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Technical Custom Guys, School me on Trunk poppers/release

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Dan Hay, Aug 3, 2021.

  1. I recently brought home this cool 39 Ford with a shaved decklid, but no latch at all. I'm like a fish out of water when it comes to custom stuff, so what do you recommend to install a latch? Cable pull? Solenoid? Parts you've used? Thanks in advance. IMG_2219.jpg
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  2. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 3,167


    If it stays closed while driving down the road, why bother?
  3. I would just run a cable that is under the floor than you can pull on to pop it. Taboo used to have a elaborate cable system where you would pull on the plate and it would pop it until a kid fell and grabbed it at a show and broke it. Now we just have a screwdriver that slips in the gap and can turn and pop the latch.
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  4. topher5150
    Joined: Feb 10, 2017
    Posts: 2,536


    I have a solenoid unit from a late 90's Sable that i will attach to the trunk lid, and I saw somewhere with a similar setup they used a small U-bolt on the trunk floor to connect it.
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  5. Texas57
    Joined: Oct 21, 2012
    Posts: 3,396

    1. 1952-59 Ford Social Group

    OK, I'm confused. If there is NO latch, what is it you guys are suggesting he runs a cable to, to pop? I'm not familiar with the oem latch assembly, but seems to me, first thing is to install the inside portion of a latch, then a mechanism to release it, either manual or electric with a manual backup.
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  6. You can hear it bouncing open on hard bumps. Plus, it should have a latch. Kinda lame they didn't complete the job.
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  7. It needs to pop open a bit because the OEM latch is like a door latch, without the help of gravity to open it when it is unlatched. It's spring loaded so it would take two people to operate, one to pull the cable and one to grab the lid. If it were to pop open, that would solve that.
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  8. If it needs to pop, maybe look at a late model latch and popper to operate it. On my 2017 Camaro it has a nice little sealed button that you push to pop it and the latch assembly pops the trunk up enough off the latch to then open the lid. You could get really fancy and use that latch with the sensor some of the new mini vans have where all you have to do is stick your foot under it and it pop it.

    if your wanting to be more old school, you could look for an older caddy or GM car with the electric latch were it would pull the trunk down and seal and then once popped it would push up. Problem is they break easy from people slamming them.
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  9. Yeah I'm familiar with the GM pull down trunks, just wondering if anyone has actually used one?

    *EDIT as I think about it, that's probably more complicated that I'd like, I'd prefer more of a cable pull under the back seat that can pop the trunk, I've seen people use hood springs to pop it open after the latch is released.
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  10. ZZ Top Chop
    Joined: Aug 12, 2018
    Posts: 474

    ZZ Top Chop

    I used a 90's Taurus electric trunk opener on a off topic car.
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  11. not sure about the older ones being used. But the new Camaro's latch is just a popper like if it had springs. It just has a little push lever and all contained within the female part of the latch assembly that is in the main body/trunk sill and it just uses a hood type latch on the trunk lid.

    The older pull downs used a internal cable system on a track and had a contact that had to touch when you lowered the trunk to kick the motor on to pull it down.
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  12. topher5150
    Joined: Feb 10, 2017
    Posts: 2,536


    I was flipping through the new Speedway catalog, and they had a strut lift for trunk lids.
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  13. Think for yourself here and not follow what it used to be. Keep it simple. Mount a latch on the lower body panel and the hook on the Deck Lid. Now you don't need a cable or wires feed through the body to anywhere. Today I'm without a Phone/Camera or I'd post up a photo. Should be back in operation tomorrow. I used an 80's GM power trunk latch and mounted it upside down on the lower edge of opening and made a catch out of 1/4" rod stock. Tight compact and fail safe. There's a ton of other stuff out there close to it in the U-Pull yards. No matter what you do your going to do a little fab work.
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  14. jaw22w
    Joined: Mar 2, 2013
    Posts: 1,407

    from Indiana

    My '26 T coupe's deck lid never came with a handle to raise it. Just the key hole for a skeleton key. You had to raise it with the key. I got tired of that and put 2 gas struts on the lid. Now it pops right up. Struts would at least solve the pop up part of your problem.
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  15. MoePower
    Joined: Jul 12, 2004
    Posts: 216

    from Omro, WI

    Have an OT 71' Plymouth, the hood pop is just a steel rod that hangs down behind the grill, I'm sure you could use that latch system and rig up a cable pull.
    Daily driver Mercury Milan has an electric trunk popper, push button on the dash, trunk pops. (if you want electric) There has to be a ton of those in the wrecking yards.
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  16. European Custom
    Joined: Jul 28, 2019
    Posts: 34

