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Old 03-12-2012, 08:44 PM   #1
boro
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Default How-to: Remove door panel and install aftermarket door lock actuator (an $8 fix!)

If your door lock actuator is getting sluggish or not responding at all, it may be time to replace the actuator. And, if you're dreading the $300 trip to the dealer to get it fixed, or not wanting to spend $70 and have a difficult space to work with to fix it yourself, I'll show you how you can replace your door lock actuator yourself. All you'll need is some basic tools, 1-2 hours of your time, and $8. And best of all, it should be a more or less permanent fix.

First, you'll need to find a universal door lock actuator. Just search for one on ebay, they all seem to be the same. You just need one with two wires. I found mine for $8.

Tools you'll need:

10mm socket
Ratchet
T25 Torx bit
Flathead & Philips screwdrivers
A small punch
Wire cutters/strippers
Electrical tape
Needle nose pliers

Optional, but helpful:
3M double sided tape
Soldering iron

It's advisable to disconnect your negative battery cable before doing electrical work.

Let's get started! First we'll need to remove the door panel. All four door panels remove almost identically. Actuators will install similarly as well. This post focuses on the rear doors, but front doors are similar. Be sure to position your actuator carefully to ensure clearance.

Start by popping off the cover in the door handle socket with your flathead screwdriver. ONLY PRY FROM THE REAR!



Next, use your 10mm socket and ratchet to remove the bolt that was hidden by the cover.



Use your flathead screwdriver to remove the rubber cover at the bottom of the door pull well.



Next, use your T25 Torx bit to remove the two bolts at the bottom of the door pull well.



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Last edited by boro; 03-12-2012 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: How-to: Remove door panel and install aftermarket door lock actuator (an $8 fix!

Next, pry at the rear of the armrest panel with the flathead screwdriver.



Pop the cover upward and pull back to remove. Take note of the clip at the front of the panel, you'll need to remember this when re-installing.



Push forward then push down to re-install when you're done with the repair.

Disconnect the electrical connector to the window switch/door lock panel. You can see the connector already removed in the next picture. (Brown plug)

There are two more T25 bolts to remove. They are under where the armrest console was, on the door side.



Almost there! Next, use your punch to push in the pins at the center of the two retention clips on the outside of the door panel. These will be on the side of the door panel facing the rear of the car.



Once they are pushed in (just push in one click) use your flathead screwdriver to pry the clips out.

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Last edited by boro; 03-12-2012 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: How-to: Remove door panel and install aftermarket door lock actuator (an $8 fix!

Next, pull on the bottom of the door panel, the door pockets work fine. Give it a good yank and the door panel should pop off. Be aware that the front doors have an extra clip behind the panel located in the area where the mirror is. It will need to be pulled off as well. Also note that the top of the door panel hooks over the top of the door sill, like so:



Which you will need to note during re-assembly. To remove, pull until the clips are removed and then pull the panel upward to completely remove. To re-install, hook the top of the door panel onto the door sill and then push the door panel in all around to re-fasten the clips.

You'll need to remove the door pull cable from the interior handle. I had to take the picture after I'd already done it because it was hard to get a good shot of it. Take your needlenose pliers and clamp the forward part of the plastic housing around the cable, then pull the housing rearward. This will provide slack to the cable and allow you to remove it from the handle.



Peel back the white cloth covering on the outer door enough to access the wiring harness for the stock actuator.



Almost forgot, one more change you'll need to make to the car to allow it to clear the door lock actuator (for the rear doors):



That black piece of plastic will need to be removed. I used 3M double sided tape to attach that bottom white piece of styrofoam securely, it relies on the black plastic for support.

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Last edited by boro; 03-12-2012 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: How-to: Remove door panel and install aftermarket door lock actuator (an $8 fix!

Okay! Now your door panel is off and enough out of the way to install your actuator.

There are a few things that will need to be done first.

My actuator came with wires that were too short to be useful, so I had to add extensions.



Be sure to solder for a long lasting connection!

Next, get your mounting hardware ready. Mine came with four bolts and a mounting bracket. I used the two long bolts to attach the actuator to the bracket, and the two short ones to attach the bracket to the car.



I also had to bend the end of the rod to make it parallel to the stock rod for the door lock.



Your door lock actuator will need to be located in about this area:



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Old 03-12-2012, 09:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: How-to: Remove door panel and install aftermarket door lock actuator (an $8 fix!

Put your actuator in place on the door and mark with a sharpie through the mounting bracket where your holes will need to be.



Make sure the hole you drill is slightly smaller than the screws your actuator comes with, for me this meant a 7/64 bit to drill with.

Drill your holes, and then attach your actuator to the door. My actuator came with two retention clips for the screws, if yours has these put them on the back side of the door through the screws for added support.



The retention clips.

Attach your actuator to the door. Make sure you screw it in nice and tight to avoid rattles!



In this pic, I've attached the new actuator's rod to the old one. Make sure it's parallel at the top and secured tightly.

Next, it's time for wiring. Cut back the electrical tape on the small bundle of wires going into the hole you uncovered with the white fabric earlier in the process. For our purposes, we are only interested in the tan and gray wires, leave the others alone.



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Old 03-12-2012, 09:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: How-to: Remove door panel and install aftermarket door lock actuator (an $8 fix!

Okay, now it's time to attach the actuator's wires. I believe all of these are similar (they all have blue and green wires for connecting to aftermarket alarms) but if the locks don't work as expected after connecting, simply reverse the wiring and they will work properly.

Connect the GREEN wire of your actuator to the TAN wire on your car.

Connect the BLUE wire of your actuator to the GRAY wire on your car.

If you disconnected it, reconnect the negative terminal of your battery and check lock function. Make sure the lock tab goes up when you hit unlock and down when you hit lock.

If all is well, solder your connections if desired and wrap them securely. I like all my wiring to look like and have the quality of OEM, so I wrapped everything with electrical tape.



Replace the white cloth cover over the hole.



You're done! Re-assembly is the reverse of disassembly, just take note of the few things I mentioned earlier, and check to make sure that the actuator works with each part you put back on.

When replacing the push pins on the door panels, take out the center pin and put the outer shell in first, then push the center pin in flush.



And you're done! Enjoy your fully functional door locks, fixed for only $8.


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Old 03-12-2012, 09:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: How-to: Remove door panel and install aftermarket door lock actuator (an $8 fix!

Does the key fob and all door buttons still function as they should?
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: How-to: Remove door panel and install aftermarket door lock actuator (an $8 fix!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddot View Post
Does the key fob and all door buttons still function as they should?
Yep, no change. This fix doesn't change the way the signals for lock/unlock operate, only changes which actuator the signal goes to.
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Old 03-13-2012, 04:39 AM   #9
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Default Re: How-to: Remove door panel and install aftermarket door lock actuator (an $8 fix!

Fantastic job! The only thing I would add is to consider using heat-shrink tubing after soldering the connections.

I'm so glad that someone has finally used an aftermarket part to fix what keeps failing. It shows that it isn't always necessary to be forced to pay extremely high prices for junk!
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:35 PM   #10
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Default Re: How-to: Remove door panel and install aftermarket door lock actuator (an $8 fix!

Just checked ebay, there is a go-zillion actuators. Any more information on the one you used?

TIA
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