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Old 12-27-2010, 08:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Rear power door locks failed on 08

My daughters car is a 2008 Impala and I only see it when it needs work. It currently has a problem where both rear power door locks do not work from any control or the remote. She thinks they failed at about the same time, but not 100% sure. At first I presumed that it was the actuators since I've heard they are known to fail early. Then I stumbled across a video on youtube talking about a common failure in GM products where a splice in the wiring harness in the front passenger doorway can corrode. I'll check that first, but if I have to replace the actuator/lock assemblies how difficult is that? Would I need to remove the window and regulator? Anyone else experience this issue - and what was your solution? Lastly - not under warranty as it has about 70k miles. Thanks!

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Old 12-28-2010, 12:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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goodluck with that.......
actuators go for 250 each at the dealer.....

3 of my doorlocks went out and now only the passenger side door unlocks with the remote......

it sucks but 1000 dollars to fix the doorlocks is out of the question..... oldschool status and use the key is what im doing. let me know if you find out about that spliced wire? or what video is it on youtube?

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Old 12-28-2010, 03:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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goodluck with that.......
actuators go for 250 each at the dealer.....

3 of my doorlocks went out and now only the passenger side door unlocks with the remote......

it sucks but 1000 dollars to fix the doorlocks is out of the question..... oldschool status and use the key is what im doing. let me know if you find out about that spliced wire? or what video is it on youtube?
Well - the GOOD news is that the replacement lock/actuator units are $160 for the RR and $176 for the LR. I actually bought one and will return it unopened if it turns out to be wiring.

For the youtube video, search on "Common Repair for Chevy Olds Pontiac Power Door Lock" and it will be the first one found.

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Old 12-28-2010, 04:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Pretty sure actuator is going to turn out to be the culprit. More common than anything else. Had one go on my 09. Warrantee though, so I did not really care.

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Old 12-28-2010, 05:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Pretty sure actuator is going to turn out to be the culprit. More common than anything else. Had one go on my 09. Warrantee though, so I did not really care.
I'd suspect the actuator if it was just one door, but both rear locks failing tends to point to the wiring since it is a common GM problem that breaks both rear locks. I'll check it out this weekend.

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Old 12-28-2010, 08:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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guys have had that happen on my 2008 ss v8 impala..right rear pass. door would not unlock ! my gm dealer took that panel off ,and said actuator is the problem.. ordered and had installed in 24 hours.. great job !! could not tell was ever touched /, n/c coved under warranty ! dealer said they are a know problem on our impalas..

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Old 12-29-2010, 06:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I actually had two (bothe rears) go at approx the same time. If they happened at EXACTLY the same time, yeah, that sounds perhaps like somehting else. Is is possible your daughter just happened to notice both at the same time, but they could have actually stopped working at different times? What a PITA without warrantee. Keep us posted and good luck.

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Old 01-02-2011, 09:26 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I actually had two (bothe rears) go at approx the same time. If they happened at EXACTLY the same time, yeah, that sounds perhaps like somehting else. Is is possible your daughter just happened to notice both at the same time, but they could have actually stopped working at different times? What a PITA without warrantee. Keep us posted and good luck.
Well - I am finally working on it today, and the first thing I figured out is that it is the actuators. When I hold onto the lock knobs and hit lock/unlock on the remote I can feel it trying - so there is power to them. Going to tear into the RR door now. It is about 7 degrees F outside, maybe 15 in the garage...

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Old 01-02-2011, 09:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Sorry, man! That sucks. No space heater?

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Old 01-02-2011, 03:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well, at least you know the culprit. Very common.

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Old 01-02-2011, 03:35 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Sorry, man! That sucks. No space heater?
Bought a space heater that did about nothing. I had it mostly apart when my son arrived and we got it done in a total of about 2 hours. A lot of time was spent being cautious in taking things apart without damage and while remembering how it went together. So - one is now fixed....but murphy helped and I still have two failed because the front passenger actuator is now intermittent. Maybe next week I'll tackle the other back one and then do the front one when she's home for spring break. For others that may be facing this task - here is what we did;

