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Old 10-27-2005, 02:53 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 4,263
W210 rear window regulator repair

Yes, you read that right.

It's only a sixty-dollar part, and just like you, I consider my time valuable. After visualizing a repair technique for the guide, I decided that it would take me well under an hour to fix it so that the cables were properly and securely retained. In fact, it turned out to take me less than half an hour, not including the regulator R&R.

This repair has only been tested a few times, but held fine during the window synchronization.

On my regulator, the plastic top of the guide detached itself where the "up" cable is secured. Probably at the same time, the small metal clip inside the guide bent upward and released the spring. It was in this condition when I bought the car.

At first, I tried simply putting the spring back in place and bending the metal clip over it. Upon reinstalling the regulator and attempting a window syncronization, the cable immediately popped loose. I expected this, but of course hoped for a different outcome at the time.

Then I thought about reinforcing the guide with a bit of coat-hanger wire. I got the spring back under the clip and the clip bent down over the spring, so that it would hold under this pressure. Then I carefully bent the tangs on the end of this clip upward (away from the center of the jaw) at the very end. This is to secure the clip against the wire that I was about to add.

I drilled through the plastic from the back (installed orientation) with a bit that was very close to the wire size of the hanger, at a location that would put the wire in contact with the metal clip, right where I had bent the ends. I also made some indentations at the corners of the unbroken bottom to keep the wire in place at that end. After some careful inserting, marking, bending, reinserting (wash, rinse, and repeat), I had a piece of wire wrapped very neatly around the guide, hooked into the metal clip. At this time I bent the ends around each other to secure and tighten the wire.

I first tried to break it by turning the regulator reel with a large screwdriver, and it seemed to hold securely. The second test was synchronizing the window and a few subsequent operations. So far, so good.

Finally, since I wasn't so sure that this would actually work, I did not want to rivet the regulator in place. I found that a 1/4x20 tap would cut nice threads in the rivet holes on the regulator. Four 1/4x20x3/4" stainless-steel screws later, and the job is done.

It took nearly as long to type this it took to fix the regulator. I might reinforce the other side at some time as a prophylactic. Sorry that I have no pictures of the operation.

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Old 10-27-2005, 11:11 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 151
Can you do this reinforcement with the motor in place (without taking out the rivets)?
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Old 10-28-2005, 11:48 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 4,263
On my body (96 model, WDBJ20F8TJxxxxxx), the motor can be removed with the regulator in the door. There is a hole to access the top motor bolt, and the other two are exposed.

I suppose that you could do such a thing with the regulator in place. The hard part would be grooving the top and bottom of the guide jaw to ensure that the reinforcing wire can't slip, but this could probably be done with a dremmel or small die grinder.

It really seems to me that there should have been a metal band around this assembly from the start. I didn't specify this in the original post, but I put the reinforcing wire between the regulator cable and the regulator itself, so it covers open area of the small groove. I hope that makes sense. I really should have taken some pictures.
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Old 10-28-2005, 12:50 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: So. Cal
Posts: 151
I'm on my 3rd regulator, so if that's any indication (hopefully not), you may have your chance to take pictures of the next one.
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Old 11-21-2005, 11:57 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 4,263
Still no pictures, sorry. But I did reinforce the other side on my car while I had the interior panel off for some cosmetic repair.

I again wrapped a piece of coat-hanger wire (approximate diameter 3/32") around the plastic piece that always breaks. I did not make any grooves in the plastic to retain the wire, which rests nicely between the operating cables and the metal of the regulator frame. It took me about fifteen minutes to bend the wire to the right shape and secure it to the regulator, without removing the regulator from the door.

It's important that the wire be quite snug if it is to help. If there's any flex in the plastic, it will eventually fail. If either of mine do fail in the near future, you'll hear about it here.

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