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Remote control rear window on Hilux Surf / 4runners

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  • Remote control rear window on Hilux Surf / 4runners

    Something I get asked all the time is how I've wired up the remote control rear window on my 1st gen and 2nd gen Hilux Surfs (aka 4runner)

    The end result everyone wants is a remote key fob so they can press a button to make the window go up/down for easier access to the boot. It's pretty easy to achieve, but there's a few ways of doing it and each have their pro's and con's.

    All three ways of doing it involve purchasing a 4 channel remote control relay (or 2 channel if you're not bothered about adding remote central locking or already have it).

    I'll cover the three different ways below, their pros and cons, together with what kind of remote control relay you want.


    The remote control relay

    There are tons of these on the market, and they're usually really cheap. The main thing to look out for however is how much current the relays can take. Many only handle a few amps, a lot handle 10 amps, and some handle 20 amps.

    Whilst 10 amps "should" be enough, I have blown up a 10amp one before so I would really recommend getting a 20 amp one. Like this....

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/XCSOURCE-Ch...dp/B01N2WRO9S/

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/EEEKit-Wire...dp/B07QMQJ9WF/

    So spec as follows:-
    • 12v
    • 20 amps
    • 4 channel (or 2 channel if you already have remote central locking or don't want it)

    You will want a remote control relay which supports "momentary" mode. There are usually three modes on most of these relay units; jog, momentary or latched. Momentary just means that the relay will only be active for as long as you're pressing and holding the button. In this context it means that your window will be opening for as long as you press the open button, and closing for as long as you press the close button. Simples!


    The three different methods


    The three different methods of wiring the relay are:-

    1) Wire the relay to the window and door control unit located behind the driver side (RHD) speaker

    2) Same as method one, but adjust the rear window control unit located behind the interior plastic trim on the passenger side (for RHD cars) so that it's powered all the time

    3) Wire the relay directly to the rear window DC motor




    1) Wire the relay to the window and door control unit located behind the driver side (RHD) speaker

    So this is the first way that I did this (in my 2nd gen) and I followed these instructions:-

    http://toyotasurf.asn.au/forum/viewt...&view=previous

    I've also spoken with the chap who wrote the original instructions, and whilst he has long since sold his Surf, he was very helpful.

    I'm not going to duplicate the instructions, as they're on the above forum post with pictures, but I will give you the pro's and con's I've found after months of living with this solution.


    Pros

    It still allows you to use all the factory stuff (eg the rear window control button on the centre console, and by putting the key in the tailgate and turning)


    Cons

    Battery drain. So the instructions require you to ensure that the factory Door Control Module is powered all the time, rather than only powered when the ignition is on.

    The reason for this is that the aftermarket 4 channel relay doesn't control the rear window itself; it manipulates the factory OEM Door Control Module which then in turn controls the rear window, just as it would do if you were pressing the button in the centre console. The problem however is that the button in the centre console only works when the ignition is on, and if you don't adjust how the factory OEM Door Control Module is powered then your wireless remote control would only work when the ignition is on, which is kinda pointless.

    You can also follow the further instructions to make it so that your normal electric door windows can be used without the ignition being on, which is handy if you camp / sleep inside your vehicle.

    The issue however is that whilst this little Door Control Module is only tiny, when wired up this way as per the instructions it uses a lot of battery power when your car is off. Not only that but I've found when following the instructions verbatim, that it means loads of other stuff in the car which usually only comes on with the ignition ends up being powered on all the time which adds to the battery drain. I ended up wiring the unit differently so that it was constantly powered, without turning other stuff on too. However, the battery drain was really annoying and if my car was sat for a couple of days I'd come back to it and the batteries would be flat Booo....



    2) Same as method one, but adjust the rear window control unit located behind the interior plastic trim on the passenger side (for RHD cars) so that it's powered all the time


    So this is the same as method 1, but with a modification.

    I went down this route after getting annoyed with the battery drain issues mentioned above.

    On the 2nd gen (and I believe also the 1st gen) there is a Rear Window Control Unit which controls the rear window which is hidden behind the interior plastic trim on the passenger side (if on a RHD vehicle, or drivers side on a LHD vehicle). To access this you take out the plastic pocket at the back of the car, remove a bunch of bolts, and it's tucked away behind there, right by the rear left taillights.

    This little unit is what you're controlling when you put the key in the tailgate and turn it to control the rear window, and it's also what you're controlling when you press the switch in the centre console (via the Door Control Unit at the front of the car as described in method 1 above).

    Similar to the Door Control Unit at the front of the car, the Rear Window Control Unit has a permanent 12v feed, and an ignition only 12v feed. After getting annoyed with battery drain from modifying the Door Control Unit at the front so it was always powered, I put that back to normal (so it was powered as normal from the factory), and instead adjusted the Rear Window Control Unit at the back of the car so that instead was powered all the time.

    You can figure out which wire is which just by using a multimeter (set to DC voltage) and testing which wires are powered all the time and which is only on when the ignition is on.

    This method works, and whilst battery drain can still be a bit of an issue, the Rear Window Control Unit does use anywhere near as much power, and the battery drain issue isn't as bad.

    You can see a video showing my install on the 2nd gen here (this video was filmed a while back before writing this)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C03JS5Eamtk


    Pros

    Less battery drain


    Cons

    There is still a bit more battery drain than a virgin / unmolested car, albeit not as bad as method 1.

    The Rear Window Control Unit is a pain in the arse to get to!



    3) Wire the relay directly to the rear window DC motor

    After going through methods 1 & 2 in my 2nd gen, when I got around to doing the remote control rear window in my 1st gen Surf I opted for this method.

    Basically here I forget completely about the factory control units, and wire the 4 channel remote relay direct to the motor in the tailgate itself.

    I've put my 4 channel relay somewhere in the front of the car, and simply run two wires to the rear window motor in the tailgate itself. It's just a very simple DC motor, and will make the window go UP when + and - are wired one way, and DOWN when you put + and - the other way.

    Using a relay, and even a remote control relay to reverse the direction of a DC motor is very well documented on the web, so I won't try and explain it badly here and instead I've linked to the resources I've used below....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQOji4i4PEc

    https://www.instructables.com/id/DC-...ith-Two-Relay/

    https://quasarelectronics.co.uk/dc-m...remote-control



    Pros

    No significant battery drain.

    Easy to maintain.

    Less components involved.

    Easy to install.


    Cons

    It means the factory button in the centre console to control the rear window doesn't work, and nor does putting the key in the lock in the tailgate. I'm sure you could get around this if you cared enough by simply wiring these components in directly to your new circuit instead of to the factory control units. I never bothered because I replaced my centre console in the 1st gen with a fridge (so the switch isn't there any more) and seeing as my remote control is always attached to my keys, it's very easy to access the remote key fob whether it be in my pocket or hanging off the keys in the ignition.



    Summary

    I wouldn't ever claim to be a remote control window expert, it's just that I've done it on my 1st gen and my 2nd gen, I've figured out what did and didn't work for me, and people always ask me how I've done it so I thought I'd share it!

    I hope you find the above useful

    Happy Surfing!
    Last edited by Admin; 16th April 2020, 00:54.
    Thanks
    Rob Watson (forum owner and admin)
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