ACTUATOR Replacement 2010 Chevy Express 3500 Side Sliding Door

Actuator Replacement

2010 Chevy Express Electric Lock – Sliding Side Door

Several step by step instructions have you pulling the interior plastic panel clear off. Then removing the screws that hold the whole lock assembly. Sliding the whole assembly toward the interior. I started this but was afraid of damaging the interior panel. Also the lock assembly seemed held by more parts than indicated.

The existing actuator is pop riveted on at two points. In my case I found my actuator broke off. The ears with the holes for the 2 rivets were broke off and the actuator was dangling inside the door. Hanging by the wiring harness.

To follow GMs procedure you would have to drill out the two existing rivets. Remove the old actuator. Disconnect the actuator from the wiring harness. Replace the part, then re-pop rivet the new actuator in place.

Disconnecting the harness is easier if you pop out the 2 plastic anchors that secure the wire inside the door.

My procedure requires drilling 2 small holes through the interior plastic panel. Rather than buying a pop rivet tool to re-rivet I opted to use bolts. After looking at the pop rivets supplied they did not have a large diameter head like the originals had. They are also heavier than the rivet tool I have. I also feared the pop rivets on the previous installation may have actually cracked the plastic ears of the actuator and started this whole problem.

My procedure allows minimal loosening of the interior plastic panel clips. I have tried my best in the past to remove door panels without damage. As carefully as I try I usually end up with a broken clip, or the plastic of the panel holding the clip cracks. While you do have to release some of them, we aren’t taking the whole thing off.

Before you start have the following:

Hook Pick to remove Door Handle “C” Clip

Flat wide pry device to pop the plastic interior panel loose

Electric Drill

13/64 inch Drill Bit

8mm flat Box Wrench

8mm quarter inch socket on a mini quarter inch ratchet

(2) M5-.80 x 20 Bolts

(4) 5mm Flat Washers

(2) M5-.80 Nylon Lock Nuts

(2) Plastic Panel Plugs (Auto Parts Store)

With the side sliding door partially open you will be working on the interior of the door.

Start by removing the interior door handle. It is held onto a spline shaft with a “C” clip. The shaft has a groove cut around it that the “C” clip locks into. I tried using a tool made for releasing these. A flat metal tool sold for removing handles. The problem here is the location is recessed and would not allow the tool I have to work. I found it easy to use a hooked pick. I pushed in the plastic cover behind the handle to expose the clip. Hooked the “C” clip and with a quick short jerk, pulled the “C” clip out. At that point the door handle pulls off.

Set the handle aside. I used some tape and taped the “C” clip to the handle so it didn’t go wandering off on me.

Using your flat pry device (I used a flat pry bar with a 90° bend on one end) gently pull on the plastic cover behind where you removed the door handle. This cover has a couple of clips. Completely remove this cover and set it aside

Pry the door interior panel at the vertical edge facing forward and about 2 clips worth along the bottom edge. I did not loosen any of the window plastic interior parts. Things will be tight but you should be able to work through the gap between the interior plastic panel and the metal door. Its awkward but doable.

You should now be able to see the lock assembly. The actuator is mounted on the side of the lock assembly…. on the side away from you, toward the exterior panel. It is pop riveted in two places on the lock assembly. The plunger end as a little “C” shaped plastic end that slides over a metal tab connected to the manual lock. The actuator is behind the lock assembly inside the door. You will have to do this part by feel. The actuator is also connected to a 2 wire wiring harness. The harness has a connector that will disconnect, but it does have a lock tab.

It is easier to disconnect the wire connector once you free up the actuator. If you use my method you will be drilling through the interior plastic panel. Locate the 2 pop rivet heads holding the actuator in place. Measure from some point of reference (Could be a piece of tape you use) and transfer the location of the rivet heads to the plastic interior panel.

