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Power Door Lock Actuators

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Post by Hawk03 on Tue Dec 31, 2019 3:34 pm

Has anyone installed power door actuators? If aftermarket ones were installed, which ones did you install? I received some that are not powerful enough to move the rod to move the locking mechanism.
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Post by thatfnthing on Tue Dec 31, 2019 4:48 pm

I installed the whole power window/lock assembly from a 77 Cutlass that came up on ebay a bunch of years ago.  (Changed the electrical, though, as I wanted to use later model switches with relays.)  All stock mechanicals that fit like a glove.  I did find, however, that it was possible to bind the actuating rod if there was too much pressure on the interior door panels (i.e. they fit too tight as I had extra insulation stuffed in them) and the solenoids couldn't pop the locks consistently.  It also helped to grease the rod where it goes through the plastic guide in the middle of the door.
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Post by g3chevy on Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:17 pm

Most of the power door actuators I've installed were the 73-76 version that didn't require a relay to operate. They are much larger and heavier than the 77 version but the 77 version works well and removes some weight from the doors which is always a good thing. Also like thatfnthing mentioned its best to clean and grease everything up to makes sure it works before you put everything back together. I had a horizontal rod binding in one of the doors I was working on and realized it was dented where the clip mounts to hold the rod. Straightened it out and it worked flawlessly. Here a couple pics of the 2 versions that I've come across over the years.

73-76 (No Relay)
Power Door Lock Actuators 73-76_10



77 (Relay Required)
Power Door Lock Actuators 77_doo10
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Post by thatfnthing on Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:37 pm

Hmmm...I didn't remember the 77 unit specifically requiring a relay, though granted it was a bunch of years ago. Mostly I used relays because I wanted to use late model Durango switches that were never going to tolerate all those amps. Smile
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Post by Mcarlo77 on Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:46 pm

Hmmm...this is the first I've heard that '77 actuators were different. I've pulled a number of sets over the years, but can't say for certain any of them came off '77's.
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Post by g3chevy on Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:37 pm

Here is the crossover harness for both the power windows and door locks from a 75 Laguna I parted out. The upper set of wires is for the door locks and lower set for the windows. You'll notice there is a relay near the right corner of the photo. This relay is to give power to the windows when the ignition is on only and not for the door lock actuators. The actuators get direct 12 volt power from the junction plug that is located middle right of the photo. It ties directly into the "bat" prong on the fuse block. On the 77 harness, there is an additional relay that would be located at the left of the harness going into the passenger side kick panel that is used to activate the door lock actuators. I have one of those harnesses as well but its at the shop. I'll see if I can get a pic of that one tomorrow and post it here.


Power Door Lock Actuators Img_2011
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Post by g3chevy on Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:31 pm

Here are pics of the 77 harness. It has the extra relay for the door lock actuators and uses a different style junction plug than the 73-76 harness to connect the crossover harness to the door harnesses. Second pic is the window relay and the 3rd and 4th pic is of the actuator relay. Hope this helps.


Power Door Lock Actuators 20200110
Power Door Lock Actuators 20200111
Power Door Lock Actuators 20200112
Power Door Lock Actuators 20200114
Power Door Lock Actuators 20200115
Power Door Lock Actuators 20200113
Power Door Lock Actuators 20200116
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Post by thatfnthing on Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:05 pm

Huh. Knowing me, I most likely ditched it all and just reused the connectors and wired it my own way, so that's why I don't remember it. Smile
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Post by Hawk03 on Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:25 pm

I bought a "heavy Duty" actuator that had a push/pull force of 13lbs. It was better than the other actuator I had but still didn't move the lock rods. I greased the lock and other moving parts but it was a still a no go. Might have to wait to see if some factory ones become available. I found '77 actuators on Rockauto.com but I'm not sure if these would work any better than the other ones I purchased. The '73 - '76 look more hefty but I can't find any aftermarket ones available. Hopefully, they will be able to wire directly up to my aftermarket keyless remote system as well.
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Post by g3chevy on Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:44 am

Hawk, run a test wire directly from the battery to the actuator for a second or two and see if it works properly. If so, you'll need a relay to operate them correctly like the 77 harness used.
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Post by thatfnthing on Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:54 pm

Hawk03 wrote:Hopefully, they will be able to wire directly up to my aftermarket keyless remote system as well.

This will depend on the type of keyless entry system itself -- some will output 12V on the wire when you hit the remote button, while others will expect 12V to always be present on the wire and then will 'ground' it to complete the circuit and pop the door lock.  (The latter is the same way your e-brake indicator lamp works -- there is always 12V being supplied to the lamp, and when the brake pressure fails, the pressure switch connects the wire to the chassis ground, thus completing the circuit and lighting the lamp.)  I don't remember which way mine worked; I'd have to go back and look at my diagrams.

If you want to post (or email me) the diagram(s) for the keyless entry system, I can tell you what you'll need.

Either way, however, you will need at least one relay, as the keyless entry system will not be able to handle the amount of current (amps) the door actuators will require.  So the keyless entry system will trip the relay, which in turn will feed power to the lock actuator.
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Post by Hawk03 on Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:43 pm

Thanks guys. That all makes sense.

