View original topic: Window Regulator How-To Page: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
mnussbau Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:41 pm

The driverís side window regulator on my í74 sedan was really stiff to roll up, so I removed and cleaned it up. I hadnít seen any photo how-toís of this procedure so I took lots of pictures. Total time excluding the photo-taking was about 3 hours, but the next time will be faster. This was the first time I did this, and fortunately it went better than expected. If anyone has suggestions please feel free and I will update.

1) Remove window crank, door lever, and door handle.

2) Gently pry off the door panel, itís held in by clips all the way around. To get started, take a wide putty knife with masking tape on the end to protect against scratches. Then just use your fingers to pry it off. If itís been on there a long time you may break some clips, but new ones are available.

3) Remove the plastic vapor barrier thatís behind the panel. If thereís no barrier, be sure you install one, just use 3 mil or thicker plastic/poly sheeting cut to size. Itís available at home improvement stores in the paint section (with the drop cloths). Even if thereís an existing sheet in the door, itís probably torn and should be replaced anyway. You can use double-sided tape to hold it on. Use the old sheet or the door panel as a guide to cutting the new sheet.

4) If youíd like to open the door further for more working room, undo the door catch by removing the clip and pin.

5) The bare door.

6) Temporarily put the window handle on (no need to screw it in), then lower the window all the way down. Remove the two bolts that hold the window to the regulator, holding the window so it doesnít fall. All the hex bolts in this procedure come off with a 10 mm socket.

7) Remove the single bolt at the very bottom that holds the regulator to the door. Depending how tight the regulator is against the glass you may choose to remove the glass next (at step 9) or remove additional bolts first (step 8 ).

8 ) Remove the bolt at the top center that hold the regulator to the door, then remove the two bolts holding the crank portion to the door.

9) Carefully lower the window and pull it out through the large opening in the door bottom. You will have to hold the bottom rail of the regulator support away from the glassÖbe very careful not to scratch the glass as you do this. You should wrap a rag around it to protect the glass. I didnít in this photo but wrapped it later when I reinstalled the glass. If you skipped step 8 go back and do it now.

10) That was the easy part! Now you have to remove the regulator. To do that youíll need to move the vent window out of the way, since the bottom of the vent window pillar (the upright) extends down into the door and blocks the regulator from coming out. Using needle nose pliers, pry the felt channel away from the top of the door, just behind the upright. Youíll see a large Phillips screw. Remove it.

11) Remove the bolt holding the lower part of the vent window in place.

12) Carefully pry the top of the vent window toward the back of the car. The entire assembly should tilt backwards. The felt channel will try to block you, force it gently toward the inside of the car while pulling the window backwards and slightly outward. You can completely remove it if you like, but itís not necessary. I pulled mine back around 45 degrees and had plenty of clearance.

By the way, if your vent window turns too easily and closes itself while driving, I believe you can tighten this bolt to tighten it up.

13) Now the regulator should come out fairly easily. Push the window crank into the door and wriggle it free. Hereís a closeup of the sliding portion. Basically, thereís a gear inside the window crank that grabs on to the spirals, which slide inside a circular channel up or down. Very simple.

14) Thereís a crimped section at the bottom that stops the window movement at the bottom. I decided to completely remove the spiral slider and clean it up. Unbend the ends, crank the mechanism down, then pull it out the rest of the way. Hereís what you have.

15) I used brake cleaner and Q-tips to clean out the channel, it was quite filthy and full of crud. I cleaned the slider with brake cleaner and paper towels.

16) When dry, I applied large quantities of white lithium grease inside the channel and on the slider, then slid it back in. Using the window crank, I worked the mechanism back and forth, adding more lithium grease until I was satisfied. Fold the crimps back down.

17) There was very old foam surrounding the top of the regulator, probably to protect the glass from getting scratched. I used some self-sticking foam insulation tape that was lying around to replace the worn out pieces.

18 ) While the door panel is off, do some maintenance. Apply grease to the door mechanism (lever, latch, locking knob, etc). Also, if your felt channels or scrapers are in bad shape, now would be the time to replace them. If the felt piece behind the door rod is missing, install one. Replace any broken or missing door panel clips, along with the rubber grommets on the door skin they pop into.

19) Time for more funÖreinstalling the regulator and glass. Start by shoving the regulator up into the door the way it came out. Line it up temporarily by putting the window crank mechanism into its hole in the door panel, then rest the very bottom of the regulator into its support. Now rotate the vent window back into position, making absolutely sure the top of the regulator is INSIDE the bottom of the vent window upright. You should be able to squeeze your hand or fingers up there to hold the regulator tight against the inner panel as you rotate the vent window back in place. From inside out, youíll have the inner door panel, regulator, window upright, outer door panel. At this point you can put the screws back that hold in the vent window. Give it a good shove toward the front of the door and bolt it in. Check all the rubber and felt around the window channels and replace anything that popped out.

20) Push the felt back in place at the top of the window.

21) Give the window a good cleaning! I wrapped a couple paper towels around the bottom of the regulator to protect the glass, and placed a thick towel on the ground just in case I dropped the glass (fortunately I didnít).

22) Reinstalling the glass was a little tougher than getting it out but not too bad. Pull the bottom of the regulator away from the door and slide the glass up and around it and into the door. Be very careful, donít let it snap back onto the glass! Once you get the glass in, slide it up through the scrapers, aligning the back edge in the felt channel at the back edge of the door. Make sure the window goes up and down freely (again, check the scrapers and felt for interference).

