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Old 06-02-2013, 01:55 PM   #1
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Replacing a power window regulator 2005 E-350

In case this info is helpful, I'm archiving it here. It was more work finding out about this situation than it was to actually deal with it, so maybe this will save you some time.

Last week the power window regulator broke on the driver's door of my 2005 E-350 SMB. It was apparently a typical failure mode in that some plastic piece on the regulator assembly breaks which causes the cable to disconnect from one side and then unspool from the drum that is turned by the motor.

There is a guy on youtube who shows you how to fix it better than the original design (he claims and is probably right) using a scrap of sheet metal to replace or reinforce the plastic. Apologies but I can't find his video again. It looked like a good idea, though. He was pretty funny too, talking about the "geniuses" designing this stuff at Ford.

Replacing these regulators is theoretically pretty easy. Taking off the door panel to get to it is a piece of cake.

The hard part is that, at least on the 2005 E-350, the regulator is mostly riveted in. There are rivets total, plus two bolts. 2 of the rivets connect the regulator to the metal piece that holds the glass. They are 1/4" rivets (you can buy the rivets and rivet gun on Amazon, if you're feeling spunky. Here's the rivet gun: http://www.amazon.com/Dorman-743-100.../dp/B0049E4VJO. It's $20. Then another $5-6 for rivets. (You could probably replace the rivets with bolts, but you'd have to be sure that the heads and/or nuts provided the same minimal clearances as the rivets do.)

They are solid core cherry-max style rivets and you have to drive the steel core out with a punch before grinding off the aluminum head of the rivet. That's the part that got me -- I wasn't comfortable driving the core out of a rivet that was attached to the window. I didn't want to risk breaking the glass.

I found that Safelite here in Las Vegas would do the replacement labor for $100 if I provided the part. So that's what I did. Other places wanted more than twice that for the labor. Again, it's a pretty easy job, but people seem to want to rip you off for what is about an hour's work, if you have the tools.

The part is easily available. I was able to purchase a Dorman brand regulator with motor at O'Reilly Auto Parts locally. It was $88 plus tax. You can get the same thing on Amazon for $69 ($75 for the passenger door). (Tip: There are some places that offer the regulator separately and the motor separately. Don't fall for it -- replace them both at the same time with a single assembly.)


It's kind of a hassle when the thing breaks. The glass drops inside the door and you have to disassemble the door to "retrieve" it if you don't want to have an open window all the time until you get a new regulator. (A phillips screwdriver is the only tool you need -- at least on the '05.) Once you get to it and untangle the mangled cable, you need to tape the window into position. This is your big opportunity to use that roll of duct tape that you've been carrying around until it's old and dirty. Just remember it can pull your paint off the frame and/or your tint off the glass so take apparopriate measures (like paper between the tape and the frame -- no idea what to do about the possible damage to the tint film if you have it). I happened to have blue painter's tape available so I used a bunch of that going from one side of the window, over the top of the frame to the other side. But that was after I got home from about an hour away. In the meantime, please accept my report that the air conditioner does not handle keeping the van cool with the driver's window fully open.


I'm currently trying to decide whether to prophylatically replace the passenger side regulator. Is this an "if it ain't broke don't fix it" situation, or is it an "it's already broke only you just don't know it yet" situation? Somebody, maybe it was O'Reilly, actually sells them in pairs (driver and passenger doors' regulators together) so maybe that is an indicator that replacing them in pairs is the best thing. I dunno. If you have thoughts or (especially) experience in this regard, I'd appreciate some feedback.


For the record, there was one old thread on this subject here:
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/vie...t=2977&p=24699
and this is a pretty useful general guide:
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Window_Reg...ment_Explained


If you have the misfortune of having this happen to you, I hope that this post saves you some time and gives you some references for your options for fixing it. If you're spunky about driving rivets attached to glass, you can easily do the job yourself.

.
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Old 07-14-2014, 04:01 PM   #2
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Re: Replacing a power window regulator 2005 E-350

This just happened to me about an hour ago in my 05 E350. Every time I lowered/raised the driver's window, I heard some interference. I thought it was my plug to the speaker since I had replaced the speakers when I got the van a couple months ago. I guess it wasn't the speaker wires, it was something in the regulator or motor that was about to give. Getting some quotes now to replace since I saw that the regulator and window were held in by rivets.
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Old 07-14-2014, 06:39 PM   #3
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Re: Replacing a power window regulator 2005 E-350

5 years ago it was $145 part (9C2Z-1523201-A) and $210 labor at a Ford dealer for me.
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Old 07-15-2014, 05:30 AM   #4
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Re: Replacing a power window regulator 2005 E-350

I'm actually in the auto/truck glass biz so can build a bit on this original thread.....

This is not a common failure on the E-Series for the most part. It does happen from time-to-time especially on the drivers side since its typically used far more often than the passenger side---not really a big shock huh? I've reused salvaged power window regulators with great success however it does seem the earlier ('92 > '00) seem to be the most robust and long-lived of them all.

