Replacing power window motors and regulators in a Vanagon
Once you’ve done this job once or twice, you can get in an out in less than an hour. It’s really not all that hard a job, just that when you don’t know how to twist the motor on the cables to get the assembly to slip out, you end up doing a lot of unneccessary tugging and pulling and scraping. The longer you keep a vanagon, the faster you get at this.
Instead of using a clamp to hold the window up, you might try cutting a couple of small wooden wedges to jam the window to the rubber so it won’t drop.
Here’s the sequence of events, best I can remember, The only tools you’ll need besides the wedges are a phillips head screwdriver, a small knife to pry with, a 10mm socket and a 10mm combination wrench. Maybe something else, but basically that’s it. When you get the motor out, you’ll need a good sized soldering iron to remove the short harness and connectors from the old motor and put them on the new motor. Make a sketch of how the wires connect to the weird little terminals on the motor or the window might work in reverse. Ask me how I know.
First, take the small bladed knife and pop the end covers out of the pull handle. You’ll see what I mean if you look closely. Pry out the molded-in end covers, working on the “inside” end closer to the center of the handle, as the outside edge (adjacent to the upholstered panel) is a plastic hinge. When pried open, the screws are revealed. Remove them and keep them organized, they are of two different sizes.
Next go after the door latch plate. Pull up the handle and pry out the plastic insert from the little slot at the front. This will reveal a phillips head screw, remove this and lay the parts aside.
Next comes the vent in the lower rear corner of the panel. There are two screws facing you when you look at the panel.
Now the panel will pop off with a tape-covered screwdriver. Try to find a fastener and pry near it rather than in the middle between two fasteners. When you can get your hand in, continue around until the panel is loose.
Carefully remove the plastic wind seal, you will either need to reattach or replace it with contact cement or tape.
If you have speakers, make a note of how they are connected and disconnect them.
Unplug the window switch from the main harness and the motor. Cut any cable ties you find fastening the motor.
The window needs to be all the way up to do the next steps easily. Now is the time to take a look as to how they will be accomplished.
The window glass sits in a metal rail that is bolted to a mechanism that is part of the window raiser. This part is the same for crank-up or electric windows. The trouble is that you will need to get to the two 10mm bolts that fasten the window to the raiser. If the window is not all the way up, this may be your biggest challenge but since mine isn’t apart, I cant’ describe the situtation further. But this is what you have to do next.
Following that, raise the now-loose window to the top and jam or clamp it to keep it out of the way. You will see a vertical galvanized metal track that the raiser slides in. If I recall correctly, a bolt in the side near the top and a bolt in the bottom of the door–yes, you have to look underneath the edge of the door–hold this track in. Remove these, don’t confuse the bolts with the two shorter ones that hold the window to the raiser.
The vertical track is loose, but it is connected to the motor by two cables in housings. If the housings are broken, bent or rusted, go ahead and order them too right now.
Now all that needs to be done is to remove the three 10mm bolts that hold the motor in.
Once that is done, the motor can be twisted with one hand about 90 degrees to make the cables align together as the other hand moves the vertical track, bottom first, toward the motor.
If you’ve done your twisting right, the whole thing will slide out the motor hole. When the motor is released, the whole thing will spring back to its arrangement in the car.
Two 13mm bolts hold the motor on to the mechanism. As I said, you may have to transfer a plastic mounting collar and a short piece of harness to the new motor, but other than that, it all twists up and slides right back in the way it came out.