Introduction: Shaved Door Handles ...... the Cheap Way

Picture of Shaved Door Handles  ...... the  Cheap Way

every one in the car field knows and has seen a vehicle mod called ""shaved" door handles" usually to install this nifty item you need to find a customs shop or buy a expensive kit ... either way for the result you are looking at about 2-3 thousand dollars but my approach was less bar far expensive around 45 dollar may be less because i wanted to go fancy ed to find a customs shop or buy a expensive kit ... either way for the result you are looking at about 2-3 thousand dollars but my approach was less bar far expensive around 45 dollar may be less because i wanted to go fancy

Step 1: The Items You Will Need

Picture of The Items You  Will  Need

the main item needed is door lock actuators .. off older vehicles (the ones off older vehicles have a lot more power to pull larger locks)

you can usually find door lock actuators at your local bone yard for about 3-5 bucks for a pair ..

so to recap you need

2 door lock actuators

1 clothing hanger (the wire kind)

assorted wire

and a few small scraps of sheet metal

2 water proof momentary freezer door switches marked ""off"" position (finding ones marked off is very important other wise once switch is installed it will be always conducting 12V and your locks wont work )

1 3 way momentary switch

electrical splicing caps


the tools you will need

screw driver

drill (and bits)

metal punch

ruler (I say ruler because it is simpler to use in side the door than tape)

and wire crimpers

Step 2: Remove the Door

Picture of Remove the Door

OK lets get started first you need to remove your inside door panel depending on make and model of the vehicle it may be held on by screws or clips mine was held on by clips be sure to save the door clips or screw other wise you will be hot gluing it back on ... not pretty next tear away the garbage bag like plastic away from the door so that you may access the internals

Step 3: Removing the Handle Latch

Picture of Removing the Handle Latch

really the handle latch is nothing more than a metal bar connecting the door clasp to the external handle .... also you need to remove the external lock that you use your key on cuz once your handle is gone there will be no need for this the lock is typically held on by nothing more than a clip wedged around the cylinder once removed make sure the metal rod that was attached to the door clasp and lock is in the unlocked position do this by using your finger to close the jaws of the door clasp and trying the internal handle

Step 4: Wiring Up Your Switches

Picture of Wiring Up  Your  Switches

first you need to run a constant on power wire directly from your batter threw your fire wall .... I just used an existing power wire for my amp

next mount your internal switch .. the 3 way momentary ... wire it up so that the positing 12v will be on the center pin of the 3 prongs on the back of the switch .... and run a wire from each of the remaining pins run these wires to the doors threw the existing holes where your door speaker wire runs

now time to wire the external switches
the 2 frig switches using sheet metal i bet in to a u shape i screwed it under the rocker panels of the truck with a whole drilled in the center to mount the switch doing this on both sides in the same location on each side .. run 2 wires on each switch up threw the cab under the carpet attaching the red wire to the constant positive you ran and the black wire to the rear of the 3 way switch on the wire ruining to the corresponding door

next making a ground

ground a wire to the door frame in side the door on each side using black wire .

Step 5: Making a New Rod and Mounting the Actuator

Picture of Making a  New  Rod  and  Mounting  the  Actuator

OK so now take your actuator and place it in side the door in the very bottom under the lock clasp mark the location of the screw holes in the actuator on the inside and out side of door by sliding your metal punch threw the screw holes and and giving it a love tap

now with your drill drill out the holes and connect your wires .... and attach your screws

next using your hand ruler measure from the old ear on the lock clasp that you removed from the handle portion down to the hole located on the pull part of the actuator

taking some cut up clothing hanger measure out how long the space was plus about an inch or so so that you can bend it over to slide in the holes once the wire is attached be sure to bend it over in the holes inserted in so that they can not rattle loose .

