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

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Step 1: 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

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

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

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

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

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

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    55 Discussions


    Reply 1 year ago

    where would I fine this door popper? Please


    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.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Very good advice, I use a 4 way (only need 2 ) trailer plug for outside power, as my HHR battery died no way to open the car, was able to google hood latch and made a rod to open my hood, you can jump your car there, hence the plug looks like a common trailer plug no problem


    4 years ago

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

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    it sounds like your doors are locked, I installed my power doors the first time in a 1950 Chevy 5 window pickup that is when I found that you need to leave a door lock somewhere, or totally remove the lock so it will never lock. The dyi wasn't that bad just a few tweeks, no a days you have remotes and on my HHR I just hooked my power door to the lock, I would never remove the inside handles though. This remote means you don't need a switch where people can open your ride.



    4 years ago

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


    4 years ago

    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


    4 years ago

    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".

    dhilmescurious youth

    Reply 5 years ago

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


    11 years ago on Step 7

    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.

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    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.