Rivets can and should be replaced with 3/4" length 1/4-20 hex head bolts and NyLok nuts; readily available, no special tools, cheap too. OEM rivets are somewhat specialized in that they're a "tri-split" type particular to auto glass installation---they create a larger bearing surface than standard mandrel rivets. Because windows and regulators don't require insane clamping forces their strength matches the need perfectly. Save the money for even a cheap rivet gun for something else.

Apart from the metal window attachment removing and installing the regulator is fairly easy---OP described that process well. First step is accessing window, raising it far enough so this metal attaching piece is fairly high up in its travel, just enough to give a clear shot at punching out the rivet's steel mandrels. (This action better supports the glass making it somewhat safer to use a hammer and punch on the rivet mandrels.)

3/16" center punch, steel headed hammer and a couple of sharp raps to the mandrels usually cause them to fall out. The trick to NOT breaking the glass is persistence in repeating the blows without increasing the force---kinda tough to do if you're impatient like I am. Once the mandrels are free use a 1/4" or 9/32" drill straight into the rivet essentially grinding it away through its ID---this is by far the safest way working around the glass itself. Same procedure for the door shell but they're less critical.

Once the glass is free of the regulator raise it fully and use a masking tape or similar run along the outside of the bottom weather strip; half on the glass, half on the weather strip itself. This will keep the glass in place while R&R'ing the regulator. When the new is in and bolted/riveted in place connect it to power and run it up and down at least once. Now raise the regulators horizontal mounting arm about midway in the large door shell opening, carefully remove tape and hold onto the glass, lowering it in place on the mounting arm, secure 1/4"-20 bolts in place, operate window once again up and down several times.

Now is a good time to use a wet type silicone lubricant on the lower glass run channels---this stuff does wonders for preserving AND lubricating these parts. This can be used also on the visible run channels, be sure to clean the excess off with any good window cleaner. And now you're done!

No this isn't particularly a difficult or Phd-level repair but as a DIY project it can result in a broken window. Again its not that common a problem over all but like most similar things when it happens to us its a PITA. After the first time this is infinitely easier although I hope most here never have to endure this particular repair.

Thanks for listening!
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Old 07-15-2014, 08:11 AM   #5
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Re: Replacing a power window regulator 2005 E-350

Thank you for all that info. I wish I had it when I suffered the original failure.

It's also great knowing that the steel core of the rivet is called a mandrel.

Now I'm wondering if the person who did the repair lubed with silicone as you've described.
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Old 07-15-2014, 09:56 AM   #6
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Re: Replacing a power window regulator 2005 E-350

Local shop is charging me $250 for the repair (includes new assembly). Hopefully they get the part in by tomorrow so my van doesn't continue to look like a rigged up hoopty!

I called Safelight and they quoted me $260. The lady did say that the labor is usually $70 for the repair but I didnt ask if I could use my own part. I figured I would have my local shop do it because of the rivet thing.
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Old 07-15-2014, 10:43 AM   #7
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Re: Replacing a power window regulator 2005 E-350

Quote:
Originally Posted by redrock
Thank you for all that info.

Now I'm wondering if the person who did the repair lubed with silicone as you've described.
I'm always happy to help a DIY on something like this. Tough call on the silicone lube but if its omitted there's not a huge downside. I do it so the regulator motor doesn't have to work any harder than absolutely necessary.

One thing I do not mentioned is raise and lower the glass with my fingers because it gives me an idea how much effort is required for that action. I can adjust the lower tracks accordingly and then add the lube.

$250 or so for the complete job sounds fair, the upside being if the glass is broken it all on them!
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:47 PM   #8
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Re: Replacing a power window regulator 2005 E-350

Quote:
Originally Posted by JWA

$250 or so for the complete job sounds fair, the upside being if the glass is broken it all on them!

That was my thought exactly. The whole rivet thing threw the DIY aspect out the window. I could have gotten it done today if I bought the part myself and had them just do the labor, but then I didn't know if they would charge me extra because of the rivet thing if they didnt know about it. Just being patient and hoping the part comes in tomorrow.
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Old 09-30-2015, 06:28 PM   #9
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Re: Replacing a power window regulator 2005 E-350

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatO
5 years ago it was $145 part (9C2Z-1523201-A) and $210 labor at a Ford dealer for me.
My passenger side window regulator has now failed. So I look at as a 100% failure in 11.5 Years. My BMW rear windows did the same thing at about 8 years but at least they failed in place and did not drop into the door when you are out and about. Boy - Ford sure raped me on that repair labor in 2009!
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:02 PM   #10
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I just had the passenger side window regulator / motor fail so I purchased one and installed it but the window goes up slowly (like before). I looks like the previous owner replaced the same parts I just replaced at some point so this is at least the 2nd regulator / motor assembly replacement. Obviously there is an alignment issue, any suggestions on adjustments?
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