VehiCross Start Engine Button Mod
Honda S2000 button ~$35.00
Relay and Misc ~ $20
Big grin when you press the button and hear your engine come to life - PRICELESS!!!
Disclaimer: Please understand that I am describing how I did this mod to the best of my abilities. It worked perfectly for me on the first try. You can follow my instructions or do it differently but make sure you understand that you do all this at your own risk. I provided very detailed instructions so if you think them through and follow carefully, you should have no problem. As with any mod - safety should be your first priority.
Parts I used:
Here is the picture with most parts that you need (relay is not pictured):
Here is the wiring diagram:
Another wiring diagram with some actual pictures:
1. Do your shopping first. You can order the S2000 button from the link above. The relay, you can buy at AutoZone, PepBoys, NAPA, etc. Why do you need a relay? Well, the relay is nothing more then an electrical switch. It will enable you to separate the ignition circuit from the start button circuit. This way it is safer for both - you and the button. The relay can be found for as low as $2.99 to as high as $20.00. Since starting your car is pretty damn important, I decided not to get a very cheap relay and I bought the one for $12.99 from AutoZone. Any of the following relays will do the job (if your shop doesn't carry any of them, most of the time they will match them if you give them the part number):
Echlin #AR143 relay; or
GP Sorensen #MR38 relay; or
Bosch #330-070 (I think that's a very cheap one, so I wouldn't use it); or
any SPDT 30Amp/12Volts automotive relay. If you'll look at the bottom of the relay you should see 5 connectors marked 30, 86, 85, 87, and 87a.
While you are in the store buying a relay, you can also pick up some 12 and 18 gauge wire, 12 and 18 gauge quick connectors (male and female), and 12 and 18 guage ring connectors (for grounding). Make sure you have a crimping and a wire stripping tool and some electrical tape. Last thing that you need to find is a floppy drive power connector. It is just a coincident but it fits perfectly in the back of the button. It will provide a quick "harness" to plug into your button. An alternative is to cut the white plastic around the button connector and solder some 18 gauge wires on three of the connections that are used. If you find a floppy drive power plug you don't have to do it and you can easily disconnect the button later.
2. Now when you are done shopping it is time for some prep-work. Cut 5 pieces of 12 guage wire (the thicker one) about 8" each. On three of those wires, crimp 12 guage female quick connectors to both side. Crimp one 12 gauge female and one 12 gauge male connectors to the forth wire. Crimp the 12 gauge female connector and a 12 gauge ring connector to the fifth wire. You just made a wiring harness for your relay. Your will use these wires as follows:
Now take the floppy drive power connector and clip the leftmost wire off (not the red wire but the other side) and crimp 3 female 18 gauge connectors to the remaining wires. It should look like that:
Finally, you'll need a few extention wires to connect floppy connector to the relay and to connect floppy connector to 12V power and ground. It is really up to you where you want to get the power source from. I used a "fuse tap" which is just a connector that fits around any fuse in your fuse box and it provides a "male" type connection. I used a cigarette lighter fuse for my 12V connection. You can look at your fuse box cover and you'll see which one it is. One thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn't use a constant power source - for example don't use the power door locks fuse. The reason for this is because the Start Engine button has a small light inside so if you connect it to the constant power source it will always draw some juice even if when there is no key in the ignition. Sigarette lighter fuse works fine. So basically you'll need one 18 gauge extention wire with a male connector on one end and an 18 gauge ring connector on the other end for the ground button connection (pin 3). Second extention wire will go from the button power pin (2) to the fuse box - so make that one is long enough and put one male and one female 18 gauge connectors on the sides. And finally last extention will go from the button pin 1 to the relay pin 85 - you'll need to put one male and one female 18 gauge connectors on that one.
3. Your prep-work is now done, now you are ready to start working in a car. First thing you need to do: DISCONNECT THE GROUND WIRE FROM YOUR BATTERY!!! This is very important because you don't want to get electricuted and you don't want to short-circuit anything. Please DO NOT skip this step - be safe!!
4. After you disconnected your battery, you need to remove the knee pannel (under your steering wheel). It is held in place by 5 - 6 screws. Remove the hood opening latch first - it is held by two screws. Also disconnect your dimmer switch harness. If the pannel does not remove easily most likely you missed a screw - it should come off pretty easily.
