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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanted a tailgate that locks and unlocks automatically. I have installed hundreds of door locks over the years but tailgates are bit different. Typically aftermarket door locks clip onto an interior rod or cable attached to the latch and sometimes they work well and other times they don't. The last car I did was an EVO VII which I actually went to the junkyard and got oem actuators for it.

I pulled the 8 t-25 torx screw off the tailgate access panel to see what is there to work with



The late model GM tailgates don't have an interior lock rod to attach to. What you do have is an arm off the back of the key cylinder that moves a fork. The fork slides a pin to block the handle from engaging the latch opening rods.





Typically a key cylinder will move around 45 degrees from vertical center to lock/unlock and returns to center. The Colorado tailgate is unlocked at vertical center and moves 90 degrees to lock stays there. This creates a problem where if the lock fork was to be moved by an actuator, it can't, since it is already up against lock cylinder arm. The lock cylinder arm only moves freely when the key is inserted.




To remedy these problems, you need to create a new lock arm. First the throw needs moved 45 degrees so the center of the arm throw is with the key in the vertical position. You can start by copying the original arm with key-way rotated 45 degrees. Once this is complete, you will notice that even with the lock arm centered and the contact point as narrow as it can be, the lock arm still can't fully move in either direction. To overcome this, the key-way hole needs to be widened. This enables the arm to be able to rotate back and forth while the lock cylinder is stationary. The key will have to rotate a little before it engages the arm.

I traced the original arm onto a posterboard template and transferred that to aluminum. I cut the aluminum with tin snips and ground down the shape on a belt sander then bent with pliers. The key-way was made with a hole punch and file.

paper template

lock arm photo

new lock arm



Now with the lock cylinder arm reworked, you need a way to the move lock lever. This can be accomplished in different ways, I chose to use a Silverado oem tailgate actuator(I got it from amazon $35 shipped). It rotates instead of moving in a linear motion of aftermarket actuators. The Silverado has a vertical post on the lock arm for the actuator to engage. The bottom of the post has a spring locator. This can be emulated on the Colorado. The spring is located in the same place on the Colorado arm, drill and tap the spring locator hole to 10-32. Use a vented cup point set screw to make post(available at MCmasterCarr) and place the spring into the bottom of the set screw vent hole. My pictures actually show a 8-32 shcs and relocated hole for the spring which I used for testing. The relocated spring performed poorly.














With the lock arm prepped, the actuator needs mounting. The actuator's bracket does not line up with anything on the Colorado. There are two holes on either side of the opening that can be used for mounting. A new bracket can be made for the actuator. A nice bracket would take me 2-3 hours to design, cut, bend up, and get some gussets welded on. I chose to simply make an adapter plate to go between the tailgate and the original actuator bracket. This only took 10 minutes to make and test a posterboard template. Then another 15 minutes to scan, clean up, and cut on a plasma table. There was 1/8" plate already on the table so that is what the adapter is made of. I countersunk the actuator holes and used ss flat head m6 to attach actuator. I used ss m6 button heads and serrated flange nuts to bolt up the assembly to the tailgate.










Whew, now on to the easy part, Wiring up the actuator. The actuator uses the same connector as the bed lights and a few other things. The connector, terminals, and seals are available through Mouser. I removed the camera, untaped the sleeving and ran actuator wires through the sleeving. I removed the 6 pin Molex MX150 connector and replaced with an 8 pin. Much cleaner with one connector. Unfortunately the hole in the bed for the connector to pass through is a smidgen too small for the 8 pin. I simply
ground off one of keying locators and the connectors squeezes through.









continued next post
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
The wire can follow the bumper wires to the bumper 8 pin Molex. Replace with an 12 pin Molex MX150 and add the actuator wires into it(I have a second 6 pin connector in the pics but it is only temporary until I become unlazy). Route the wires down the drivers side and through the plastic hole cover in the floor. I replaced the hole cover with an appropriately sized grommet then shrinked wrapped to seal wires. I also used a Molex MX150 20 pin connector for cab entry since I am running quite a bit of wires. The connector is attached to the cab by a christmas tree type clip inserted into a newly drilled hole. Sticky squares are use to secure wires down and foam tape is placed under connector to prevent any rattling noises.




Finally, splice into the driver side rear door lock wires, brn/yel and gray. These are accessible under the drivers sill panel.




