Forum Home Forum Home > The Garage > Electrical - non engine
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Adding "power remote" locks to AMC
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Click for TheAMCForum Rules / Click for PDF version of Forum Rules
Your donations help keep this valuable resource free and growing. Thank you.

Adding "power remote" locks to AMC

 Post Reply Post Reply
billd View Drop Down
Moderator Group
Moderator Group

Forum Administrator

Joined: Jun/27/2007
Location: Iowa
Status: Offline
Points: 30802
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Adding "power remote" locks to AMC
    Posted: Jul/01/2014 at 2:02pm
This works with 2 door AMCs at least in the 1980s, or at least that's my theory.
For those strange few AMC people wanting to add the convenience of remote power locks to their late model AMC, you'll need to add 2 simple relays to get the task accomplished. For most cars there is a space to the right end of the glove box where the relays can be placed putting them in close proximity to the power lock wiring harness as well as battery power depending on how you wish to power the system.

For me it was a matter of necessity as my wife has a handicap that renders her unable to operate ordinary manual windows or easily reach around or back for lock knobs - let alone grip on and pull it up.
Most of the process is finding the parts to convert from manual to power/electric and if you are lucky enough to get your hands on either all the parts from a donor car, or the donor car itself, it's more time than anything. The harness for power windows and locks is distinct from the rest of the vehicle's wiring. They even made it bloody simple to connect the system into the car's fuse block.
I've made a diagram below of how I plan the electrical connections using the AMC TSM wiring diagram as a guide for the wire sizes and colors of the now existing power lock/window harness. At this time I'm keeping it simple - the lock/unlock will do both doors, I may later add a driver unlock only relay but with AMCs "both at once" simplified wiring, this is much easier. Besides, the car is so small one can easily see anyone who tries to jump into the passenger side if you unlock both doors before getting in. And good luck to anyone attempting to sneak in through the back seat! Yeah, right.
Most of the remote modules I've dealt with use a "negative" signal for lock and unlock - meaning they have a low-power GROUND to operate the relay. That means the module won't power the relay itself - it's depending on the relay coil being powered so the module simply grounds the other side of the coil to activate it. It's a momentary negative or ground signal.  That actually makes it rather easy, too - since you can power one side of the primary or trigger circuit and the common "power" side from the same feed.
One relay locks, the other unlocks. The wiring for each relay is very nearly identical to the other - but each is connected to its own wire coming out of the remote control module, either the LOCK or UNLOCK wire or circuit of the module.

The dark green w/tr and white w/tr are the original AMC lock actuator wires so you simply "tap into" those wires adding the wires from terminal 30 of the relays to each as shown.
I am planning on powering this via a wire going to the same circuit breaker that powers the AMC power lock circuits.
Otherwise one could run a lead out through where the hatch release wire comes in to the hatch release button from the engine bay and power it either through a fusible link to the starter relay/solenoid or a circuit breaker then to the starter solenoid junction.

For convenience I'll include this information (not that anyone would ever want or need to add power locks or even a fancy remote lock system to an AMC):
The AMC original switches work as follows (14 gauge wires):
Lock - switches connect red/power to dk green and black/ground to white w/trace
UNlock - switches connect red/power to white w/trace and black/ground to dark green.
Note that with the factory switches and system both switches must be in place for the system to operate! Same for the relay system - both are required.
This relay system should do the same thing ->

I also always hated having to unlock the passenger door, open the glove box and reach clear over to the left side of the glove box to push the button to open the hatch - after digging for keys to get the car unlocked to begin with. For Barbara it was a "if you can do it, DO IT!".
The remote hatch part was simple - I changed things so that the push-button grounded the coil of a relay (so that big button should last longer than I will now) and placing a relay in-line with the hot lead that used to go to the switch, and the other connector from the switch that goes back to the hatch release solenoid.
The remote system will do the same as the button - ground the relay coil to release the hatch.

This is all assuming I can break free of other duties and projects to ever get this beast finished.

Back to Top
billd View Drop Down
Moderator Group
Moderator Group

Forum Administrator

Joined: Jun/27/2007
Location: Iowa
Status: Offline
Points: 30802
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul/29/2014 at 2:04pm
Addendum to my prior post about "adding power remote locks to AMC".
This one, part 2, will cover modifying the existing power lock switch circuits to work with the relays which were added to enable the installation of remote power locks.

WARNING - the wiring modifications are for 2 door cars only. This has not been compared to nor tested on 4 door AMC cars!!!

