2Gen Toyota 4Runner Rear Window Internal Switch

Please note: The following text and photos are provided as documentation of modifications that were made to my own 1995 Toyota 4Runner.  This article is not intended to suggest that anyone else should add this modification to any vehicle, nor is it intended to be comprehensive instruction.  The owner of this website, and it's contributors and editors cannot be held responsible for any damage done to any persons or property due to modifications as shown herein. If you wish to perform or install such modifications as illustrated on this website, you must do so at your own risk.


My wife and I found ourselves sleeping more and more often in the back of the 4Runner.  Being 6'6" tall I prefer a tent, but in inclement weather or on very rocky surfaces tenting can be a less comfortable option.  So a friend and sleeping-platform-in-your-truck expert (ZR2Steve) suggested we finally work on a better solution than just sleeping between the wheel wells.  But to make this an option that we would use regularly we had to have a convenient way for getting in and out of the truck through the rear gate.

On the 2Gen 4Runners the rear gate can only be opened once the electric rear window has been moved all the way down.  There are two ways to move the window on the stock 4Runner:

        (1) With the key in the ignition and turned to supply power the switch behind the gear shifter can be used

        (2) Inserting the key in the lock in the rear gate and turning it will move the window

After a little research of the wiring for all the components in the rear gate we decided that it would be the easiest to splice some wires into the wires coming from the key switch in the gate.  The following documents the switch installation on my 2nd generation '95 4Runner.  We did not think much about documenting while we were doing the work and therefore don't have pictures of everything. 

Tools, Parts/Materials, Cost:

- couple sizes of Phillips screw drivers
- power drill (bit size depends on switch size)
- wire stripper
- wire cutter
- crimp tool

Parts & Materials:
momentary SPDT (Single Pole, Double Throw) switch
- wire
- electrical tape
- split loom
- zip ties
- crimp wire connectors (for splicing into existing wire harness; for connection to switch)
- drop of paint

Cost for parts:
~ $15 (mainly for switch)


Note: click on pictures to see larger versions

Step 1

This is a view of the rear gate interior before the installation.  The carpeted board is easily removed by gently lifting the edges and pulling the little plastic fasteners out of their holes

Step 2

Once the carpeted board is removed (note the little yellow fasteners on the board on the left side of the picture) a number of screws are revealed.

To proceed with the installation the black metal plate has to be removed.  This plate is held in place by five screws (white arrows).

The six screws (yellow arrows) holding the plastic cover for the top edge of the gate were removed at the same time.

Step 3

Before the plastic cover can be removed the latch and lock have to be removed.  The latch is held in place by two screws (yellow arrows).  Both the latch and the lock are connected to the locking mechanism in the gate via metal rods.  Once the rods are unhooked (see location on this picture), the latch and lock can be removed.

We drilled a hole for the new switch in the plastic cover before removing the latch.


Step 4

Now that everything is in the open it's time to roll the window out of the gate.  Simply sticking the key in the lock and turning it does not work here, all one gets is a beeping sound. The reason for this is that there is a safety interlock that prevents the window from moving when the gate is open.  Closing the latches on both sides of the gate (see pictures on left for open/closed position) will take care of this issue and can be done by moving the lock with a screw driver.

Once the locks are closed the window can be moved out.  We did this very carefully not to push the window too far.  We also moved carefully once the window was out in order not to damage the glass. 

Step 5

With the window moved out of the gate almost completely the key switch is accessible.  The switch is connected to a wiring harness via a connector. 



Step 6

We spliced some wires into the wiring harness right before the connector to the key switch.  At the time we only had one color of wire so we carefully marked the wires to keep track of  them.  There are three wires total with the following coloring scheme (in this vehicle):

Common:  White with black strip

Up: Green with red strip

Down: Green with yellow strip

Once we had the wires connected securely we applied some electrical tape and
put everything in split loom. We then carefully routed the new wire harness outside of the window guide rails and away from the locking mechanism on the side of the gate to the latch at the top of the gate.

We were able to hide the wires inside some hollow spaces and where ever it was in the open we applied zip ties to keep it out of the way of any moving parts in the gate.

Step 7

We used a momentary SPDT (Single Pole, Double Throw) switch similar in design to the one on the left.  The switch has to be held in position in order to make contact and move the window.  Once released it always returns to it's neutral position.

Step 8

The picture on the left shows the internals of the gate with the window fully moved into the gate.  When ever we could we tried to work with the window securely inside the gate to avoid any possibility of damage. We also opened the latches (see Step 4) when the window was inside the gate to avoid any unintended moving of the window.

To drill the hole for the switch we placed a piece of wood between the glass and metal so that when the drill would push through we would not damage the window.

The switch is held in place by a little nut which we secured with some paint to prevent it from loosening due to vibrations.

Step 9

With everything wired up and secured we moved the window up and down to make sure none of our additions interfered with any moving parts in the gate.  Once we were satisfied that things were secure we replaced all the parts we had removed.  Before closing the gate it is a good idea to make sure that the latches on the side of the gate (see Step 4) are open.

This picture shows the final result.  The switch is well protected from any moving cargo while it is still easily operated to move the window.


The installation was quite straight forward and it was rather easy to figure out how to take things apart.  Care must be taken though to not damage the window during the drilling or while it is fully extended out of the gate.

Thanks to ZR2Steve for taking the lead on this installation!

 Questions or Comments? Email: contact at whitethaiger dot net

Date: 03/17/2006