Back • Arnie Smith • Bill Phillips • Clarke Echols • Dave Martin • Dave Nicholson • FAST FRED • Fred Hobe • Gene Lewis • George Lowry • Hawk • LD Tullis • Roger Enderson • Tom Hall

Electric Bay Door Locks
By Hawk

I was looking for an inexpensive, effective way to secure my valuables in the baggage bay compartments. Sure you can hang pad locks from the latches or drill holes and mount brackets for locks. But with all these solutions you still have to carry an extra key, or several, and walk around the coach checking each latch. The locks are exposed to the weather causing corrosion and freeze up. And - they just don't look good.

        The newer MCI's and others have electric baggage bay locks. With one flip of a switch, you can lock all your baggage bay doors. In this article I will describe a way you can add electric baggage bay locks to your coach for very little money and have the convenience of securing all the baggage bays at once without leaving your drivers seat.

        My installation was on a GM 4107, but this procedure is the same on GM models 4104 through 4905a and can be adapted to work on other coach types as well. And if you really want to get fancy, you could add a remote control keyless system that locks and unlocks the bay doors from up to 50 ft. away. No more fumbling for keys in the dark when your arms are loaded. Instantly lock or unlock the bays for greater convenience and personal safety. All from a pushbutton remote key chain transmitter.

        For this project you will need to obtain power door lock actuators for each door you want to include in the system. I purchased a set of four with switches from J.C. Whitney Co. Though with some thought, I'm sure most any 12v actuator from the local wrecking yard will work.

J.C. Whitney Co
Phone: 312 431-6102
Fax: 312 431-5625
Web site: www.jcwhitneyusa.com

Electric door locks with switches-Four door lock kit
Part# 81KJ3623Y -  Page 52 inJC Whitney catalog No. 615D
Price: $69.99

Electric door locks with switches-Two door lock kit
Part# 81KJ3624W -  Page 52 inJC Whitney catalog No. 615D
Price: $59.99

Remote Control Keyless System

        You could mount the actuators by drilling holes through the doors, but for a really clean installation, not visible from the exterior, you will need to fabricate a simple bracket to mount the actuators. I made my brackets from a thin gauge aluminum, approximately 1/16" thick. The bracket is "U" shaped. The size is 6" long by 1-3/4" deep by 3" wide, with 3/4" mounting flanges on each side of the opening. Drill holes in the flanges to suit your hardware. You may need to adjust the size of the bracket for your actuators and installation. If you don't want to make the brackets yourself, I will make them for you for $24.95 a pair, plus whatever it costs to ship them.

Click images for larger view
Bracket.jpg (25493 bytes)                             Figure_A.jpg (38132 bytes)
CAD drawing of bracket             Bracket

        Before continuing, a couple of important things to consider. If the battery supply for the system is only accessible behind a door with one of these locks and the battery should run down, there will be no access to the supply. Ensure you can access the power source for the locks. Another suggestion is to have the curb side doors on a different circuit from the driver side doors. If an actuator should fail, you will still be able to gain access from the other side.

        Cut a 3" x 6" hole in the inner door skin adjacent to the latch housing to accommodate the bracket. Using the holes you made in the bracket flange, mark the inner door skin and drill the holes to secure the bracket.

Figure B.jpg (38645 bytes)
3" x 6" hole cut on the inner door skin for bracket assy.

        With the bracket in place and using the actuator assembly as a guide, locate, mark and drill an 1/8 inch hole through the side of the latch housing that continues into the latch handle for the actuator rod. This hole must be located so that the rod can freely pass through both the latch housing and the handle and line up with actuator assembly. After drilling this hole, you may consider enlarging the hole in the handle one or two drill sizes to compensate for the handle not returning to the exact position every time.

Figure C.jpg (33281 bytes)                              Figure D.jpg (40037 bytes)
Inside view of bracket,                 Outside view of locking rod.
actuator and rod.                          Note hole in latch handle for rod.

        The J.C. Whitney lock kit came with hardened rods that were preformed for the actuator arms. Position the rod through the mounting hole in the actuator arm and through the hole in the door handle. The rod will need to be cut so that it will extend through the hole in the door handle when the lock actuator is extend and will just clear the door handle when the lock actuator is retracted.

        When you get these lined up and the rod move freely, mark the actuator location on the bracket and drill the bracket for the actuator mounting holes. Mount the lock actuator to the bracket and install the rod in actuator arm. Position the rod into the holes, then attach the bracket to the door.

Figure E.jpg (40461 bytes)                             Figure F.jpg (32681 bytes)
Bracket with actuator                 Actuator arm in extended
attached.                                     position.

        Complete the job by connecting the lock actuators, switches, and remote control according to the instructions. Secure the wiring to the door so that it will not be damaged by opening and closing. I ran my wiring between the door skins and out a hole near the door arms. Leave enough slack so it will not bind. Cover the wires with a split loom and tie wrap it to the door arm. I then secured the loom to the bay roof, again leaving slack to prevent binding. Locate the switch in a convenient location. You may even have several locations, maybe an additional secret switch somewhere outside.

        There you have it, custom electric baggage bay door locks. I have really enjoyed my electric baggage bay lock system and would like to hear from you on your installation. Email me by click on my name below.


Thank you Hawk - Tom

Back • Arnie Smith • Bill Phillips • Clarke Echols • Dave Martin • Dave Nicholson • FAST FRED • Fred Hobe • Gene Lewis • George Lowry • Hawk • LD Tullis • Roger Enderson • Tom Hall