Wikipedia defines electronic countermeasures as “An electrical or electronic device designed to trick or deceive radar, sonar or other detection systems, like infrared (IR) or lasers.” The K40 RL360i serves a similar purpose against the threat of police radar. Though functionally similar, it’s a far more extensive system than the RLS2 I reviewed. Rather than a small self contained unit, it employs remote sensors, front and rear, to tell you what direction the radar is coming from. Radar jammers are illegal, but laser is a different story. The RL360i can use optional laser defusers to confuse laser guns, preventing them from getting a lock on your speed. A GPS receiver enables the same Mark to Mute and Mark to Alert features as the RLS2, as well as speed monitoring for the Quiet Ride and Speed Monitor features. Rather than a display, the RL360i uses a pair of LEDs integrated with your instrument cluster as a visual warning, as well as a speaker like the RLS2 for audio alerts. A wireless remote control provides access to the RL360i’s features, while an optional wired control unit can provide easier access. It’s a lot of components to install, and the good folks at Boomer Nashua in Nashua, NH took care of it for me.
(Full disclosure: K40 provided the RL360i and arranged for the installation free of charge.)
The first step was planning the install. This involved taking an inventory of all of the components and figuring out where they were going to go. Boomer has installed a number of these on BRZs and FR-Ss, so this was a path well traveled. We didn’t have to reinvent the wheel.
The one thing we did reinvent is that we decided to mount the optional control unit on the center console by the heated seat switches I installed. Unfortunately it didn’t fit very well above or below the switches, since I’d mounted them in the center of the panel as the factory intended. But no problem – Chris fabricated a new panel incorporating all of the controls.
The result looks like it came out of Subaru’s factory this way. The controls are easy to operate, and fall right into my hand where they’re located. I can operate it with nobody noticing, not even the watchful eye of the law.
Installing an integrated radar detector system isn’t as simple as sticking an RLS2 to the windshield. My front bumper cover had to come off to run wiring and install the front radar sensor and laser defuser. The one selected for my car looks like a simple license plate frame, but the laser jamming hardware is built into it. Here Chris is running the wiring through the bumper cover.
Chris fabricated a bracket and mounted the front radar sensor to the front bumper. Then he reinstalled the bumper cover and ran the wiring through the firewall.
Here’s how it looks reassembled. Can you find the sensor and laser defuser? You have to know exactly what you’re looking for to see them.
The rear sensor was mounted similarly to the front – Chris even made two of the same mounting bracket – but completely hidden behind the bumper cover. Thanks to the bumper design and my smaller than stock Nameless Performance axle-back exhaust providing easy access to the area, nothing had to be removed to install this. Chris then ran the wiring into the trunk and forward to the dashboard.
The GPS antenna was simply stuck to the top of the gauge cluster under its cowl. Through the plastic it has a clear view of the sky through the windshield above it.
At this point there was little left to do besides the wiring. The main control box, laser controller, and speaker fit nicely behind the dashboard, out of sight.
It’s alive! The blue LEDs take the place of an obvious radar detector display. The left LED indicates a signal in front of the car, and right indicates rear. Both words start with the letter R, making it easy to remember which is which.
The car was as good as new after it was put back together again. The only indication that anything had changed was the new control panel in the center console and the LEDs in the gauge cluster, which themselves are hard to see unless they’re lit. If you skip the control panel and use the wireless remote, it’s nearly impossible to tell there’s a detector in the car. It’s definitely impossible for a thief to reach in and swipe it.
Considering how extensive the installation process was, I would highly recommend having a shop such as Boomer Nashua install it for you. I’ve installed a number of electronic extras in my BRZ myself, such as heated seats, a ham radio, and an integrated backup camera, so I’m certain I could do the work myself. I’m equally certain that I would not have done nearly as good a job as the professionals did. It would have taken me more time and more “magic car fixing words,” and it would not have turned out as seamless an integration as it did. The irony of such good work is that Chris spent all day working on my car and there’s almost nothing visible to show for it. The quality of the work is high enough to blend in with the factory’s.
For the next week I plan to keep the RLS2 in my car in addition to the RL360i. I’ll demonstrate, compare, and contrast both of K40’s best detectors in an upcoming article.