Sunday, March 16, 2014

Central Locking and Keyless Entry (Part 2)

I found some time on Sunday morning to get out and finish off the fitting of the central locking kit. In the previous post, I managed to do the passenger door, but it took ages as there was much guesswork involved. Hopefully the experience I gained doing that should speed up the fitting of the drivers door.

The tasks before me today are:
  • Fit the drivers side locking mechanism.
  • Find a neat solution for the wires from the door to the car.
  • Find a suitable place to mount the control box.
  • Find a 'permanent live' and a 'common earth' to power the thing.

Fitting the locking mechanism into the drivers door was much the same as fitting the passengers side. But as I'd already made all my mistakes on the passenger door, the driver side was completed in a fraction of the time. Once both sides were in, I temporarily fitted the wires and the test battery again to get both sides working together and test everything was OK before refitting the door furniture.

Just like the other day, I had some fun with the wiring. Unlike the passenger side though, the drivers side has five wires to deal with, each colour coded. Yet again, following the colour coding lead to some pretty interesting results.

Firstly, locking the car from the key fob resulted in the passenger side locking and the drivers side unlocking!! So after flipping the yellow and green,and trying again, the locks just flipped on and off, on and off continually!! Going well so far! I had another look at the instructions and guessed that it must be the brown and white that need flipping also. Turns out it was, obvious really!! In the end, it looked like this...

Not what I'd expected!

Once I'd worked out the peculiarities of the wiring, I could move on to refitting the door cards. Before that though I covered over holes over with gaffer tape leaving the wires poking through. I decided this was the best way to avoid rain water getting at them.

Rewire it back in.
And tape it in place.

To bridge the gap from the door to the car, the instructions suggest drilling a hole in the door to pass the wire through, but you need to take the door off for this. As I couldn't be bothered to remove the doors, I used some wrap around cable tidy instead and located it at the bottom of the door. It's not the most sophisticated solution, but it works. If I ever get around to removing the doors for some reason, say for a gull wing conversion (imagine how hideous that would be!), I will make a point of tucking the wires away neatly before they go back on.

Cable tidy wraps quite neatly around
the wires to offer protection.
Not brilliant, but not bad also.

With both doors sorted out, the problem of wiring it into the car was the next step. My experience of the Mini's wiring loom is almost none existent. I did have the foresight however to disconnect the battery first, both terminals to be sure. The Haynes Manual wiring diagrams were useless, so after a bit of Googling, I discovered that the second fuse down from the top is the permanent live I am looking for to power the unit.

Permanent live fuse.

The fuse box has four spade connectors into each fuse which were all in use on the fuse I wanted. So I crimped the two left hand wires into the same connector freeing up one of the spades. Next I found a hole in the bulkhead to feed my new live wire through from the control box, crimped the end and plugged it into the newly freed up position in the fusebox.

Permanent live sorted

Now to locate a common earth. Poking around underneath the dash, I found a black wire leading to the fog light switch, so I spliced my black wire from the control box into that.  Reconnecting the battery confirmed that everything was working. My research/guess work seemed to be correct. There was a lot of spare wire from the control box so I bundled it together and stuffed it up behind the steering wheel out of sight. Refitting the door furniture completed the job. Big cheesy smiles could commence.

The big cheesy smile lasted until the middle of the first test drive when I discovered that the indicators had stopped working. After much head scratching and checking under the bonnet and under the dash, I discovered that while stuffing the unit into place, I had disconnected one of the wires from the flasher unit. A quick search around behind the steering wheel soon found the lost wire. Once reconnected, we were golden once more and the big cheesy smile was resumed.

In conclusion, the kit itself is excellent and I am very pleased with it. The instructions do assume a certain level of knowledge, but the gaps can be plugged with a bit of common sense and research. Although the result of this project is very satisfying, I found the actual doing to be more frustrating than pleasurable. Almost a bit of a chore if I'm honest! Maybe it was because this wasn't an actual restoration, where something that was initially all crudded up and nasty became something nice and new looking again. Or maybe it was down to the fact that this was less of a mechanical job and more of an electrical one and electrics are not my favorite. Who knows. It's done now and I did learn a load of things through the doing and that's all I'm really wanting at the end of the day.

Final word: Although I didn't actually need keyless entry, I was seduced by the pure awesomeness and truly feel that this was money well spent.


  1. Keyless entry is awesome, and it will make this car stand out even more.
    Money definitely well spent.!

    1. Cheers Jules. Once it is integrated with the alarm, locking and unlocking will be accompanied with a flash of the indicators and a cheery chirp. Which will be even 'awesomer', which has just become a real word.