If your AMC already has power locks without relays and you want to be able to use the existing switches and wiring, it's not all that difficult to accomplish IF you pay attention to detail.
Even without the "remote" option, utilizing relays has the advantages of taking the power load off of your older factory switches - with these modifications the factory switches will be carrying a fraction of the load - only enough to energize a standard relay for 1 second; you will be taking the 30 amp circuit out of the wiring harness that spans the car full left to full right (less HOT wires under your dash and in your doors!) and restricting it to the single wire that runs to the relays and the location of the relays only. Your lock motors will also be more snappy!
The factory wiring and switches are rather complex because they had to be able to literally 'reverse the polarity' of the power going to the lock control motors - AND be able to do it from either left or right door. They accomplished this while keeping the copper wires to a minimum.
It's a rather clever design really, and it's also the reason the relay wiring I posted earlier requires 2 relays working in tandem.

Using the image below (sorry, I used a photo of an enlarged scan of a TSM and not a scan directly from the TSM so it's rather dark and out of focus) follow the steps below being careful what and where you cut and being dead-certain you follow these steps EXACTLY when it comes to changing the power and ground wiring. One mis-step and you could fry wires or worse.

First, some explanation of my chicken scratches. Sorry, my typing is bad, my handwriting even worse.....
  • Where you see a 'u' in the diagram it means it's part of my planned "unlock" relay circuit.
  • Where you see an 'L' noted in the diagram, it's part of the LOCK relay circuit.
  • If you see the factory wire with a line drawn diagonally through it, it means CUT this wire except for the red D and that means UNPLUG the bullet connector from the 3-hole connector that is plugged into the fuse panel.
AMC used a short pigtail that plugged into the power option part of the fuse panel and ran through the 30 amp breaker. Then they plugged the power lock circuit into this short pigtail. 
I unplugged the factory power lock power wire from that 3 hole connector, leaving the short pigtail plugged into the fuse panel, and ran my relay power wire to this short pigtail so my relays are powered through this same factory power lock power source keeping it simple.
The 30 amp breaker is STILL for power locks except that it runs the relays as well as the lock motors.
If you place your relays where I did - at the right end of the glove box, under the dash in that small hollow area, you could run the power directly from the starter solenoid junction area through a 30 amp breaker mounted under the hood and not take it from the fuse panel. In fact I had considered doing that but changed my mind after making other plans for the junctions at my 4.0's PDC.

The details:

**** BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE, do one or both of these:
either disconnect the ground cable at the battery under the hood (best option!)
or remove the 30 amp circuit breaker from the fuse panel under the dash.
PLEASE REMOVE ALL POSSIBILITY OF HAVING POWER in the lock and window system before you start!!!!!!!!!! ****

A and B - cut these black wires at the driver side lock switch. I recommend leaving a couple of inches of wire coming from the switch in case you want to return the harness to original in the future. I placed small heat shrink tube over the "stubs" and shrank it to the wire, then used a small amount of liquid tape to help seal the wires up.
C - cut this black wire a few inches from where it screws to ground under the dash. Be careful if you also have power windows and don't cut the window system ground! 
I put a male bullet connector on the portion of the black ground wire that goes to the ground point under the dash. The reason for this is in D.
D Unplug the bullet connector from the short pigtail that goes to the fuse panel.
E Insert the male bullet connector that you just placed on the ground wire above into this now open female bullet connection so that you end up grounding what was the red power wire for the locks.
Move to the passenger door switch (right side on U.S. cars)
F cut the dark green with trace wire about 2" away from the switch. You will connect something to both ends so leave enough length to work with!
G do the same for the white with trace wire leaving a long enough wire at the switch to connect to later.
L  cut the dark green wire about an inch from the switch - you will not be using the wire still connected to the switch, you can seal it off.
join the dark green from the harness with the dark green with trace coming from the switch, connect a wire to these long enough to reach back to your relays - this goes to a relay terminal 85 or 86, whichever you did not connect to power, and will make that relay the "lock relay".
K  Turn attention to the 2" 'white with trace' wire that is coming off the switch and connect a length of wire long enough to reach your relays - and run this one to the other relay terminal 85 or 86 (whichever you did not connect to power). That will make the second relay your "UNlock relay"
H and K wires are what grounds the primary or control side of the relays. You should have power to the other terminal, either 85 or 86. The H and K ground and and complete the relay coil circuit, energizing the relay.
I and J - referring to the dark green with trace and the white with trace wires that you cut away from the switch, note that I have each of those marked "run to relay". Connect a length of wire to each of these to reach your relay location.
Do not make permanent connections to your relays yet.
Instead double-check your work so far. Triple check your work, ensure all connections are either soldered properly and sealed against weather and "shorts" or that you have used good connectors and everything is "plugged in" and not touching things they should not be touching.
Now make temporary connections from the I and J wires to your relay terminals marked "30".
I say temporary as you have a 50-50 shot at having these on the correct relay depending on which you ran the switch wires to earlier.
With everything back together - power restored, etc. try one of the lock switches. If you move a switch up and the locks go down, you need to swap wires I and J to the opposite relays. If you move the switch down and the locks lock, you can make more permanent connections and should go by a lottery ticket after you put the door panels back on and close the hood.

