Add Security & Peace of Mind with this Aftermarket Power Tailgate Lock for Your Truck: Step-By-Step Install & Review on 3rd Gen Toyota Tacoma
No matter where you go, it is always important to keep all of your gear safe and secure. Unfortunately, if you regularly use a tonneau cover, it can be a bit of an inconvenience dealing with a manual tailgate lock.
With the technology available on the 3rd Gen Tacoma, it seems so primitive to still have to manually lock the tailgate. Sure, this is a small inconvenience in the grand scheme of things, but how nice would it be to have that power at your fingertips at all times? The Pop & Lock Power Tailgate Lock takes your stone-age tailgate lock and brings it into the 21st century.
You will no longer have to fiddle with your key fob to get out the mechanical key. Or if you’re like me and your aftermarket key fob doesn’t house your mechanical key, you won’t have to go back and forth to your center console to grab the spare. My turning point to finally invest in this upgrade was when I almost lost my spare key at the beach and had no other way of getting into my truck bed (trust me, not a fun time).
It may seem a little overwhelming running wire from inside the tailgate all the way into the driver footwell, but thankfully they have made their kit super simple and easy to install, even if you’re just getting into the DIY side of things. This step-by-step guide will show you just how easy this project is to complete. Once you have that automatic lock, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!
Looking for another option? Check out this post on the R4T Automatic Power Tailgate Lock.
Find It Online
- 2016+ Toyota Tacoma Pop & Lock Power Tailgate Lock: Check Price
Tools & Materials
- T30 Torx
- 10mm Socket
- Painter’s Tape
- Punch OR Utility Knife
- Heavy Gauge Wire or Metal Clothes Hanger
- Electrical Tape
- Cutting Pliers
- T-taps (wire taps)
Step 1. Remove Tailgate Panel
The tailgate insert is secured with 16 Torx screws. A standard star bit or T25/T30 bit will do the trick to get them out.
Take note that the eight screws at the top of the tailgate are one length, and the side and bottom screws are another length. Once the screws are removed, slide the insert towards the bed and it’s free.
Step 2. Disconnect Battery
Before starting any electrical project, make sure to disconnect the negative terminal on the battery.
Using a 10mm socket, loosen the bolt on the clamp on the end of the cable. Once it is loose, you can wiggle the clamp off of the terminal.
Step 3. Cover Edges of Inner Tailgate
This may seem like a silly step, but by adding painter’s tape to the edge of the panels you can avoid cutting your arm while maneuvering the mechanism or wiring inside the tailgate.
Step 4. Remove Bolt for Existing Tailgate Lock
Remove the bolt shown above with the 10 mm socket.
The kit provides a new bolt so this one can be discarded.
Step 5. Install the Locking Mechanism
Pictured above is the locking mechanism.
Keeping it in the orientation shown, set it into place on the right side of the existing lock.
Make sure it looks like the picture above.
Once in place, install the provided bolt until it’s snug.
Step 6. Disconnect Tailgate Wiring Grommet & Clips
The wiring grommet from the tailgate is held secure by three clips, two on the tailgate and one on the truck bed. The green arrow above shows where to press in on the clip to release the clip (it’s already loose in the photo). The yellow arrow shows the top tab on the other clip.
There is another clip on the underside and you’ll need to reach inside the tailgate to release them both. Be aware that it is a little more difficult to maneuver in that tight spot, but it will make the grommet freer to move around. The matching clips on the tailgate and truck bed can both be discarded.
Step 7. Feed Wiring into Tailgate
The mechanism you installed in Step #5 has a male end connector coming off of it. Take the shorter wire in the kit and run the female connector end into the tailgate.
Run the male end of the wire between the tailgate and into the space under the bed, following the existing wiring harness. Leave only about 3 inches of the wiring harness under the bed, the rest will get bunched up in the tailgate.
Inside the tailgate, either bundle up the excess wiring or wrap it around one of the supports.
I chose to connect the wires and bundle it up, zip tie it together and then zip tie it to a tailgate support to secure it.
Step 8. Secure Wiring Between Tailgate & Bed
The kit provides new clips that will now clip into the existing wiring harness and the new Pop & Lock harness (right).
Feed the wires into the proper holes and re-clip back into place on the tailgate and truck bed.
Then use zip ties to secure the new wire to the existing wiring harness.
Step 9. Prepare Cab for Wiring
Remove both front and rear driver’s side scuff plates.
They are connected by clips that disengage easily by pulling up on the plate.
Remove the front driver side kick panel that covers the wiring connections.
This is connected by one plastic nut and a couple of clips. Unscrew the plastic nut and pull the panel away at 45°, or towards the center console.
Step 10. Punch Hole in Rubber Grommet
Underneath the cab, you will find a 2” rubber grommet in line with the B pillar, the pillar that separates the front and rear doors.
Pull the grommet and punch a hole in it large enough to fit the wiring bundle through. You can use either a punch or make a slit with a utility knife.
