Replacing an Electric Window Regulator




Introduction: Replacing an Electric Window Regulator

The electric windows on my truck stopped working several years ago. The motor on the driver's side stopped responding (glad it was up at the time) and the passenger's side window got stuck and the gears stripped out. The only time I needed the windows to go down was when I went to the drive-thru, so I just opened the door and pretended I was driving a Jeep. Well, there was a couple of years where the a/c quit too, but I managed to survive.

Everything changed at the last inspection. I made the mistake of going to a different shop and they insisted that windows must work in order to pass inspection. I realized fixing the windows was cheaper than a new truck. 

A new Instructable was born.

For those wondering, the truck is a 1994 Mazda B-3000. It's the same thing as a Ford Ranger.

Step 1: Tools Required

The first step is to gather some tools: 
  • A drill for drilling out the rivets
  • A couple of screwdrivers (flat and phillips)
  • Some tape
  • Pliers
  • A hammer and a punch
  • A socket wrench and box wrench
  • And a magnetic retrieval tool (you WILL drop some screws into the door)
You will also need some parts:
  • A window regulator (or two)
  • A pop-rivet gun and some rivets (a note - I couldn't find one with large enough rivets, so I bought some bolts and nuts)
  • Bolts/nuts if you can't find a pop-rivet gun big enough
  • Some lubricant

Step 2: Taking the Door Apart

Since you are working on electrical stuff, disconnect the battery so you don't zap yourself or accidentally operate a motor and squish some fingers.

Before you get started, use the tape to hold the window in place. A single piece at the top of the window and over the top of the door should do the trick. You may have to clean your window to get it to stick....

The main door panel is held on with a couple of screws and a bunch of clips. Find the screws and take them out. GENTLY pull on the door panel parts straight out to unclip them. If you are working on a truck like mine, the door handle and controls are on a sub-assembly with clips at the top and tabs at the bottom. Be careful when pulling so that you don't break the tabs. This panel also has a few electrical connections which must be disconnected. Use a flat-head screw driver to lift the clip then gently pull them apart. If the connector won't come loose, you may be able to pop the control out of the panel. This was necessary for the door lock rocker on my truck.

Once the door panel is out of the way, there may be a weatherproofing membrane that needs to be removed. Be careful pulling it off the door. The adhesive is sticky and the membrane may tear.

Step 3: Remove the Window Regulator

The window regulator is a motor attached to an arm. The motor spins, the arm moves, the end of the arm pushes on the bottom of the window and it goes up. In order to resist the torque from this assembly, the whole thing is riveted to the door. These rivets must go!

Removing a rivet is fairly simple. You will have to select a drill bit which is large enough to drill out the center of the rivet but not large enough to bite into the metal of the door. Use the drill to remove the center of the rivet, then use a screwdriver as a chisel to knock out the rest.

Once all of the rivets are removed (there were four of them on my truck), wiggle the regulator out of the door opening. It may be necessary to remove the tape and let the window down part-way to get the slide on the end of the arm out of the track.

Step 4: Putting in the New Regulator

Compare the new regulator to the old one and make sure you bought the right part. Take note of the rivet holes. The must line up properly with the door.

If you are not using a rivet gun, now is a good time to insert the screws into the regulator. Place them so the screw goes through the regulator then through the door frame. It's much easier to place a nut on a bolt outside the door than it is to reach inside the door and place a nut on the bolt by feel. A small piece of tape over the head of the bolt will keep it in place while the regulator is placed in the door.

An important note - there may be a bolt hole behind the regulator arm which is really difficult to reach. Keep working at it, you will prevail.

Once all of the bolts are in place, maneuver the regulator into the door. Make sure the slide engages with the track and line up the bolts with the holes in the door. The arm may need to be operated or the window height adjusted to get everything to line up. The magnetic pickup can be handy when trying to guide the bolts through the door. It's also a good idea to put a nut on each bolt as it comes through the door. It's really easy to have one slide back through as you try to wiggle things into place.

Once the bolts are in place, use the socket and wrench to tighten them.

Lubricate the slide with some general-purpose grease before trying to operate the window.

Next, reconnect all of the electrical connections, then reconnect the battery and test the window before putting the door back together. Once everything is tested and working, reverse the steps to put the door back together!

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