The window mechanism on my ’66 F100 has been exposed to the elements for over 50 years now, so I wasn’t too surprised when it started getting very balky this winter, a progressive issue these past some years. The few times I had to use it, it was getting almost impossible to roll the window down or up, even with me helping out by pushing or pulling on the glass. But then it was cold and rainy, so I didn’t really need it. That all changed one day recently when the sun finally came out and the temperature jumped 20 degrees. Spring is finally here!
But the window would not roll down; frozen solid. Procrastination time is over…
I grabbed my electric screw driver, popped out the six screws, and took off the access panel. Yes, things were getting a bit rusty up in there, after being drenched in almost continuous rain here the past four months. I grabbed a can of lubricating oil and started shooting up in there, hoping to hit the main “gearbox” hidden from ready view as best as I could.
Like the Tin Man finally getting oiled after being frozen up so long, the mechanism slowly came to life again as I cranked back and forth on the handle. It was iffy at first, but there was a point where it quickly got better and better. And withing a minute or two, it was better than it had been for years. Isn’t it amazing how we procrastinate until we just can’t any longer? Now about that tailgate mechanism.
This is why I love my truck; if anything does break, it’s (hopefully) often just this easy.
Glad you were able to fix things so easily and that there is an access panel. One of the ways my 93 Camry is starting to show its age is occasionally the front passenger window rolls itself down a wee bit if I have been on rough roads and the driver side front window is hard to roll down the last 10 percent of its travel. I just push the window down while cranking so I do not hurt the winder or the mechanism.
Both rear windows on my wife’s Alero would roll themselves slowly down as the car traveled over rough roads or bumps. It became more than a wee bit though–one of them started picking up speed one day and nearly disappeared into the door. (Which would have been a problem as the regulator was busted and it would only go up by manually pushing on it).
I fixed it by gluing some pink rubber pencil erasers onto the inside of the window as stops. Looked a little odd, but it worked and cost me about a buck…
The window failed in the down position in our ’00 Diamante the other week. It’s early autumn here. I Googled the how-to and spent half an hour removing the switches, lights, speakers and door trim, only to discover precious few parts I could recognise let alone repair. So I buttoned it up and took it to the garage.
Is that forty years-odd of progress?
This regulator looks familiar. My Peugeot 304s had the same design…….and the same rust problem.
What would probably be better in this case would be a spray can of white lithium grease. It’ll cling to the gears, rollers and tracks of a window winder better than light oil. It does pick up somewhat more dirt than light oil, however.
Lithium grease, white lube, I’ve used them & they dry up after a while. On the last voyage into the door, I found things I couldn’t see by feel, then smeared synthetic grease on the suspected items.
It’s supposed to not dry out; I’m checking this out.
Paul, I thought of your truck when I spotted a similar one for sale on Craigslist here in MI. A previous owner had given it the flat-black paint treatment, but under the hood it had the good ol’ 6 banger. And three on the tree, of course.
The seller was asking $7500. I was tempted…
While new trucks are great for their own reasons, there’s a lot to be said for the basic older trucks. There’s so many minor things you can fix yourself with simple tools that don’t require a trip to the dealer (and the resultant drain on your wallet). I think your F-100 will still be putting in an honest day’s work long after a lot of newer trucks have gone to the scrapyard.
I need to do the same thing with my Miata. The windows are really balky in colder weather and more than once I have feared snapping off the plastic window crank. I hope the fix is as easy.
The problem has been that the only conditions where it’s an issue are the conditions I am least inclined to do anything about it.
Yeah, it’s that time of the year. I just did the same thing yesterday on the ol’ 1992 Prizm. No WD-40 needed in my case, and without power windows, it was a very simple task. Took me just a few minutes.
It’s hard to beat an old, pre-smog truck for honest, no-nonsense repairs. So long as they stay in climates where corrosive road chemicals can eat away the sheetmetal, seems like they’ll last forever.
My mini had almost the same. Water runs past the (worn out) window rubbers and collects in the channel that holds the glass. Which then rots out completely.
Typical mini, replacing the channels was cheap and simple enough, but hard to achieve due to the tight space for the mechanism.
Ford loved that window mechanism.
Keep an eye on the nylon grommet within the channel. The one in the driver’s door of the Galaxie broke long ago and the peg to which the grommet attaches is all that was in contact with the window. The channel also separated from the glass and had fallen down into the door itself.
A correct replacement grommet is about $0.25 – the trick is finding it and getting gouged for shipping. I tried a substitute that didn’t work at all.
The lithium grease Warren Lorente mentioned works like a charm.
Neat job, Paul. I love repairs that require no parts and precious few other materials. Speaking of Old Skool fixes, did you have any luck with that J-B Weld radiator tank seam patch?
I’m planning to do it soon. Got to get ready for summer! In the winter, my short trips barely get it warmed up as it is.
The more and more I tinker on modern (90s-current) vehicles, the more I appreciate old basic mechanical goodness like this. I swear window mechanisms on some modern cars have more moving parts than the inline 6 in your truck.