    European Custom

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  17. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 10,213

    from Burton, MI

    There's a lil German outfit that made an economy car back in the day. They had a pretty simple latch on the hoods.... VW.jpg VWW.jpg
    One piece on the body, the other on the decklid. Run a cable to actuate the actuator (?) and boom. Done.
  18. Ha! I'm an idiot. I literally have one of those German vehicles parked next to this 39...
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  19. chrisp
    Joined: Jan 27, 2007
    Posts: 875


    On a 69 charger I used a 60's/70's Porsche hood (the one in the back that covers the engine:rolleyes:) latch mechanism, it's compact, spring loaded and cable operated. Kinda similar to the VW one above
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  20. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,137


    My experience is that those pull-down motors are real weak and don't like it when the trunk gets closed with force. Which is inevitable considering wives, GFs, kids, and gravity all wanting to shut the lid hard.

    My dad had an OT Olds 98 years ago that had one from the factory. It was a point where it constantly was not working and the trunk eventually had to get taped down.
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  21. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 13,136

    from KCMO

    Yup the german hood latch with a cable is what I’d do. My last one landed on the package try but I’ve also had them at the bottom of the B pillar almost hidden by the carpet on the driver side with a hood pop handle on the end of the cable.
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  22. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 3,167


    On my T coupe, I do have a latch operated by cable, but my '47 Plymouth had its deck lid shaved way before I ever owned it with no latch. It has never come loose and you just simply pull on it to open. After 50 years of ownership, I think I'll leave it alone.
  23. I have a latch from a Mazda? something, with a solenoid to operate it. I also connected a length of thin steel cable to the actuator and run it out behind the back wheel, so the trunk can be popped open if my battery croaks. (battery is in the trunk). It has saved me a couple of times.
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  24. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,681


    Dan,I have a latch. The part that fits into the trunk lid. But no striker. It’s yours if you want it.
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  25. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,185


    My 92 Geo prizm gsi aka Toyota corolla has a simple cable operated trunk latch That would most likely work and would be easy to find. It seems that Toyota used cable operated trunk latches on the sedans from the l 80's into the late 90's at least.
    Now that my brain kicked into ear my 51 Merc had a choke cable for a trunk latch pull in the middle of the decklid behind the back seat when I bought it. They had modified the trunk latch to be cable operated when they decked it. It worked pretty good until I broke the cable and had to take the seat out and crawl in the trunk to open it.

    This is a 92/96 Corolla trunk latch and the bottom photo is the striker in my geo. 92 96 Camery trunk latch.jpg IMG_2087 (3).JPG
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  26. beatcad
    Joined: Aug 1, 2006
    Posts: 150


    if you get the factory lock/latch you can look at it long and hard to see how it works and how best to actuate it.
    years ago i shaved my trunk lid and in stalled a solenoid puller. it worked great for about a year until one day it shit the bed. i couldnt open the trunk. i had to remove the back seat and crawl through.
    if i ever did that again i would use a lever operated cable. that wont fry or not work if the batt dies.
    any bicycle shop can sell you a able & sleave whatever lenght you want. i would also use a motorcycle or bicycle brake lever to pull it. mount it near or under the seat or on the package tray and cover it with a hat. with the rear window down you can quickly walk by h car and pop the trunk lid.
    good luck and let us know what ya end up doing
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  27. oldsman41
    Joined: Jun 25, 2010
    Posts: 1,556


    I used the little German thing myself on the 41 olds in my avatar works good
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  28. Lots of options, and having it latch closed is a good idea. Agree on cable being simple and effective. Junkyards have lot of potential, go and look around. I also sell a nice little latch that can work, see link in signature.
    Many ways to fix your problem.
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  29. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 5,193

    from Berry, AL

    Sound advice. You could use a choke cable or bicycle cable for a backup if the electric fails
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  30. chrisp
    Joined: Jan 27, 2007
    Posts: 875


    One sound advise as some other have said. If you go electric always put a hidden cable to be able to open the trunk if for whatever reason it dies.
    Years ago a customer brought a brand new Jag s-type with the trunk that wouldn't release, I had to remove the rear seat, cut the reinforcement behind (and I'm a tiny slim guy) to be able to crawl into the trunk. Turns out the dealership had drop a nut in the trunk lid when they did some work on it and somehow the nut made its way to the latch and got stuck. In that case electric or cable wouldn't help but you never know what can go wrong.
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