Friday, March 14, 2014

Central Locking and Keyless Entry (Part 1)

I know! I know! For some, modernising a classic car with fancy new gadgets is just plain wrong. "You bought an old car and you should accept it's limitations" would be the argument. I can see that and it seems a fair argument, but when you are fumbling for your keys, stood in the road and it's raining and dark and you are at risk of being squashed by a passing truck, the argument seems less persuasive. Also, I love a gadget, so I'm modernising.

I went for a kit from a company called A-Series Spares as it was specifically designed to fit the Mini. There are generic kits on the market that would probably do the job, but the fact that this kit was Mini specific was quite tempting.

A few days before the kit arrived, I received some instructions via an email. Reading them, it was clear that they were a bit lacking when it came to details. I hoped that some 'proper' instructions would be supplied with the kit. Alas it was not to be as the kit arrived instruction-less. I examined the parts and re-read the instructions and it was clear that a fair bit of guess work was going to be needed to bridge the gaps in the 'step by step' guide. This was already turning into an interesting project.

The instructions did have one very useful piece of advice that I didn't think of. That was to lay all the parts out, wire it up and test it all works before you even look at the car. Seems obvious now, but imagine the fun of fitting it to the car and then discovering it was faulty! Oh how I would laugh! So it was all laid out on the floor and tested with a battery and thankfully, everything was working perfectly.


Now to the car. I started on the passenger side door. I have heard rumours that some countries drive on the wrong side of the road! So to avoid any confusion, if you are sat in the car, this is the left hand door. The locking mechanisms are designed with a master and a slave. The master is for the the driver's door and the slave is for the passenger. This is because when you unlock the driver's door with the key, the master sends a message to the slave to open the passenger door also.

First thing was to remove the door furniture and door card. Something I have become very familiar with from my rather successful weather proofing attempts last year, hence the weird curtain thing inside my door. With the door card off, I removed the waterproof tape from the bottom two holes. The 'pre mounted motor' is actually 'pre mounted' to a metal plate that is designed to sit just inside the left hand hole (shown below). Due to its size though, it needs to be inserted inside the door via the right hand hole which is a little larger and slid into place.

Sits in this hole...

Now to remove the door lock. To do this, I needed to undo the screws holding the locking lever and door opener, this leaves them hanging, but that's fine. Then the four larger screws that hold the actual door lock itself to the end of the door. Where I can, I always put the screws back in their holes so I don't lose them or get them mixed up.

 Undo the locking lever and door opener.

Before the lock can be pulled out, there is a small catch from the door handle that needs to be popped off the lock. It's in a tight spot inside the door, but it did come away easily with the aid of a small screwdriver. Once free, the lock can be wiggled out from the door.

The tricky catch

Wiggle, wiggle and out!

The next bit is quite fiddly and took quite some time to sort out. Somehow, you need to attach the bendy end of the 'pre mounted motor' thing to the wire catch on the lock shown below.

To achieve this, the instructions said to cut off the 'dog leg' part of the wire. I didn't want to cut it, so I decided to straighten it out with two pairs of pliers. Once it was straight enough, I fed the bendy end of the 'pre mounted motor' thing out through the door lock hole where it could be slid onto the straightened end of the wire catch. Then the wire could be bent back into its original 'dog leg' shape.

That has to go onto there!
Like this.
And then this.

Now I needed to drill a small hole just under the two screws of the door lock. The location of the hole is quite important, but not to worry, the instructions have a handy template that can be cut out. This shows exactly where the hole should go. Mmmm!

The supplied template is clearly too small!

Maybe not then. So after I scaled the template up, the hole could be located properly.

DIY Template.

Now to stuff everything back inside the door and reattach the lock.

A whole new hole.

Next there is a small bracket on the end of bendy bit of the 'pre mounted motor' thing. This needs screwing into place using the newly drilled hole. This secures the end inside the door.

Like so.

Now to reattach the original catch from the door handle back into place. The kit is cleverly designed so that it fits snugly between the two forks that have just been attached.

And that's that.

That is the passenger door mechanism mostly in place. But now it needs adjusting and fine tuning. To do this, there is an adjusting nut on the mounting plate. The plate needs to be slid to the right to get at the nut. Then it needs to be slid back to the working position to try it. For this, I needed to attach the test battery again.

After many attempts at adjusting, it just didn't seem to be working very well, then I realised that the door needs to be closed in order to lock it! Sometimes I amaze myself! Rather than close the door, I simulated it by moving the latch in the lock to the closed position with a screwdriver. This gave a little more success, but it was clear that pressing unlock on the key fob was locking the car and vice versa!

Checking the wires, I attached the green to green and the yellow to yellow as that seemed sensible. But it seems that the opposite is true. So I flipped the wires over to what looked like the wrong way around and this solved the problem.

The third problem was that the motor just didn't seem to have enough kick to flip it from locked to unlocked and back. It seemed to get a bit jammed. The key still worked as did the internal lever. I referred back to the supplied instructions and it did say that most of the doors that they have encountered, were a bit seized and needed freeing up.

So out came the door lock AGAIN so I could give a good dose of WD40. I also gave the inside of the door handle a quick spray. Next I worked grease into the mechanisms, manipulating them back and forth to really get it in there. After reassembling again, it worked like a charm. Obviously I had to press it over and over again as any big kid would. It was great, I have to say.

The instructions did say that the motor plate needed bolting into place, but to be honest, it was pretty well jammed into there, so I didn't bother bolting. If it becomes a problem, then I will stick a bolt in.

So that's the passenger side in place, it took way longer that I thought and I was freezing, so the drivers side will have to wait.

Although it was slow, fiddly and cold, I am still pleased with today's progress, but there are still a few things that need sorting next time I get out.

  • Where am I going to put the wires from the door to the car?
  • Where to mount the control box?
  • Where to find a suitable 'permanent live' and a 'common earth' to power the thing?

<Next Post> - 'Central Locking and Keyless Entry (Part 2)' 
<This Post> - 'Central Locking and Keyless Entry (Part 1)'
<Previous Post> - 'Knuckle Joint Dust Covers Knackered' 

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