing outward. I also spray painted the screws black so they don't stand out as much. On the first picture you can see on the left they are painted and on the right I had not painted them yet.



You can see the LI bubble receivers can see a laser shot from a very steep angle (i.e. overpass shots) I had them mount the receivers as far forward as possible without sticking out when viewed straight down.



Nice and level with a minimalist bracket.



I had them install everything in the ash tray with the display on top, controls on the bottom and the LI power switch on the right. It looks very stock and the ash tray can be closed for stealth and thieves. I don't mind having to look down at the display since most of the time it yells at me anyway and there is no need to look down. There was a ~$300 option to put it in the mirror but I decided it was'nt worth the money or the possible distraction having it in my line of sight.



They installed the USB port in the OBD box with Velcro so it can easily be accessed and pulled out.



There is an external speaker for the STi-R+ and also for the LI installed just below the steering column. It's very loud and can easily be heard over my stereo. I've also reprogrammed the LI to have no start up sound and no parking aid for a silent start. The green light lets me know the LI is on and a simple shot from a remote control lets me know it's working. The LI box is also installed hidden away inside the footwell behind a cover. I'm not exactly sure where the STi-R+ brains are but with the USB extension, I hopefully won't need to access it.



The GPS antenna is installed under the dash just to the left of the navigation screen. It gets a signal in about 1-2 minutes which i assume is normal. It has no trouble keeping a signal once acquired.

Feel free to comment/criticize if you think something can be done better. Also, any advice on the radar receiver placement would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
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      08-09-2011, 07:25 AM   #2
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Looks nice
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      08-09-2011, 09:30 AM   #3
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Looks very clean. Not an expert - there are many other threads here you might want to do a search for. Most deal with the "no-no" of putting laser jammers behind the grill (which you did not do). I think the radar receiver behind the grill is good. Not sure about new bumper "issues". Better to play it safe, let the unit work optimally, IMHO.

Like the interior install, too. Seems like they did a nice job. Glad you don't have issues with the GPS under the dash. Usually you see it on the dash.

Good luck. Thanks for the pics. Let us know how the performance is.
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      08-10-2011, 02:21 PM   #4
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Who did your install? Can you PM if thats against the forum rules? I am just picking up an M3 also in Calgary and need something similar.
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      08-10-2011, 06:18 PM   #5
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Mobile Solutions of Calgary did the install.
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      08-10-2011, 07:45 PM   #6
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I thought I saw a test where that location (behind the grill) rendered it useless in most real world situations.

I'd get a cop friend to test it for you before I ran around thinking I was invisible.
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      08-10-2011, 10:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jml View Post
I thought I saw a test where that location (behind the grill) rendered it useless in most real world situations.

I'd get a cop friend to test it for you before I ran around thinking I was invisible.
I have almost the exact same setup (right down to an almost identical ashtray looking piece). It's somewhat eerie.

Anyway, to address your point, I was worried that it wouldn't work behind the grill, but it's been fine. Sometimes it seems like it's less than ideal, but then I'll pick up a KA band with something as high as a 7 strength over a mile away from the leo source. So even if it does degrade performance, it's still exceptional.
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      08-10-2011, 11:15 PM   #8
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Thanks for the feedback. I moved from Houston about a year ago. I guess that makes it more eerie. I also went to UT Austin so it's funny that an Austin guy is also giving me feedback. The car is actually from Dallas although I got my radar installed in Calgary.

The three options I'm currently contemplating are (1) Get a gloss black non-chrome grille (This should help at least a little and I was already considering it), (2) Move the radar receiver behind the bumper cover (although no one has commented as to what the results are for a BMW yet) or (3) Move the receiver to the space in the bottom mesh grille and cutout the mesh to make it fit (my least likely and least favorite option because I don't want to cut into my car and it's ugly)

Nirvanayoda, do you have the chrome grille or did you replace it with something non-chrome? Also, are your laser heads in the same place as mine and have you had them tested? Do you have a laser interceptor system?
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      08-10-2011, 11:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jml View Post
I thought I saw a test where that location (behind the grill) rendered it useless in most real world situations.

