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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
MOD: Please review for consideration in the How To Tech archive. Let me know if I need to make any changes.

To read the original full thread and post questions/comments on this topic, please go to

For anyone wanting to do this as I have, Here are the parts you'll need:
-Actuator: FA-04-12-6
-Bracket: MB1
Both availlable from or
-A DPDT (on)-off-(on) momentary rocker switch

The rest you can get at a hardware store.
-(2) 4inch 1/4-20 Grade 8 bolts
-(2) washers for those bolts
-(2) 1/4inch I.D. 3.5inch galvanized steel nipple
-(4) 1/4inch by 1 inch fender washers
Also some washers and a longer bolt for the window latch.
You will also need an additional clevis pin and a cotter pin to attach the top of the actuator to the modified window bracket. I ordered several other brackets to try out so I had extras.
I also picked up some small nylon washers to go on either side of the window bracket. Partly to fill in some empty space and also to prevent the actuator from scraping the black paint off.

This mod DOES NOT release the window latch first!! Wherever you put your switch to open and close you will also need to install a switch to release the window latch first. Instructions here:

First remove the piston and take the window bracket off the window and modify it like this:

You need to drill a hole for the clevis pin to go through, then remove enough material for the top of the actuator to rotate around.

You should be able to just do this freehand and make it work, but if someone really wants a template, I guess I could trace mine onto a piece of paper and fax it. That should keep it the same size.

***NOTE: My hole ended up being slightly off. I would recommend placing it a little farther away from the lower mounting screw(Higher up or closer to the outer edge). I had to cut the screw down to prevent the actuator from hitting the top of the screw head.*** :

Next, make the spacers:
Cut the threads off the galvanized nipple and then cut it down to approx. 1.75 inches. This is the length I measured of open space between the plastic trim panel and the sheet metal behind it. Yours may be different.
Once thats done, weld, JB, epoxy, etc. a fender washer to each end.
Repeat with the other nipple.
**update** The JB Weld failed once the spacers were bolted in place, so find someone to tack weld the washers to the pipe.
IMPORTANT!!! The galvanized coating is extremely toxic if burned, so grind it off before welding!!!

Modify the MB1 lower bracket to allow the actuator base to pivot backwards as such:

Now make a spacer approximately 1 inch thick out of whatever you want to fit the back of the MB1 bracket and drill the holes out.(I used a scrap of exterior trim, some kind of fiber board) Paint it black.
**I would recommend making it a little thicker than 1 inch. During the last inch or two of opening on mine, the actuator body hits the top corner of the plastic door panel and has to push against it. Spacing out a little more would help that.**

Reinstall the modified window bracket and attach the top of the actuator's rod to it. Rotate it around to make sure it's not gonna hit or bind on any parts of the bracket. Attach the MB1 bracket to the base of the actuator and with the spacer behind it, pull down a bit and mark the hole locations on the PLASTIC panel. Remove the actuator for now, then drill the holes in the plastic panel(1/4inch drill bit), just far enough to mark the locations in the sheet metal panel. Remove the plastic panel, scrape away the black goo around your marks, then drill those holes through the outer metal panel(painted body color) and through the structural metal behind it. I started out with an 1/8inch bit to get it started and keep it straight. The final hole was made with a 15/64ths inch bit. Once you get through the sheet metal, there will be another layer of metal. This is part of the door structure and is much thicker and stronger.

If you have a thread tapping set you can try using it. I didn't so I used some spare, lower grade bolts and slowly worked them through until they started to thread. Once I removed them I saw that the threads had sheared part way off. Oh well, they got things started for the grade 8 bolts.

While you've got the plastic panel off, flip it over and cut off any fins near your holes so the surface is flat. I used a snap knife.

Now you need to attach your spacers to either the metal door or the backside of the plastic panel. I used JB weld, using bolts to hold them in place while it cures. **

^^I'm not very confident that the JB weld will hold if I ever have to disassemble this so you may want to try something else. You may also want to trim the washers where they overlap.^^

You'll also need to modify the door latch as described by the original poster. Putting some washers under the right rear bolt(you'll need a longer one). The goal here is to tilt the latch forward so that it will close a tiny bit sooner. This will allow the actuator to close it and the sensor will see it as closed.

Now is a good time to make sure you've run all your wires for this mod as well as for the remote latch release mod. The actuator needs 2 wires. Instructions for the release switch here: The release switch just delivers a ground so if you source your ground under the dash, you will only need 2 wires to carry it to the back out of the switch.

You'll need to hook the actuator up to a DPDT (on)-off-(on) momentary rocker switch. Heres a video of how to wire it:

You can get switches lots of different places so get whatever ones you like. I ordered mine from Grainger. I think they blend in really well. Trimming was required though.

Pick a 12v power source, using a 5amp fuse in line with the actuator. I found an always on empty spot in the interior fuse panel and installed an add a fuse.

Back at the rear door, drill a hole through the plastic panel to stick the actuator's wire through and connect it to your switch's output. I recommend leaving lots of slack and just pushing it into the cavity behind the plastic panel. I soldered and heat shrank the connection so if I take the actuator off, there's enough slack to pull out and lay the actuator in the cargo area without having to cut the wires. Reinstall the rear door panel, and attach the MB1 bracket with the spacer using the 4" grade 8 bolts and washers.

Reattach the top of the actuator arm to the window bracket. A cool thing I learned about this actuator is that if the base is stationary and you twist or spin the arm, it will get slightly longer or shorter(depending on which way you spin). This should be enough adjustment to get it attached to the brackets and ensure a nice tight close.

Be warned, you may have to undo things once or twice to fine tune the spacing out/tilting of the latch and adjusting the actuator to get the window to close and latch reliably. Mine still needs a little fine tuning. After closing with the actuator, the vehicle thinks the window is closed, but if you go around the back and push on the glass, you can hear/feel it latch completely. The only issue this has caused me is that once or twice the alarm went off in the middle of the night because strong winds had pulled the window out slightly and opened the position sensor.

That should be it. Now you can actually ENJOY driving with the windows down. And if you have dogs, they'll enjoy it too.

10/9/09 Edit: The black paint started flaking off of the MB1 bracket and the bolts/washers almost immediately, so I'd say skip painting everything except the spacer and modified window bracket.

When the back window is open, the domes lights go on and stay on and the door ajar light comes on on the dash. If you want to eliminate this, it is probably as simple as grounding out one of the wires back on the door. See the electrical diagram and do at your own risk! That would also eliminate the false alarms I had with the car alarm and allow you to lock/arm the truck even if you leave the window open. -You basically want to bypass/shunt the back window position sensor.-

I've had mine installed since the fall of '09 and have not experienced any water infiltration around the window seal.

The reason that I have not made a kit to sell is because this is not an exact science, nor is it a simple bolt on mod. It does require some fine tuning, free handing, customizing, luck, etc. when modifying and drilling the window bracket, picking the mounting location for the actuator and fine tuning the close. I still think it's a pretty easy project for any one who is relatively handy and if you have everything you need it should only take an afternoon(minus any epoxy drying times).

5,078 Posts
very cool indeed... great work. it looks like it works very well.. are you going to sell these. or is this just a step by step procedure for us do it yourselfers?:clap:

The Laughing Member
2007 FJ Cruiser, 2021 4Runner, 2002 Lexus SC420
9,119 Posts
Looks great!! :cheers:

I'll be setting it up as a permanent article in the How-To section within the next couple of days.

1,725 Posts
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