Aftermarket Power door lock install on a 78 El camino?

Aug 30, 2022
Hey guys!
So, My '78 El Ca Conquista has manual everything. while I want to keep my Crank windows I'd like to add Electric Power door locks along with a very simple cheap alarm to the truck (No lockout, no disabling, nothing, just an alarm)
I found a simple 40$ kit to install them, and I just wanted to know if that is a do-able job in the truck? I'm handy with small scale metal fab if required.
I'm not really interested in using OEM door actuators from a truck that already had them as Reliability is a key factor and 60$ just for one actuator isn't exactly something I'm interested in.
has anyone done this? I cant find any videos on it nor any record of people doing it. What would y'all recommend? I'm fully aware of it being chinese garbage and such but I'm going to be beating or running this truck down the strip. Just something to make putting groceries in it easier basically (Or more like servers since I'm I.T.)


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Dec 15, 2020
Alexandria, VA
I don't see why it wouldn't work. The vendor probably has adequate instructions although awkward translation to English. I haven't undertaken what you are fixin' to do, closest I came to that was installing a remote system in my '84 El Camino but it had power door locks already. OEM has a relay on the PDL circuit, I guess we could expect that the control unit on the aftermarket system overcomes that. Personally I would check exploded diagrams on manual and power door lock systems for the vehicle and see how easy of a bolt-on it is. You might need to swap over some hard to find rods(?). When it comes to OEM vs. aftermarket and reliability, just because its new doesn't mean its reliable. Since you currently don't have any wires between the doors and the body, you'll have to finagle something durable and maybe make some cutouts between the door and the A-pillar to power the PDLs. Nevertheless sounds like a fun project, good luck with it.


Comic Book Super Hero
Supporting Member
Feb 20, 2018
Rather than going aftermarket, were it my project, I think I'd be looking for a set of factory power locks from a Monte or similar, even from a more door. If you can find them in a yard, they can be pulled with all the brackets and even the wiring and actuator toggle switches. All this makes it easier to plug them into position and wire them in as the inner door skin for your ride likely has all the matching holes and drillings already there.

This'd be likely because the inner door shell or skin is a common or core stamping that got modified or tweaked according to what the build sheet specified as it went down the line.

As an example, even though my Monte came with both power windows and power door locks, should I be forced to replace a door, and that is exactly what is pending for the passenger's side, even if it is a manual version, all the mounting holes for the power options are still there' just empty.

For power you will need to either come off the fuse block or set up an auxiliary circuit; I'd be looking at some kind of relay as an option just to be kinder to the wiring systems as a whole; relays make the handling of power to a circuit a whole lot safer and easier than jut going direct feed.

JUst me, thinking aloud.

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G-Body Guru
Sep 27, 2021
Mesa, AZ
If "reliability is a key factor", I'm not so sure using " Chinese garbage" is a good way to go. Donor junkyard cars will be your best friend if money is an issue.
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Thread starter
Aug 30, 2022
If "reliability is a key factor", I'm not so sure using " Chinese garbage" is a good way to go. Donor junkyard cars will be your best friend if money is an issue.
Yeah, unfortunately most junkyards here where I live typically only have 90's-00's corolla's that are mostly there. I have seen a few Mont Carlo's but they where typically stripped down to the door frames, including windows. My area has a very large interest in 70's-80's Chevrolet cars. that doubled with a low income area creates a strange issue of only finding newer car parts in yards. I've been looking still, But its looking less and less Like ill actually be able to find any. Donk's are very very common, and a lot of them are pretty clean I must say, Helped a guy tune his System, very well put together, but unfortunately a lot of the owners Use G-body's, removing part availability when it comes electrical and interior components. I don't want to say I *can't* find parts. there just not very common. But I'll keep looking to see what I can find ;)

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