How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door. - Maintenance and Repair Forum

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How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Monday, September 03, 2007 2:44 PM
How to diagnose a broken power window motor.
When a power window motor fails, normally it doesnít stop working altogether. It weakens. The window may go up or down part way and then stop. And then if you wait for several seconds, it may go up or down part way again, and then stop. If you help the motor by grabbing the window with your hand, you may be able to get the window to go up or down all the way (which may be helpful until you can get around to repairing it).

How to replace a power window motor:
Instructions (and photos) are based on my 1996 Cavalier 2-door convertible coupe but are probably applicable to all Cavaliers of that generation.

Disclaimer: I offer these instructions to be helpful, as I have benefited from others who have posted instructions. I don't guarantee the accuracy of these instructions, nor your results should you choose to follow them. Personal or property injury could result from follwing these instructions. Be careful. And if you don't feel comfortable doing this kind of work, please hire a trained professional to replace your power window motors.

This job should take about 3-4 hours depending on how lucky you get removing bolts and rivets.
1) Lower the window all the way. You may need to grab the window pane and push it down while powering it down because the motor is broken (but probably has some weak functionality).
2) Remove the 4 (black) screws from bottom of door and the two that are in the handle of the arm rest.
3) Remove the single screw from inside (triangular shaped plastic piece) interior of side-view mirror where the adjustment lever is located.
4) Remove interior door cover by pulling lower part away from door. Once all of the push-on clips are detached, lift the cover up vertically off the lip of the window sill. You may have to tap it with the palm of your hand to get it off the clips. Then remove power lock plug to completely remove interior door cover.
5) Disconnect all of the electrical connectors, except the one on the power window motor.
6) Remove the in-door speaker by removing the four screws and unclipping the wiring connector.
7) Peel back the plastic sheet of translucent covering inside the door. Try to leave all the sticky putty on the plastic, not the door. Fold it up and tape it to the door in the center middle, out of the way of where youíll be working.
8) Raise the window so that the bottom of the window is located about halfway through the speaker opening. You may need to grab the window pane and pull it up to assist the ďbrokenĒ motor.
9) Remove the black limiter clip and bolt on lower front corner of the window pane (inside the speaker hole). You need to do this so that you can remove the window, otherwise it gets caught on the front height limiter. Removing this clip may be difficult. The interior-facing side is a 10mm hex nut. The exterior facing side is a T-30 torx bolt. It can be very difficult to securely hold the torx side because of the close quarters. If you have some kind of a torx ratchet, that would be great. The first time that I removed one, I used a torx bit that I held with a vice grip. This isnít the safest, securest thing in the world, but it worked. The second time I used a Torx bit on a ratcheting offset screwdriver. I wrapped the torx bit in tape to keep it from falling out of the screwdriver. When I replaced the torx head bolt, I used a hex head bolt so that it will be easy to remove a wrench and a ratchet the next time that the motor breaks.
10) There are two other bolts on the bottom of the window pane (at the white clips) that hold the window to the assembly. Remove those bolts. You may have to raise or lower the window a bit in order to get the front one to appear in the hole in the door.
11) Mark the location of, and remove the (gold) clips from the top of the door (window sill). You really only need to remove the ones that get hung up on the clips when you remove the window pane.
12) Use a 3mm Allen wrench to loosen the window pad tension adjusters that are located at the top of the window sill. Turning 5 revolutions should be enough. Remember (write down) the number of revolutions so that you can set it back to where it was when you reassemble the window.
13) Loosen the bolt at the top rear of the door. (See where my finger is pointing in the attached photo.) That bolt holds the window track in place. If you donít loosen it, you will break the plastic piece on the window that fits around that track.
14) Undo the 10mm bolt INSIDE the door that holds the rear height limiter on the track. You will need to adjust the window until the nut appears in the hole (as shown in picture). There is a hole in the door (toward the back center) through which you can insert a long socket wrench and undo this bolt. The limiter will fall off the track when you undo the bolt. You may want to make note of how it goes back in place. (Note that if you have a convertible with a driver-side window that doesnít seal properly, you may want to take this opportunity to solve that problem by removing the plastic limiter, drilling two new holes just below the existing ones, and replacing the plastic limiter to the new holes. See my other post on this subject.)
15) Firmly grab the window pane and slowly, carefully, gently lift it upwards to remove it, taking care not to break the plastic clips on the bottom rear corner or the two black clips that are on the front edge of the window. Look down the slot and gently wiggle when you get to the top. Take your time. Donít let the window drop to the bottom of the track or it may become very difficult to get the bushings back in the track for removal. You may want to have an assistant help you. Put the window somewhere safe.
16) Remove the electrical connector on the power window motor.
17) Drill out the two small rivets on the bracket that is attached to the top of the power window motor. (But donít remove the rivet that holds the bracket to the door). I found that a 3/8Ē drill worked well to grind out the rivets, followed by a hammer and punch to remove them. You may need to chisel out the remaining rim of the rivets with a cold chisel.
