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2012 Kia Optima
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I know there have been a few previous threads about this, but this guide is the most simple and allows for proximity fade. You can choose to do just your front doors or for all 4 of your doors. This link has pre-wired led door handles in a variety of colors in sets of 2 from Nicemotors in Korea. Genuine Door Handle w Lamp for Smart Key Both Fit Kia Optima 2011 2015 | eBay This is where I got mine and they match my Spicy Red (IY) perfectly.



Let’s get our door handles off first. There is a bolt that has to be loosened (The bolt will not come all the way out). Remove the plastic cover on the inside side of your door to gain access to the bolt.


Now that the bolt is loose, pull on the door handle as if opening the door and it should pull out including the small opposite end of the door handle as seen in the picture below. Now that the small piece is off you can now slide the actual handle off but cannot totally remove it yet as the door handle wiring harness it is still plugged in.


Next we have to remove the door panel. You can watch it on video starting at 48 seconds here: https://youtu.be/w3Yqj95Najo?t=48s
Or some step by step directions and pictures can be found here: http://www.optimaforums.com/forum/64-diy-appearance-body-modifications/75105-install-k5-led-door-handle-plates.html Once the door panel is off, you will want to pull out the rubber grommet circled in blue in the picture below in order to access the door handle wiring harness that is behind it. You can pull off the grommet with your fingers.


With the grommet off, you should be able to see the door handle wiring harness now. You will need to use a long flat screw driver to unclip the harness (Only the front door handles have wiring harnesses) and now you can finally get the door handle off.


Some info about the Korean plug versus the U.S. plug. The physical plug is identical. The Korean ones just have two additional wires located in the middle of the plug. The middle blue wire in the Korean plug is positive and the white middle wire is negative. See next picture for how we are going to wire them.


To wire the door handles correctly so the operate correctly with the proximity fade function, here is what we are going to do. The middle blue wire is positive and needs to be wired to a 12V source that’s “hot” when the lights are on. Each door has at least one wire in which this happens so we’ll find it in the door harness. The white middle wire is negative and will need to be run all the way to the Body Control Module (BCM) which is located above the gas pedal. Make sure you have enough wire length! NOTE: Make sure you leave enough wire length in the door for the glass window to come down.


Insert your door handle loosely and thread all your wire down into the door cavity. You can reconnect the door handle harness to the existing plug with a pair of long handled needle nose pliers or similar tool.


The positive wire (red in my case) can easily be brought in through the lower grommet you see circled in blue here and then tapped in the door harness nearby. Whereas the negative wire (black in my case) needs fed through the door harness and into the cabin of the car.


This is the window door harness. You will want to grab power here (similar on passenger side) which is the thin blue wire shown in the diagram.


I had to “borrow” this picture. You will want to remove the speaker as shown here. This way you can feed the negative wire (black for me) from inside the door where you placed it earlier across the door to the door jam wire bundle. See the wire bundle circled in red? Your black wire will follow that on the inside of the door frame through the rubber boot from the door to the cabin.


While you can choose to drill holes in the plastic wire harness connectors (must on the rear doors), on the front doors I think there is an easier way. You first exit your wire from the rubber wire boot by making a small hole. Right beneath and slightly forward of the door wiring harness is a removable black rubber grommet. You can easily make a small hole in the rubber grommet and squeeze your wire through to the inside of the car. Same on the passenger side.


I had to “borrow” this picture as well. On the driver’s side inside the car, you remove the lower plastic panel and the hood release lever and it should look like this. If you are lucky, pushing the wire through, it’ll come out at the upper red arrow. If you are less than successful (like I am) use a straightened coat hanger (or part of one), and you’ll get that wire inside in no time. (Passenger side is easier as there is less disassembly to access the hole).


“Borrowed” this picture as well. The Body Control Module (BCM) which controls the proximity fade functionality lies just above the gas pedal. You will need to run your negative wire (black for me) to this point. You will do this for each door that you wire for the LED handles.


At the base of the BCM wiring harness you will see a thin yellow wire (as shown in the picture). Your negative wires will need to terminate here on the yellow wire. (Its thicker and darker yellow than the other similar wires and its next to a light blue wire). This is the proximity fade functionality.


