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Major Mag Nut
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4,140 Posts
If you are thinking about shaving your wiper arm and hatch handle you can do some of the work yourself and save some money at the body shop. Relocating the hatch release to the license plate recess isn’t very difficult, but it requires some patience and planning to do correctly. Allow for a few hours to do this mod.

Tools Needed:

Phillips Screwdrivers
Small Flat Blade Screwdriver
Single Edge Razor Blade
Wire Cutters
Wire Strippers
Wire Ties
Tape, Masking, Electrical and Friction
Soldering Gun or crimp connections
Shrink Wrap
Heat Gun
10mm Socket
1” Hole Saw
Hacksaw Blade
Flat File

First remove the lower panel from the hatch by removing the two screws in the hand grip area and giving the panel a few good tugs.

Be careful not to break the two tabs that connect the lower panel to the top panel.

Disconnect the wires for the hatch light from the panel.


Remove the two mounting bolts from the handle assembly and depress the two lower tabs to remove the handle from the hatch.

Next disconnect the switch from the wiring harness by sliding the red tab to the edge and inserting a small screwdriver blade into the socket. Then pull the connection apart and remove the handle assembly.

To remove the switch from the switch housing, depress the four tabs and it will push through the hole.

Now strip the tape that wraps the wires in the harness to remove the hatch switch and wiper motor wires.

Isolate the power leads for the switch and wiper motor and cut them off and seal the wire ends. The power of the switch will be tied back into the harness at the headliner portion of the harness.

Next remove the top panel by taking out the two screws, one on each side, and giving it a good tug. This is about where my camera battery went dead, so the next few steps you will just need to use your imagination and follow along.

Continue to strip the wire wraps back to the wire connection using the razor. I removed the switch wire from the plug on both sides and continued to strip the wires back into the headliner section. The corrugated rubber piece can be pushed back to allow you to strip them back. Once the switch wire is isolated rewrap the wires with electrical tape and add additional friction tape to locations that come in contact with the body and to reconnect to the mounting tabs. I also added a couple of extra hold-downs that I picked up at Home Depot that use a wire tie to hold a wire bundle.

The hatch wire is highlighted in the headliner area. This is where you will tie back into the power line (thickest black wire) and the switch wire.

Continue to wrap the wires and secure to the existing wire bundle. The cylinder on the right is the compressed gas for the side airbags, be careful not to set it off.


You will need to remove the lower side panel. The speaker grill just pops off. Remove the four screws and the 10mm bolt in the side cushion on the read seat nearest the door. Also disconnect the power outlet. Remove the folding floor and the sub-floor panels.

Add masking tape to the area that will be the new home of your hatch switch so you don’t scratch the paint and to help location the holes. You will need to drill two 1” holes 2.35” inches apart.

Once the holes are drilled out, connect them by cutting the area out with a hacksaw blade and file until the switch will fit in snuggly. The panel thickness is about the same as the hatch handle and is held in place with the four tabs. Don’t push the switch all the way in because you won’t be able to get it back out.

Next you will need to drill a couple of holes for the wires to get from the switch to the wiring harness. Try to drill a hole as close to the switch location a possible, as it will be much easier to pull the wires. I made a hole through one of the access holes in the rear panel brace and another near the corner of the door opening. Use a grommet so the wires do not rub on anything. Use a piece of hard wire to fish the lines through the holes and the brace panel. Connect the wires to the switch with either crimp connection or soldering and wrap with shrink tubing to seal the connection.

At his point you can check the switch operation and put all of the panels back into place.


The finished installation looks really clean, but it does now take two hands to open the hatch. I will also be removong the wiper motor the day before it goes in the shop to get the body work. It comes off pretty easily, one nut on the outside and three in the hatch.

I have been using the new switch for about a week and it works just fine.


Now off to the body shop to get the hatch all nice and smooth.
 

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Remember Hookers Love Cupcakes
Joined
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4,146 Posts
Great write up SoCalRT!! I really like the idea of having the handle down by the plate. I will have to consider this mod. Again great job...
 

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Premium Member
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10,449 Posts
Nice work Brett.
One of the nicest, most detailed write I have yet to see.
 

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They call me Destroyer
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11,579 Posts
if u get some of those high powered struts u wont have to worry bout havin to use two hands!

nice job there Brett!
 

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Registered
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313 Posts
Something i want to try soon, can be useful to prevent anyone from getting in after unlocking doors. They would have to find it.
 
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