18)Drill out the 4 rivets that hold the motor and assembly to the door. One of the rivets is difficult to see since it is located just below the door ďhandleĒ. You will need to remove the motor and assembly, which are riveted together. (Later, after itís removed, youíll have to secure the spring loaded sector gear and remove the rivets holding the motor to the assembly but donít worry about that now.) The instructions that came with the replacement motor said to use a ľĒ drill to remove the rivets, but I found that itís easier to remove the rivets with a large, sharp drill, being very careful to stay on center, and especially being careful not to go so far down that you drill a big hole in the door (since youíre using a big drill bit rather than a ľĒ drill bit. You may need to use a punch and hammer in order to push the center through after you drilled it. You may also need a cold chisel and hammer to remove the remnants of the rivets. If the rivets start spinning (and thereby thwarting drilling) you may want to try holding the drill at different angles. It can be difficult. You may ultimately need to carefully grind them off. But donít damage the door or the holes in the door.
19) Remove the two (black) bolts that hold either end of the assembly bar that spans the large rear hole in the door. The motor and assembly should now fall off. Be careful when it falls.
20) Remove the motor and assembly by collapsing it and carefully sliding it back through the large door opening. Note its appearance and keep it from extending so far that you canít remember how itís supposed to look when itís in place.
21) Put the window regulator assembly on a workbench.
22) Drill a (roughly) 1/8Ē hole through the regulator back plate and right through the balck sector gear. Put a bolt through the hole and secure it tightly with a nut so that the spring-loaded sector gear canít move and come unsprung. If you donít do this, then when you remove the motor, the spring will unwind, which will result in ruining the assembly, and which could result in injury.
23) Drill out and remove the rivets that hold the motor to the regulator plate. Note (and/or mark with a marker) which rivet holes on the motor were drilled out so that you can easily put the new one on.
24) The replacement motor will be riveted together and some of those rivets MAY (or may not) actually fill holes that you need to attach the motor to the regulator assembly. The replacement motors donít seem to be consistently riveted together using the same holes. Depending on where the motor is riveted together, you may need to remove some of the rivets that hold the motor together so that you can use those holes to rivet the motor to the regulator back plate. But if you do need to remove rivets from the motor then you should probably first rivet or bolt the motor securely together (using one of the empty holes) so that it doesnít fall apart.
25) Bolt the replacement motor onto the regulator back plate, making sure to use the same holes that were originally used to rivet it on in the first place. Use lock washers and nuts.
26) When youíre sure that the motor is securely bolted in place, with the drive gear firmly holding the sector gear, remove the bolt from the 1/8Ē hole that you used to secure the sector gear to the regulator back plate.
27) You will need to put the motor and assembly back into the door, but first you should get some #12 x ĹĒ bolts that will fit into the holes that were used to rivet the assembly to the door. For the TWO holes that are above the sector gear, you will need to use two relatively thin (and just long enough) hex head bolts. They need to be relatively thin and just long enough because youíll basically need to finagle the bolts past the sector gear and through the hole, and so theyíll need some wiggle room (which you wonít have if the bolts perfectly fill the size of the hole). Those bolts will then go through the hole in the car door and youíll end up putting nuts on the passenger-compartment side of the door. I found that itís best to put a small lock washer onto the bolt before threading the bolt through the assembly. It helps keep the bolt from turning when you tighten the nut so that you may not even need to put a wrench on the bolt (which is a bit tough to do.) And then use another lock washer (the type that looks like a ring with teeth on the inside) thatís JUST big enough to SCREW onto the bolt. This second lock washer will hold the bolt in place as you slide the assembly back into the door and then line up the bolts with the door holes. Alternatively you could use those push-on washers that keep bolts from slipping back through a hole.
28) Youíll also need two small bolts to reattach the bracket to the top of the motor. (I canít remember the size but maybe 1/8Ē in diameter by ľĒ long. These holes are actually square so if you use the right size lag bolt you donít even need a wrench on the back side.) You should also have lock washers for all of these nuts & bolts.
29) Remove the cap from the old motor and put it on the new motor. Iím not sure that you need to do this but I assume it helps keep dust out of the motor.
30) Carefully push the motor and assembly back into the door, being careful to line up bolts with the holes (and careful not to knock the bolts loose that you attached to the assembly with lock washers).
31) Put lock washers and nuts on those bolts, hand tight.
32) Tighten all nuts and bolts, preferably with a ratchet on the outside of the door, and a crescent wrench (if needed) on the inside of the door.
33) Reattach the bolts that held the assembly cross bar to the door.
34) Reattach the wiring harness for the motor, turn the ignition part way (to enable the power windows), and test the window. (Hopefully it works. They worked perfectly every time that I replaced them.) Then return the assembly to the same position so that the bottom of the window pane will be about halfway through the speaker hole. Turn the key off.
35) Get an assistant, then grab the window pane and carefully feed it back down the door, and through the front an rear tracks. You will probably need two hands on the window pane, while your assistant carefully helps move the rubber seals out of the way. Youíll have to be careful not to knock-off or break any of the plastic parts which are attached to the window pane, especially the two in the front that slip inside the track.
36) Make sure that window pane rests in the base assembly and that itís properly in the tracks.
37) Bolt the window pane to the base of the assembly.
38) Re-tighten the bolt that holds the rear window track.
39) Re-tighten the window tension pads on the window sill with an Allen wrench.
40) Reattach the black clip to the bottom front corner of the window.
41) Reattach the (gold colored) height regulator that attaches to the rear window track. (Probably at its lowest setting.) You may need to adjust the window up a bit in order to install it.
42) Recheck that the power window works properly.
43) Reattach the electrical harnesses, reapply the plastic sheeting, and reassemble the door in reverse order as the initial instructions.
44) Make sure to return the old motor to the auto parts store to get your core rebate.










Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Monday, September 03, 2007 10:23 PM
holy crap dude this is really good! it seems to me like this is sticky material, only thing i couldnt find is the actual diagnosis of the motor. you stated what some symptoms are but never properly diagnosed it, but other than that you did a really good job.





Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 12:56 PM
awesome
this deserves a sticky



Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 2:26 PM
Author's note: I don't know if there's a "proper" way to diagnose a failing motor other than seeing it exhibit the symptoms that I describe in my post. I've had three different motors fail (on two different cars), and they all exhibited the exact same symptoms. When my first motor failed, I thought that it might be a bad switch or a bad regulator joint or something, because the window would work part of the way and then stop. (And then several seconds later it would work part of the way and stop.) I thought that if the motor failed, it just wouldn't work at all. But that's not the case. So I included failure symptoms in the "How to diagnose..." section, in hopes that it would help others diagnose the problem. There may be some way to run an electrical test on the motor, but I'd say that if you're seeing the aforementioned symptoms, then there's a 99% chance you need to replace the power-window motor.

In case it helps, perhaps I should note that my power-window motors failed after about 10 years (driver-side) and 11 years (passenger side of one car). We have Cavalier convertibles and live in northern California (nice weather most of the year) so we may use our power windows more than average, consequently burning them out quicker. They're DC motors (with brushes) so the brushes wear down with usage, not with time.

Thanks for the positive feedback. I hope my post helps others as much as other peoples' posts (about removing the center console and replacing the blower resitor, etc) have helped me. Just trying to give back to the community!

Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008 4:59 PM
wow thanks for this thread! my 04 motor failed this fall and i am just getting around to replacing it. what a pain in the a$$. my car is not that old why did it go so fast. and i have a co-worker that had to do it on his wifes 04 sun fire passenger side like mine. they went within the same week too! when i put it together i cleaned and re-lubed the slides also just to make sure that it lasts.


see ya!

Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008 5:42 AM
i wanted to know how long did it take you to take replace the motor time frame wise. i need to change out all my 4 motors.

thanks.


~1996 Cavalier LS 2.4L (auto)

Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008 5:50 AM
im sorry i just read it: "This job should take about 3-4 hours depending on how lucky you get removing bolts and rivets."


~1996 Cavalier LS 2.4L (auto)

Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Monday, June 16, 2008 4:01 PM
Very nice write-up!




Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Friday, June 27, 2008 12:14 AM
Author's addendum: Information about how to diagnose and repair or replace a power window switch is here. It includes information on how to determine whether the problem is your motor or your switch.
Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008 10:38 AM
question, my motor goes down really normal and fast, but its going up that is slow and after while you can push button again and it moves up 1/2" and then press button later untill it finally goes all the way up.

could this be i just need to lubricate it? its just werid how it goes down fast but not up.


~1996 Cavalier LS 2.4L (auto)

Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Monday, July 07, 2008 6:13 AM
Letxen3 wrote:

question, my motor goes down really normal and fast, but its going up that is slow and after while you can push button again and it moves up 1/2" and then press button later untill it finally goes all the way up.

could this be i just need to lubricate it? its just werid how it goes down fast but not up.


I'm new here (first post), and I'm having the same problem on my wife's 2004 Cavalier 4-door. The driver's door window goes down just fine but gets stuck when going up. Waiting a couple seconds usually enables it to go up the rest of the way.

I'd really like to know if there's something else I can try before tearing into replacing the window motor. I can't imagine that a 4-year-old motor would crap out already...

2004 Cavalier ("Chloe")

Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Monday, July 07, 2008 7:39 AM
Vinny Illi wrote:

Letxen3 wrote:

question, my motor goes down really normal and fast, but its going up that is slow and after while you can push button again and it moves up 1/2" and then press button later untill it finally goes all the way up.

could this be i just need to lubricate it? its just werid how it goes down fast but not up.


I'm new here (first post), and I'm having the same problem on my wife's 2004 Cavalier 4-door. The driver's door window goes down just fine but gets stuck when going up. Waiting a couple seconds usually enables it to go up the rest of the way.

I'd really like to know if there's something else I can try before tearing into replacing the window motor. I can't imagine that a 4-year-old motor would crap out already...


these cars are known for crappy window motors. seriously crappy. from your symptoms, it's a classic motor problem.

the motor works by way of temperature (the easiest way to explain it). it knows when to stop when a certain part inside warms up (meaning heavy load/excess current draw). when the motor starts failing, it will heat up, thus stopping short of pushing the window all the way up.



Desert Tuners

ďWhen you come across a big kettle of crazy, itís best not to stir it.Ē


Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Monday, July 07, 2008 9:11 AM
FReQ Z (ikE-Zed) wrote:



these cars are known for crappy window motors. seriously crappy. from your symptoms, it's a classic motor problem.

the motor works by way of temperature (the easiest way to explain it). it knows when to stop when a certain part inside warms up (meaning heavy load/excess current draw). when the motor starts failing, it will heat up, thus stopping short of pushing the window all the way up.


Thanks for the reply. That's what I was afraid of.

Who designed these motors and doors? They should be beaten over the head with a large dead trout. I'm really not looking forward to the whole drilling-out-rivets-and-replacing-them-with-bolts thing. But I guess I'll have to suck it up, because I sure as heck can't afford to pay a mechanic 3-4 hours of labor do to it!


2004 Cavalier ("Chloe")
Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Monday, July 07, 2008 10:09 AM
same here


~1996 Cavalier LS 2.4L (auto)

Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008 4:51 PM
I'll be using this guide when I pick up an actuator this weekend...

Looks plenty specific. Thanks to you Dave, backyard mechanics like me can save hundreds in labour.


Nope.
Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Sunday, August 03, 2008 12:41 AM
I just replaced my drivers side motor and for some reason it will not go all the way down. Any reason what could cause this?
Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Thursday, January 21, 2010 4:02 PM
RazzMaTazz wrote:

How to diagnose a broken power window motor.
When a power window motor fails, normally it doesnít stop working altogether. It weakens. The window may go up or down part way and then stop. And then if you wait for several seconds, it may go up or down part way again, and then stop. If you help the motor by grabbing the window with your hand, you may be able to get the window to go up or down all the way (which may be helpful until you can get around to repairing it).

How to replace a power window motor:
Instructions (and photos) are based on my 1996 Cavalier 2-door convertible coupe but are probably applicable to all Cavaliers of that generation.

Disclaimer: I offer these instructions to be helpful, as I have benefited from others who have posted instructions. I don't guarantee the accuracy of these instructions, nor your results should you choose to follow them. Personal or property injury could result from follwing these instructions. Be careful. And if you don't feel comfortable doing this kind of work, please hire a trained professional to replace your power window motors.

This job should take about 3-4 hours depending on how lucky you get removing bolts and rivets.
1) Lower the window all the way. You may need to grab the window pane and push it down while powering it down because the motor is broken (but probably has some weak functionality).
2) Remove the 4 (black) screws from bottom of door and the two that are in the handle of the arm rest.
3) Remove the single screw from inside (triangular shaped plastic piece) interior of side-view mirror where the adjustment lever is located.
4) Remove interior door cover by pulling lower part away from door. Once all of the push-on clips are detached, lift the cover up vertically off the lip of the window sill. You may have to tap it with the palm of your hand to get it off the clips. Then remove power lock plug to completely remove interior door cover.
5) Disconnect all of the electrical connectors, except the one on the power window motor.
6) Remove the in-door speaker by removing the four screws and unclipping the wiring connector.
7) Peel back the plastic sheet of translucent covering inside the door. Try to leave all the sticky putty on the plastic, not the door. Fold it up and tape it to the door in the center middle, out of the way of where youíll be working.
8) Raise the window so that the bottom of the window is located about halfway through the speaker opening. You may need to grab the window pane and pull it up to assist the ďbrokenĒ motor.
9) Remove the black limiter clip and bolt on lower front corner of the window pane (inside the speaker hole). You need to do this so that you can remove the window, otherwise it gets caught on the front height limiter. Removing this clip may be difficult. The interior-facing side is a 10mm hex nut. The exterior facing side is a T-30 torx bolt. It can be very difficult to securely hold the torx side because of the close quarters. If you have some kind of a torx ratchet, that would be great. The first time that I removed one, I used a torx bit that I held with a vice grip. This isnít the safest, securest thing in the world, but it worked. The second time I used a Torx bit on a ratcheting offset screwdriver. I wrapped the torx bit in tape to keep it from falling out of the screwdriver. When I replaced the torx head bolt, I used a hex head bolt so that it will be easy to remove a wrench and a ratchet the next time that the motor breaks.
10) There are two other bolts on the bottom of the window pane (at the white clips) that hold the window to the assembly. Remove those bolts. You may have to raise or lower the window a bit in order to get the front one to appear in the hole in the door.
11) Mark the location of, and remove the (gold) clips from the top of the door (window sill). You really only need to remove the ones that get hung up on the clips when you remove the window pane.
12) Use a 3mm Allen wrench to loosen the window pad tension adjusters that are located at the top of the window sill. Turning 5 revolutions should be enough. Remember (write down) the number of revolutions so that you can set it back to where it was when you reassemble the window.
13) Loosen the bolt at the top rear of the door. (See where my finger is pointing in the attached photo.) That bolt holds the window track in place. If you donít loosen it, you will break the plastic piece on the window that fits around that track.
14) Undo the 10mm bolt INSIDE the door that holds the rear height limiter on the track. You will need to adjust the window until the nut appears in the hole (as shown in picture). There is a hole in the door (toward the back center) through which you can insert a long socket wrench and undo this bolt. The limiter will fall off the track when you undo the bolt. You may want to make note of how it goes back in place. (Note that if you have a convertible with a driver-side window that doesnít seal properly, you may want to take this opportunity to solve that problem by removing the plastic limiter, drilling two new holes just below the existing ones, and replacing the plastic limiter to the new holes. See my other post on this subject.)
15) Firmly grab the window pane and slowly, carefully, gently lift it upwards to remove it, taking care not to break the plastic clips on the bottom rear corner or the two black clips that are on the front edge of the window. Look down the slot and gently wiggle when you get to the top. Take your time. Donít let the window drop to the bottom of the track or it may become very difficult to get the bushings back in the track for removal. You may want to have an assistant help you. Put the window somewhere safe.
16) Remove the electrical connector on the power window motor.
17) Drill out the two small rivets on the bracket that is attached to the top of the power window motor. (But donít remove the rivet that holds the bracket to the door). I found that a 3/8Ē drill worked well to grind out the rivets, followed by a hammer and punch to remove them. You may need to chisel out the remaining rim of the rivets with a cold chisel.
18)Drill out the 4 rivets that hold the motor and assembly to the door. One of the rivets is difficult to see since it is located just below the door ďhandleĒ. You will need to remove the motor and assembly, which are riveted together. (Later, after itís removed, youíll have to secure the spring loaded sector gear and remove the rivets holding the motor to the assembly but donít worry about that now.) The instructions that came with the replacement motor said to use a ľĒ drill to remove the rivets, but I found that itís easier to remove the rivets with a large, sharp drill, being very careful to stay on center, and especially being careful not to go so far down that you drill a big hole in the door (since youíre using a big drill bit rather than a ľĒ drill bit. You may need to use a punch and hammer in order to push the center through after you drilled it. You may also need a cold chisel and hammer to remove the remnants of the rivets. If the rivets start spinning (and thereby thwarting drilling) you may want to try holding the drill at different angles. It can be difficult. You may ultimately need to carefully grind them off. But donít damage the door or the holes in the door.