23) Lower the glass by hand so that its top edge is a few inches above the door frame, so its lower edge is visible. Crank the regulator up until the holes line up with the window channel, then loosely install the two bolts. Remove the rag/paper towels from the regulator.

24) Lower the window a bit more. Now make sure the top of the regulator (the vertical part) fits into a recess in the inner door panel, to keep it away from the glass. You can access this fairly easily through the two oval slotted openings at the very top.

25) Making sure that top section is in the recess, loosely install the screws holding the regulator to the door. I did the top center bolt first, then the two at the window crank. The bolt at the very bottom was about a half a hole off, I had to use an awl to line up the holes.

26) Crank the window up and down and check for free operation. Make adjustments as needed, then tighten all the bolts, including the two holding the window to the regulator. Thatís it, youíre done! All that remains is to replace the plastic vapor barrier, then reinstall the door panel, door handle, door lever escutcheon, and window crank. Donít forget to reinstall the large spring behind the window crank, wide side toward the inside of the car. Give the window another cleaning.

27) Enjoy your easy-to-crank up windows!

90quattro20v Sun Dec 28, 2008 8:50 pm

Thanks so much! Nice job. I will definitely be using your writeup this summer for my Super.

Vinnems Mon Dec 29, 2008 1:49 am

mnussbau, thank you so much for this tutorial! A few days ago I posted how my drivers side window was a pain to roll up and down at a certain point, and now I know how to take everything apart. I have a repair manual, but step by step pictures are much more helpful. Thanks again!

Fattie Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:09 am

kudos on the write up/pictures bro

74aus Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:12 am

Terrific tutorial! I've been having a problem with my right window crank assy and the manual I have isn't nearly as detailed as your pics. I think I'll tackle this very soon . . . like today. Many thx.

realbugfanatic Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:17 am

Now that is how to write a tutorial! Awesome.

jhicken Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:06 am

This should be a sticky, nice job.


mnussbau Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:41 am

jhicken wrote: This should be a sticky, nice job.

Thanks. Jeffrey, I credit you and Icy with giving me the inspiration to tackle this!

Wild Bill Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:41 am

Very Nice Detailed article. I Vote ...MAKE IT A STICKY!!!!

Gary Mon Dec 29, 2008 12:05 pm

Outstanding write-up and you did about everything I did when I R&R'd my regulators.

How many times did you scrape a knuckle, finger, and cuss like mad?

Zach Thomas Mon Dec 29, 2008 12:44 pm

Nice job! I recently pulled my driver side door entirely apart 3 times each time installing some piece in the wrong order...not to mention I was pulling the glass out towards to the top of the door :!: Needless to say, thank you!

mnussbau Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:53 pm

Icy wrote: Outstanding write-up and you did about everything I did when I R&R'd my regulators.

How many times did you scrape a knuckle, finger, and cuss like mad?
LOL! In a way I felt blood drawn, no four-letter expletives required. My biggest concern was breaking or scratching the window (I'm a little klutzy sometimes) but had no problems. Before starting, based on what I'd read, I would have rated the difficulty of this job at about 7 out of 10. But it was actually fairly easy, maybe a 3 or 4. I needed 3 hands only when taking the photos! :lol: I'm sure it would have been harder had I replaced all the felt and rubber.

volksbugusa Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:58 pm

great make it look so simple...Thanks Matt

keifernet Tue Dec 30, 2008 8:28 am

Wild Bill wrote: Very Nice Detailed article. I Vote ...MAKE IT A STICKY!!!!

Too many stickies make a mess.... but I did add a link to it in the "Sticky of interesting tech articles".

Wild Bill Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:59 am

keifernet wrote: Wild Bill wrote: Very Nice Detailed article. I Vote ...MAKE IT A STICKY!!!!

Too many stickies make a mess.... but I did add a link to it in the "Sticky of interesting tech articles".

Good Idea!! :wink:

fergy1008 Tue Dec 30, 2008 3:29 pm

I have been wanting to do this to my wifes 73 SB for some time now. Your well thought out tutorial is just what I needed to tackle the job. Very nicely written and the a picture is worth a thousand words. Great, Great Job :D :D :D :D :D :D :D Now I just need a little warmer weather. Thank You for the post.

Wild Bill Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:29 pm

fergy1008 wrote:
Now I just need a little warmer weather. Thank You for the post.

Worked on my bus and bug today...Short sleeve weather..67F..Move to Florida!! lol :wink:

buzzboy Tue Dec 30, 2008 5:50 pm

Thank you. Now I can get rid of my old window crank\/. I've been afraid to try it.

Tron Tue Dec 30, 2008 6:29 pm

This is by far one of the most worthwhile things you can do for your bug.

I did this along with replaced my scrapers and felt. I also ended up dropping my glass onto the garage floor from about 4 feet. Didn't break which is pretty cool.

So be careful with that glass!

PEI Jonny Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:43 pm

Hi everyone, wow what a great tutorial! I was terrified to do this! but now it doesn't seem so bad! one question though...what if I can not roll the window down to get the glass out? has anyone encountered this? my mechanism is broken which means I can't roll the window down, luckily it broke as I was putting up the window, that would've made for a chilly ride home! thanks

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