R53minicooper’s Blog

May 4, 2009

Add an OEM 3-button HomeLink Garage Door Opener For Less Than $20

Filed under: DIY Mods — r53minicooper @ 6:43 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Are you missing having a built in garage door opener? You don’t want to spend $300 or $400 for an after-market mirror that has Homelink built in? Did you see other mods that require a battery or other strange wiring? Are you sick of that big black empty spot in between the sunroof opener and speaker mic on your roof console? It just SCREAMS for some buttons!!!

Here is the completed custom modification:

Look at the color and shape! Looks stock! And that big bright red light that says my garage is going up and some cool buttons that match the clock buttons too! Bonus!


Time required Two hours depending on skill

Difficulty: Medium


1 used OEM Homelink transmitter

Utility or exactor knife

Propane torch

Two six inch long pieces of 16 gauge wire (white and black is best)

Inline wire tape

Angled (skewdriver works best) screwdriver with torx bits or torx set.

Soldering Iron and electronics solder

Various electrical connectors (round)

Multimeter for testing

Drill and/or Rotozip and bits

Krazy Glue


Wire stripper/cutter

  1. Buy an OEM Homelink transmitter off Ebay. You can get beige or grey depending on your interior color. They have black but it is harder to find and I liked the contrast of the gray against the black. My personal opinion. I bought mine for $6.00 plus shipping. I’ve seen them with buy it now prices of $19.99. This is the kind of transmitter you want. Make sure the wiring harness is still attached. The wires will be cut off but that’s fine you are going to replace them. This one probably came out of a ’94 Ford or GM Truck.

  2. Disconnect negative battery lead
  3. Release switch from sunroof finisher.

  4. Remove multiplug.

  5. Open sun guard.

  6. Release cover strip all round from frame.

  7. Unclip front cover strip and remove.
  8. reinstallation: Make sure trim is correctly seated on roofliner and sliding sunroof frame.
  9. After you remove the trim some rubber cubes may pop out or may be wedged up in near the clock. Save them.

  10. Remove the clock buying pulling down
  11. Open the wireless transmitter with by prying up on the two tabs on the side. You’ll notice the gray (or beige if that is the color you got) trim piece is popped into the plastic black box. It will not come off easily. Do not break of the pins holding it in! CAREFULLY take your utility knife and cut enough of the SIDE of the tab so that the gray trim piece and buttons pop out. Make sure to leave the length of snap connector alone. We are going to make plastic rivits with the remaining gray plastic posts that should be sticking up later. Remove the gray trim piece and buttons from the black circuit box.

  12. Remove the wiring harness.
  13. Note there are two wires coming from the harness. White is a positive and Black is a negative. Pull out the old wires carefully from the wiring harness. Insert your new six to eight inch long write and black wires into the harness in the same location that you took out the old wires. You can test your wiring and to see if your used homelink transmitter works buy just connecting them up to your car battery in your trunk (or under your hood if standard cooper) If the light illuminates when a button is pressed it works.

  14. On the loose end of wires on the wiring harness take the black wire and solder on and crimp a round eylet that can be slipped over a bolt in the ceiling of your mini cooper so that you can ground your device. Set the wiring harness aside.
  15. Break this tab off.

  16. Next take the roof trim you removed. This is what the inside looks like before.

  17. Remove all the areas in RED with utility knife. Even though you are removing the plastic once you glue the plastic wiring box in it will be stronger than before.

  18. Carefully test fit the black circuit box with the circuit board removed. Using a pencil mark where buttons and LED light are in correlation to the panel.

  19. Using a drill or rotozip tool remove just enough of the plastic headliner so that the buttons can be seen as well as the LED light from the back side. It does not have to be perfect. It will be covered with the gray trim piece with the buttons. DON’T over cut! Start small with one small hole and keep testing the fit. You are also creating a small square opening for the LED light. Start with a small drilled hole and you can heat the end of flathead screwdriver with your propane torch to “push” and shape some of this area. Here is what you want the bottom to look like approximately.

  20. Completely cover the bottom of the black circuit board case with Krazy Glue as well as the tabs that are inserted under the braket you but out earlier. Then clamp it down. WAIT for it to dry. SEVERAL hours is best if you used a lot of glue.

  21. Insert the rubber buttons and grey trim piece from bottom.

  22. Heat screwdriver with propane torch.

  23. Melt the grey plastics with a screwdriver.

  24. Carefully reinsert circuit board and close plastic cover. Set aside completed parts.

  25. Take your wiring harness and connect the white wire with an inline splice from the clock power lead. Use your multimeter to find the approiate hot wire. I wanted to be able to use my opener with the car off so I connected to a lead that was hot all the time and not connected to the ignition. The choice is yours. You do not need power all the time as the controller has a flash memory. Connect the black (negative) wire to a grounded screw in the roof. There is one all the way towards the front and left a little that is perfect but you need a screwdriver with a torx bit and that can hit it on an angle. Here is the completed harness on the right. The one on the left is for the power roof button.


  26. Take your roof trim piece and thread the roof multiswitch harness through it’s opening and connect the HomeLink to the other harness. Insert those black foam  cubes you saved and place right between garage door opener and roof  of car.  Reverse the disassembly for the roof trim and multiswitch button.
  27. Reconnect battery
  28. Enjoy your new OEM Remote Control!


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