Tired of that original tonneau giving you headaches?
We were too.
That is until we put our heads together!
The Indyram.org brings you:

The Keyless Tonneau Cover Project

An exclusive design by:
Gordon Stevens
With the aid of:

Chris Trautman, David Bible, Mark Hamrick, Jeff Baker, Garri Ausmus, and Jim Yeagley


On the indyram mailing list, a few of our members began discussing the poor design of our original Mopar tonneau cover latch and lock mechanism. As we're sure everyone who has this cover knows, it's nothing short of work to get that thing open, especially when your hands are full.

 

This discussion launched a plan to build the proper lock/latch mechanism for the Mopar Tonneau Cover. What follows is a blow by blow description of the install of this system, built by Gordon using input from other members of the Indyram.org.


Today I bought two (2) actuators or solenoids to function as a "keyless entry" to the Mopar tonneau discussed lately. Like I said I went to a local car audio/alarm install shop and explained what I intended to do. I had already taken loose the cover hiding the "mechanics" to the locking mechanism. As brought up by Jim, You have to dismantle the lock part of the system since the control arms won't move if the key is not in it. I derived a way to keep the unlocking function of the factory lock while utilizing the "keyless entry" feature desired.
keyless
keyless
Basically I installed the actuators at each side of the tonneau about 6" from each latch. The actuators come with small rods that I bent in a basic 'Z" shape so it would pull in a parallel motion as opposed to a skewed or misaligned one. I disconnected the factory rods from each side and placed the new ones into the same clamp the old ones were attached with. This disables the key all together, for now. Then I got to thinking if I bend the ends of the new rods into a loop I could put the old rods through the new "created" eyelet's I formed. In the package whit the actuators came an assortment of hardware including a special clamp used in some applications to join the existing rods with the new ones. I placed the clamps on the ends of the old rods that went trough the new eyelet's I made and tightened the set screws on each clamp. By doing this, I now am able to use a key in an emergency, when the remote control is lost and so forth. When using the remote it bypasses the keyed rods as the actuators pull the latches thus allowing them to unlock.
With some minor adjustments and the use of my 12 volt cordless drill battery as a power source, I was able to fine tune it to work just like the truck doors. When the truck is armed I will be able to have the tonneau cover lock along with the doors. the same goes for the unlocking as well. A feature I have enabled on my particular system is the auto-locking of the doors when movement is sensed. this would also lock the tonneau cover when driving. Not that it would ever lift up without a helping hand. It's just that I remember that the manual said never to drive with it unlocked. I suppose if you stopped on a dime and the truck leaned down on the front just maybe it could open under this type of extreme force. keyless

As for the cosmetics the actuators are the newer square style. The model number is 524N manufactured by DEI. They were $20.00 each. They are smaller than the older gun types and lay flat. I didn't have a choice in color so I chose to paint them a light flat gray before the installation. I hid the wires in the rubber seal mounted around the underside of the cover. To do this I sliced a small hole in the rubber seal at each actuator pulled the wires together down the driver's side of the cover towards the front. This is where I had to stop for the night. I do not anticipate any problems of connecting these two wires To the alarm system since I find this stuff fun an easy. I used my test battery to lock the cover and then unlock it.   It works great. Then I tested the key and it worked the same as it always did except in the configuration it put it in the lid stays unlocked until I tapped the wires on the battery again. I like this setup. The cover will always be unlocked when I disarm the system.AS a backup I can use the key to gain entrance to the bed area. I might also add that if any of you try this remember to keep the tailgate down during ALL testing. If it is left up and you don't have it working properly you may be left in a predicament of scratching the tailgate and forcing entry. So be careful. Like Gasman, I don't use my bed to haul either. It's just that when I have something back there I want to get to it with more ease while at the same time keep prying eyes out of it when I am not around.

Gordon's final thoughts:  It works just as I anticipated. My door lock switch (on both doors) controls the cover along with the doors. Now, when I get out of my truck I can just lift the lid and not worry about the problems associated with the insertion of the key. When I lock the doors It locks the cover to avoid any tampering. As I mentioned before, I programmed my particular alarm to lock the doors when motion is sensed when the ignition is on, as a car-jacking prohibitor. So now it also locks the tonneau as well. If any of you would like this convenience, I assure you it is well worth the couple of hours it takes to install. Connecting it the way I did, allows even those of you that don't have an alarm, to use your door lock control switch mounted in your truck. If you want to open the tonneau first and you don't have the alarm, you simply insert the key, turn it, then remove the key and lift. To lock it again you simply use the switch mounted on the door in the truck. How more stealth could you get then that? Also those of you that have a factory/Mopar alarm or any other alarm, you do not have to have a free channel on the remote to do this and make it work. Total parts cost me $50. I suggest soldering all connections for a trouble free install. The wires you connect to are just behind the panel below the steering column.

The wire color codes related to an alarm install are as follows:
  Starter D blue/yellow ignition harness
Dome lights yellow(-) driver pin switch
Parking lamps black/yellow headlight switch
Door lock orange/violet black connector behind park brake
Door unlock pink/violet black connector behind park brake
constant 12v red ignition harness
ignition 12v d blue ignition harness
headlights l green headlight switch
 
  Signed:Keyless in the South! (not clueless) Gordon R. Stevens

Do you have a clever and helpful idea about your Indy Ram?
Want to see it here?
Send it in as a suggestion!