Below is the installation guide for the system. The door lock harness is the blue and green wires.

https://www.directeddealers.com/manuals/IG/Avital/N3100%202011-12%20print.pdf

The output from the module for the trunk was a ground, I wired up a relay to change the negative to a positive and it works!  Clapp
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Post by thatfnthing on Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:44 am

Hawk03 wrote:The output from the module for the trunk was a ground, I wired up a relay to change the negative to a positive and it works!  Clapp

NICE!  cheers

Hawk03 wrote:Below is the installation guide for the system. The door lock harness is the blue and green wires.

https://www.directeddealers.com/manuals/IG/Avital/N3100%202011-12%20print.pdf

Ya know, I went back and looked at my diagrams, and it looks like I did in fact use the factory relays.  It was actually a pretty extensive arrangement because the factory relays do more than just act as a typical relay -- they will also reverse polarity.  I had also added some diodes to isolate the actual window switches from the keyless entry system.  I had completely forgotten all that after 10 years apparently.   scratch

So it looks like the one you chose will work fine to drive the relays -- it appears that you will simply choose the blue or green wire to based on which way the polarity works for the door locks.  So you'll connect one and try it.  If it locks when it should unlock, use the other wire instead.
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Post by Hawk03 on Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:05 pm

Thanks. I guess I will buy the aftermarket '77 actuators and try the wiring. I should be able to figure it out.

The universal aftermarket actuators install using a rod you attach to a rod on the locking mechanism. Where is the factory location to install the actuators?
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Post by g3chevy on Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:45 pm

Here's a pic of a door from a 77 El Camino. The 2 holes that I circled is where they are riveted from the factory. I would not recommend using bolts mounting these unless you gorilla snot the heck out of them or they will come loose.

Power Door Lock Actuators Inner_10
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Post by impalamonte on Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:25 am

Just an add.

If car didn't come with PDL. The area where the PDL actuators are to go....will be "hard" dimpled to show where the holes are to be in the door.
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Post by Hawk03 on Thu Apr 09, 2020 1:03 pm

I tried again at installing the passenger side actuator. I sprayed a half can of brake clean on the lock mechanism and regreased. No change. The actuator is still not able to push or pull the lock mechinism. Is it possible that the module is not supplying enough power to the actuator to work? Is there a better location to attach the rod?

I tried finding the actuators this guy bought but he didn't post it in Chevelles.com or youtube comments. This is they way I imagined mine working but not.



Here is how I have mine currently installed.

Power Door Lock Actuators 20200412
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Post by thatfnthing on Thu Apr 09, 2020 2:30 pm

Okay, that seems like an odd arrangement.  Is that where/how they instructed you to mount them?  Like in the photo g3chevy posted, the stockers mount directly below the lock mechanism itself and drive it directly.  The rod to the center of the door for the knob simply follows along.  What you have appears to be more toward the middle of the door -- are you trying to drive the knob end of the rod?  It also looks like it will interfere with window operation...scratch

Also, from an electrical standpoint, to they actually even fire?  Or do they try and simply fail to overcome the resistance?
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Post by Hawk03 on Thu Apr 09, 2020 2:43 pm

Thanks. It was more a temporary setup to try and see if the actuators can push/pull the lock. I did have them installed at the factory location but I didn't want to keep removeing and installing different actuators when the setup wasn't working.

The actuators work when you press the lock/unlock buttong. They fail to overcome the resistance of the lock.

I did just hook the actuators up to a 19.2v drill battery they are able to perform, they lock/unlock the doors just fine.
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Post by thatfnthing on Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:13 pm

20v drill battery, eh?  Interesting test -- not sure I would have been that brave, since they're rated for 12v.

However, if they worked, that would indicate insufficient juice is at least part of our problem.  What gauge wire are you using to supply them?  Wire too skinny will cause resistance.

So the next test I would try would be the same as the 20v test, but use the car's battery directly instead -- skip all the switches, relays, ignition, etc and just try to fire the actuator directly with the car's battery using a nice fat 12ga or 10ga wire.  Does it work? Maybe we just have too much voltage loss along the way. And possible stupid Q -- is the car's battery properly charged?
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Post by Hawk03 on Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:40 pm

Lol thanks. Might as well and see what happens. I'm using the wiring harness from the module, which looks to be around 18g.

Yes, the direct wire from the battery using a 12g power and ground works. The battery's been on a trickle charger all winter so it is good and charged.
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Post by thatfnthing on Thu Apr 09, 2020 4:00 pm

If it works directly from the battery, then voltage loss is our problem.

First thing that leaps out at me is that 18ga is way too small.  Is that what they supplied?  By my diagrams it should be 12ga (maybe 14, but no smaller). The skinny wire will impart so much resistance that the 20v drill battery probably comes down to about what the solenoid is expecting in the first place, which is why it works. The 12v from the car battery will be reduced to something worthless.

Next will be to verify all connections are tight and grounds are clean.

Then what happens?
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Post by Hawk03 on Thu Apr 09, 2020 5:39 pm

I think I know what the issue is or hopefully will resolve this. In the manual it states that if an actuator needs to be installed a 451M Door Lock Relay is required or two relays. I was only using the output from the module which must only be used when power door locks are already installed from factory.

https://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_8487_Directed-451M.html
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Post by thatfnthing on Thu Apr 09, 2020 5:45 pm

Yep, the unit itself will never be able to channel that much juice -- it will always require a relay of some kind, be it OEM or aftermarket.
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Post by Hawk03 on Sun Apr 12, 2020 4:58 pm

Thanks, sometimes it me takes a couple tries.  Smile  While waiting for the my other actuator and relay to arrive, I lined up the one actuator I have in each door at the factory location. The gun type actuators will line up with the factory holes in the door but the screws I was using would crack and break the actuator screw holes since I had to use longer screws to be able to use spacers. The actuators I used needed a new screw holed drilled in the door to install them.  

Power Door Lock Actuators 20200420
Power Door Lock Actuators 20200419
Power Door Lock Actuators 20200421


Last edited by Hawk03 on Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:14 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added text)
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