Lithium grease works wonders! Last fall I had a problem with the tail gate on my 2007 Focus wagon, it wouldn’t latch or stay shut. Once day I was driving along and noticed in my rear view mirror that the tail gate has popped wide open – fortunately I was driving not too fast on city streets and was close to home. A friend put some lithium grease on the latch mechanism and I haven’t had any problems since.
Love it Paul, and I can relate. About a year ago I replaced the door panels on my Ranger (thank you, LMC truck) my driver door window had been getting hard to crank, especially in winter for a few years now. When I had it apart I greased the hell out of everything I could reach, and used my squirt can of 50/50 Delo 30wt and STP to get what I couldn’t reach. Amazing. Works great on door latches too. Body lubrication doesn’t always have to include a sex act. Unless you are in Eugene 🙂
This is why, we in the know, love our old Fords. A shot of oil, a whack with a brick is all it takes. The little old Ford just rambles on….
Today my favourite secateurs, the Felco #2, jammed and thus received an overdue squirt of WD40. Yep, I know procrastination.
My Minx has the same style of window lift mechanism but it stays undercover during wet periods the windscreen seal leaks and having already made and fitted new floors I have no desire to do it again,
Having driven for 53 years and starting out with a ’51 Chevy and having a ’59 F100 with a six along the way I have learned to appreciate the simplicity of repairing older cars. A couple of weeks ago I was changing the plugs on a ’98 F150 with the 5.4 for a friend who knows nothing about such things. I had never worked on one of these before and was surprised that the plugs were way down inside the top of the heads. It took me an hour and a half to change 5 of them. That was also with the help on one of them by my smaller neighbor who crawled up on top of the engine. After taking the hour and a half I told my friend, while pointing to my Malibu, that I could change the plugs in it in about 15 minutes.
Be thankful it wasn’t an ’04 5.4, you may not have gotten the job done at all thanks to Ford’s “innovative” 2-piece plug design, which tends to break off requiring a special extraction tool and a whole lot of time to remove. $1000 plug changes are not uncommon on these.
No it doesn’t take a whole lot of time to remove the stuck shell with the right tool. $1000 plug changes are extremely uncommon and if someone pays that it is due to an incompetent and dishonest mechanic.
I’m glad nothing like that happened while I was working on the truck. I hate it when I mess a repair up on my vehicles, but it is even worse when it belongs to someone else. Also, I was doing the work as a favor for a friend and wasn’t going to get paid for it.
All three shops I talked to, including the dealer, quoted an hour labor for each broken plug and every one said there would likely be some broken.
Ford settled a class action lawsuit reimbursing expenses from spark plug changes that cost over $300.
It took Ford years to recognize the issue and update recommended procedures. If I remember correctly, they aren’t even the ones who came up with the extraction tool. They also did not bother to correct the problem with design updates until 2009, 5 years later.
Every F-150 forum is filled with stories of broken plugs and nightmares extracting them. The job is way beyond what most DIYers would or should reasonably expect.
Perhaps things have improved over the past few years with experience but it was poor engineering and even poorer response by Ford.
And don’t get me started on the Cam Phaser/chain guide issues on that complete POS of an engine.
That’s like my window gears on the VW, when I had everything out of the door I gave it a new blob of grease, said “good for another 50 years” and put it back in..
Paul, I once had the opposite problem. When in the air force, the bracket spot welded to the bottom of the glass frame in my ’64 Impala like in your photo broke off, leaving the glass fall into the door.
I called my buddy who was an SR-71 engine mechanic, and he told me to remove the glass and the offending bracket. He picked me up and we drove to the welding shop on the flight line and a person he knew heli-arced it back in place.
I paid him with a six-pack of beer (Michelob), which was the monetary standard for favors, and the bracket never troubled me again!
That being said, rust was never an issue in NoCal in spite of the rainy season each year.
This post reminds me of John Jerome and his Truck book. Also, on things like this I use Maxima motorcycle chain lube, which is kinda like the white lube. It sprays on thin and turns to a thicker waxy lube. Maybe not the best, but works for me and I usually have some on hand.
I use a similar product on the chains on my Hesston 6400 hay cutter. Works great!
I don’t know about the newest Fords, but the ’04-’08 windows were a step back. From cheap plastic clips to faulty regulators and switches you’d think they were new at this window thing.
Nice to see you giving it some love Paul ;
I’ve owned a few older Ford light duty trucks and they were unkillable .
I need to do this very same repair to my ’59 VW Beetle .
I like to clean off all the rust first so the grease (I too use mostly lithium based grease in sliding applications) doesn’t turn into grinding paste.
Lubriplate rifle grease also works well and is dustless in nature .
I have a similar issue on my previa. The sliding door power lock only works occasionally which means the kids have to crawl in from the front door. I was able to wd40 it a few times but now it looks like I need to pull the interior door panel off. It has some hidden fasteners and I have to dig the manual out to see how the door handle it held on. If it is anything like the rear hatch it probably just need some grease. I guess I know what this weekends car project is going to be. I am jealous of that access panel you have on the old Ford.
I had a similar issue on our last Grand Caravan. It was the lock actuator and was a relatively simple fix, around $40 for the actuator if I remember right.