Our Base-Model Chevy Gets Power Windows, Locks, and an Alarm From Electric Life
Patrick McCarthy –
Aug 15, 2013
Photo 1/25 | Electric Life Alarm Unit2
Photo 2/25 | Electric Life Alarm Unit2 | Upon opening the first box from Electric Life, we found the new alarm unit, siren, T-Shapped power lock motors and shafts, two key fobs, along with a variety of wiring components.
Photo 3/25 | Window Track Assemblies | Two larger boxes contained the new '07-'13 Chevy Silverado window track assemblies and wiring harnesses, one for each door. These direct-fit units would simply replace the truck's original tracks and window cranks.
Photo 4/25 | Window Switches Parts | Before beginning, we laid out the parts for the window switches. Electric Life even included blanking plates to fill the window crank holes on the door panels, seen here on the upper left.
Photo 5/25 | Taping Windows To Doors | The first step of the install for the team at Audio Innovations, in Glendora, California, was to tape the windows securely to the door frames. This ensured they wouldn't fall into the doors once we removed the window tracks.
Photo 6/25 | Removing Old Window Tracks | After popping off the window cranks and unbolting the truck's door panels, the old window tracks could be unbolted and removed from inside each door.
Photo 7/25 | Cutting Small Metal Section | Now that we had room to work with, it was time to install the power door locks. First, a small section of metal was cut out of each door for access to the door lock shafts.
Photo 8/25 | Installing Small Clamp | Now that we could see the door lock shaft, a small clamp was screwed in place, connecting the old shaft to a new Electric Life shaft. The electric motors simply pull down or push up on this assembly to lock or unlock the doors.
Photo 9/25 | Screwing In Power Lock Motors | The new power lock motors were connected to the new lock shafts, then screwed in place inside the door. Before moving on to wiring, we needed to install the power window tracks.
Photo 10/25 | Placing Electric Life Window Tracks | The Electric Life window tracks were maneuvered into the door cavities, then bolted in place with the original four bolts. These are not mere universal units, rather they are application specific and set up especially for our Silverado.
Photo 11/25 | Testing Window Motor | Using a 12V drill battery, the window and lock motors were tested before moving on to final wiring.
Photo 12/25 | Testing Power Windows And Locks | After playing around with our new power windows and locks for a few minutes, it was time to wire everything to the truck's power source.
Photo 13/25 | Measuring Protective Wire | Protective wire loom was measured and cut to length, and the included door lock wiring harness was run through it into the cabin.
Photo 14/25 | Connecting Wires | Once the loom was zip-tied to the existing wiring along the door, it was simple to connect to the wires from the lock motor.
Photo 15/25 | Clamping Extensions | Since we chose to install the window switches in the center console instead of each door, extensions were crimped onto the window motor wires and run up into the dash.
Photo 16/25 | Finished Door Wiring | With the wiring run along each door into the cab, it was time to look for a mounting location for the window switches.
Photo 17/25 | Removed Center Console | One of these rectangular cubbies would serve as a perfect location for the switches, so we promptly removed the center console panel from the truck.
Photo 18/25 | Cutting Out Cubby Back | The back of the cubby was cut out with an air saw, making room for the switches and wiring.
Photo 19/25 | Matching Plastic To Cubby Dimensions | A sheet of textured black plastic was cut to the exact dimensions of the cubby, forming the backing plate for the switches.
Photo 20/25 | Tracing Switch Bezels | The switch bezels were traced onto the plastic panel, then cut out with the air saw.
Photo 21/25 | Secured Switch Bezels | Once the bezels were snapped into the panel, it was fit into the dash and secured in place with epoxy.
Photo 22/25 | Connecting Wiring | With the switches in place, they were connected to the wiring with spade connectors, and the dash trim was reinstalled.
Photo 23/25 | Testing Switches | Turning on the truck, each switch was tested, and we were pleased with our new power windows. They actually went up and down faster than factory electric windows. We don't know how we ever lived without them.
Photo 24/25 | Hooked Wires To Control Box | To finish up the power locks, the motor wires were hooked up to this control box, which receives power from the truck's fuse box. The control box picks up the signal from the key fob to unlock the doors, and also includes alarm functions. This part of the install is best left to the pros, as it does involve cutting and splicing several wires from your truck's main wiring harness.
Photo 25/25 | Reinstalled Door Panels | With our new power windows, locks, and alarm wired up and working, we finished the install by plugging the window crank holes with Electric Life's included blanking plate. Then, the door panels were reinstalled, finalizing our base-model Silverado's journey into the modern age of electronics.