I'd get a cop friend to test it for you before I ran around thinking I was invisible.
Unfortunately I don't have any cop friends, although I have met a few . Any clue where you saw the test? I'm thinking of removing my front grille for a day and driving around to test the difference.
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      08-11-2011, 07:19 AM   #10
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my experience with radar detectors is the higher you can mount them the better they work. I've noticed that traffic can block the radar signal, so the higher you are the less likely something will be blocking the signal
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      08-11-2011, 08:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3NOLA View Post
Thanks for the feedback. I moved from Houston about a year ago. I guess that makes it more eerie. I also went to UT Austin so it's funny that an Austin guy is also giving me feedback. The car is actually from Dallas although I got my radar installed in Calgary.

The three options I'm currently contemplating are (1) Get a gloss black non-chrome grille (This should help at least a little and I was already considering it), (2) Move the radar receiver behind the bumper cover (although no one has commented as to what the results are for a BMW yet) or (3) Move the receiver to the space in the bottom mesh grille and cutout the mesh to make it fit (my least likely and least favorite option because I don't want to cut into my car and it's ugly)

Nirvanayoda, do you have the chrome grille or did you replace it with something non-chrome? Also, are your laser heads in the same place as mine and have you had them tested? Do you have a laser interceptor system?
I still have the stock chrome grille. My laser heads are in the same place as yours, but the only difference in our installs is that you used the brackets whereas mine are stuck to the car with some type of serious adhesive. I haven't had them tested, but yes, I have high power laser interceptor dual in front and just regular power laser interceptor dual in rear.

With that being said, I wanted to make sure you know that as of September 1, 2011, laser jammers will be illegal in Texas. The law seems to say that you just can't install or use them, so I think a previous install is probably ok as long as you keep it off (that is NOT legal advice btw). I'm debating whether or not to take it off myself. The fine is $500, which I don't care about because it'll cost that much to have it removed. What I care about is that it's a Class C misdemeanor that goes on your record and I'm an attorney. Ugh. I just hate the idea of them taking a crowbar to my car to get the jammers off. I hope my theory about leaving it off being legal is true.
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      08-11-2011, 11:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nirvanayoda View Post
With that being said, I wanted to make sure you know that as of September 1, 2011, laser jammers will be illegal in Texas. The law seems to say that you just can't install or use them, so I think a previous install is probably ok as long as you keep it off (that is NOT legal advice btw). I'm debating whether or not to take it off myself. The fine is $500, which I don't care about because it'll cost that much to have it removed. What I care about is that it's a Class C misdemeanor that goes on your record and I'm an attorney. Ugh. I just hate the idea of them taking a crowbar to my car to get the jammers off. I hope my theory about leaving it off being legal is true.
If I'm not mistaken a regular speeding ticket is a Class C misdemeanor in Texas. I wouldn't be too worried about having that on your record, attorney or not.

As for me, I live in Alberta Canada where jammers are NOT illegal so I'm not worried.
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      08-11-2011, 03:43 PM   #13
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1. Congratulations. Your choice of detector and jammer is impeccable. You cannot do much better than this. The STi-R+ head is low and could miss some stuff higher up. But you could always supplement this with a windshield mount Redline or Valentine 1. They don't always play well together but with some effort you can determine a reasonable placement for both that works well. Others have done it, but if you don't want to be this obsessive, you still have a set that's better than most.

2. Below the license plate is not a very good place for the jammers. But then, there really is no good place on these cars. The best thing would be to cut the kidney grills to install the heads horizontal -- top outside of the grill. If you can, set them up so that they can be adjusted and when finding the right "pointing" be able to lock them down.

3. Matte black grills are a good idea. The chrome, even if painted on plastic as they are with the M3, will not only attenuate radar somewhat but also give more of a reflective surface for laser. Or you could scratch the chrome off with sandpaper/steel wool, if you dare. FWIW, it was from an Escort rep that I learned that the chrome grill, even the plastic chrome we have, could effect the performance.

4. Don't ask a cop to test them. If you want to find someone who does this in TX then PM me. But, do get them tested.


Cheers.
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