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:
and this is a pretty useful general guide:
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.