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How To Install Power Windows

Installing an Electric Life custom fit power window kit in a Ford F150 Pickup. The following installation was done on a 1997 Ford F150 Pickup truck. This tech article was originally posted at FordF150.net. It is primarily intended for Ford trucks but the processes most likely also apply to other vehicles.

1997 Ford F150 Pickup

The first step in installing a power window kit is to read through the enclosed instruction sheets. Next, verify that all of the components are in the box. Although the shipping staff at A1 Electric looks through each kit to verify completeness, there are some that slip through with missing pigtails, hardware, etc.

Electric Life kits include almost everything necessary for a successful power window installation. You may, however, find it necessary to purchase misc. wiring connectors, electrical tape, solder, etc. from a local auto parts store.

This article is reposted with permission from A1Electric.com

Removing The Door Panels

In order to install the power window kit, we must gain access to the doors interior. Step one in the process is to remove the door handle. First, the mounting bolt for the door handle is removed. Next, the handle is removed from the door and the rod unclipped from it.

F-150 door handle removal

F-150 door handle removal

F-150 door handle removal

F150 window crank removal

F150 window crank removal

Next, the window crank handle is removed. The plastic cover is pulled back and the Torx screw that holds this handle to the shaft is removed. The remaining trim pieces at the top of the panel are carefully unclipped and removed from the door. Our installer uses a forked door panel remover to remove these clips. It is also possible to use a screwdriver or scraper blade to get at the clips.

F150 door panel removal

F-150 door panel removal

F150 door panel removal

Removing the trim panel at the back of the door has exposed a clip which holds the panel to the door. The center of this clip is pressed in slightly to release it and the clip is pulled out of the panel.

The door panel is now ready to be removed from the door. Starting at the bottom, the panel is carefully lifted up and a forked panel clip remover is inserted to pry up the clips. Our installer works his way around the panel until everything is loose. The panel is then lifted up and away from the door.

Removing the F-150 door panel

Once the door panel has been removed and placed aside, the door handle linkage is marked and the plastic clip is opened up. It is important to mark the rod so that it can be reinstalled in the same position later. The rod is popped out of the clip and laid to the side.

Next, we need to carefully remove the vapor barrier from the door. This plastic sheet is very important. Without it the cardboard and other materials used in the door panel will eventually be ruined. After removing the vapor barrier, place it somewhere where it won't be disturbed or damaged. (Or thrown out like trash!!!)

Removing manual regulators

Removing the manual window regulators on the Ford F150

Removing the manual window regulators on the Ford F150

The next step in the process is to remove the manual window regulators from the doors. The window is rolled down a few inches so that the nut that holds the channel to the glass is lined up with the hole just to the side of the speaker. Before removing any of the nuts, we used blue masking tape to hold up the window. We choose to use the long mask tape, because it has moderate adhesive properties that won't damage the vehicles paint and it also has UV resistance, so it comes off easily (even after a couple of days).

As shown below, the 2 nuts that hold the channel to the bottom of the glass are removed.

Removing the manual window regulators on the Ford F150

Removing the manual window regulators on the Ford F150

Removing the manual window regulators on the Ford F150

The 2 nuts that hold the balance channel to the door are removed. The regulator body is held in place with 4 large rivets. The center pins in the rivets are punched in, using a hammer and punch. The remaining body of the rivets are drilled out using a 1/4 inch drill. After all of the rivets are drilled out the regulator is pulled away from the studs on the glass and the short channel is pulled out its holes in the door. The drill bit (or hand reamer) is then inserted into the 4 holes, where the rivets were, to round out the holes.

Removing the manual window regulators on the Ford F150

Removing the manual window regulators on the Ford F150

Removing the manual window regulators on the Ford F150

The manual window regulator is removed from the door through the large access hole. The channels that were bolted to the door and glass need to be reused on the new electric regulators. There is a small tab towards the end of the channel that needs to be flattened with a hammer and punch so that the skates can slide out of the channels.

Removing the manual window regulators on the Ford F150

Removing the manual window regulators on the Ford F150

Removing the manual window regulators on the Ford F150

The channels that were saved in the previous step are now installed onto our new Electric Life regulators. The tabs at the ends of the channels are bent up with a screwdriver. This is done so the channels don't fall off when we put the assembly back in the door. The blue and black motor wires are also attached to the motor at this time. Finding the motor connector, once the unit is mounted in the door, can be a little tricky.

In case you were wondering, the mechanism is called a window regulator because this mechanism is the part that "regulates" the height of the window.

Removing the manual window regulators on the Ford F150

Installing the power window regulators

Installing the power window regulators

With the channels installed onto the Electric Life regulators, the assembly is now ready to be inserted into the door. The photo above shows what the top view of the assembly should look like.

The regulator assembly is inserted into the door and the short channel is finger tightened to the door.

Installing the power window regulators

Installing the power window regulators

Installing the power window regulators

The studs on the body of the regulator are lined up with the 4 holes in the door. The nuts are fastened to the studs and tightened.

