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Bob Womack 07-28-2021 09:36 AM

"What a fascinating modern age we live in."
The quote is from the character Jack Aubrey, Captain of the square-rigged 20-gun sixth rate warship HMS Surprise in the movie, Master and Commander, the Far Side of the World.

Sunday afternoon my wife and I were out for a drive in her Ford Escort. Because of its precious cargo, I try to keep my wife’s car in excellent shape. Anyway, we decided to roll down all the windows. While sitting in the passenger’s seat, I heard a clunk from behind me. We tried to roll the rear right window back up and nothing happened. We pulled over and I lifted the window by hand. It came up easily and wouldn’t stay up. Uh-huh. Window regulator. Knowing that there was rain later in the forecast I had my brain working in the background on a solution to temporarily close in the car window. Just before the rain began I came up with the fix: Every Christmas we hang these lighted wreaths on our windows. Each wreath came with a hanging bracket containing two, three-inch suction cups to be stuck to the house windows. I pulled up the car window to the top seal and stuck the four suction cups to the inside bottom of the window so that they wedged against the gasket, blocking the window from dropping. Et Voile’! The window was closed and going nowhere.

Next it was off to the Internet where I located a motor and regulator (might as well start new). But here is the modern kicker: I found a fifteen-minute video that demonstrated the process of replacing the motor and regulator on this car. Wow! Being mechanically inclined, I like to do a repair If possible. In the old days repairs were like embarking on a solo backpacking expedition into an unknown wilderness. You stood on the gulf of this impressive adventure wondering what you faced. These days the good videos remove all that. They show you what it will look like, tell you what tools you’ll need, give you an idea how long it will take, show you the pitfalls to avoid, and give you tips to make it go quickly. In this case I invested $60 in a regulator and motor and $12 in a set of trim removal tools.
From "1A Auto: How to Replace Rear Window Regulator 08-12 Ford Escape" HERE .

Yesterday afternoon my oldest son and I dived in. Now, my son started as a machinist and mechanic at a shipyard and has worked his way up to being the director of drydocks. As director he is no longer allowed to touch a tool by union rules. However, he LOVES this stuff so much that he buys cars to repair and soup up just for fun. Between his daily driver, his project car, and mine, this was going to be his THIRD window regulator in a week. He has a three-foot fan to cool us. Lovely.

So, off we went, armed with the proper knowledge, right down to the number of inch-pounds of torque needed to tighten down the window into the new regulator. What I haven’t told you is that I am on a blood thinner so those little knuckle busters that crop up in most jobs develop into a half-hour or hour long stop-down to apply pressure and stop me from bleeding all over the work. After initiating one of these micro-emergencies while simply checking my wife’s oil, I decided to invest in a set of mechanic’s gloves. I haven’t suffered a cut since. This job went off really smoothly, just like the video showed it. A couple of little trim pieces popped out, allowing access to screws. The arm rest and window control poped out. With five screws removed you just pop the interior trim panel off with the trim tool and lift it out. Disconnect the cable for the door lock. Carefully pry off the plastic vapor barrier and fold it down. The glue will stick it back on later. Tape the window into position with painter’s tape, remove five nuts and bolts, and loosen two. Pull the window up to the top and retape. Out comes the regulator. Reverse the process and you are done. Okay, on the videos they stage each of those jobs to make everything go extremely smoothly. We had a little glitch on the very last screw when a “clip nut,” one of those little nuts that clips onto sheet metal with a spring, sagged out of position behind the interior panel we had just remounted. We had to remove the interior panel again, re-tensioned the clip, and reposition it. Then BAM! It all came together. Tested. Success.

Forty-five minutes after we started we cleaned up and went out for Greek food. No busted knuckles, no bleeding. No Gojo to clean the hands.

I checked the pricing on this job and it averages around $250 dollars, so I saved the family somewhere in the neighborhood of $190 dollars. Do check out these videos on YouTube. If you can, watch one from a professional. Quite often they are put out by a parts store. These guys have the incentive to show you the proper way to thing so that it can be a slick, easy experience. Why? Because it encourages you to buy the right parts and tools from them to do it yourself rather than spend much more to have a mechanic do it for you.

Happy wrenching.


PS. I went out to move my wife’s car from the driveway and go to work this morning. Ironically, while getting into my wife’s car I barked my forearm on the doorframe and started one of those bleeds.

_Mike_ 07-28-2021 11:14 AM

Nice work! Gotta love saving money like that. I try to do most of my own work for just that reason.

In the last week I replaced an exhaust manifold and brake vacuum pump on my EcoBoost F150. I'd never make any money as a mechanic because I can not match the book hours for the jobs, but labor rates are over $100/hr in my area, so my time IS money!

My daughters Tacoma was making a squeal at the AC compressor. Turns out thee is a clutch face that you can replace for about $40, and not have to buy a new compressor or worry about refrigerant. Did it yesterday, and took about an hour.

Tools + YouTube = More money for guitar stuff!

joe white 07-28-2021 12:16 PM

I replaced or removed and reinstalled more door regulators than possible to count during my 30 years in auto collision repair and I've got the scars to prove it.

Those inner door assemblies have some of the sharpest metal parts you'll find on a car and unfortunately, you don't find them until you see blood. The ones that are pop riveted in with the 1/4 inch pop rivets are the most challenging.

Gee Man 07-28-2021 01:35 PM

Glad to hear you had a successful wrenching experience. After my last home auto repair experience, I'm done. Too old to be lying on my back in the driveway to save a couple hundred bucks. There was a time I enjoyed it though, I think that time is past.

RedJoker 07-28-2021 01:38 PM


Originally Posted by Gee Man (Post 6773817)
Glad to hear you had a successful wrenching experience. After my last home auto repair experience, I'm done. Too old to be lying on my back in the driveway to save a couple hundred bucks. There was a time I enjoyed it though, I think that time is past.

I've built hot rods and done my own car and tractor maintenance for years but, like you, I carefully consider the project before I jump into it anymore.

KenL 07-29-2021 06:01 AM

C5 Corvettes are notorious for the window regulators failing. The passenger side of mine did.

I went online and found a Youtube video explaination of the replacement. Great video, and it looked pretty straightforward. So I did it myself, and it turned out fine. I was pretty impressed with myself!

Sold the car before the other side could fail, which would have happened eventually (probably sooner rather than later).

Kbonger 07-29-2021 12:14 PM

My pick up needs a motor mount and I looked at you tube and decided it looks like a lot of work. Prices from $250 to $750.

Merak 07-31-2021 08:18 PM

Having a digital camera to record how things are supposed to go back together is another wonderful technology.

Cypress Knee 07-31-2021 09:33 PM

Whenever the "check engine" light comes on I head over to the local Auto Zone. They will let you take a "check engine light diagnostic device" out into the parking lot to figure out what is wrong. If I can fix the problem, then I do. If it is over my head, I call a mechanic.

I think those devices retail for $35 to $55. I am thinking of buying one just to have it in the garage.

Street Glider 08-01-2021 12:10 AM

Consider this:

Am iPhone 6S has more computing power than all of the computers used to put a man on the moon.

And they let us have it...

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