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HoustonPhotog
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:18 am    Post subject: Every owner should do this... Reply with quote

I highly recommend that every Vanagon/Bus owner take the time to properly document their vehicle at least once a year. The past couple of Stolen Van Reports I've gotten have had very old and outdated photos of the van that was stolen. Old photos do no good in helping recover your stolen van. I've even had someone send me a photo of a van and say "That's not my actual van but a photo from Google that looks just like it.". Yea... no help.

Do yourself a favor. Make time to properly photograph your van/bus from every side and corner. This will greatly help the chances that your van will be recovered if it's ever stolen. Now take things one step further, go ahead and photograph the interior and engine bay as well for insurance purposes.

If for some reason the van is stolen and not recovered, now you have documented photos of the condition of the entire vehicle in order to help you reach a good settlement. It's best to have all of these photos set aside someplace safe on your computer or on your phone for easy access.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Now in order to help protect your van please consider a GPS Tracker, Kill Switch and/or a Pedal Lock of some sort.

Spot Trace GPS Tracker: http://amzn.to/2rDT7pM
Trackmate GPS Tracker: http://amzn.to/2swRcaM
Unbreakable Pedal Lock: http://amzn.to/2t9WIOy

I for one love my Spot Trace tracker... Comes in handy while traveling since I load the app onto my loved ones phones so they can see where in the country I am even if I don't have a cell signal. Trackers like Trackmate listed above relies on needing a cell signal available in order to transmit GPS data, Spot Trace does not.

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jimf909 Premium Member
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:46 am    Post subject: Re: Every owner should do this... Reply with quote

Great tips, Abel: concise and potentially helpful in case of theft. I often take clean photos like you describe to ensure that I have something that's up-to-date and helpful. I also do a walk-around-and-inside video to record status and contents.

As for locating devices, threads like this can go on for pages, but the Spot Tracer seems like a fair price for service that doesn't rely on cell coverage.

Thanks.
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:32 am    Post subject: Re: Every owner should do this... Reply with quote

Email the photos and info to yourself as well.
That way you can get it at any computer/cell phone with an internet connection.
Like if your phone was inside the van when it was taken.
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davevickery
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:59 am    Post subject: Re: Every owner should do this... Reply with quote

Spot Trace went from $99/year service to $165. I think that is too much and I'm looking for an alternative before my August renewal.
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HoustonPhotog
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:08 am    Post subject: Re: Every owner should do this... Reply with quote

davevickery wrote:
Spot Trace went from $99/year service to $165. I think that is too much and I'm looking for an alternative before my August renewal.


I saw it went up to $150 a year... Even then... I think it's very worth it especially since it doesn't rely on a cell signal. Last 3g tracker I had ran $25 a month...
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erste
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:11 am    Post subject: Re: Every owner should do this... Reply with quote

davevickery wrote:
Spot Trace went from $99/year service to $165. I think that is too much and I'm looking for an alternative before my August renewal.


I just bought one from REI because I had some return money. It was $99 and there's a $50 rebate, but you're right - the service was listed in the description as 99/year or 200/year for 'extreme'

Looks like it's now 150/year for basic and 175/year for 'extreme'
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HoustonPhotog
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:13 am    Post subject: Re: Every owner should do this... Reply with quote

I've used both plans... Extreme is overkill. Sucks the battery twice as fast.
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davevickery
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:14 am    Post subject: Re: Every owner should do this... Reply with quote

HoustonPhotog wrote:
davevickery wrote:
Spot Trace went from $99/year service to $165. I think that is too much and I'm looking for an alternative before my August renewal.


I saw it went up to $150 a year... Even then... I think it's very worth it especially since it doesn't rely on a cell signal. Last 3g tracker I had ran $25 a month...
They add a $15 network fee to that, so $165.

Are there not any other ones that track similarly to Spot? I do like the satellite data, but a cell signal would work in most places that are high risk areas. At $99/year it is great, at $165 it is worth considering options.
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yiucycle
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:10 am    Post subject: Re: Every owner should do this... Reply with quote

davevickery wrote:

Are there not any other ones that track similarly to Spot? I do like the satellite data, but a cell signal would work in most places that are high risk areas. At $99/year it is great, at $165 it is worth considering options.