Reassemble your door panel (I know, another borrowed picture) and any additional pieces including ensuring your door handle is put back together. Then ensure to connect all wiring harnesses and such.


Test. With the proximity door handles, your result for each door should look like this. Have a beer knowing you completed one of the most difficult mods for our cars.


Video:
 

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2015 Optima
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**** man, you been busy the past couple days.. for a second i was thinking to myself why havent ix seen this diy before... then i seen it was just posted. i like this write up.. excellent job, thanks!
 

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Your K5 Optima Vendor
2017 Tesla Model X
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Very nice work Jason! You have become very good with making DIY's for the community! Thank you for that!

This should make this installation much easier now for members wanting to dive into it.
 

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2012 KIA Optima HYBRID
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Nice one brotha! :thumbsup: All details and pictures we need are all here, Good Job!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
 

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2012 Kia Optima
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96 Posts
Jason,

Great minds think alike! Haha...I just bought these same door handles (but in black and chrome) about 9 days ago. Still waiting on delivery. I must admit, initially I wasn't brave enough to wire up the lights but with this great DIY, I think I might go for it. Thx for doing this!

It looks really good on your car.


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2012 Kia Optima
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Discussion Starter #12
**** man, you been busy the past couple days.. for a second i was thinking to myself why havent ix seen this diy before... then i seen it was just posted. i like this write up.. excellent job, thanks!
Wow. This is nice. Congratulations! Nice Write up! :thumbsup:
AMAZING write up. great detail great info. well done
^^^ + 1, well done Jason.
Nice job Jason
Nice work. Stickied!
Nice one brotha! :thumbsup: All details and pictures we need are all here, Good Job!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Thanks guys. Just pumped this one out and the crank pulley one out and I have two more I am writing that I think you guys will like.
 

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2013 Optima Hybird
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Just installed these handles last weekend from the same ebay source in SWP. They match perfectly. Install was fairly easy. I used same rubber plug to get inside the cabin as well as the same connections for power and ground. Hardest part is getting the connector plugged back in on handle..

I took half the bolts out of the black insert in door and reached my hand up inside to plug connector back in.
 

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so can you do this on both handles front and rear?
 

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2011
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so can you do this on both handles front and rear?
Just to clarify for you Greek, even if you bought the complete set for front and back in the link I provided, only the front handles have led built in and not the rear. The only way to have LEDs for both front and rear, you have to buy 2 sets in order to have the matching led door handles. The only bad thing about that is the rear door handles will have the smart key button which cannot be use and it will just be just for looks. Believe me I already asked lol and they don't sell the rear handles with just the LEDs. The only other option is to modify all 4 door handles with LEDs and call it a day, not an easy mod but definitely doable.


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2012 Kia Optima
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Discussion Starter #16
so can you do this on both handles front and rear?
What Dino said. However if you do decide having the smart key for looks back there is fine with you, the install is pretty much the same except for running the ground wire from the door into the car. There is no rubber plug that exists so you must drill a small hole in the door plastic wiring harness plug and feed in this way. Its a lot more challenging and has a greater chance of error, but it's possible. Thoughts Lou?
 

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2012 Kia Optima
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Discussion Starter #17
Just installed these handles last weekend from the same ebay source in SWP. They match perfectly. Install was fairly easy. I used same rubber plug to get inside the cabin as well as the same connections for power and ground. Hardest part is getting the connector plugged back in on handle..

I took half the bolts out of the black insert in door and reached my hand up inside to plug connector back in.
True, you can indeed go in through the black plastic insert. I was lucky enough to have some long handled needle nose pliers so the plug wasn't really that difficult.
 

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2015 Kia Optima
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I've been an IT System Administrator for 15 years and I know computers/networks backwards and forwards. The funny thing is anything electrical and it's total deer in the headlights. Once I see spliced wires I feel like I'm reading Japanese. I'm completely lost. :)
 

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2011
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I've been an IT System Administrator for 15 years and I know computers/networks backwards and forwards. The funny thing is anything electrical and it's total deer in the headlights. Once I see spliced wires I feel like I'm reading Japanese. I'm completely lost. :)
So what you're saying is that you gotta give this a try right lol :)


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