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Electric windows are great - All the time they work!

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Fitting a new window regulator isn’t a caravan job – unless you happen to be a motor-caravanner. Most door windows these days are operated by the flick of a switch. They’re great – until suddenly they don’t work. Whatever the make of car, they nearly all have the same type of mechanism. See the picture below. ................. The wires rust where they go around the pulleys. ...... Eventually, a wire snaps.


One afternoon at the end of February, just before I was due to return home from Spain, I drove out of the site. I did what many other Brit drivers do. I dropped the passenger window, pushed my phone ‘selfie’ stick through the opening and waved it in front of the barrier control box. Because my electronic opener was fixed in the selfie stick the barrier opened and I drove through. Then I closed the window. But it didn’t work! All I got was graunchy noises from the window motor and no movement of the glass. Instead of going out, I returned to my plot to see what could be done. I quickly realized the electric motor wasn’t going to close the window. By pulling and pushing, I managed to raise the glass to its closed position, but it was just as easy to push down again. With black plastic tape and rubber wedges I got it to look reasonably secure. A local garage quoted me 600 Euros to fix but not until the following week. I would be on my way home by then. It would have to stay as it was.


I got a replacement regulator delivered shortly after getting home but cold, wet weather persuaded me to stay indoors Then for eight weeks a surgical procedure put my left hand out of use, so only now have I got around to doing the job.


This is how to put it right. First to remove are the plastic trims around door pulls and arm rest. They can be gently prized off with a small screwdriver, but take care – they are fragile. Beneath the trims are the screws which hold the arm rest on. Next to remove is the inner door card, held by ten or so plastic fittings which push into drilled holes. The plastic fasteners inevitably snap as the card is levered off, so it’s as well to order replacements. Usually the supplier of the regulator offers plastic fasteners of the correct type for your car. Fixed to the inside of the door, under the door lining is a damp barrier which has to be taken off. If you use a suitable knife to cut the adhesive the sheet can be reused. Inside the door there are several electric connectors for the lift motor, the door mirror, the window switch, foot-well lighting, the central locking and radio speaker. All need to be disconnected. At this point it’s as well to remove the speaker. Mine was held in with pop-rivets which I drilled out. It’s sometimes suggested that the window glass should be removed from the door completely but I lifted mine by hand to it’s top position, then secured it with duct tape. But before doing that, the two screws holding the lift sliders to the glass should be taken out. The regulator rails and motor are held by six screws. They need to be removed and the guide rails and motor manoeuvred out of the door cavity. The lift motor is bolted to one arm of the regulator. Three screws are removed and the motor comes away from the regulator. Broken lengths of wire and springs may have fallen to the bottom of the door cavity. They too should be removed.


Whilst doing this job it’s advisable to wear nitrile or latex gloves. Not only is the regulator very greasy but the edges of the inner door are unbelievably sharp.


The motor spindle is fitted into the new winding drum and the holding bolts tightened. If not already done, coat the wires with as much grease as is possible, then manoeuvre the unit into the door and loosely replace the four torx screws. Temporarily reconnect the motor wiring so that the lift motor can be parked in a suitable position so as to allow the glass to be attached to carriers. When they are in such a position, the glass can be slowly slid down and the window secured to the sliders. With the screws tightened and the motor reconnected, the window should be closed and the two top regulator screws tightened. Leaving them loose allows the rails to adjust to a suitable position. Now open the window fully and tighten the bottom two screws. Check that the lift mechanism is working correctly. If it closes, then re-opens, the ecu needs to be reprogrammed. On my car it’s simply done by holding the switch in the closed position for ten seconds. All the electrical connections can be remade and it’s as well to test each function before proceeding further. If everything is correct, the membrane can be replaced and the door card refitted.


Since it was a first time for this job it took me two leisurely mornings – (by 11. 30 the sun had got around and it was too hot to carry on) The Spanish garage wanted to charge me €600. Maybe they quoted for a new motor. I don’t know what an English garage would have charged, but total cost to me was 40 quid so I was well pleased with the outcome.


P1020054.JPG.95c793a3d4fe483e5ff7ddf2cd7a587f.JPG New regulator


The new regulator fitted inside the door cavity.


The plastic membrane replaced prior to refitting the door card


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