I will try to get time to review this all later to make sure I didn't mess things up or switch things around in the post. If anyone catches a mistake or typo, etc. please let me know!

With a relay system in place, the switches modified to operate the relays, you can install the remote lock system of your choice and it should function with the wiring and switches you have just modified.

Back to Top
billd View Drop Down
Moderator Group
Moderator Group

Forum Administrator

Joined: Jun/27/2007
Location: Iowa
Status: Offline
Points: 30802
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/11/2014 at 7:42am
I just wanted to comment on the diagrams in the first post a bit. I see a lot of info on the web about wiring in relays to do this that and the other thing, simple, efficient, relays are a good thing.
As long as they are wired in correctly. What's to mess up?
Apparently nothing from what I've observed over time on the other sites.  But, are they correct?

Take the connections numbered 85 and 86. Those are the "control" or the coil part of the relay. It's a coil, so how could it be wired wrong? Current flows from one terminal to the other and the coil is activated, right?
Hold on - yes, that's True in some relays - but those used in applications where electronics control the coil or relay control side of things as well as many other of the better relays have a diode wired in parallel with the relay's coil. What this does is to prevent the reverse current that's induced when power is cut to the relay coil and the magnetic field collapses across the coil from going out and smacking your electronics or other sensitive components.
The diode is a low resistance device in the right direction, but blocks flow in the other-  it has high resistance when reversed.
So, if you happen to use a relay with a diode and connect the ground or negative to the point labeled 86 and the positive to 85, the diode is now connected in such a way that it's a very low resistance conductor. Current will flow through the diode making the relay a sort of "short" in the system.
To be safe, always wire in this type of relay with the most negative wire or connection on terminal 85 and the most positive of the two being connected to 86. (I say "most negative" and "most positive" as there are situations (likely mostly outside of automotive) where when compared to absolute ground one wire may have 5 volts and the other may have 12, so you have both positive, but one is MORE positive than the other. The "most positive" needs to go to 86 to be safe.
Most relays will show in their little tiny diagram if there's an internal diode or not.
You'll recognize it by this symbol (circled in red in this picture):

Back to Top
AMX North View Drop Down
Supporter of TheAMCForum
Supporter of TheAMCForum

Joined: Jul/13/2008
Location: Kingston Canada
Status: Offline
Points: 1680
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AMX North Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/08/2015 at 6:40pm
Bill you have some great info there but as someone who has been doing 12volt for thirty plus years I think you may have too much info posted for some to follow .
For reverse polarity door locks this simple diagram works well .
70 AMX/390/Auto Hialeah yellow/Shadow Mask,           Kevin Jones

Back to Top
billd View Drop Down
Moderator Group
Moderator Group

Forum Administrator

Joined: Jun/27/2007
Location: Iowa
Status: Offline
Points: 30802
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/13/2015 at 7:49am
Maybe you missed the point - in fact I'm sure of it.
You missed that the original point of my method was to simplify things and run it ALL through relays - Including the stock factory switching. Notice I cut the hot wire going to the switches? That wire now goes to the relays DIRECTLY, not through switches. FAST motors are the result.
Your image from the web doesn't address how to remove ~20 amps from the stock wiring and very very long wires and old door switches. You leave all that intact. I do not, thus the bigger part of the differences and the reason for the differences.
Leaving it stock after all these years can cause sluggish lock motor operations. MY diagram was originally to solve THAT problem. I was addressing complaints from AMC owners.
I later added the remote THEN published it here.
I was hearing complaints about the older AMC lock motors, the amp draw, slow lock operations and sought to modernize the AMC lock controls.
Part of the inspiration came from a later AMC wiring harness I have that is almost exactly like MY diagram. I just made it easy to convert to the later AMC system using existing parts and wires and not even have to pull the harness from a car if the car already had power locked. (in fact my relays and some other parts are from that later AMC harness, with minor modifications for the addition of the remote)

In short I changed things with minimal "hacking" and run ALL control through the relays, not JUST the remote lock/unlock.
(That's the part you missed, eh?   Wink  )
I made it so that the AMC original switches do no more than trigger the relays using GROUND. I gave complete instruction for the whole conversion not just adding a remote.
One could do my change and not even add remote.

