1996 450hp n/a
Z28 Camaro SS
1995 Trans Am
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F-Body Install & Fix-it Guides
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1995 Ninja ZX6
Easier to Access Hatch Release
by Brent Franker
The information on this page is actually taken completely from my alarm installation page. I decided to separate it in case someone might want something like this but not think about checking my alarm installation guide.
This page will describe how to wire up a second hatch release pushbutton for your 93 to 96 Camaro that will NOT be in your glovebox... I really hate that they put it IN the glove box :) This page will describe in detail how to do the actual wiring necessary to make this work. If you need or would like information about how to remove the necessary interior panels (the glove box and the panel above the passenger's feet), please see the alarm install guide by clicking on the link below. The following link will also describe in detail how a standard automotive relay works. If you don't already know, you might want to check it out first before continuing on since we'll be using one of these relays.
Note: This page will describe how to do the install based on the fact that I made it with the alarm install in mind. You don't actually need to go to the trouble to install the relay and switch the normally negative output of the factory hatch release to 12v to go directly to the hatch motor. You can install a switch like I have below so one of its wires is connected to ground and the other side spliced into the output of the factory hatch release switch which goes to the Body Control Module (BCM). The reason for the relay is to get around times when there may be no power available from the BCM due to the Retained Accessory Power (RAP) feature when using a remote control type hatch release. Since this pushbutton will be in the car and will be used, most likely, only when the car is on or soon after it was turned off, the BCM and RAP will not have killed power to the motor. But, since I have already made a page detailing how to do this with a relay and it will work for both the OBD-I and OBD-II cars, this is what you are gonna get :-)
Before you get to the actual install of just the
switch, I'll be explaining how to hook up an alarm's hatch release feature. I've
left this information here because it's not too much to read through and it will help you
to understand just "what's going on" if you aren't overly familiar with doing
work like this.
Trunk / Hatch Release
Most alarms have the ability to remotely open the rear hatch via the alarm's remote if, of course, you already have an electronic hatch release... which we do :) On most cars this is a very simple connection. But, the 96 and 97 F-Bodies aren't most cars :) The BCM and its "special features" which kill power to almost all accessories after 35 seconds of the last door being closed, make us have to do a "work around" to get the trunk release portion of the alarm system to work. (NOTE: It is possible that it is not necessary to do this work around if your alarm system works in such a way as to disarm the system prior to activating the trunk release. This will "wake up" the BCM and allow a "normal" type hatch release install to work. As far as I know, all alarms do work like this but I'll be doing this install using the work around method for those who are ONLY hooking up a keyless entry system and/or remote hatch release system.) Most alarm's trunk release feature is done by sending out a negative pulse from one of the alarm's wires... usually a GRAY wire. In most cases, this wire only needs to be spliced into the proper side of the trunk/hatch release switch. But, since ours will have no power after 35 seconds, we have to splice into a different area. We will need to splice into a POSITIVE wire after the factory hatch release relay which is downstream of the BCM. This takes the nasty BCM out of the picture :) What makes this a bit of a hassle is that, if you remember before, the alarm sends out a negative pulse but we need to splice into the positive wire going back to the hatch release wire itself. To do this will require the use of a standard automotive relay (see opening page) to switch the negative pulse of the alarm to a positive pulse. The hatch release relay is located to the right of where the glove box would be and is on the other side of the plastic panel. See picture below.
The hatch release relay is located on the back side of this panel. The arrow above is not pointing the actual relay... rather the plastic ribbed pin for the holder that is holding the hatch release relay. The hatch release wire is a BLACK wire with a WHITE stripe (BLACK/WHITE) and can be found in the cluster of wires where the arrow is pointing above. If you look closely, you'll see that I have the correct wire slightly pulled out so I can make my connection with my handy dandy Blue quick splice connector. Go ahead and make this connection now with a piece of extra wire. See picture below.
Don't forget to be checking your connections like I mentioned earlier!!! When you use your factory hatch release push button you should see 12v at this wire!
OK, now for the fun part. We have to switch the output from the alarm from negative to positive. Shown below is a diagram of how this is done using a standard automotive relay.
And below is what this standard automotive relay will look like. Note: not all of these relays will come with the center 87a pin. In this case, that is OK because it is not used.
