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GMC Yukon Rear Door Ajar Warning Message

kts0347kts0347 Posts: 44
edited October 2014 in GMC
I have an 03 Denali and have been receiving a warning message that my right rear door was ajar.

Previous research has indicated this is most likely due to a faulty door lock actuator switch. This was from a posting on a different site: "The 'Door Ajar' switches are located on the latches inside the door. the most common failure in this system is the micro-switch on the latch. on most models you can replace the door lock actuator (ajar switch is part of this actuator) and the issue should be resolved.
You could remove the door panel and inspect the wiring inside the door to make sure it is intact... and at the same time you could use a jumper to connect the 2 wires of the door jamb switch and confirm that the light goes out."

So I bought a new door lock actuator switch and removed the door panel. My problem is that I don't see anything in the door inner that remotely resembles the replacement actuator switch in hand.

The only area of the door inner that I haven't searched visually is where the door latch mechanism is bolted to the door fenderwell panel. This is because it is not possible to see in there due to metal concealing that area. Before I blindly unscrew the door latching mechanism, two questions:
1) is that were the door lock actuator is located?
2) is there a preferred procedure for disconnecting these parts and reattaching them. (My plan is to just unscrew the screws that are on the exterior of the door fenderwell panel and hope that the latch mechanism inside the door will be freed. I assume the actuator will be connected to the latch mechanism somehow.

Since it's all blind work, any assistance in disassembly instruction would be sincerely appreciated.




  • kts0347kts0347 Posts: 44
    Hi All,
    I got it repaired and working. The problem was a defective door lock actuator switch. It was a straight forward but tedious repair due to having to gain access to the switch to replace it. I thought I would document this for future users who have a similar problem.

    1) The problem: The message center on the Instrument Cluster had a constant message "Rt Rr Door Ajar" My research found the most common cause for this was a faulty door lock actuator switch. I found a replacement on eBay for $47. Now I had the part and needed to install it.

    2) Remove the rear door inner trim panel. This is relatively straight forward. First remove two trim pieces from the panel, the small plastic door lock switch and the large plastic close out around the door handle. These are held in place with small tangs on the edges and will pop out with GENTLE persuasion. Then remove two 7mm screws securing the trim to the door. One is at the leading edge of the bottom of the panel. The other is just forward of the door pull. The door inner trim panel has several very sturdy molded hanger hooks on its backside. These fit into openings in the door inner metal and when the trim piece is pushed downward, grip onto the door metal. To remove, just lift the door panel upward and outward. Finally, disconnect the power window switch connector, and unplug the bulb from the white plastic entry light holder. The panel should now be free. Set aside.

    3) Peel Back the Plastic Splash Guard: A soft plastic splash guard is adhered to the door inner metal with a bead of black mastic. Just peel back the top section sufficient to expose the door handle, and the cavity holding the door latch mechanism. It's super sticky and will re-adhere when you return it. It will stick to anything it touches, so be careful.

    4) Free the two rods angling forward from the door latch mechanism: The rod controlling the door lock simply pops out of three white plastic guides. The rod controlling the inner door handle lever movement has to be unclipped by rotating a blue clip off the rod, and then lifting it out of its socket on the door handle.

    5) Free the small vertical rod from the external door handle lever to the door latch mechanism. A white plastic clip folds over the rod like a hot dog bun and has a small release clip. Pop it open and the rod is free.

    6) Unscrew three star bolts on the exterior of the door latch to free it from the door. The wiring harness has one clip in fastener to be released to allow the door latch mechanism to be removed. After it is free, unplug the two connectors. Don't worry, they are different sizes and can only go back together one way.

    PS: At this point, the instructions I had said you can jumper the actuator harness wires to see if the error message goes out. I figured that after getting this far into the repair, I was just going to replace the switch and be done with it.

    7) Take the freed up door latch mechanism with the two long rods attached to your work bench. The door lock actuator switch disassembles from the latch assembly with two tiny star screws.

    8) After replacing the switch, just reassemble everything in the reverse order above. Be sure to press the mastic into place securely so you don't develop water leaks in the future. If it doesn't stick well, go to Autozone or similar and get some new. This is important to the future water integrity of your vehicle.

    My error message stopped immediately.

    The same procedure applies to front doors, but removing those inner panels is a little more tricky. Here is a website that explains it. Since I haven't done this myself, I let the website explanation stand without any comment:

    Hope you find this helpful.

  • vonoretnvonoretn Posts: 14
    The problem of the door ajar message is often not the door switch, it is the BCM (Body Control Module). If the problem is the rear door hatch light comes on when it is shut, pull the connector off of the BCM, right above the brake pedal, and connect from pink/black wire to ground with an ohm meter. The meter should read low, like 0 to 2 ohms when the door is closed, but infinite resistance when the door is open. If this is the case, it is not the rear hatch switch, it's a bad BCM. If the resistance doesn't change, then it is the door switch, which is either stuck open or closed.

    Do the same with the right rear door, which is the green/black wire. Again, the result will tell you if its the door switch or the BCM. The BCM controls lots of other stuff, like power windows, and even the ability to start your car, so if it's the BCM, you need to work with your dealer.

    I'd hate to see someone tear a door apart if the problem is the BCM.
  • kts0347kts0347 Posts: 44
    Thank you for the information. It's appreciated and I will give your recommendations a try.