Step 6: Testing

it is now the testing phase of our project be for you put every thing back together

using your fingers close the clasp on the door ...... so that its like it would be if the door was actually shut

now the fun part try a switch if done right it should make a latch noise and the clasps should pop open ... be sure to test both inside and out side switches on both doors

Step 7: Finishing Up

Picture of Finishing   Up

now that your out side handle no longer works you can remove it ... and fill it with body filler and prime it for paint

I also removed my internal handle as well just cuz

make sure to hide your wires as well and replace your door panel .. as you can see i cut and covered a new panel i made from mdf and some nice fabric

have fun and good luck ..... just as a recap this entire project cost me about 35.50 that is with out fully repainting the door


JerryM28 (author)2015-10-28

Removing inside door handles does not sound too smart. Hate to have to get out of that cab in a or the like.

ladyswan77 (author)2015-05-11

My handles are already shaved, but my 2 front doors are jammed. How can I get them unjammed?

chris.daughtery (author)2014-12-27

And filling a deep hole with bondo is something that nobody with ANY common sense would ever do. If U took the time to read the can, you should never have to use more than 1/8" to correct body work. Or it will eventually crack and fall out, especially as much as U put on there and the fact that the doors are always opening and closing. Anyone with any common sense that wants shaved door handles
Should run as far away from this diy as possible

chris.daughtery (author)2014-12-27

Worst diy write up I have ever seen... Punctuation and spelling are important when U r trying to explain things to people in detail. Not to mention the way U have done it leaves many Opportunities for failures and really makes it easy to break in to your "truck".

curious youth (author)2012-04-18

can you do an ible on how to do this with locks still in place ? otherwise this is great !

dhilmes (author)curious youth2014-09-29

im sure u could leave ur lock in place, the lock lever should be diffrent then your handle lever.

Rishnai (author)2008-07-09

I have to agree with everyone else: that bondo isn't going to last. Bondo works great when applied to a stable substrate and applied no more than 1/16 of an inch thick. These meets neither of these criteria. Please let us know how long it lasts, but my money isn't on that being very long. One alternative to actually doing the proper metalworking, which is easy, but still a pain if you don't enjoy bodywork, is to take some steel and rough out the contour. Weld or braze it in, then apply bondo or lead, and sand until it matches. It's much less likely to crack or fall off that way.

jscott1000 (author)Rishnai2013-09-01

Not all cars have metal body panels.

STEELBREEZE (author)2009-11-19

As a professional custom body shop owner, I had to leave my comment. This is a good instructional for those trying to cut corners and save some cash. When I shave door handles, I always hook the trigger to an auxiliary outlet in an existing alarm system so the remote can be used to open the doors. The lil "poppers" that help open the door are just enough to get them to the point that you simply open the door by holding the edge of the door at the door jamb. As far as the hole in the door. The ONLY way to have it last is to weld a piece of sheet metal that conforms to the original shape in place. Grind the welds smooth and a light coat of body filler will finish the job. Sometimes, as in this case, to do it right is easier and faster than to do it wrong. (filling it with bondo). But all in all, this instructional will help a lotta people get the job done. if you're not good with the metalwork part, you can do everything else and then when you're done, take it to a local body shop and have them do the final touches for you. it will still save you a lotta cash as a whole. I also have used trunk actuators do make the doors open. This works for most modern cars with easily opening doors. Older cars might need stronger actuators. Somewhere in the 45lbs range. Trunk actuators push about 11 lbs.

jscott1000 (author)STEELBREEZE2013-09-01

You assume too much. You say the ONLY way to have it last is to weld a piece of sheet metal. But what if the car panels are not made of metal? Got you on that one. My car has plastic body panels and bondo works just fine. Door handles shaved 5 years ago and no cracking.

daniel 96 (author)2010-11-09

wat i didnt understand is wats is da 3way momentary switch for? an wat doo i connect it too? please write back i need ur help man. thanks!

abstracted (author)daniel 962012-02-26

open at rest, momentarilly closed in the other two switch positions....drivers door (((POP))) passenger door ((POP))

rianocerous (author)daniel 962010-12-28

Cant say for sure, but I'd imagine it's so the driver can pop either door from the inside?

zwooten (author)2011-04-30

So do you use a key to open the door? I don't think you mentioned that at all...