Below are what the connections will look like. I'll describe the unlabelled BLACK wire in a little bit :)
I just noticed that the way I made the connections at the relay don't match the diagram I have above :) That's OK and you can understand why if you read the opening page about relays. Real simple, for the coil connection, it doesn't matter which coil pin you connect your 12v to so long as you put the ground on the other side. You'll notice I have mine "switched" as compared to the diagram. I also have switched, according to the diagram, the ins and outs for the power to the hatch release motor. In this case, this doesn't matter because all we're doing is completing a circuit when the relay is actuated. Just thought I'd bring this up in case you're an attention to detail junkie and noticed that things didn't quite appear right in the picture and diagram. You can hook yours up like I did in the picture or as the diagram shows... it doesn't matter. (It's pretty obvious I didn't use the instructions to install this, huh? :)
Even though I use insulated connectors, I'll normally go ahead and tape up the connections with electrical tape "just to make sure."
The hatch release via the alarm's remote will now work properly when we get it all hooked up! A lot of trouble just because of the darn BCM, huh? :)
OK, now to describe that BLACK wire in the picture above... If it's one thing I can't stand about my Camaro it is the fact that I have to open the darn glove box to gain access to the hatch release! Call me lazy but for some reason, this just irks the heck out of me :) I must not be the only one this irks because in 97 GM moved the hatch release switch on the Camaros :-) Since it bothers me, I decided to do something about it! The rest of this hatch release section is going to describe how to install an "external to the glove box" hatch release push button... yippee! :) If you're just reading this and already have an alarm or don't want one, the following can be done as a stand alone thing. You'll just need to hook up the relay as shown above to the factory hatch release relay. You just won't be hooking up the alarm's wire... you'll have just the black wire above (or whatever color you use).
The first thing to do is decide what style of switch you want to use. You'll need a momentary pushbutton switch with SPST normally open contacts. There are many different varieties of this switch at Radio Shack. I happen to prefer a switch that doesn't doesn't stand out much. You can get one that lights up or whatever you want. Pictured below is the switch I bought.
I mounted my switch in the center console panel under the cigarette lighter. It's out of the way and looks pretty good here IMO. To remove this panel so you can drill the hole, all you have to do is put your fingers in behind there until you can feel the back side of the cigarette lighter and push firmly on the back side of the lighter. This piece will pop out.
Go ahead and unplug the connector on the back of the lighter. You are now ready to drill the hole into this plastic piece. Words of wisdom here... be very careful and start with a small bit! Slowly work your way up to a larger bit. This plastic is very soft and it is very easy and likely that the drill bit will "catch" too big a hunk of plastic and rip/tear the plastic piece BEYOND where your hole will be. Meaning, it's not going to look too good. Take your time and be very careful. Hold this piece very tight while drilling the hole because if it does catch too much plastic like I mentioned above, this piece will be ripped from our hand and go twirling about on the drill bit. Sounds like this has happened to me, huh? :-)
Another thing to consider with a small switch like this is that the wires will most likely need to be soldered onto the backside of the switch. If you don't know how to solder, make sure you get one that already has wires attached or that you can place connectors on.
Once you have the proper size hole drilled and the wires connected onto the switch, you can install the switch into the center console piece. What we'll be doing is sending a negative pulse to the relay to activate our newly installed relay. This means that one of the wires coming off the switch will need to be connected directly to ground (use the ground wire we made WAY above) and the other side will be connected to the other side of the relay coil as shown in the relay diagram above. With the crimps and wire I used, I was able to install both the alarm's trunk release wire and my home made switch wire into the same connector and plug it onto the tab of the relay. One thing to keep in mind here is that the safety portion of the hatch release relay is taken out of the picture with this pushbutton switch! Meaning, currently your switch "looks" at your gear selector to make sure you CAN'T open your hatch if you're going 80mph down the Interstate. This switch we just installed, if pressed, will pop the hatch at anytime! But, if you're like me, you've probably accidentally left your hatch open before and took off without realizing it. No biggie because the gas shocks on the hatch aren't made to pop open the hatch to the full open position like on some cars. They are there more to keep the rear hatch up! So, even if you do accidentally bump this switch while moving, no biggie because the hatch is not going to go flying up on you!