    I'm also suspecting the BCM. The problem has become intermittent. For no reason, the circuit will start working properly and will do so for a week or two. Then it will become defective again, the last time right in the middle of driving, with nobody touching the door at all. In my case, the message is right rear door ajar. I'm not having problems with the tailgate, but I understand that's often a problem as well. When the problem is occurring, I notice that my security system also performs differently. Usually one push of the fob button will lock the doors. However, when it is malfunctioning, one push simply causes a chime, and it requires two pushes of the fob button to lock.

    I'll test the resistance in the circuit as you suggest. For now, my simple make do solution is to turn off the dome light with the push button on the dash, and to cancel the warning message with a steering wheel "back" button. It's a minor annoyance, and if it doesn't get more serious, I'm probably not into a big bucks solution.

    Ahh, what ever happened to simplicity? ;)
  • vonoretnvonoretn Posts: 14
    The BCM connector is at the top of the brake pedal, and is purple. You just squeeze it front and back, wiggle it, while pulling gently down on it, and it comes out. Those two wires described above are in one corner. Any warning messages that come on with the BCM connector off are not the doors, since a door closed is an open circuit, and with the connector off, all wires are open. You can't leave the BCM connector off, because at least on an 03 Yukon, the power rear windows won't work. I tried disconnecting the battery wires, that had no affect on the BCM status.
  • kts0347kts0347 Posts: 44
    Thanks for all these helpful ideas. I will check them out. If leaving the harness unplugged is only going to disable the rear windows, then I might just do that, since I never use the rear windows.

    I looked into buying a replacement BCM thinking it was a simple plug and play, but was told that it has to be programmed by the dealer. That would tend to put the price for the repair into a bracket that would require a major annoyance to justify. Is the BCM a module that I can replace myself?

    Thanks again for all your advice. :)
  • vonoretnvonoretn Posts: 14
    edited August 2011

    If there is a way to fix the BCM, I'm all ears. I'm at the same point you're at, realizing a new BCM is expensive ($400 retail, as low as $100 -no warranty on Ebay), plus you have to spend $90 to have it programmed by the dealer, whether it's your current one that may be broken, or a new one that's expensive.

    A friend of mine tried to improve the solder on the inside of the BCM at those specific wire connections to the circuit board, and it got worse, disabling other stuff, so you would want to be really careful if you go inside. I haven't gone inside yet. He bought a used one then on Ebay for $50, and the engine wouldn't even start until he had the dealer program it for $90. Now everything is working for him, but it's a shame there seems to be no easy path to success.

    Logically, what you would look for on the BCM circuit board, are those wires that go to the door ajar switches in the doors through the purple connector, being erroneously grounded on the BCM circuit board. Maybe the original boards have an error on them where one or more of these circuit board paths are too close, or the solder joint was too big and overflowed to a ground path. Or also possible is just a failed chip that has broken down inside which would be pretty much unfixable. Right rear door is one of the same messges I'm getting, and it's the green/black wire going into the purple connector.
  • kts0347kts0347 Posts: 44
    edited August 2011
    Wow, thanks for this additional information. I hadn't found all this out. I will check with my dealer to see if they are willing to program a new BCM and if so, how much - I live in SW Florida and here they seem to charge a fortune for everything where DIY is involved.

    And will look into what they would charge to replace it. I'm not confident that I could even detect a bad solder joint, and as you point out it probably is a bad component inside. Generally, my success with this kind of gear is to just start fresh. I'm not confident in buying used, since there are a lot of error message problems on the various websites, and I imagine this is a common problem for higher mileage older GMC vehicles.

    In my case, since the problem is intermittent and didn't start until the vehicle had 90K miles, I doubt that its a solder problem - perhaps in a faulty electronic component inside the BCM. You say that normal off is a full open circuit, so if I'm getting the message, the circuit must be energized. This would point to a current flow either through the door switch/ harness leading to the BCM or inside the BCM itself.

    As you point out, if I take off the connector to the BCM and do a resistance check, that will tell me whether there is an open circuit in the external wiring/door switch. If that circuit is open and there still is a problem, then the issue is inside the BCM. And, from that point, it becomes a black box....

    Funny thing though, I had the problem a year ago and fixed it by replacing the actual door switch. Everything worked fine immediately and stayed fixed for nearly a year. Then it started up again. I wonder if moisture inside the door could be causing a problem? Well the electrical test you describe will definitely highlight whether the switch itself is the problem (again)

  • vonoretnvonoretn Posts: 14
    edited August 2011
    I had and Explorer with a trip minder screen in the console, mpg, trip time, gallons to empty, miles to empty, etc, that started going blank, and I would hit the console, and it would fix itself for awhile. Finally I took it apart, down to the circuit board, and as I lightly deflected it, I could get the message or no message. Very carefully by bending the board lightly I traced it down to a broken circuit board path that was connecting and disconnecting. I scraped off the board varnish and soldered a small wire across the bad zone, and it worked perfectly from then on.

    Given that your problem is intermittent might be a diagnosis benefit. If you open the circuit board, and you can slightly bend things and cause the message to come on when the door is shut, you might be able to trace the failure zone to a shorted or open path. But be very careful and gentle.

    Another possibility is that the circuit board is just dirty. Over time a combination of moisture and dust may have created a chemically ionized sludge across those wire paths, such that the resistance is low enough that the chip logic interprets it as a closed circuit signal coming from the door switch.
  • kts0347kts0347 Posts: 44
    Wow, you have some great experiences with circuits. I see what you suggest, and will do some diagnosis to try to learn more about my problem. I'm sure that circuits in automobiles can get strained or dirty over time. The number of complaints on the website about this kind of problem show how prevalent this is.

    Thanks for all your help. It's really appreciated.
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