Advantages of my diagram -
There's no more heavy current through 30+ feet of wire to get from fuse panel, through the switches in BOTH doors and then to the lock motors. In fact the door switches aren't hot at all. Mo more reversing high current - they simply ground relay primary coils.
Lock motors receive full voltage and snap up and down.

IMO, the diagram you posted from the web also really doesn't give enough info even if all one is doing is adding remote lock abilities because some people are left wondering WHICH of the multiple wires at each switch is the SWITCH wire that diagram from the Internet
There are 5 wires at each switch, hot, ground and the 3 that act to reverse connections with the 2 door switches. So which would novices consider the "switch" wire from that diagram? Where or what wire would they connect to?

I do one better - there's no high current at all at or through the switches. Only the lower current for the relay control runs through the door switches, meaning the locks work FASTER and better! Weak switches? Long runs in a 4 door car? This solves that problem. It's tested for increasing lock and unlock power and sluggish motors.

Sorry, IMO this diagram leaves out too much.  It's great if folks like the sluggish lock motors and feeding high current through the doors and so on through 30 year old switches...... some of us prefer to lighten the load on old cars. This not only adds remote capability (*assuming you buy a kit with remote modules and controls) but it removes the high current from the switches, ALL they do is control the relays. Your diagram leaves the long wire runs, high current flow through the doors and doesn't help sluggish lock motors.
I devised my plan to address people complaining of slow lock motors and old switches. I not only fixed that for a few folks, I added the ability to add remote lock/unlock at the same time using the SAME relays.

Originally my plan was to simply put relays into an AMC, then I thought why not add remote?
That's why my diagram runs ALL of it through the relays, not JUST the remote - because it started out as a plan to remove the high current from the OLD switches and wires.
Now there's a SINGLE larger hot wire that runs DIRECT from the fuse panel to the relays, NO hot wires run through the doors at all! The door switches simply ground the relays.
How many folks would like to take that 20+ amps out of their door wiring?

Your diagram simply shows a wire going out and marked "switch". OK, which of the FIVE wires at the switch do those connect to?
I tell them which wires.  I thought it better to tell them WHAT switch wires to connect to since there are a confusing number of wires at those switches, various colors that are different left to right door and so on.

I used my diagram to modify my SX/4. The factory switching works great, the factory harness remains unhacked save for the minor changes within the doors which are EASILY reversible if a future owner wanted it 100% stock, and it's safe.
(My only problem is that the module for the remote system is defective and does nothing when the key fobs are used. )

I also have been doing this - I turn 58 in about 4 weeks so that means I've been at it for 44 years now, including total car rewiring from scratch (burned cars, wiring fires and so on), adding a relay system for headlights (which intensifies the output of the stock headlamps so they rival some of the later systems on our roads. I recommend it for any daily driver 25-30 years old or older)

My lock motors, which are from a 30 year old Eagle, SNAP the locks up and down, no slow operation or groaning lock motors even in COLD weather.

LOL - you should see under the hood of my Eagle and the wiring diagrams I had to make there - the wagon will be even better I hope. 
I married a Jeep zj harness to my Eagle harness. (I would sort of like to include the upshift light now, I nearly forgot that manual transmission Jeeps had that)

(If that simple diagram is confusing then it's likely they shouldn't be dealing with changing 30-40 year old wiring themselves anyway and need to bring it to me (HAHA)......... it will be professionally done with proper connectors and look stock but work better.)

Back to Top
toolmanxiii View Drop Down
AMC Addicted
AMC Addicted

Joined: Oct/16/2010
Location: Moncton Canada
Status: Offline
Points: 1386
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toolmanxiii Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/30/2015 at 9:33am
Nice thread billd and again great info . I'm in the process of converting my manual windows and locks to power . this will save me alot of time and energy . not to mention less wires running into the doors . window and lock switches will be mounted in the center console.
now if I can just figure a way to make caravan rear glass motors one and close my back glass... Wink
71 360 Hornet sst 83 2wd 360/727 Eagle wagon (crashed)
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 12.03
Copyright ©2001-2019 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.094 seconds.
All content of this site Copyright © 2018 TheAMCForum unless otherwise noted, all rights reserved.
If you have problems logging in or registering, then please contact a Moderator or