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DIY Door Latch Upgrade
#1427992 Tue Oct 26 2021 02:04 AM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 6
JM48 Offline OP
I believe I have found a DIY door latch upgrade for AD trucks that IMO is as close to a bolt-in as it gets. Instead of a full write up I've decided to provide the cliffs-notes version with pictures and let the forum do as intended. PLEASE NOTE, my truck is a 48' with framed window, window track is removed and has no felt, weatherstripping, etc. whatsoever. Here goes...

Latches are tailgate latches from an 2006 Dodge Dakota
Strikers are tailgate strikers from a 2003 Chevy Avalanche
(The above parts have a broader application list but these are the exact application I removed my donor parts from)

The donor latches should be stamped L&R. This is important because they will end up on the opposite doors on the AD truck.(I.e left hand donor latch will go on right(passenger) door of AD truck.

I removed the outer support shell from the latch by drilling out the rivet(you won't have to drill it out completely) and grinding off the two small tabs on the back side.(both areas with red arrows). This allows you to pass the latch though the factory opening in the door from the inside out without having to modify the opening. Using the bottom left and top factory mouthing holes will line up with the holes in the latch without drilling. With the support she'll removed, the shaft was a little wonky so I cut off the bottom section of the shell and reincorporated it in order to bring the support back. This will require a little modification to the factory opening in the door. Also, this support piece goes back to the exact spot it did before removal and shares the lower mounting hole.

I found that to clear the window, the release lever on the latch needed to be reoriented which also put it on the correct side so that it can connect to the factory latch release rod/handle.(I have not decided on a final connection between the two but I've have been able to temporarily test the system and it works flawlessly). I also cut a small window in the door to pass the latch rod through so that it is closer to the release lever.

With the factory striker removed and latch bolted in place, you'll be able to measure before measuring and finally measure to determine where the donor striker will be installed.( lots of careful measuring here). I found the critical measurement here to be finding center of the striker with the latch in the closed position.

My 48' has the rotating outside handle and I'm working on a solution to incorporate it into the system.

So there you have it. This modification is a work in progress for me but my hope is that with the info I've provided it'll inspire others to give it a try and share tips and ideas. I will try to post as many photos as I can but might be in multiple threads

Attached Files
Re: DIY Door Latch Upgrade
JM48 #1427993 Tue Oct 26 2021 02:10 AM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 6
JM48 Offline OP
Working on adding photos

Attached Files
Last edited by JM48; Tue Oct 26 2021 02:13 AM.
Re: DIY Door Latch Upgrade
JM48 #1428007 Tue Oct 26 2021 04:05 AM
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 1,452
Very interesting. I like to see people working on developing new ideas.

1954 1/2 ton 235 4 speed
Re: DIY Door Latch Upgrade
JM48 #1428090 Tue Oct 26 2021 11:15 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 6
JM48 Offline OP
I was at my wits end with the factory latches and wanted something that looked somewhat appropriate in a 70+ year old cab. I've read good things about the Altman latch kit however, I wasn't a fan of the look.

Moderated by  48bigtrucks 

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