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 Illuminate Door Handles

This document describes how to make your door handles light up. Simply all that is done is that you are running a led from your courtesy lamp wiring to the back of your door handle adding a touch of style and class to your vehicle. Backlit handles are fitted to many European vehicles and most operate of the courtesy lamp wiring. Courtesy lamps are standard in Ltd's, Fairlanes, Fairmont Ghia's and Fairmont's. Alternatively if you have a model without courtesy lamps you can run wiring down from your roof lamp or from foot well lamps if applicable - However this document only has a guide for models with courtesy lamps fitted in the EF/EL NF/NL DF/DL series, However this should be able to be done on previous models quite easily also.

Parts Required
  • 4 High Intensity LED's - 8000mcd White (Z3982) $3.95 each
  • 4 Resistors - 430? .25w Metal film resistor (R0565) 6¢ each
  • 3 Meters of Cheap 2 Core Wire (W2010) 29¢ per meter
  • 4 2way Nylon plugs (P5102) approx $3

With the LED's I used the 8000mcd White LED's - Z3982 from your local DSE ($9.95 each however get them to price match Jaycar at $3.95). Alternatively you can use any high intensity Led you like wether it be UV, Red, Blue, Yellow or green. Speak to your local electronics supply agent for there range.
With the resistor the value you use will depend on how bright you would like the light- I wanted maximum light and the led I purchased operates at 4v 25ma. To work out the resistance I used Ohm's law R= V/A. Which works out to R = 13.8v (car voltage) - 4v (led voltage) / .025A = 392?. This is the minimum resistance you can use before you will damage the LED, there is a 390ohm resistor available however I went the safer option and used the 430ohm.

Tools Required
  • Wire Strippers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Electrical tape / Heat Shrink
  • Solder
  • Soldering iron
  • Phillips head screwdriver or Cordless drill
  • 5mm or 6mm Drill Bit
  • Hot glue gun or glue or silicon

The Process

Removing the door trim is fairly simple this consists of removing 10 screws from your rear trim and 11 from your front trim.

Front Back

  1. There is one screw behind the door handle - to access this use a small flat blade screw driver or small knife blade to click off cover. This will reveal 1 Phillips head bolt, remove this and the door handle will come free. Once it is free you will need to remove it from the latch rod and the door handle should now be completely free
  2. Next remove the two grommets towards the front of the arm rest. Once again you will need a small flat blade screw drive or knife. Removing this should reveal two Phillips head bolts which will then need to be removed
  3. Remove the screw's around the edges of the trim (Front door trims: 3 on the bottom, 3 on one side, 2 on the other size - you will also need to remove the power mirror cover to get the trim off which is one screw) (Rear Door trims : 2 down the bottom edge, 2 on one side, 3 on the other side- Also you will need to remove the rear window garnish- on Fairlanes 4 screws, on falcon models 3 screws)
  4. Once all the screws have been removed the trim is now almost ready to come off. Wind the window down on the trim you are working on - once it is down pull the trip upwards and it should now be off the door. You will then need to disconnect the wiring loom for the courtesy lamps (if fitted), power windows (if fitted) and the mirror control (front drivers trim only) the trim is now free and ready to work on!

Lighting up the handle

  1. With the handle removed you now need to drill a hole where the led will light up. Get your drill and put the 6mm bit in. position the drill in the corner above where the bolt goes thru in the position shown. Drill the hole for the led to poke through

  2. You now need to solder the resistor to the longer leg of the led, try and position it approx 1cm from the base of the led - cut one side of the resistor leg about 1cm from the resistor itself. Now solder the two side by side together - you may need a paper clip or pliers to help you

  3. Once the resistor is soldered to the LED you now need to solder the wire to the led, Make sure that you solder the wire with the stripe on it to the side of the led with the resistor on it. Once the wire is soldered on wrap each leg in electrical tape so that it cannot short out

  4. Once the Wire is soldered on and that all exposed parts are covered in electrical tape cut the wire approx 5cm from the leg of the led. You then need to strip the end of the wire and solder two of the same pins onto the end of the wire. Once this is done Push the pins into the nylon plug till they click lock in, Put the side with the stripe into the side of the plug that is rounded

  5. The two remaining socket pins then need to be soldered to the other side if the cable that was cut off, once again making sure the side with the stripe goes into the rounded side of the plug and pushing the pins till they lock in
  6. You now are ready to glue the LED into place! I powered up the led with a 12v battery while putting it into the handle to position so I could get the right effect in the handle. Hooking the side of the cable with the stripe to the +ve and the non striped side to the -ve powers up the led. Insert it while it's alight to the handle and position it to get the desired effect in your handle.
  7. Once you have it in your preferred position, get your glue gun or glue and glue the led in from the back of the handle - Hold it still till it is dry

  8. Once the handle is dry bend the legs of the led down along the side of the handle. You are now ready to fit the handle to your door trim!

Fitting the handle to the trim

  1. Lay your trim flat on the ground with the backside facing up
  2. Position your door handle in the hole in the trim and pull the wire thru

  3. The nylon plug needs to sit at the top of the back of the handle - There is a small gap that fits it almost perfectly
  4. With the handle in and the nylon plug in its space run the wire down the trim to where your courtesy wiring crosses the trim
  5. You then need to expose the core's of your existing courtesy wiring by using the wire strippers

  6. Cut the wire on the end of the door handle to the desired length - Remember to leave some slack to remove the handle down the track. Then strip the end of the wire and connect it to the courtesy lamp wiring - do not solder it into place yet, just twist the wire round the courtesy lamp wiring and put a bit of electrical tape round each connection

  7. Take the trim and handle out to the car and connect it to the courtesy lamp wiring - If the led lights up you are now ready to solder the wire to the courtesy lamp, if not switch the two wires to get the led to light up.
  8. Solder the courtesy lamp wiring and led wiring together and wrap each with electrical tape. You are now ready to fit the trim back onto the car door

Fitting the trim back on to the door
  1. Take the trim and handle out to your car and disconnect the LED handle at the plug. Connect the Courtesy lamp wiring, connect the power window wiring harness (if fitted) and the Power mirror switch wiring (front left door trim). Place the trim on to the door making sure the LED handle wiring is hanging out of the handle opening
  2. Place the trim on to the door and push down on the trim where the window slides up to click it into place. Place a couple of the screws in the trim to hold it in place.
  3. With the trim in place you can now connect the handle plug and socket up and place the nylon plug and socket in the upper gap of the handle, wrap the slack wire around the handle

  4. Attach the handle back on to the latch rod and fit the handle into place, it may take a couple of try's to get the wire round the right way do it doesn't effect the positioning of the handle, Once the handle is in place put the Phillips head bolt back in
  5. Make sure the courtesy lamps are on and all functions are working correctly before placing all screws back into the trim accordingly ( remember to place the rear window garnish back in place or power mirror garnish back into place also

You have now successfully created a backlit door handle!! Repeat the process for the remaining door trims and admire your work!
 Document Summary
Document description: This document describes how to make your door handles light up
Document written by: Nicko on 08 2005>, Copyright © 2005 Nicko, all rights reserved.
Document revised: 18 2005 - Revision 1.0
Document views: 22132 since 08 2005



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