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Electric Hatch Popper in an S30

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    For years, I've read about people fiddling with a Hatch Release of one sort or another. Stuff from other cars, Inverting the lock to the boby and the catch bar to the hatch (I did this one) and even as far as running a release cable from the roof - thru the hatch frame and over to the lock.

    Anyways, I was discussing possible idea's with Stan, a friend of mine, and I came up with this one. Went down to the 260Z and went to work.

    I pulled the rear cover on the hatch, Latch assembly and the hatch lock. Took a 3/32" dia. rod and cut it at 1". Then gave it a slight bend in the center, about 30 degrees, then bent some 1/8" feet on the ends. then set it aside.

    Inside the latch hole, you'll see a 1/8" lip to the right or the square hole. Grind that lip flat so that the 1/16" cable (from the 11 lb Trunk release actuator) can slide where that lip is. I used an angle grinder with a 1" cutting wheel on it (started as a 3" disc but had used all but one inch of it)

    Slid the disk thru the hole and carefully ground the lip flush.

    Then I put the bent rod into the hole, lined it up parrellel with the ground down lip and welded it in place. Then I took the Latch and let it soak in some Carb Cleaner to remove the years of grease, dust and exhaust buildup. Cleaned it off and used white lithium grease on all the moving parts.

    Then I drilled a 5/64" hole in the latch handle with a really good drill bit, this is hardened steel and you'll need a good bit. Then I used a bigger bit to make a inset divet in the top so the cable will sit flush. Then I used a dremmel with a thin cutting wheel to make a slice in the latch handle so the cable could be slid thru the slice and into the hole (see the picture)

    Then I took the cable to the bench vice, clamped it in with 1/4" of cable exposed. grabbed the mig welder and ran the wire out about an inch, grounded the vice and welded a ball onto the end of the cable by tapping the cable with the weld wire, a ball would form on the wire then I'd tap the cable again till the ball welded to the cables top. Then used the grinder to smooth out the ball enough to fit in the divet of the latch handle and thru the bent rod.

    I ran the cable into the hatch area, thru the welded rod, and out the latch hole so I could slide the cable into the latch handle, thru the slice. Then I pulled the cable back into the hatch and installed the Latch back into the hatch and bolted it down. Keeping a slight tension on the cable, I pulled it over to the emblem side of the inner hatch area. I shaved 3/8" off the top of the actuator holder in order for it to fit in the hatch area, below the emblems.

    I slid the actuator into the holder and slid them into the hatch. with a slightly loose cable, I bolted the holder into place then tightened the screws of the holder into the actuator. The slack on the cable will give the actuator a slight head start and tug on the cable when you activate it to pop the hatch.

    I re-installed the lock and tried it. The sunken cable does not interfere at all with the operation of the lock and latch. Now drill a small hole into the frame of the hatch near the drivers side defrost cable. run single 16 gauge wire thru the hole, thru the frame and over to the actuator then plug it in. Ground the other lead of the actuator to the hatch using one of the bolts of the holder. Now run the wire from the defrost wire area to the dash area of the car and use a relay to power it. Relay diagram is below.

    here's a link to the hatch being popped video on youtube.








    Hatch release relay.bmp

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    This is in no way, a "Sellable" item. This a "Do it Yourself" how to upgrade.

    You have to weld a rod into your hatch after grinding that lip. The most I could do is sell the actuator and a prebent rod but that would almost be pointless. you can use a hanger out of your closet for the rod and the actuator is available on-line.

    hopefully I did'nt make the write up too complicated sounding. It's pretty simple. The only hard part about it is getting something into thehole to grind that lip and getting your mig welder's tip into the hole to weld the rod in place. I ran the weld wire out of the tip about an inch to reach the farthest point. The tricky part is getting the rod to hold still and upright while welding it.

    And like they say, nothing worth doing, is easy. On a scale of 1 thru 10, 10 being the hardest to do, I give it 3. Fairly easy, some hard parts, but fairly easy and time consuming.


    Edited by Zs-ondabrain

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    Sure would be nice if someone had a source for new catch mechanisms (lower half of latching assemblies). Seems they're as rare as hen's teeth!


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    Damn, Dave,

    If only your garage were bigger, I could just drop off my Z and you could use it for a guinea pig!!!

    I wish I had the time and motivation you have!! My car would be much farther along!!

    Keep up the good work! You truly are a valuable resource for those of us here on the forums!!!




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    I wish I had more time as well. I spend very little time on the actual "Working on the car" Hell, MY car would be farther along if I had more time.

    Thanks a lot man,


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    in reference to Electric Hatch popper in an S30 posting 

    i would like to request if you can post,  Hatch release relay.bmp, to view reference again please, i can't open the file

    i am in the process doing this project.


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