  1. Read these instructions first and decide if you really want to proceed. We had almost no guidance but did get it, but if you are not mechanically inclined, take it to the Chevy dealer.
  2. Tools needed; T30 torx socket (a driver won't work on some of the bolts), pry tool (got one that looks like a screwdriver but with a curved claw for pulling nails), decent small flashlight (I have a 900 lumen LED), worklight, small straight blade screwdriver, ratchet, short extension, a couple of smaller metric sockets (sorry didn't note the size), and mechanics gloves could be handy to minimize cuts. A mirror and a magnetic pickup are always helpful. Lastly, while one person can do it, two makes observing and manipulating (and fetching beer and tools and beer) so much easier.
  3. Roll the window up. This cannot be done with it down.
  4. Behind the inside door latch, remove the plastic access plate, then the torx bolt.
  5. Remove the rubber pad from the bottom of the door grip where you grab to close the door, and remove the two unnecessarily long torx bolts under it.
  6. On the lower right side of the door, remove the plastic access door and the small hex bolt behind it.
  7. Above the door panel to the rear there is a triangular plastic trim panel, pop this off.
  8. Now you need to pop loose about four retaining clips - no nice way to do this and you do risk ruining one. Start working the pry tool between the lower door panel and the door and give it a sudden jerk, and you should pop the first retainer loose. Then work your way around the lower door panel and get the rest.
  9. When the retainers are all popped out, the panel will stick out at the bottom. Grasp the panel and lift up. This will unhook it from the lip at the top, then lift the panel off the lock knob. The panel will now be loose.
  10. Pop the window switch loose - may need to gently release the tabs, but mine popped out pretty easy.
  11. Release the latch cable from the lever by grasping the plastic piece at the end of the cable and pulling it back towards the back of the car, then out of the metal clip. Then lift the rivet at the end of the cable out of the back of the lever. This description sucks, I know - but you should be able to figure it out.
  12. Now the door panel is off, so set it aside.
  13. Peel back the white plastic moisture barrier (from the top rear) to gain access to the big cutout in the metal.
  14. Unscrew the door lock plastic knob from the rod. Unscrew it about the number of times you figure would be required, then you are only about 25% of the way there so keep going.
  15. There is a plastic piece through which the lock rod goes, pop that off.
  16. Towards the back of the door, inside the door is a window track that guides the window. There is a bolt holding this in place, remove the bolt.
  17. Now, look up inside the door to the back find the bolt that retains the outside door latch and remove that bolt. This may not be necessary but we figured it would make things easier.
  18. Two cutouts towards the back of the door are covered in black tape. Pull back the tape from the bottom as you need to look and work through those holes.
  19. There is a retaining clip holding the wires - push that through, popping it loose.
  20. Now - take a look at where everything is and remember it. For instance note that the wires going to the lock actuator are closest to the inside, then the lock rod, then the window guide. It is possible to put it together wrong, and it might work for a while - but if the lock rod hangs up on the wires then the actuator will struggle before again failing.
  21. Remove the three T30 bolts holding the lock mechanism in. Note how tight they are - couldn't easily do this with a torx driver.
  22. Now - we are at the point of no return. If you proceed, you better have a replacement lock mechanism handy because this next step is destructive. The outside door lever hooks to a rod/shaft that goes into a yellow locking plastic clip on the door lock mechanism (see it on your new lock mechanism?). We could not figure out how to easily release this while reaching up inside the door one handed, so we finally just crushed it with a pliers. If you can figure a better way, good luck.
  23. OK, now there is no real easy way to tell you how to get the old lock mechanism out other than to manipulate it - and a major barrier will be the lock shaft. Don't worry, it's a pain going pack in too. In general, the lock drops down, and then out.
  24. When you have the lock mechanism out, remove the wires by first sliding the red retaining clip, and also remove the lock rod.
  25. Put the lock rod on the new lock mechanism, but leave the wires off because it is easier to put the lock mechanism back in without it.
  26. Now put the new lock mechanism back in place. Make sure that the wires end up running between the lock rod and the door. Hold off on putting the outside lock shaft in place as it is irreversible.
  27. When you have the lock in place, the inside lock rod in place, and the wires connected, try your new lock. Hopefully it works. Make sure to put the wire retainer clip back in.
  28. Once the window track is bolted back in place and the outside door latch bolt is back in place - and everything seems to be correct - then you can lock in the outside lock shaft. Remember that yellow clip we crushed on the old one? Now that you are 100% ready to commit, make sure the threaded rod is in the clip and close it. It may take some fiddling but you'll get it.
  29. Put the inside lock knob back on by turning it endlessly. You can drink a beer while doing this. At least it will never fall off.
  30. Before putting the door panel back on, make sure the door is unlocked, close it and be sure the outside latch works.
  31. Presuming it does, reopen the door and put it all back together. Note that when putting the lower door panel back on you should look in from the side to be sure the first couple of retaining clips line up with their respective holes. Might need to pop them with your palm or fist to get them in.
Somewhere in the middle someone will ask you if they can use the car or will ask you if you are about done. Have them get more beer, but otherwise resist answering them. I really should have taken pictures. I suppose I could on the next one, perhaps next weekend. I hate to think what it would cost having a dealer put in three of them - probably about $1,200. Still will cost me about $500 just for the parts.

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Old 01-02-2011, 04:57 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Just my 2 cents: Over $500.00 just in parts for locking system is ridiculous in my book. Plus it is good exercise to be unlocking them manually. Mechanical systems are much cheaper and more dependable, IMO.

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Old 01-02-2011, 05:20 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Nice write up. Thanks.

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Old 01-02-2011, 05:27 PM   #14 (permalink)
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^X2! Take pics next time and make a full write up, we can never have enough of those!

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Old 01-02-2011, 06:26 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Just my 2 cents: Over $500.00 just in parts for locking system is ridiculous in my book. Plus it is good exercise to be unlocking them manually. Mechanical systems are much cheaper and more dependable, IMO.
This car, like others, has the door lock towards the back of the door and with headrests it is nearly impossible to lock and unlock the rear doors without power door locks. Most cars cannot be bought without them. I do agree that $500 is too much, and they sure should not be failing at 65-70k miles.

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