abstracted (author)zwooten2012-02-26

keyholes usually shaved door handles no locks needed

Diabloscope (author)2011-10-16

nice , I think i have done this over 600 times in the last ten years on many different makes and models of cars trucks and everyone of them was fun some were hard , but was always a learning experience . its also nice when you have a car or truck that has electric locks already YOU CAN USE THE EXISTING LOCKS TO POWER THE SOLENOID OR LOCK MOTOR , USING LOCK FOR THE DRIVERS DOOR AND UNLOCK FOR THE PASS . Oh and about using a Wire Hanger , is not that good the hanger is too thin and will FAIL under pressure !!! and like i did Have a Pissed off Customer that has paid 300.00 to have this done and have his car/ truck towed to the shop to fix , since you are going to the Junk yard Pillage some of the door lock and door opener rods from other cars , or if you are really clever like like me LOL you can get some stranded wire cable from Home Depot or Lowes coated or not and rig up a pivot and pulley set up ! Good Luck and Have Fun !!!

abstracted (author)Diabloscope2012-02-26

motor bike spokes, already end-bent with a head on it to hook to actuator, and super strong......whoz da clever one now? LOL

abstracted (author)2012-02-26

being a custom car audio installer extrordinaire (laughs at self) i warned many a persons, that ......"YOU NEED AN EMERGENCY BACKUP MECHANICAL REALEAS DUMBA**!!!!" when your battery goes dead...theres no other way in, even to pop the hood. I`ve recomended, bicycle cable hiden in the inner front fender, a hiden external hood release (useless if its remote fob failure, or keyless entry module failure) so battery can be boosted. or some sorta exterior power port get the idea. mech-over-ride still best.

bg_askins (author)2012-02-19

as far as the bondo issue goes. i had a buddy fill his old handle holes with liquid nails then smooth it out with a thin layer of bondo and that was years ago with no cracking. i know its the wrong way but some people either can't weld or can't afford to have it done for them. he finished his truck with rustoleum. heres a link on how to do that.

greggspen (author)2012-02-06

But why would I shave my door handles? They aren't that hairy!

Yerboogieman (author)2010-03-13

Hey! I have a Ford Ranger.

nocturnechanson (author)2010-02-06

 should have welded those holes the bondo will over time shrink the crack due to vibration. for heavy applications you are better of laying a base of Dura glass the using the bondo for a smooth finish.  

shammallamaman (author)2008-08-22
Why do you want to not have door handles?How do you open the door now?
uberchoob (author)shammallamaman2008-12-11

dude, read the whole instructable.... He's now got a hidden button that opens his door.... why? It's just damn cool. But if you really just need justification, It makes it so he can open the door with his foot while he's carrying groceries for the wife.

candle360 (author)uberchoob2009-08-08

hahahahaha, that's good justification lolz

2nup350 (author)2009-05-17

a few important points. be sure to wire the ground for the switches through the neutral safety switch so you cannot open the doors while driving. also, WELD the door locks so they CANNOT be locked(experience speaks here-i had a car lock itself after 2 years of trouble free operation, the door locks just fell down even with no rods on them) you don't need the inside door locks anyway. and one last point- please reformat this instructable to eliminate the run on sentences. i had a hard time deciphering it.

candle360 (author)2nup3502009-08-05

I have a car that's standard, how would I do that? I disabled the switch that requires the clutch in while I start it, and I don't have a neutral safety switch anyway since it's standard

2nup350 (author)candle3602009-08-05

then wire up a 5 pin relay so the door solenoid relays only have power when the ignition is off- on a Bosch relay you should wire to the (87a) normally closed terminal and have ignition power to hold the relay open when the engine is running

candle360 (author)2nup3502009-08-08

ha, I was just kidding. I really like this instructable but I have a camaro, and it would look kinda wierd, cause it's a sports car and it's not in perfect condition where I would have shaved handles anyway

luvit (author)2009-04-25

cans i do this to mine house?

hughgoh (author)2009-03-18

does this lock also? Does the actuator go both ways? push, and pull? Thanks

arteral157 (author)hughgoh2009-04-07

well with no handles the idea of a lock is kind of pointless and the actuator that was used is a push pull but by only using a positive polarity it just pulls the latch apperatus has a reset spring that pulls the latch in to a locked postion when the door is closed

The_Beast (author)2008-12-29

They also sell emergency popper kits in case your battery does go dead

chalky (author)2008-06-18

excellent,clear,and easy to follow.........just one Question................................................................Tell us what the orange button does lol:)

Rishnai (author)chalky2008-07-09

It operates the ejector seat. "Turn up here! Your turn's coming up!" "I know, shut up, I have to get into the right lane." "You're gonna miss your turn." "Shut up." "But you just missed--" click-whoosh "AAAAAAHHHHHH!"