The long channel is then lined up with the studs on the window. The glass may need to be moved either up or down in order to line it up. The nuts at the holding the short balance channel is tightened up in the same position it was taken off. There will be markings on the door (from the nuts) in the position where it was originally mounted. The nuts on the long channel are then tightened.

If the window was moved in order to line up the channel, it may be necessary to electrically move the regulator in order to reach the remaining nut. Remember the nut that was removed through the hole next to the speaker? It is possible to move the window regulator by supplying 12 volts to the blue wire and ground to the black wire. If you need to move the widow in the opposite direction, simply reverse the wires. Supply 12 volts to the black wire and ground to the blue. If you have a good memory, you can also wait until the switches are wired up to tighten this nut.

Installing the power window regulators

Installing the power window regulators

Installing the switches and wiring

Installing the switches and wiring

Installing the switches and wiring

Now the fun part! Running the wiring and mounting the switches.

The wiring harness supplied with the switch kit needs to be carefully routed under the dash. The harness is spread out evenly and cable ties are used to hold it up and out of the way. The end of the loom with the majority of connectors goes to towards the drivers side . Caution is used to avoid moving objects like the brake and gas pedals and heater linkage.

The wiring harness must be routed through the kick panels to reach the rubber boots in the door jamb. The passenger side is easy. Once the panel is removed there is a clear shot. On the drivers side, our installer had to reach up and around the parking brake assembly to get to the access hole. Our installer removed the rubber door jamb boot and pushed a fish tape through to the inside of the truck where he taped the wires to the tape and pulled it through. The yellow arrow points to the fish tape hanging under the dash.

Once the wires were through to the door jamb, they were routed through the rubber boot and into the door.

Installing the switches and wiring

Installing the switches and wiring

Installing the switches and wiring

Installing the switches and wiring

After all the wiring is in place, its time to connect our power and ground wires.

Our installer opened up the tape on the wiring harness that comes from the ignition switch. The ignition switch on Ford trucks is located on top of the steering column, about a foot and a half down from the steering wheel. Our installer used a test light to verify that the gray wire with a yellow tracer was a good power source with the key in the on position. In the above photo, you can see the steering column just above the test light.

The insulation on the gray wire is stripped back about a quarter of an inch and the red wire from the power window switch kit is wrapped around it and soldered in place. The wire is taped up with high quality electrical tape. Using a roll of 3M tape which costs about $3.00 a roll is well worth the price. It will last 10 times longer than the dime store stuff. After this is done, the wire loom is then taped up and pushed back into it's original position. Connecting the power wire to this point is a lot harder than connecting it to the fusebox, but it also makes for an electrically sound and permanent connection.

In the lower right photo we can see that the brown wire from the loom has been routed down to the kick panel area where it is grounded with a factory ground bolt to the body. Any other bolt or screw will also work, provided that the paint is cleaned off from the body where the ground ring will contact.

Installing the switches and wiring

Installing the switches and wiring

Installing the switches and wiring

Installing the switches and wiring

Installing the switches and wiring

We have chosen to install the Electric Life 4990-10-420 inline, flush mount switch kit, with push-pull style switches. This is a very good looking switch kit, but it requires a very deep armrest in order to mount it.

The trim for the drivers switches is traced onto the armrest with a pen.

The hole is then cut out with a Dremmel tool. A drill bit and hacksaw blade can also be used, but it's a bit more work. Once the rough hole is cut, a file is used to clean up the edges. When cutting holes for switches, don't get carried away and make the holes too big. It's a lot easier to have the hole a little too small and file it out to the proper size.

Installing the switches and wiring

Installing the switches and wiring

Installing the switches and wiring

Installing the switches and wiring

The switch trim is test fitted into the armrest. Once a good fit is obtained, the trim rings are snapped into place.

Installing the switches and wiring

Installing the switches and wiring

The vapor barrier is reinstalled on the door with the wires protruding through a hole near the position the armrest will be once the panels are reinstalled. Note that the wiring in the door has been taped together and tie strapped to the door where it will not interfere with the linkage or window mechanism. The blue and black wires coming from the motor are also taped to the wiring that will go to the switches.

In order to mount these switches in this armrest, the connectors that plug into the switches had to be replaced with shorter ones. We found some terminals at the local auto parts store that were 1/4 inch shorter than the terminals supplied with the Electric Life kit.

Installing the switches and wiring

Installing the switches and wiring

Round caps are installed over the holes where the crank handles were and the door panel is loosely reinstalled. The wires are then connected to the switches. Wiring diagrams can be confusing, so a little extra time is spent to make sure all of our connections are correct.

Once the wires are all connected properly, the ignition key is turned on and the system is tested. After assuring ourselves that none of the wiring was in danger of interfering with any of the doors linkages or the window regulator, the remaining trim pieces and handles are reinstalled on the door

The finished window installation looks great. It's really hard to tell that this truck didn't roll out of the factory with power windows.

Completed installation of power windows in a Ford F150