Now the method above works ok, I dislike the sloppy key cylinder arm. I found a complete Silverado power handle with camera, lock cylinder, and actuator off ebay for $88 shipped. The Silverado handle for non power locking is same as the Colorado except the key hole. The Colorado has shallow taper around the keyhole. The Colorado key plastic rubs against the Silverado handle. When i got the Silverado spare tire lock, it had a longer shank key which I wrongly assumed was to make it easier to use. It seems the Colorado uses a shorter shank key.

pic of key in handle





The Silverado power locking handle has a few more differences. The key cylinder works as vertical with 45 degree side to side movement to lock/unlock. It has a different lock cylinder arm and different rear cylinder cutouts. It also has a spring to help key return to center. The lock arm has a wider fork in addition to the actuator post. The wider fork allows it to move without being impeded by the lock cylinder arm.






These parts easily swap to the Colorado handle. The Colorado inner key cylinder/tumblers swap into the Silverado outer shell.




 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I applaud your work, ingenuity and determination - but man that's a lot of work to avoid the Pop-n-Lok clunk!
Sadly, it is still clunks more than I thought it would but not as bad as an aftermarket.

If you use all the oem handle parts it would take just a bit longer to install than a pop n lock. Swapping out the key tumblers and one screw to replace the lock arm are the extra steps. Subtract the time of readjusting pop n lock actuator to get it work consistently in both directions.

Also pop n lock will have the key slop with there replacement cylinder arm. There is really only one way to make that arm work with stock narrow fork. When my arm was done it ending looking a lot like the pop n lock
 

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I wonder if some sound deadening material applied inside would dampen the clunk.

That is how they dampen the sound on many car doors today. Foam or rubber pads stuck inside.
 

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I wonder if some sound deadening material applied inside would dampen the clunk.

That is how they dampen the sound on many car doors today. Foam or rubber pads stuck inside.
I believe the PNP clunk is caused by the solenoid and nit the linkage, so there's not much you can do to lessen the sound other than moving further away from the truck when you engage/disengage it.
 

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I believe the PNP clunk is caused by the solenoid and nit the linkage, so there's not much you can do to lessen the sound other than moving further away from the truck when you engage/disengage it.
Yes that is where the noise originates but the metal shell acts as a speaker or noise amplifier and lets it resonate.

That is why some doors shut with a clump and others with a clang. The difference is you dampen the metal with a material to absorbe the vibration of the metal to deaden the sound.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I added butyl sound deadening to the outer metal and it removed the secondary echo leaving the sound tranfering through the handle. I then loaded the back side of the handle and actuator. That reduced the noise to about where I expected it to be from the beginning. I still haven't put the access cover back on yet so it may change a bit. I am going to add some more to actuator then put some foam in.
 

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Wanted to add, take note of how the wires were spliced to the OEM wires. That's the way I do it. Carefully pull back/strip the insulation on the oem wire, wrap the new wire around a couple times and solder. It is a secure connection unlike those stupid crimp on things and you still don't have to cut the oem wire.

Nice install there but I would do the pop and lock for sure. (I did and love it) I guess I'm too lazy and lack the tools and skills to fab some things.
 

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I applaud the OP's ingenuity, but I am going to re-install the Pop n Lock I removed from my old 2015 on my new 2018. The most time consuming part for me was fishing the cable. I placed them in a split wire loom and zip-tied them to existing cables. It looked pretty OEM when finished.

Bill
 

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Pop n lock is way easier.......So what if it clunks. Thats how you know its working!
https://youtu.be/WWqZOvLtytQ
Reinstalled the Pop N Lock on my new truck. Once again had your YouTube video up on my garage TV as a refresher and it went really fast, because of the prior experience. One thing I wanted to mention about something you said on YouTube that "polarity didn't matter". It did for me. I initially wired Blue and Gray, Green and Brown together but the lock worked opposite. Easily switched the wires around since I used Quick Splice Wire Terminals and it works perfectly.

Bill
 

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Reinstalled the Pop N Lock on my new truck. I once again had your YouTube video up on my garage TV as a refresher and it went really fast, because of the prior experience. One thing I wanted to mention about something you said on YouTube that "polarity didn't matter". It did for me. I initially wired Blue and Gray, Green and Brown together but the lock worked opposite. Easily switched the wires around since I used Quick Splice Wire Terminals and it works perfectly.

Bill

Good to hear! I think that I may have misspoke in that video and meant to say "polarity does matter." Either way, glad you got it sorted out.
 
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