Plasmana (author)chalky2008-06-20

Umm... Make a big boom???

xACIDITYx (author)chalky2008-06-20

I'd bet that this isn't the first modification he's done on his truck.

Fletcher (author)2008-06-23

I wouldn't advise filling the empty door handle socket with body filler. Eventually, it's going to crack and likely fall inside the door, exposing the holes again. (Especially if there's nothing solid backing it.) May be fine for your summer beater but a costly mistake if you go to the expense of having the vehicle painted. Unfortunately, there's no cheap way to patch the holes. Ideally, you'd weld in a steel patch. For door handles that reside on body lines (as this vehicle's door handle appeared to) you'd either need moderately decent metalwork skills and tools, or a trip to the local scrapyard for a patch piece from a similar donor vehicle.

arteral157 (author)Fletcher2008-06-26

well that is not exactly true alto body filler isn't the solution there is a product called ALL METAL that is a perfect solution it is some one of a mix of jb weld and 2 stage epoxy sillilar to the epoxy that is used in carbon fiber ... it wont chip or crack or degrade the bad news is it is next to impossible to sand expect to burn up a lot of sand paper doing it I would compare it to trying to sand fiber glass resin

Fletcher (author)arteral1572008-06-29

How do you get it to adhere to the thin-edged sheet metal socket in the door skin? I think even a JB Weld-type compound wouldn't stay attached for long, especially with such little surface area to adhere to. You could 'lap' some of the material glob along the inside of the door skin, but I still wonder how it would hold up against repeated door slammings, and general vibration the door is subject to. I do see what you're saying, and how you could get it to work, but I question the long-term quality. May not matter on a for-fun project car, but anyone who is considering an expensive paint job over this should really consider the long term viability of the fill. Example: Right now I'm working on a `68 Mustang that had some very creative bondo work done by a previous owner. The driver's side wheel lip was reformed from roughly pie-cutting a strip of steel, RIVETING it in place, and then artfully shaping the arch with filler. Years of heat and cold eventually caused the bondo mass to distinguish itself from steel, and half the quarter will now be replaced. The short response is: There are numerous ways to do a thing, but only a few right ways. As an aside, this sort of reminds me of a friend who hand made fiberglass Testerossa-style strakes on his CRX (don't ask) with scrap cardboard cores.

PetervG (author)2008-06-18

How do you open it then?

nnygamer (author)PetervG2008-06-18

Step 4 explains that. There are switches inside to trigger the electric catches and on the outside the switches are located underneath the rocker panel. You just need to tap it with your foot.

Hoopajoo (author)nnygamer2008-06-18

What if your battery is dead?

=SMART= (author)Hoopajoo2008-06-18

if your battery is dead your dead because you cant get out

gog (author)=SMART=2008-06-18

Only if the windows dont work either :)

=SMART= (author)gog2008-06-18

oh yea, diddnt think of that

wick_ed (author)=SMART=2008-06-20

Generally, anyone who knows what they are doing leaves the inner door handles in. That way, you aren't locked in the car!? If you are worried about the car battery, just hook-up a small 9 volt battery adapter direct line to the door latch and use it for a by-pass system. Some place where the hood needn't be popped. If you have a newer car, you can buy the remote entry set for around 75 bucks off the net and not worry about buttons either.

uguy (author)2008-06-19

But you didn't show us how to "shave the door handles"!

arteral157 (author)2008-06-18

sorry about spelling and such english is my second language ... german is my first as far as dead battery attaching the jumper cable to the 12v constant under the door and grounding the black jumper will pop the door right open and as far as door pops or springs .. there is no need the actuators in the door have enught force to pull the clasps much harder than the kits casing the door to actually open about 2 inces

crapflinger (author)2008-06-18

"be nice policy" be damned....the typing/grammar/spelling in there is atrocious...makes things very difficult to follow did you not install any springs in the door jams? usually these systems have "poppers" so that when you unlatch the door it pops open (clever name for the contraption ain't it?)....when you open the door from the inside it shouldn't be a problem as you can just push the door...but from the outside what do you do? grab the mirror?

About This Instructable




More by arteral157:shaved door handles  ...... the  cheap way
Add instructable to: