Windows slide down into door and don't work anymore. I'm told there's a plastic guide for a cable system that has deteriorated. Is this horribly difficult to replace? Special skills/tools? Would diagrams and instructions appear in a Chilton/Haynes repair manual?
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Assuming you have power windows. Had similar problem on 2000 Buick LaSabre.
Had to replace electric motor drive assembly inside of door. The motor moves a steel cable around nylon/plastic pulleys. In time the cable cuts into the pulley. Access motor assembly by removing inner door panel. I had to purchase assembly from the dealer ($$$). Digital snapshots as you disassemble will help you reassemble. Job took about 1.5 hours, and I had never done it before.
I had all four of my windows do this on my 2000 bville. There is a small plastic piece that hooks to both ends of the cable and slides up and down the rail to pull the window up and down. This plastic piece broke on all four of my windows and let the cable fall. I fixed it cheap though. I took apart each door and pulled out the motor/slide/pulley assembly and wired it back together with coat hanger wire. It was a lot of work, but beat paying 160 dollars per window for new assembly (that would probably break again!)
These cars have a window regulator that is made with a cable and a plastic wheel that the cable rolls around. Once it wears out you need to replace the whole regulator, it comes with new motor. Look on ebay, cheapest way to buy a new one. You can take off door panel and push window back up and wedge or vise grip so it wont fall back down.
On my 2000 Durango, I found that the plastic cable guides had broken and fallen to the bottom of the door. This allowed the cable to lose tension which basically disconnected the window from the regulator. If you can hear the regulator motor run (power windows) when you press the window switch, then the regulator is good. Remove the door trim panel screws, pull off the door lock handle, pull the trim panel away slightly, and disconnect the plastic retainer from the door latch linkage.Then unlock the wiring connectors and remove them. Now the trim panel can be removed. Peel the plastic seal from the inner door. Now you can see inside the door and figure out what happened. A mechanic's mirror will help. Replacement window regulators are available from a number of sources; the cable and/or guides are a dealer item.
For several years Buick used a cable type power window.They only last 3 to 5 years.A small piece of plastic connects the cable to the window and lifts the window up.It breaks and the window will slide down.Then the cable jumps the track on the power drum and jams.It cannot be fixed with any sense that it will last.I have spent 2 days repairing the cable and drum and using epoxy on the plastic part, but the plastic part will break again.The dealer will charge about $500 to replace the power window assy, and it will last for another 3 years.To do it yourself, buy from a parts house that will give a lifetime guaranty.Cost about $90.
Note: If the window stays up and you do not hear the motor it is most likely electrical and not mechanical. My 2000 Buick has had 7 window failures.For a temporary fix remove the door panel and use a small C clamp under the window.A 1 in C clamp fits best.Lift the window full up and clamp it in the center on the power cable support and tight against the window attach plate.
Most likely the window regulator cables got tangled. That happened on 3 of my windows, but the motor should be fine they usually last quite a while. Electronics are good, but the mechanical part sucks. There are 2 cables one pulls the window up while the other cable winds onto a pulley. The pulley has channels in it that the cables sometime jump out of and get derailed. Replacing the window reg can cost 50 if you're lucky to 100 at Autozone or checker, that doesn't include labor. You can do it yourself, but it's a pain in the ****. Give yourself around 3 hours to do it because you will spend a while getting the window threshold or whatever the hell it is that seals it back into place. Use WD-40 to lube it so that it will slide onto the window. You'll know what I mean if you do it yourself. At the dealer plan on 300 to get it done.
Should be no power to the window with the key off. check that out. Pull the fuse for the power windows. If it still goes down look elsewhere. Check the voltage on your charge system. 14plus engine running. Not! Have it fixed. Bad Diode would be my choice. ps: Power window actuators a cheap these days 80 - 99 bucks.