Chevrolet Silverado Automatic Door Lock Disable

Post by blogger | October 24, 2015      
Our dash panel to left of steering wheel, with driving light switches and the door lock bypass toggle switch. Peace.

Our dash panel to left of steering wheel, with driving light switches and the door lock bypass toggle switch. The switch is a single-throw double-pole that turns two circuits on/off independent of each other. This panel is easily pulled out for access such as mounting these aftermarket switches.

Our 2009 Chevrolet Silverado has a nice engine (Duramax) and a nice tranny (Allison). On the other hand, some idiotic team of designers tried to make the truck think for you. Result: everything from confusing light switches to door locks that snap closed at nearly every opportunity. It’s like a MAD computer is trying to take over your life!

This is a work truck. We sometimes shift in and out of drive and park dozens of times a day. We don’t need the door lock actuators snapping up and down like the remote operated locks at a max security prison, every time we shift, wearing themselves out and costing upwards of a hundred dollars and six hundred swear words each to replace (they’re entombed in the doors like a royal Egyptian burial and take hours to DIY swap). This is also a basic model vehicle, without a lot of user configurable “DIC” options. (Even if the door locks are programmable, do you really want to sit there fiddling with your “DIC” every time you want to configure how your locks behave? A simple toggle switch is much nicer.)

Time for a hardware hack. Sorry digital age — sometimes a toggle switch is better.

The process is simple. ID the fuses on the automatic door lock circuits, bypass with a switch. Challenge is making a couple of bypass harnesses for the mini ATM fuses. If you want to spend upwards of $100 you can buy a couple of Blue Ox bypass harnesses, but they’re not as nice as what we made here — and our DIY is much cheaper.

1. ID which fuses are on the automatic door lock circuits. In our case with 2009 Silverado 2500 HD, the fuses were easily located using the owner’s manual; they’re in the cabin fuse panel on the left side of the dash. Experiment by removing fuses and seeing how the locks behave. Give it some time, as you don’t want to spend money and hours with this mod unless you’re sure it’ll do what you want it to.

2. If you’re in a hurry, head over to your auto parts store and get a couple of “Tapa-Circuit” mini ATM fuse taps, you can build this system pretty easily with those.

BETTER, get a couple packs of CT6100 Fuse Socket Connectors, linked at right.

With the CT6100 simply connect your wiring harness with a couple of spade connectors, finish with heat shrink tube. The CT6100 isolates both sides of the fuse socket without any fiddling around. (Remember to add fuse holders into your harness since you’re eliminating a fuse here to create your connection).

POSSIBLE, connector alternative is the Fuse Buddy linked to right. This is a brilliant option as the Fuse Buddy includes fuse socket _and_ attached wires you could quickly connect to a switch making the whole build happen quickly. Only problem is the FUSE BUDDY STANDS TOO TALL AND HAS TO BE MODIFIED to fit under fuse compartment lid.

If you’re in a hurry and can only get the Tapa-Circuit, trim away a bit of plastic on the lower pair of fuse sockets (use your continuity checker to figure out exactly what you’re doing here which is simply utilizing the pair of sockets in the Tapa-Circuit that allow you to interrupt or complete the circuit with a switch). Cut off the wire lead coming of the tap. Tear apart a couple of ATM fuses, tin the prongs with solder, use them as connectors to insert in the fuse tap, then solder a couple of wires to the prongs. Be sure to use an in-line fuse on one of the wires. Make two of these bypasses, each with a fuse.

With the CT6100 fuse socket connector linked above, simply attach two leads using spade connectors, add an inline mini ATM fuse, connect to switch.

3. Hook each fuse bypass up to one single-throw double-pole switch so that they’re individually controlled on-off. Just buy a 110 volt switch at the hardware store; you’re not dealing with a lot of current and it’s intermittent — so just about any switch will be fine. The switch I got is item number 31505 at Ace Hardware. Idea here is you don’t want to mix up the circuits which could cause havoc with the Silverado computers.

4. Pull the appropriate fuses in the fuse panel, and plug in the two bypasses. Mount switch in dash. (If you don’t have this exact truck, in my opinion it’s ok to experiment by pulling lock control fuses then simply using the truck and seeing how things behave). After some experimentation you’ll know exactly which fuses to remove and replace with the switch.

With the switch set to disconnect both circuits, our 2009 Silverado doors will stay unlocked until we manually lock them, use the fob, or lock using the door handle controls. They will not lock when we shift or drive. I set my switch so when it’s pointed to “on” the locks are bypassed.

I’m delighted with how this hack turned out, but only glitch is if you leave the doors bypassed and unlocked, sometimes opening a door will trigger the car alarm. We’ve not had that happen while actually using the truck, only when we’ve left it sitting for a while. It’s a minor problem and well worth eliminating the hassle of the “stupid intelligent door locks.” The beauty of having a switch is you can leave things set to “normal OEM” most of the time, and just disable the locks when necessary and appropriate — with the flip of a switch.