Using the 13/64 drill bit, drill through the interior plastic panel at the two rivet locations. Then drill through these holes to drill out the 2 rivets. The lock assembly gives a lot so I rolled up a leather glove and jammed it between the back side of the rivet and the exterior metal door skin. The leather helped during the rivet drilling too. The rivets want to twirl with the bit and not drill out. Towels rolled and placed below inside the door will catch any falling parts.

Once the 2 rivets are drilled out, reach up inside the door and feel the end of the plunger. You should be able to easily slide the “C” shaped end off the manual lock tab.

At this point the actuator should be free except for unplugging the wiring. If it helps, pop out one or both of the plastic clips securing the wiring. These are inside the door cavity. It will give you more slack. But keep the routing of the wire the same. Disconnect the wire connector from the actuator carefully so you don’t break off the connectors locking tab.

Plug your new actuator into the harness and make sure the connector locking tab snaps to lock. At this point I would test your new actuator. You will have to close your door so the electrical contacts meet. (Temporarily stick your door handle on) While on the inside click your remote lock and unlock to check for travel on the actuator in both directions. If all is working, then proceed.

Slip a flat washer on one of the bolts. Hold the actuator in place and slide the bolt through from the door cavity through the actuator, then the metal of the lock assembly. Slip a flat washer on the interior end of the bolt. Then start one of the locking nuts on the bolt. With the flat box wrench on the bolt head inside the door cavity, and the socket/ratchet on the nut toward the interior, run the nut down until almost tight. This is very awkward and easy to drop a part or wrench. Have a rag or towel stuffed inside the door to catch anything.

Next reach up inside, and by feel slip the “C” shaped plunger end over the metal tab of the manual lock. Once you have this on repeat the procedure of adding a bolt through the 2nd hole of the actuator and metal lock assembly. Bolt with washer pushed through from inside. A washer and nylon lock nut spun on the interior end of the bolt. Tighten both bolts and nuts to secure the actuator. Do not over tighten and crack the plastic actuator ears.

Retest using your remote to make sure the actuator locks and unlocks the door. (Remember you have to close the door so the electrical door contacts connect).

Once you are satisfied make sure you reinsert any wiring harness anchors you may have popped out. If all is working snap all the interior door panel clips back into the door.

Then replace the cover behind the door handle. Be sure the manual lock slide engages and moves freely. Gently snap the cover clips into place. Recheck to make sure the remote works, as well as the manual lever, and also your key from the outside.

Place the door handle “C” clip in the slot of the handle. Position the door handle properly on the spline shaft. Then using the heel of your hand sharply jam the handle onto the shaft to lock the “C” clip into the slot cut in the spline shaft.

To finish the job plug the 2 holes with plastic panel plugs. (available at Auto Parts store).

Note: I labeled the GM Part number as well as the bolt head size in case I ever have to replace this again. Knowing the size of wrench to use will be most of the battle in the future since that bolt head is all by feel. The labels were stuck inside the door under the handle cover. The actuator I found broken was not an AC Delco. A GM parts person could not cross reference the sticker number on my old part. Nothing came up on the internet for the numbers on the old part. That same parts person would not give me the GM Part number either. He said he could quote price but not give the part number. The part quote was right at $200 and more with tax.

Little does that GM parts guy know he lost my service/repair business forever for this dealership. There are other dealerships in town…and I am one of those silent complainer types that just go elsewhere.

I found a blow up diagram on line and found what I thought was the correct part number. I found the parts on-line new in the $60 range.

While on Amazon I saw a used one for $22….and free 2 day shipping since I am a Prime member. I thought for $22 it was worth the gamble, and I would at least find out if it was the right part. Not a huge loss if I was wrong.

The part showed up two days later. Looked like new. AC Delco sticker and a GM Part#. In a AC Delco box. Instructions and rivets included. Though I already knew I wasn’t using rivets on my replacement. Best part was this $22 used part worked perfectly.

GM Part# 12362544 ended up being the part I needed.