Saturday, May 28, 2016

2012 ford focus window regulator repair notes

  • Servicing the regulator can be a DIY job but you need patience
  • My Ford dealer had the best price on the part I needed
  • Doing this job with the window stuck at the top is a problem
  • You can mash the mirror connector in the door if you are not careful
[DRAFT] I want to talk about the electric driver's side window regulator for a Ford Focus 2012. This may apply to all Focus third generation 2012 to the current 2016. I could not find good information on the web so this article is my contribution. Third gen is significantly different from the earlier Ford Focus and I had a somewhat unique problem, the window was stuck at the top (closed). This is not a "How To Step by Step" but rather a series of observations and thoughts about what I found, in the hope that these help you with your problem. (click any picture to enlarge it)

window would not move

My driver side front window stopped working in the UP position. It turns out that it is difficult to get the window regulator (the motor and the whole assembly) out of this car with the window stuck at the top. I don't think that I could get the motor out by itself without removing the regulator from the door. This is about how I did mine and some interesting things I found out.

My driver's window gets a fair bit of use. It is the most used of any of the windows. I open this window often to get fresh air while driving unless I am at highway speed. I have the auto option which allows me to one touch up or down. The window has worked flawlessly until last winter when it refused to go down. Not working seemed to correlate with the cold. When it was very cold, the drivers side window would not go down. Then, as the temperature rose, the window would start working again.

"Probably some moisture getting in there and freezing" my local mechanic Dave said. The whole winter went by like that. The following summer of 2015, the window worked flawlessly. This winter, sometime in February, the window stopped working. The car is now three+ years old and out of the standard warranty - I know this because the air conditioning compressor died last fall and Ford would not cover the $1300 bill. I was determined to take my best shot at fixing this problem. I had taken doors apart before! And there was YouTube and the internet to help me!

removing the regulator

You will find good YouTube videos about how to remove the door panel to get access to the regulator. I followed this one by Jason. It's clear except that the black door panel he is working on makes it sometimes hard to see detail. My door panel had never been removed. I found the fasteners at the bottom of the door difficult to separate. [show locations and pics]

My problem was with removing the regulator from the door.

Ford's service manual says to do this with the window part way down. This is so that you can reach the two clips which hold the glass. The glass must be removed in order to take the regulator out of the door.

My window had stopped at the top and did not respond to the switch. Several web sources suggest tapping the motor while pressing the window DOWN button but this did not work for me. I removed the four bolts holding the ends of the regulator tracks and was able to lower the whole mechanism and the window slightly but I could not get at the clips holding the glass. There did not seem to be screws in the window track clips but they were way up inside the door I could not see or feel so I did not know what sort of clip I was dealing with.

I knew that if I could get the thing out of the door that I would have a chance to get a look inside the motor and perhaps clear the problem? Or was it the door switch module? I did not know which was at fault. Or could it be wiring, or something more obscure? The other three windows worked fine but with the drivers window I could hear the faintest of clicks AFTER the click of my punching the switch. What that the circuit breaker in the switch module? Was the switch ok? I still didn't know.

"Probably need to cut the cable or drill holes in the door" said Dave after I described the dilemma.

I then visited my local Ford dealer and got a list of the parts I might need and their costs.

cost review

  • The entire regulator assembly with a motor WLRA-167 C$180
  • The motor WLM-267 C$55 (plus a C$45 "core" if I didn't bring the old one back)
  • The switch control unit SW-7319 C$96

From the web, I learned that the motor WRM-267 seems to cost list about US$69 (Motorcraft Ford brand, amazon.com) My local ford dealers equivalent price is about US$42.50. One YouTube video advises you can get one at a junkyard for US$30. I don't know if I would go to all this trouble to analyze the problem and then replace with a used unit? Also, you won't just walk up to a donor car at the wrecker's and pull this out in 5 minutes. See the rest of my description.

There is some bad info on the web like this one. My pictures and video will help you get the right part. Note the big grommet on the wire (mine has no wire) and the drive output is a square rather than the gear on mine. Also, they call this a "right" motor but to me this is a drivers or left. But I am in North America. So buyer beware.

While at the dealer, I asked for some specific advice about the window stuck at the top. The parts man went to talk with one of the mechanics and yes, I had to get the window out to get the regulator free. It's as simple as that. There is no cable kit so don't cut the cable! You don't have to drill holes. What you need to do is to pry the window outward while lifting it up, the mechanic told me through the parts guy.

