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Old 09-07-2016, 01:32 PM   #1
SaturnRocks
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Default Electrical Rear Door Locks SL2 1996 - Help?

Hi! I'm new to the forum but have been reading it all summer. I have a 1996 SL2 given to me by a friend. I think he was trying to help me out, but this car has been much abused by previous owners.
Among other things I am now working on the back door locks, both sides. The actuators do not operate by any command (key, front door power buttons, RKE remote). I took off the inner door panel and saw a two wire plug (grey and tan wires)connecting to the actuator. I tested the grey and tan wires separately with a multi-meter looking for a DC voltage spike when lock and unlock commands were sent (by remote). There is no signal reaching the actuators. Looking at the electrical diagram I do not see a negative wire (ground) to the actuator. Where would it be?
The actuator is riveted to the metal of the door - is the actuator grounded to the door through the rivets?
And... if it isn't a break with the wires or ground at the actuator, do you have any idea where else a problem only with the rear power locks could originate?
Thanks and much respect and regard to you all helping us with these problems.

...
1996 SL2 140,000mi

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Old 09-07-2016, 09:54 PM   #2
gveinot
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Default Re: Electrical Rear Door Locks SL2 1996 - Help?

the actuators are actually motors and to lock, polarity is sent in one direction to turn the motor in the correct direction to lock, then unlock sends the polarity in the opposite direction to turn the motor in the opposite direction to unlock. Its not a solenoid. This is from my Hayes manual. To lock, the grey wires should have 12 volts on them, to unlock, the tan wire gets the voltage. The switches do not actually control the motors, the switches control a lock and unlock relay and they send the voltage to the motors but the opposite relay then sends the ground back to the frame of the car. Since your front locks work, you can rule out the relays and switches. Since this is a used car, I would look for something botched by the other owner. Maybe they took the doors off and cut the wires or something. You should see voltage on the wires in either case. There is only 1 fuse to control all locks.

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Old 09-08-2016, 07:54 AM   #3
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Default Re: Electrical Rear Door Locks SL2 1996 - Help?

Hey GREAT! thank you. I have some tinkering ability but not very much.
So for my understanding, let me repeat back: from what you are saying the 12v potential drop is between the tan and grey wires and gets reversed as the each time the unlock and lock relays get activated. Each relay (lock and unlock) is grounded to the frame through the "30" of each relay. That's the grounding point.
So the fix: also from what you are saying since the relays operate all actuator motors, then the fault must be in the wiring between the relays and the rear actuators.
More tests: The actuators are untested at this point but they probably work. I could somehow clip in test leads from a 12v source to the actuator and see if they operate, right, reversing the wires to get the lock and unlock action? I could get an actuator plug from a junk yard, clip the wires to get a good amount of lead to clip the 12 volt source test leads (thank you someone -don't remember - on Youtube for this cool idea).
Am I getting this right?
And thank you so very much!

...
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Old 09-08-2016, 08:06 AM   #4
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Default Re: Electrical Rear Door Locks SL2 1996 - Help?

Whoops, another question: these actuators are motors and need a load - I think I read somewhere on this forum that you have to reconnect the lock or risk burning out the motor while testing - is this also correct or is the risk minimal. I would err on the side of caution. But am curious now.
I think I've answered my own question but am leaving this question up just in case someone else is working on this problem, too.
Was that comment on needing to reconnect the lock before testing correct? thanks in advance.

...
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Old 09-08-2016, 05:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Electrical Rear Door Locks SL2 1996 - Help?

hi, sorry for the delay. if you just apply power to them for a second or so you will not damage them. They are built to toggle one way and then the other. If you have an ohm meter, put it on a lower range, 2k or down and measure the resistance across a good one and compare the suspects.

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Old 09-08-2016, 05:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Electrical Rear Door Locks SL2 1996 - Help?

since the car is used and you indicated abused by the previous owner, do not rule out anything..!! I seen guys take doors off, cut off the power lock wires as they did not care or need the back locks. Then put it back together and leave it that way.

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Old 09-11-2016, 12:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: Electrical Rear Door Locks SL2 1996 - Help?

Hi gveinot! Thank you - you hit the nail on the head. You were so right. Cut wires. The repair is done and the rear locks work.
The wires were cut at the black rubber grommeted tube connecting the body to the base rear doors. The easiest place to permanently kill power to the back locks if one needed to. I'm certain someone had the chattering door locks problem in the front two doors and was trying to kill the back ones.
Previously I also had found the RKE module unit thrown haphazardly in the trunk. At least the previous owner kept it. When I re-inserted it to its connector then I heard the chattering front door locks, a bit startling at first! The forum was a great place to determine the cuase and so I replced those front door locks.
But until now the rear door locks would not operate. I think someone just got tired of it and started pulling fuses, RKE module, and snipping wires... No wonder this car did not come with a remote! Thanks so much for your suggestions and info - works great now. Thanks again for working through this with me.

...
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