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Tech Pages - Automotive tech - GM Van Door Poppers - Customs by Ripper


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Installing poppers in a G20 Rear Door

I was asked to make this page by a member of a Facebook group to which I belong in order to help him install door poppers in the rear door of his Chevy G20 Van.

I am going to go into complete detail, in case anyone else is interested in this conversion. NOTE welding and some fabricating skills will be needed for this project. I cannot post pictures as I don't have a van right now to demonstrate. I do have some old pics of me doing this, but I can't find them.

  • Step 1. Remove the outer door handle and lock. The handle has 2 bolts. The lock has a push-on clip that can be slid off. The lock then needs to be carefully twisted out of the latch (it sits in a loop on the latch).
  • With an angle grinder, panel cutter or some snips (your choice of tool), remove a rectangular area of the door that includes the handle and the lock, you will need to weld in a piece of sheet metal here later (An English wheel would help with this slightly curved piece, but you can also cut a piece out of another door or bend the 16 gauge sheet metal by hand. It's a slight curve...)
  • Remove the central door latch, you won't need it any longer. It bolts in on the side of the door, right near where the handle was. Leave the two rods alone that go to the top and bottom latch, for now.
  • The next part would be easier with the door on a workbench, horses, etc.....
  • Cut an access hole (about a foot square and as neat as possible, you may be welding it back in later) on the inside of the door, in line with the two rods that go to the latches at the top and bottom Some doors have this hole, it's just not in line with the latches, if you can work around corners, or don't want to cut up your door, ignore this entire line).
  • Find the two rods and put a double bend in each of them (See picture, sort of like a "Z" with less of an angle). Your objective here is to make room for the two solenoids you will need for this to work properly. The rods usually sit right above and below each other, this is no longer possible. It should look similar to the right end of this rod when you are done (you also will need a small "S" or "U" bend to fit into the end of the solenoid.
    Door Pull
  • You will need two of these (You won't need the cable, it's usually not long enough to do this anyway.):
    Door Solenoid
  • Slide each "S" or "U" bend through the end of each actuator rod. You may need to open the hole up a bit for the rod to fit through. Adjust your "Z" bend for each latch rod to make the actuators pull each rod in a straight line from the other end (the two existing latch rods should be almost exactly in line with each other, which is why there's a need for the "Z" bends).
  • This is important. you will need a secure base for these solenoids as they will pull the door apart without one. Get some 2" wide 3/16" bar stock (1/4" will work too) long enough to go across your access hole and a few inches further on both sides. You'll need one piece for each solenoid. Weld or bolt the solenoids to this bar stock (1 on each piece), then weld the bar stock into the door, keeping the solenoids and rods in alignment (also remember to keep the solenoids on the inside of the door so they don't stick out into the passenger area). There should be the slightest amount of slack on the solenoids (in other words, don't have them pulling on the rods at rest). This can be adjusted by the threaded end on the solenoid.
  • Wire up the solenoids to a push button or to your alarm or remote entry device. Use a 10 gauge wire and a relay. Relay wiring can be found HERE
  • At this point, if you are all wired up and welded in, it's time to test the action. Reinstall the door, connect the wires and test it.
  • If all checks out OK, it is now time to weld in your sheet metal panels. You may leave the inside panel off if you plan on covering the inside with a door panel of some kind. It would make getting to the actuators easier in the future.

I know this seems complicated, but it's really not. Pictures would help immensely and I will add them the next time I do one of these doors.

Parts for this can be bought at AIM Industries, an electronic supply, if you can find one locally and Home Depot, or you local metal shop.

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