Saturday, September 17, 2011

Electric Step Disarm Switch

There are times when you don't want the electric step to automatically open with the door. For instance, when street curbs or other obstructions get in the way. One way to do this is to add a second switch in parallel with the door mag switch, what it does is simply simulates what the door mag switch does. When the new switch is in the disarm position (on), opening the sliding door will have no effect and the electric step remains closed. On the other hand, if the new switch is in the armed position (off) the door switch will react normally and open the electric step.

Fishing the wires where I want the new switch mounted (next to the electric step override switch) is kinda hard. I tried to fish the wires down the door pillar to the mag switch location but could not do it. I read it from Sprinter RV forum that someone was able to splice a wire from under the Roadtrek. I squeezed under the RT, but couldn't find any wires, they were tucked really good. I removed the footwell plastic trim (passenger side) to see if I could route the wires from there, and lucky enough there was a hole opposite to where the mag switch is located. I pulled the door mag switch from the pillar and used a heavy gauge solder wire (can't find a hanger wire when I need it) to fish the wires to the opposite side of the pillar. See pictures below.

UPDATE: I just found out that you can easily access the magnetic switch wires by removing the lower sliding door stabilizer reciever plate. Just make sure to mark the exact position of the reciever plate for reinstallation.

I then run the wires around the passerger side B-pillar, I used a flathead screwdriver to lift the B-pillar plastic cover and was able to squeeze the wires inside. See picture below.

I gently pulled the edge of the door rubber gasket and run the wires up behind it. 

Wires spliced parallel to mag switch wires.

Next, using a Dremel, I made rectangular cutout on the B-pillar plastic trim, just below the original step override switch. ***WARNING*** about an inch and a half below the hole I made, there are 2 large white wires behind the plastic trim. So be careful....

I soldered a short piece of wire (with male connectors at each end) to the switch pins. The switch is tall enough that if you directly connect female connectors to the switch pins it would push against the metal frame when imstalled. The clearance between the B-pillar plastic cover and the frame is only 21-mm., so you need a shorter rocker switch for it to work.

Female pin connectors. 

Electric Step Disarm Switch installed.


  1. It is my understanding that the factory installed switch was to control the step position in the way you have the wired the second switch. I think I may not understand what the factory does. Thanks for explaining to a "newbie".

    1. When you open the sliding door, the step automatically slides open irregardless of factory switch position. What the factory switch does is hold the step open when you close the sliding door. The step only retracts close when the factory switch is off or when you switch the van ignition on. The addition of the second switch will prevent the step from opening, totally disabling it.

  2. What would be problem if the factory switch is on and the step retracts to close if the sliding door is close?

    1. My guess would be a failing switch or loose wiring connection either at the switch or the controller.


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