Back home, I had the regulator loose so the window was down maybe 1" and I tried prying it outward. I didn't pull too hard because I didn't want to break anything. Not yet understanding the window retaining clips, I didn't want to break them. The clips and the cables were part of the whole assembly I would have to buy if I broke something. The clips weren't available separately. It would be helpful if a glass guy could show how this is done.

So I decided to try another route for a bit. Sometimes you need alternative approaches.

I was not sure if perhaps the switch was at fault so I decided to attempt running the motor with a power supply. I cut the two wires from the harness to the motor plug. They were too short anyway. I found this when I tried to disconnect the motor connector with the motor still in the door. The wire leads were only long enough for me to get the connecotr off, no longer.

On a small table, I set up a variable bench power supply and ran a line cord out from the garage. I had two test leads and two alligator clips. I attached the power supply to the bare motor leads, the motor sprang to life and the glass started moving down! I was able to run the motor! It went down without any problem. I pulled the leads off the power supply and reversed the plugs. The glass would not go up unless I put my palm on the glass and "helped" it with an upward push. The mottor sounded like it was working very hard to raise the glass. Down once again, but not up unless pushed.

I parked the glass in the recommended half way down position and I was finally able to open the clips which hold the window glass. After opening one clip and then the other, the glass lifted out of the door. Then I was able, with a bit of wiggling, to extract the regulator assembly from the door.

the fault explained


no limit switches, need to do power door window initialization

This is a DRAFT being worked on. Please check back in a couple of days. Thank you. George.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

reader projects 4

Occasionally I hear from readers who have built the unique parabolic solar heater in my book. I also receive interesting questions. Here are some recent examples for your inspiration.

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Miranda writes: "I’m a physics major [at a college in Nebraska] and as part of our capstone experience we are required to choose an area that interests us and do a senior project that pertains to that area. I loved the idea of solar…I came across your book and chose to base my project off of it! I love the book and your clear writing style...I was just going to compare to your 90% efficiency by doing the same calculation for mine...I’m only 42% efficient at my boiling flow rate."

Miranda is asking about a performance measurement I made and wrote up in this early article based on the non-insulated design Performance of the DIY tracking solar parabola array which was updated and included in the book as the Performance chapter (p 131).

I wrote back: That's possible Miranda.

If you are boiling water you will have higher thermal losses which will reduce the efficiency. [The amount of loss] will depend on your insulation like the glass tube, fibre wrap or other techniques to reduce heat losses but that is the cause.

As you noticed, I was heating pool water at a high flow rate to only a few degrees above ambient. Life is much easier at lower temperatures. No insulation required. I got into the higher temp effort after that. Haven't measured my own efficiency at higher temps but I would expect it to be less.

Don't be disappointed by lower efficiency at higher temperatures.

It does sound to me like you understand what you are doing. Good luck!

George

Ravindra Pardeshi commented: "Hello George, Is it possible to make superheated steam with the drawings in your latest book. I am interested in making steam type community kitchen in India."

I wrote back: Hello Ravindra Pardeshi. Please see this article how to make solar superheated steam

This work was all done with parts made from the design in my book.

I show how to make the solar collectors only. The balance of the system would be up to you. I show the temperatures and the amounts of steam that can be produced with even a small system.

Good luck with your project and thank you for your interest.

George

Guillermo Sivori writes: Hi George, I am interested in your book to built a concentrated solar collector. I just wanted to know if the collector pipe in your project is a vacuum glass pipe or a different pipe.

I live in Southamerica and I am not sure if glass pipes, used to isolate cooper pipes can be easily found.


I wrote back: Hello Guillermo and thank you for writing to me.

Yes, the vacuum glass tubes can be difficult to find, particularly in Canada! I first saw the tubes in Mexico where the roof top solar heaters are very common, much more common than here. Short tubes are available with mail order but for the longer tubes, you must find an installer of the heating systems and convince them to sell you a few tubes of the spares they keep in case of breakage, or you will need to import a box of the tubes from a manufacturer. I wrote an article about the tubes here: more about evacuated tubes for parabolic troughs

I did find the tubes, even in Canada and with some research, I think you should be able to find them also.

Good luck and let me know your progress.

George

You can see previous reader project articles: 3, 2 and 1.

I am very interested in hearing from you if you have built one of these systems and used my book for inspiration.

You can see background on my project diy solar parabolic trough gen2 intro and you can buy my book at georgesworkshop.ca. Your purchase of my book helps support my work.

Thank you for your interest,

George Plhak
Lion's Head, Ontario, Canada