19) Remove the two (black) bolts that hold either end of the assembly bar that spans the large rear hole in the door. The motor and assembly should now fall off. Be careful when it falls.
20) Remove the motor and assembly by collapsing it and carefully sliding it back through the large door opening. Note its appearance and keep it from extending so far that you canít remember how itís supposed to look when itís in place.
21) Put the window regulator assembly on a workbench.
22) Drill a (roughly) 1/8Ē hole through the regulator back plate and right through the balck sector gear. Put a bolt through the hole and secure it tightly with a nut so that the spring-loaded sector gear canít move and come unsprung. If you donít do this, then when you remove the motor, the spring will unwind, which will result in ruining the assembly, and which could result in injury.
23) Drill out and remove the rivets that hold the motor to the regulator plate. Note (and/or mark with a marker) which rivet holes on the motor were drilled out so that you can easily put the new one on.
24) The replacement motor will be riveted together and some of those rivets MAY (or may not) actually fill holes that you need to attach the motor to the regulator assembly. The replacement motors donít seem to be consistently riveted together using the same holes. Depending on where the motor is riveted together, you may need to remove some of the rivets that hold the motor together so that you can use those holes to rivet the motor to the regulator back plate. But if you do need to remove rivets from the motor then you should probably first rivet or bolt the motor securely together (using one of the empty holes) so that it doesnít fall apart.
25) Bolt the replacement motor onto the regulator back plate, making sure to use the same holes that were originally used to rivet it on in the first place. Use lock washers and nuts.
26) When youíre sure that the motor is securely bolted in place, with the drive gear firmly holding the sector gear, remove the bolt from the 1/8Ē hole that you used to secure the sector gear to the regulator back plate.
27) You will need to put the motor and assembly back into the door, but first you should get some #12 x ĹĒ bolts that will fit into the holes that were used to rivet the assembly to the door. For the TWO holes that are above the sector gear, you will need to use two relatively thin (and just long enough) hex head bolts. They need to be relatively thin and just long enough because youíll basically need to finagle the bolts past the sector gear and through the hole, and so theyíll need some wiggle room (which you wonít have if the bolts perfectly fill the size of the hole). Those bolts will then go through the hole in the car door and youíll end up putting nuts on the passenger-compartment side of the door. I found that itís best to put a small lock washer onto the bolt before threading the bolt through the assembly. It helps keep the bolt from turning when you tighten the nut so that you may not even need to put a wrench on the bolt (which is a bit tough to do.) And then use another lock washer (the type that looks like a ring with teeth on the inside) thatís JUST big enough to SCREW onto the bolt. This second lock washer will hold the bolt in place as you slide the assembly back into the door and then line up the bolts with the door holes. Alternatively you could use those push-on washers that keep bolts from slipping back through a hole.
28) Youíll also need two small bolts to reattach the bracket to the top of the motor. (I canít remember the size but maybe 1/8Ē in diameter by ľĒ long. These holes are actually square so if you use the right size lag bolt you donít even need a wrench on the back side.) You should also have lock washers for all of these nuts & bolts.
29) Remove the cap from the old motor and put it on the new motor. Iím not sure that you need to do this but I assume it helps keep dust out of the motor.
30) Carefully push the motor and assembly back into the door, being careful to line up bolts with the holes (and careful not to knock the bolts loose that you attached to the assembly with lock washers).
31) Put lock washers and nuts on those bolts, hand tight.
32) Tighten all nuts and bolts, preferably with a ratchet on the outside of the door, and a crescent wrench (if needed) on the inside of the door.
33) Reattach the bolts that held the assembly cross bar to the door.
34) Reattach the wiring harness for the motor, turn the ignition part way (to enable the power windows), and test the window. (Hopefully it works. They worked perfectly every time that I replaced them.) Then return the assembly to the same position so that the bottom of the window pane will be about halfway through the speaker hole. Turn the key off.
35) Get an assistant, then grab the window pane and carefully feed it back down the door, and through the front an rear tracks. You will probably need two hands on the window pane, while your assistant carefully helps move the rubber seals out of the way. Youíll have to be careful not to knock-off or break any of the plastic parts which are attached to the window pane, especially the two in the front that slip inside the track.
36) Make sure that window pane rests in the base assembly and that itís properly in the tracks.
37) Bolt the window pane to the base of the assembly.
38) Re-tighten the bolt that holds the rear window track.
39) Re-tighten the window tension pads on the window sill with an Allen wrench.
40) Reattach the black clip to the bottom front corner of the window.
41) Reattach the (gold colored) height regulator that attaches to the rear window track. (Probably at its lowest setting.) You may need to adjust the window up a bit in order to install it.
42) Recheck that the power window works properly.
43) Reattach the electrical harnesses, reapply the plastic sheeting, and reassemble the door in reverse order as the initial instructions.
44) Make sure to return the old motor to the auto parts store to get your core rebate.












Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Monday, March 08, 2010 2:40 PM
I guess my how-to-repair photos were on a website that is not defunct. I've put the photos here.
http://picasaweb.google.com/104746918913021986185/CavalierWindowMotorRepair#
Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Monday, March 08, 2010 3:10 PM
I meant "now" defunct.
Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010 8:34 AM
This is a great write-up. I've done several repairs on 'vert power windows and would like to add a couple of thoughts.

1. The convertibles have front and rear upper travel limit stops, which of course the coupes and sedans (that have framed windows) don't have. The stop brackets are stamped of fairly soft metal and have plastic stops attached to them as described in the write up. Believe it or not, some aftermarket window motors are more powerful than OEM's and I've seen cases where the stop brackets have actually bent under the constant pounding they endure in normal use when the window is raised to the top. So, if you have a 'vert and have the doors apart, check the up-stop brackets for bending. I've also used self-adhesive velcro on the plastic stop blocks themselves to help minimize rattles where they contact the glass.

2. 'Verts don't have a glass run channel at the rear of the door, only a guide that is screwed to the bottom of the glass and runs on a matching rail the height of the door. The front has a glass run channel, but the glass is only supported in the channel by two plastic clips (one upper, one lower) that run in the channel. Of the half dozen or so of these doors I've disassembled, all of them had clips that had come off or broken due to wear and fallen into the bottom of the door. When the clips fall out, the glass rattles horribly in the channel when the door is closed or the car is driven. The clips are discontinued and unobtainium from GM anymore. To solve this, I got several samples of felt coated rubber window channel from JC Whitney and installed them in the front window channel to see which one would work. I finally settled on one that did the job, but there are two caveats. First, when raising the window, it actually is forced forward and up, creating a fair amount of pressure on the rubber channel. Second, even new motors don't have much power, so increasing the friction of the glass in the channel with a full length rubber insert puts a strain on the motor, which will impact it's life. I solved this as best I could by using the shortest and narrowest channel I found available (5/8" deep by 7/16" wide) and applied silicone grease on the inside of the channel where the glass would be pushed forward into it. Seems to work good and definitely secures the glass and eliminates rattles, but I plan on having to replace the rubber channel every couple of years (not difficutl).