Step 11. Run Wiring into Cab
Now that you have a hole in the grommet, take the longer wiring bundle and feed it through, pulling through the end with the two exposed pins. Pull 54” of wiring into the cab side of the grommet. Next, feed the wire into the cab through the hole where the grommet came from, pushing it towards the door.
You can lift the carpet some by unhooking the plastic trim on the end (shown above). Once you can grab the wire in the cab, pull it all the way through so you can re-install the grommet. Make sure you double-check that you still have 54” of wiring on the cab side.
Tip: With the wiring and grommet free of the cab, measure your 54” for in the cab, then measure the amount you have left on the other side of the grommet, that number will be easier to double-check once the grommet is re-installed.
Step 11. Feed Wiring to Front of Cab
In order to pull the wiring to the front, use a heavy gauge wire or metal clothes hanger and run it from the front to the back under the B pillar. There are clips and wiring already running through so it might take some wiggling to get it through.
In the above picture, you can see I positioned the wiring to feed between the carpet plastic trim and the B pillar trim. Make sure you do this so the wiring doesn’t get pinched when everything gets put back together.
As you can see in the picture above, when you are pulling the wiring through, make sure you tape plenty of the wire to your puller so it doesn’t pull apart, and also tape over the exposed pins so they do not get damaged coming through.
Step 12. Connect Pins to Plug
The first part of connecting the wiring is getting the pins secured. The plug for them is already labeled with ‘B’ for blue and ‘G’ for green. Pretty simple, right?
Push the pins into place in the plug as far as they go and then give them a little tug to make sure they are secure. You can go ahead and connect the other end of the plug with the add-a-fuse pieces now, or get those pieces connected and then connect the plug.
Step 13. Connect the Wiring
This is the trickiest part of the whole project. You can see the wiring plug you will be working on within the photo above. It has 10 slots for wires in it. I don’t know all the in’s and out’s of every year and model, so there may be a varying number of wires depending on that.
The kit comes with two very easy-to-use splicing connection clamps. Simply close the clamps over the wire you need until it shuts completely then insert the clamp into the pink connector at the end of the add-a-fuse wires.
You will be splicing into the black and blue wires that are located in the top two slots on the left side of the plug when the plug is still in place. These are the top two wires on the side of the plug closest to the outside of the vehicle.
Splice into the black and blue wire with the clamps, then connect the blue add-a-fuse wire to the black wire splice connector and the green add-a-fuse wire to the blue wire splice connector. You can see the connections in the photo below.
Step 14. Managing Wiring
Once the splicing is completed and the plugs have all been connected, neatly tuck the wiring away next to the wire loom already in the channel by the door kick.
There are three latches to release, then place the wiring down in the channel, and close the latches. Lastly, re-install the scuff plates and kick panel that you removed in Step 9.
Step 15. Run Wiring Back to Tailgate
Take the loose wiring coming from the grommet under the cab and fish it back to the tailgate, following the driver’s side of the frame.
Tuck it up as high as you can and keep it away from any exhaust pipes. At first, you will see a wire loom you can follow, then you will run it up over the gas tank.
Once you are past the gas tank, it’s a pretty easy task to run it back to the tailgate. I’d recommend dropping your spare tire to create extra space when running the wiring.
Make sure to cut down any long tails on the zip ties with the cutting pliers as you go. Finally, connect the male end of the wiring that you just ran back to the female end of the plug coming from the tailgate.
Step 16. Check Lock Function
After all of the wires are connected and you reconnect the battery, run through all of the different ways to lock your doors to ensure that everything is functioning correctly. You will want to check that the following functions still work:
- Key fob locks/unlocks tailgate
- Key fob locks/unlocks the cab doors
- The Smart handle on the driver’s door locks/unlocks the door
- The buttons inside the vehicle lock/unlock the doors
- Ensure the mechanical key used in the door handle locks/unlocks the door
There is apparently a chance that locking or unlocking your doors while in reverse could cause interference in the backup camera, but I don’t know of a time that I would ever need to do that. It still would be a good idea to ensure that the backup camera still works correctly. Once you’ve checked that everything functions properly you are good to go.
The Pop & Lock has been an amazing improvement on my truck. I really can’t believe I waited so long to get it and install it. I think the truck should have come like this from the factory, so I’m thankful this is a simple fix.
Before installing the Pop & Lock, I constantly had to go back and forth to my cab to grab the key when I had things in the bed. Now, one simple click on the key fob secures whatever I have stored back there and opens it just as easily. I will admit, this seemed like a bit of a daunting project at first, but Pop & Lock put together a great kit. It is a simple install considering what is being accomplished.
The company provides the wiring all but complete except for a couple of plugs and the two splices in the cab and they give you everything you need to make sure it is secure and tucked away once installed. If you have any kind of cover on your bed and still use the key to lock your tailgate, I highly recommend you add the Pop & Lock Power Tailgate Lock to the top of your to-do list. Trust me, it makes a world of difference!