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Thread: How To: Wiring up a standard lock kit as a door popper

  1. #1
    Senior Member rickjames8's Avatar
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    How To: Wiring up a standard lock kit as a door popper

    So here is my install of a standard door lock kit to work as a remote lock/unlock, as well as a drivers side door popper.

    I do believe that I will re-do this install with a different remote system, although it works the way it is, there is one thing I'd like to change. More on that later.

    So, first off, if you've never worked on your doors before, here are a few tips.

    1. You'll want something to keep the door at good level to work on. I used a 25lb dumbell, a piece of string, and a caribiner (a hook would have worked just as well) . I adjusted it so I could slither in and out of the space, but could also take it on and off quick.
    20170420_202424.jpg 20170420_202521.jpg
    2. The edges of the metal inside the door are very sharp. You'll want to get some plastic edging and line them to protect your fingers while working in the door.
    s-l300.jpg 20170420_214325.jpg
    3. While you're taking off all the panels, consider replacing the christmas trees with magnets.

    Once the door panel is off, you'll start by unplugging and removing the power lock solenoid. Just for kicks, I weighed it, it came in at 28oz.The 3 actuators I installed came in at 4oz each, so that resulted in a net loss of 1lb, which makes the door open significantly faster.

    This is the kit that I bought. It's $27 and includes the remote module, 2 remotes, and 4 actuators. It has a channel for the trunk popper, which I was able to repurpose to pop the driver door, by using 2 of the actuators.

    I've wired up a few cars with electric poppers before and have always used high-power solenoids. I tried to find a place to install a larger solenoid (happened to have one from an old project) but found there was no good spot to mount it. However, the DeLorean doors are set up in a unique fashion because they have two latches, which gives the opportunity to install two actuators, thereby doubling the pulling power you can give to the door. I found a video on a wings-a-loft install that took this approach too. However, I'd imagine their actuators are stronger than the ones in my kit, so I had to install mine in a bit of an odd way. When I installed the actuators to pull on the rods in the typical fashion, they didn't have enough force. The distance the rods travel is quite short, and as such, these actuators don't have the power to pull them over such a short distance.

    Here's how I did the install. First, I tried using the mounting hardware that came with the kit. They're these little pieces of brass-colored metal that are included with these kits. I was able to cut them in half and to bend them and make little L-brackets out of them, as you can see, this is what I did on the front actuator.
    I needed to drill mounting holes. You can see where I drew my planned mounting hole with marker - the metal is too thick there, you''ll need to go much lower. Or maybe my drill bit was just too old.

    I tried mounting the rear actuator with the same included hardware, but needed a bit more stability, so I used some old L-brackets I had from previous projects.
    20170420_205415.jpg 20170420_202531.jpg

    In order to get the leverage to open the door, I needed to hook the puller to the highest point on the 'pivot' piece, which I did here.
    I just made a little bend in the metal pull rod and hung it over the pivot to see if it would work. Amazingly, I opened the door a dozen times with it just resting there like that and it never moved! All the same, I secured it with some cable ties.
    (3 cable ties are shown in the photo, the topmost one later removed because it interfered with the action by rubbing on the door).

    Then I made a test wiring rig to see if it would work. The actuators have two wires. You send (+) and (-) to them one way to pull (green = (+)) and then reverse the polarity to push (blue = (+)). So, once I wired them together, I stuck a little momentary button on the circuit which allowed me to test the actuators. By the way, the door doesn't re-open easily if you don't close it fully. I got stuck in the car for a bit because I was trying to be gentle closing the door with the dangling wires. I also needed to re-install the pull-handle to close the door.

    The actuator I used for the lock/unlock installed in the stock location. Again, I used a leftover L-bracket. I was going to put a second one on, but it seems to work just fine and feel very solid with one, so I left it that way.

    Wiring up the system doesn't require you to access the door plugs near the rear speakers, only the plug at the door lock module. In fact, the module I got happened to be the exact same size as the factory one, which meant that I could pretty much just swap them out.
    20170420_224554.jpg 20170420_224630.jpg
    Normally, I don't like to cut wire harnesses, but it just made the install so much easier, and I figured that if any future owner wanted to return it to stock, a simple re-soldering could put the harness back on.
    With all these connections, I recommend solder+heat shrinks. You're going to need all the juice you can get to pop the doors.

    To wire up the lock/unlock at the module, it was as simple as hooking the blue/green on the module to the red/grey and red/pink, which are twisted together. Then black to ground, red to power, and the aux (trunk) channel to the brown/grey wire. Now, originally I hooked the trunk trigger directly to this brown/grey wire, but later I realized that the system sent a negative trigger, and I'd need a positive trigger. So just hooked up a N.O. relay to send a (+) when the circuit was closed.