Nothing I know use satellite data but Im using the same amazon gps cell tracker as this post. https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=568723
But make sure if you get one of the cell signal gps unit that they are 3g network and not the 2g only. Mine is 2g only and using lyca mobile(pay as you go plan, 4 cents for outgoing text, using t mobile network). Tmobile network will shutdown 2g by 2020 and at&t already shutdown their 2g last year.
With my current setup i spend less than $5 a year on the cell coverage because sometime i forget to disarm the tracker and it will sent me text alert when i open or start the van or move around in the van.
But if you have the means to get a spot with the extreme annual plan, i think its the best option. Also along with a cell tracker since you can connected to your door switch, ignition, remote fuel pump kill switch. you get instant text notification when someone do break into your van unlike spot where you won't start tracking until you notice its gone.
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VanAllen_84
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:50 am    Post subject: Re: Every owner should do this... Reply with quote

With all of the recent van thefts, I am seriously considering getting one.
I would hate for Osmo to get stolen, not to mention it would really break my kid's heart as she loves the Van!

On Amazon, Spot Trace is $99, but if you head directly to their website, https://www.findmespot.com/en/?cid=128 they have it for 50% off.

Annual subscription is shows $149/yr for basic. But they have a display banner on their site that shows 50% off activation, so it might actually be cheaper.

Either way it is a minor investment to make considering the headaches and ordeal of not being able to recover your Van!
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pomfritz
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:20 am    Post subject: Re: Every owner should do this... Reply with quote

I'm waiting for a GPS locator called Ping, bought it on Indiegogo, should be shipping next month. Free first year, $36 year after that.

Can always use it for something else if it doesn't meet my needs, but the description seems pretty good.

BTW Abel, thanks for the app and gear review, very helpful. Bought a coolant pipe bracket because of it.
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erste
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:20 am    Post subject: Re: Every owner should do this... Reply with quote

yiucycle wrote:
Also along with a cell tracker since you can connected to your door switch, ignition, remote fuel pump kill switch. you get instant text notification when someone do break into your van unlike spot where you won't start tracking until you notice its gone.


I like this idea a lot.
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yiucycle
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Every owner should do this... Reply with quote

Just saw another post on a stolen van. Just getting me more paranoid, beside the currently suggested here which i already have installed some of this stuff:
pedal lock
fuel cut-off
starter kill switch
gps tracker

What other device can anyone think of that can slow down the thief??

Wheel boot is good but too bulky
Is steering wheel lock device even work??
https://www.amazon.com/3000-Hooks-Steering-Wheel-Y...F&th=1
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E1
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Every owner should do this... Reply with quote

Curious... with any GPS tracking system, what's to keep a knowledgeable thief from knowing how to remove it immediately?

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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Every owner should do this... Reply with quote

E1 wrote:
Curious... with any GPS tracking system, what's to keep a knowledgeable thief from knowing how to remove it immediately?

Signed,
Knownothingaboutit


It's all about where you hide it so they don't find it.
Even so, how good is it's battery life-self contained or running off the vehicle 12v battery.
Park it indoors for a few daze and will the searching for a GPS kill the self contained battery?

If you run it off the vehicle battery you need wires running to it and if they have a devious mind and a brain they can trace any wires going someplace they normally wouldn't. Like where you hid the GPS tracker.
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timichango
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Every owner should do this... Reply with quote

My current security system is the fact that my van ('91 automatic) can't be started in park on account of a bad neutral safety switch in the shifter.

I'm contemplating deleting that switch altogether, and re-routing it so that an innocuous and unrelated button elsewhere in the cockpit must be depressed while turning the key — or trio of switches (mounted in a few different locations, and labelled misleadingly) must be flipped into the correct position, Imperator Furiosa style.

Or fusing the wire to the NSS somewhere hidden, maybe in a couple places, and pulling the fuses when I want to lock out the starter.

In addition, I reckon I'll be stashing a GPS unit with its own battery backup, and also wired to the van's 12v, somewhere that's unlikely to be discovered, on a circuit that's not easy to trace.
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