3. If anyone asks, the 'vert door glass is different from the coupes and isn't interchangeable. (The 'vert glass is both taller and longer.)

4. The window regulators for the 'vert are unique to the 'vert. They are also extremely rare and I might have bought the last OEM one left last year. (If you find 'vert doors at a wrecking yard, you should pick them up.) The coupe regulators look identical and mount the same way, but the main crank gear on the 'vert regulator has several more teeth and provides the additional up/down travel the taller 'vert glass needs.

There are lots of coupes and sedans around, but there are quite a few 'vert body parts that are unique to that model. 3rd gen 'vert production was less than 10,000 units a year for the six years they were built ('95-'00). If you have a 'vert and want to keep the body intact, get whatever parts you can (especially doors) from the wrecking yard when you see them. You won't regret it. Good luck. - Mark


markc50...formerly 1of7627 but that login doesn't work anymore.
Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 2:22 PM
Author's addendum:

1) I just realized that the gold colored "rear limiter" or "rear height limiter" that I mentioned in steps #14 and #41 may only be present on convertible Cavaliers, since non-convertibles have a window frame that can stop the window from going up too high. (I'm not sure since I only own convertibles.)

2) I just burnt out my second driver's side motor. This one actually just failed completely, with the window all the way up. Since the motor completely failed I was not able to move the window up and down in order to position the nuts and bolts so that they could be accessed through the holed in the door. So I cleaned the glass and the exterior of the door and then I taped the glass securely in place (from the exterior) with several strips of high-quality packing tape to hold up the glass while I removed the motor. Then I detached the motor and regulator assembly. Then I removed the tape with one hand while holding the window up with my other hand. (You may want to get a helper for this because if you let go of the window it will fall to the bottom of the door and it will likely shatter.) Then I carefully lowered the window. Then with the window and regulator assembly lowered, I removed the two nuts that hold the window to the reguator assembly. Then I pulled the window back up and taped it in place while I removed the motor and regulator. It made me realize that it is possible to eliminate the steps necessary to remove the window (i.e. steps 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, & 15). And in fact, if you have some high-quality packing tape (or a helper) that you can trust to hold up the window, that's probably a faster way to go. Just be certain that the window doesn't fall and shatter!!!

Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Wednesday, September 01, 2010 2:04 PM
this will be included in my vert info thread for sure. do you still have the pics? if so would you rehost so i can save or email them to me? thanks!




Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Saturday, April 23, 2011 6:49 PM
I found this thread via a search. Great write up. I just did both regulators and motors in both doors on a 2000 Sunfire Convertible. Got the parts from rockauto.com and the regulators were correct for the convertible.

One trick I used was to loosen the bolts that attach glass to regulators, raise it up, and then wrap thick cardboard around the glass and put a C Clamp on the cardboard to hold the window up. Just don't over tighten the C Clamp, just snug, and clamp on both the front and the back so both ends are held up. Then power the window down and remove regulator and motor assembly.

Another thing I found to get the rivets out easily is to take a miniture phillips screw driver and tap the pin out of the middle of the rivet. This makes drilling extremely easy and fast. In some cases rivet would spin just wedge a large flat blade screw driver between rivet and door to hold it still. I used a 3/8" drill bit.

Someone before me thought of a really smart trick. They trimmed the arm rest bracket so the rivet that is normally under the bracket is exposed. Now the arm rest bracket never has to be removed again.

And use a vacuum to get all the old rivets out of the bottom of the door to prevent rattles before you put the regulator back in.


2000 Sunfire GT Convertible (daughters car, totaled Jan 2014 RIP)

Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Monday, June 06, 2011 10:56 PM
Bill: Great tips. I especially like the C-clamp idea. I'm glad my write-up helped. Thanks for checking back in.
Re: How to diagnose & replace a power window motor on 2-door.
Monday, November 19, 2012 7:09 AM
I found this write-up and think it's really helpful, but I am stuck with step number 8. My motor has completely died and won't budge at all. I tried helping the window up with my hand while pressing the button, but it's totally siezed and won't move even a little bit. Is there any trick to getting the motor to release so I can move it? I can't really do anything else until I figure this out. Anyone have a similar issue?
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