    Inside the door, the lock/unlock was hooked up to the respective red/grey and red/pink. Somehow I had this reversed, but obviously an easy fix.

    For the trigger for the poppers, use the black wire found in the original door lock harness (this is your ground), and then the brown/grey wire in the lock sensor harness to send the power (which remains unplugged, and the "lock doors" light no longer functions. I unplugged that harness on the passenger door side too as I didn't know what effect sending (+) through that circuit could have, as I think it normally transmits (-) to the warning lamp.

    I will likely add the lock/unlock to the passenger door this week. Should be an easy add, as the harness is already sending power to that location.

    The only thing I don't like about this system is that the trunk popper takes a 3-second long press, then you hear it click. Then, for some odd reason, it waits another 3 seconds before sending the signal. I want to push the button and have the door open right then. So I think I'll end up buying this unit, which actually has 2 AUX channels so I can buy a couple of extra actuators and pop the passenger one as well. Had I started off that way and bought these poppers, I'd have been at $44. As it stands, I'll be about $58 in to this project, but with an extra remote unit which I'm sure I can use on another car at some point, or for a random project somewhere.
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    Last edited by rickjames8; 04-23-2017 at 12:12 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nkemp's Avatar
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    Location:  Buffalo MN

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    Well written tutorial! Nice job.

    A couple options ...
    - I use a drywall bucket filled with enough weight to keep the door down. With the lid on the bucket it makes a handy place to put tools and parts
    - Duct tape around the sharp edges works well
    - Gorilla tape works well to reattach the plastic sheet meant to keep wind out.

    Gorilla tape is really great stuff. Like duct tape on steroids.

    - While in there:
    - Redo window swipe using Ford Probe window swipe edging or similar
    - Seal off the vent to prevent leaks and improve airflow into cabin
    - Tape down loose wires to prevent rattles
    - No matter how many people believe in a dumb idea ... it is still a dumb idea!
    - Some cars look fast. Some cars look faster than time!
    - The question is not "where did the time go" but rather "where to go in time".

  3. #3
    Senior Member adam_knox's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

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    Thank you for the write up! Hoping to tackle this late Summer/early Fall!

    Sent from my SM-N910P using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Assbassador Michael's Avatar
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    Your solution looks striking similar to the Wings A Loft system, even the actuators look to be the same. I think I would drill a hole in the pivot for the actuator rod. In the DMCNW kits, there was no hardware to secure the rod but I used small collars found at a Radio control hobby store.

  5. #5
    Senior Member rickjames8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    Your solution looks striking similar to the Wings A Loft system, even the actuators look to be the same. I think I would drill a hole in the pivot for the actuator rod. In the DMCNW kits, there was no hardware to secure the rod but I used small collars found at a Radio control hobby store.
    At the price I paid, I don't think the actuators are the same. Maybe, who knows.

    I did consider drilling the pivot piece, but it looked to be pretty sturdy, and I thought it might be tough to drill. I was going to use some of these to put it in.

    So I ordered the other remote system (at $31) but then had an idea on the way home. Not very elegant, but it would work:

    My previous experience with door poppers has been on cars that I've 'shaved' the handles on. Handles, plural. This always gets you in trouble at some point. A dead battery, a broken remote, something will go just a teeny bit wrong, and you're locked out of your car and looking stupid. I've vowed never to shave door handles again. Ever. But then I thought of something. On the Delorean, I could disconnect the exterior handle on the drivers side only. Leave the passenger side hooked up and functioning. Disconnect the exterior door lock on the drivers side, as well as the actuator. This door would stay permanently unlocked, unless you manually locked/unlocked it from the inside. I'd then hook up the trigger for the drivers-side popper to the unlock (+) signal. The passenger door would be left stock, with a lock/unlock actuator, and poppers hooked up to the trunk (-) trigger system.

    What you're left with is a system that locks the car as you leave, and unlocks + pops the driver door when you return. You'd never be locked out of the car, because the passenger door would always have the ability to be used manually. This also eliminates a button push each time. Rather than unlock, then pop, it's unlock+pop in one push. The passenger side is unlocked at that time, so they can get in. Again, I so rarely have passengers, that to have them wait the 6 seconds is not really an issue. Besides, I'm not chivalrous enough to open a door by hand, why start with a button.

  6. #6
    Senior Member rickjames8's Avatar
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    I installed the DEI Avital kit tonight. A nice feature they have is (for standard 4-door cars) the first press on the unlock button unlocks the driver door, the second press unlocks all the doors. I just hooked up this secondary trigger to the poppers. So a quick double-press will unlock+pop the door. It's a nice kit for $30!

    Next week I'll do the pass side.

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