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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just replaced the power window cables on both doors on my 1991 Series 4 Spider. It is not an easy job –but- if I can do it, you can do it.
I bought the wire rope, rope stops and cable cutting tool from Amazon and I’ll list them at the end of this article.
Getting the regulator assembly out of the door is not easy because it does not clear the window front guide channel. If you loosen the bolt that attaches the window guide to the bottom of the door it allows that guide to move just enough to let you wiggle and pull the regulator assembly out of the door. You have to pull the regulator like you hate it. That bolt is on the outside of the bottom of the door.
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Next, I disassembled the regulator, cleaned and greased it. The old grease was like dried peanut butter and there is no doubt in my mind that it gummed up the regulator. Remove three bolts and lift the top, the gear mechanism, off the regulator assembly. The plate on the gear mechanism can now be removed to expose the gears. This plate is held in place by friction of an O-ring on the shaft. Clean the gears, grease them and put the plate back on.
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Clean the cable drum and prepare a length of cable. Cut a piece of cable 126 ¾ inches long. This is the total length of the cable. When you finish the cable, that is when you crimp the rope stops, leave about 3/32 inch of cable sticking out past the end of the rope stop. Each rope stop will use ¼ inch of the cable, leaving an effective cable length of 126 ¼ inches. Note: wire rope cable is difficult to cut and if you don’t have a clean cut the wire rope stop will snag loose strands when you try to put it on the cable and they will not install cleanly. I had to use the tool listed at the end of this article to get a clean cut. I crimped the rope stops onto the cable using my shop vise.
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Install and crimp the other end of the cable into the cable drum. Be sure to put the cable guide, the black tube the cable slides through, and guide retainer on the cable before you attach the cable to the cable drum.
Now that both ends are attached to the cable drum, wrap the cable onto the drum. Start with one end and wrap it about 3 wraps onto the drum and then put a zip tie around the drum to hold that cable in place.
Wrap the other end onto the drum so that the free end comes off the drum on the same groove the other cable comes off the drum. Imagine that with the drum turning, one cable wraps on the drum while the other unwraps. Put a zip tie around the drum to hold this cable in place. This will be a little less confusing after looking at the picture after the next two steps.
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With those zip ties on the drum to hold the cable secure, reassemble the cable drum onto the regulator assembly making sure the cable loop comes off the drum in the correct orientation to the mounting studs. That is the cable loop has to pass by a specific mounting stud, one cable above the stud and the other below. This will be a little less confusing after looking at the picture after the next step.
Being very careful, hold tension on one of the cables and zip tie it to a mounting stud. Be sure to use the correct stud. While holding tension on the cable, cut and remove the zip tie that was wrapped around that cable on the drum. Be sure to pull that cable tight while you zip tie it to the stud. If the cable slips out of a
groove now is the time to correct that. Use a small pick to get the cable in the correct grooves. Do the same for the other cable and zip tie it to the stud. The purpose of these new zip ties is to hold the cable tight on the drum while you install the regulator assembly into the door. The regulator assembly is now ready to be installed into the door. Note: Others on this forum suggested making a C shape piece out of PVC pipe to hold the cables on the drum and I think that would work if zip ties keep failing for you.
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Remove the glass from the door. With the glass removed it is much easier to route the window cable onto the top cable guide rollers. Carefully unbolt the two cable mounting brackets from the bottom of the window glass and lift the glass out of the door. Remember which bracket was the front and rear so you can put them back in the same orientation.
The next thing to do is to install the regulator assembly inside the door. Here is a link to a video showing how to route the cable on a door mock up and also a cable routing picture from the Spider shop manual.
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With the regulator in position but not bolted in, route the cable to all the rollers. To get more slack in the cable you can loosen the bolt on the upper roller, the roller with a slot, and push it towards the rear of the door. You can also loosen the two nuts on the plate holding the bottom rollers.
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Continued in part 2
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Part 2
With the cable routed it is now time for the tricky part, getting the motor in the correct position and bolted to the door. I cannot stress enough that you have to maintain tension on the cables at all times to keep them snug on the cable drum while you cut the two zip ties and slide the motor into the mounting holes. If you do not maintain cable tension when the zip ties are cut the cable will tangle up on the drum. A tangled cable means you have to take the regulator out, correct the cables on the drum, zip tie them and try to install the regulator again. As I said, this is the tricky part.
I used two different methods to keep tension on the cables, neither are perfect but they got the job done. One time I used rubber bands, see attached picture, and another time I used a skinny bungee cord. The critical thing is when you cut the zip ties that hold the cable on the regulator you want to have enough tension to instantly take up the slack and keep the cable snug on the drum. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempt fails. After bolting the motor in place, use your mirror to inspect the cables on the drum to make sure they are in the grooves and not tangled.
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Position the black cable guide tube in the slot at the bottom of the door and put it’s retainer in place. This guide keeps the cable from rubbing against the door frame as the cable rolls off the lower roller. Now is the time to adjust the tension on the cable. If you pluck the cable it will make a low tone. The cable should not be guitar string tight.
Tighten the bolt on the bottom of the door that was loosened to allow the front window guide channel to move.
With the regulator bolted in place it’s time to run the cable up and down a few times to make sure it works before putting the window glass back in. There is no limit stop built into the cable regulator, so you have to use your mirror to watch the cable wind / unwind on the drum to make sure you don’t go too far in either direction.
Put the glass back in the door in the fully down position. The plate that holds the bottom rollers can be adjusted in and out to align the cable to the glass. That is, you want the cable to be in line with the window as much as possible. Observe which side of the window bracket mounting hole the cable passes and use that side when its time to attach the cable.
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When running the cable up and down you can see that one cable wraps onto the drum while the other unwraps. Stop when you have an equal number of wraps of each cable on the drum. That is, the cable should be in the mid part of travel. Put the window into the door in the half up position and attach the cable to it.
My windows now operate like new, no binds or hesitation. I think the dried grease in the regulator was the main reason they were slow and erratic.
One more thing, if you are considering replacing your door limit straps - do it now when you have the regulator assembly out of the door. I got my door limit straps from Classic Alfa and they work perfectly.
These are the items I got from Amazon. Note, the wire rope is described as 1.5mm and/or 1/16, but it is really just a hair more than 1mm, the diameter of the original cable.
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Nice tutorial.

Thank you


1993 Spider Veloce
2016 4c Coupe
2018 4c Spider
 

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what a great illustrated write up!
(someone should put it in the spider FAQ too)
 

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Very nice. Thanks for sharing,
 

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Very well written! Molto grazie!!!
 

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it's almost a alfa romeo spider
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you can also use the green plastic coated wire, also
 

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Great write up, thank you. I won’t worry if my cables need attention, I should be able to follow this guide.
 

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Nice job on the tutorial. This is one of those tasks that fall into the rites of passage of an Alfa owner. Not for the faint of heart and lots of patience.
 
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