Wiring harnesses made from fuse taps.

Wiring harnesses made from fuse taps.

Manual makes it obvious which fuses-circuits to control with switch.

Manual makes it obvious which fuses-circuits to control with switch. In this case it’s circuit number 11 and 21. I tried them independently but needed both turned off to disable the automatic locks on all 4 doors.

Hacked fuse tap. Check everything with a continuity tester to make sure you don't have any shorts or otherwise unpredictable glitches.

Hacked fuse tap. Check everything with a continuity tester to make sure you don’t have any shorts or otherwise unpredictable glitches. (If you’re using a Tapa-Circuit you’ll need to cut off the tap wire and insulate any resulting exposed wire, another reason why the other fuse tap options here are probably better.)

These guys off Amazon are the ticket, but unfortunately you've got to buy two packs. But if you can wait a few days this is the cleanest and best way to create a fuse bypass switch.

These guys off Amazon are the ticket, but unfortunately you’ve got to buy two packs. But if you can wait a few days this is a clean way to create a fuse bypass switch. Also consider the Fuse Buddy I linked to above, which is possibly the best option as it’s already a bypass with its own built-in fuse.

Wire into the fuse bypass connector with spade connectors, don't forget to add a fuse holder. Super clean.

Wire into the fuse bypass connector with spade connectors, don’t forget to add a fuse holder. Super clean.

Routing the wiring.

Routing the custom wiring. Note the fuse holders mounted on the DIY harness; don’t forget those! Using the Fuse Buddy shown above in Amazon link includes a fuse and is much cleaner than solution pictured here.

Bypass switch harnesses connected to panel at fuse 11 and 21.

Bypass switch harnesses connected to panel at fuse 11 and 21.


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4 Responses to “Chevrolet Silverado Automatic Door Lock Disable”

  1. Walt October 31st, 2015 8:47 pm

    Nice tutorial, Lou. But something else that drives me even more crazy on this model of truck (which I have) is the automatic daytime headlights. Maybe you should do a tutorial on how to disable that?

  2. Lou Dawson 2 November 1st, 2015 6:29 am

    Hi Walt, thanks for checking it out. A bit irrelevant so I buried it in the dateline, but then, we all use cars and trucks, and the hassle of automatic door locks at trailheads is well documented (as in, “the keys were inside, it was cold, I grabbed a rock, smash…”).

    I wouldn’t have published except that after a good hour of Google I could find nothing solid on doing a bypass switch for Silverado. It also took a while to figure out the slick way to do a fuse bypass. So, I figured I should get this all out in public and indexed by Google so perhaps it’ll help out a few other guys.

    Those automatic daytime running lights are most certainly an annoyance though they’re proven to increase safety. What I hate most about them is when 4-wheeling, a person trying to help as a spotter gets blinded by the darned things. But they’re also annoying in parking lots and driveways. They’re usually pretty easy to put on a switch, with each truck being different in where the switch or combo of switch/relay is located. I remember controlling the headlights on our Toyota Tacoma got pretty complicated, was kind of a “binary” mental problem in that one relay controlled another relay, and so forth. (With our Silverado 2009 the DRLs can be turned off temporarily by rotating the headlight control dial all the way to the left, and releasing, after the truck is running. Not ideal but at least there is a modicum of control.)

  3. Lou Dawson 2 November 2nd, 2015 6:29 am

    Walt, what year is your Silverado? I’m working on the DRL issue for our 2009, it’s complicated because different years have a wide variation in what it takes to defeat the automatic daytime running lights, or so a bit of googling reveals.

    I’d agree the DRL are incredibly annoying in trailhead and camping situations and an easy way to manually disable the automatic DRL would be wonderful. Setting up manual control of automatic DRL has been one of my goals with this truck for quite some time. It’s a long-term ownership truck, so worth the work.

    All that said, I keep feeling like I’m missing something and there must be an easy way to turn them off using existing dashboard? They can indeed be turned off once the truck is running by turning the headlamp control dial all the way to the left, then releasing. But that’s just another fiddly step and also allows the lights to turn on, before turning them off, which doesn’t avoid the annoyance of having the lights pointing directly at, for example, a group of people at a campsite or picnic. Plus, during work such as logging I’d have to remember to turn the lights off EVERY time I started the truck, which would be way too niggly. What’s needed is a switch that turns the DRL off until we desire them to work in the OEM automatic fashion. Perhaps another fuse bypass switch is the solution. We shall see.

    I find this stuff to be quite interesting from a philosophical sense, in that we hear all this hype about artificial intelligence being just around the corner, and a simple thing like how truck door locks and headlights work under computer control is a full-on joke worthy of a standup comedy routine. And don’t get me started on computer operating systems (grin)!

  4. Lou Dawson 2 November 12th, 2015 6:32 am

    Walt, you around? On our 2009 disabling DRL is the simple matter of removing two fuses, these can be converted to a switched bypass system as I did above with the door locks. Apparently, methods of disabling DRL change quite a bit between models and years.

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