5. This next step is OPTIONAL. I had to remove the steering wheel column top and bottom covers because I only had a 2000 version of VX manual and the wire colors did not match my 1999 VX. So I had to actually get to the key switch to check which wire is witch (they are marked with tiny letter on the back of the key switch). Most likely you will not need to remove the covers because I indicated the colors on the diagram above. HOWEVER: I can only confirm it for the 1999 VX. So I would recommend removing the covers just in any case to make sure. Tip: after you removed the screws lift the steering wheel all the way up and remove the bottom cover; then pull the steering wheel all the way down and remove the top cover.
6. Now you need to find the harness that runs from the key switch. If you removed the steering wheel covers then if you look through the "naked" steering wheel column you will see where the harness is pluged in. You will not be able to see it if you did not remove the covers. Basically, it is located on the right side behind the steering wheel. You will have to squeese the harness from the right to release the small hook which holds it in place. There isn't much room back there so it is a little tricky but not that hard - just a little uncomfortable. After you released the harness pull it down and it will look like that but your wire colors might be different:
7. Now you need to remove some insulation and identify the
IG2 and ST wires.
For '99 VXs: ST wire is Black with White stripe. IG2 wire is Black with a Violet stripe.
For '00 VXs according to the book: ST wire is White with Blue stripe. IG2 wire is Black with a Yellow stripe.
For '01 VXs probably like 2000 but I would remove the steering column cover to check.
Here is my 1999:
8. Now it is time to cut the two wires you found. Cut the IG2 wire and crimp a 12 gauge male connector to the switch end. Crimp a 12 gauge female connector to the harness end. Cut the ST wire and crimp a 12 gauge male connector to the harness end. Crimp the 12 gauge female connector to the switch end of the ST wire - this connection is not used but if you put the connector on it you can always reconnect the wires back together if you want to reverse this mod in the future. After you are done, it should look like this:
9. Now you are ready to connect everything. Connect the relay to the ST and IG2 wires according to the diagram above. It should kinda look like this after you connected it and covered all the connections with an electric tape:
10. Now you are almost ready to test!! Using your extention wires connect the floppy connector red wire to the relay. Connect the middle wire of the floppy connector to the cigarette lighter fuse using the "fuse tap". You will notice that the metal plate under the steering wheel attaches to the dash with four large screws - two on the right and two on the left. I used the lower screw on the right for a ground connection. I connected both ground wires (one from the relay and one from the floppy connector) to that screw. You have to force the ring connectors onto the screw and then put the screw back in.
11. At this point all wires should be connected. Check to make sure that everything is connected and re-connect the battery connection (you did disconnect the battery before, didn't you???). Turn the ignition key and try to start your car with a key - if you connected everything propery it should not start, but the radio and all accessories should work as usual. Now, try to push an engine start button. It should start your engine if everything is connected properly. Smile, and disconnect the battery again!
12. Now it's time to make a hole in your lower pannel for the button. I drilled a hole with a large drill and used a dremel tool with some files to make a tight fit for the button. When you are done, the hole should look like a large circle with an X through it (there is a flat side too so make sure it is on the right side):
When you are done, the button should fit perfectly, secure it on the other side with a lot of electrical tape:
13. You are ready to put your car back together. I attached the relay with some electric tape to the right of the gas pedal (see few pictures above). Put the steering column covers back together. Then attach the your new button to the floppy connector - make sure you connect it to the three pins on the right:
Now connect the dimmer switch back. Attach the lower pannel and put all screws back, then attach the hood release. At this point everything should be back together.
14. Congratulations!! You are done. Reconnect your battery and you should now have a working Engine Start Button! Final picture (I am using Dave's picture because I didn't take my own yet):
Q: Is there any benefit from having an Engine Start button?
A: No. The push button starter is in a way useless, and is only there for the "cool factor". It is a great conversational piece too.
Q: Do you still need a key to start your car?
A: Yes. You still need to insert the key and put it in the "ON" position. Your car will NOT start without the key even if you install the starter button. You don't really want to completely get rid of the key since it will be easier to steal your car in that case.
Q: Will it void my warranty?
A: I would say that if you will get some kind of electrical problem in the future then your dealer might use the starter button as an excuse to give you a hard time, but it really depends on your dealer. Plus, if you follow my directions and use quick connectors you can always "reverse" this mod (well, except for the hole in the dash I guess) :)
Q: Isn't it a lot of work for a mod that has no benefit?
A: If you feel this way, don't do it.