Installing front door window scrapers.
In this article I’m going to explain how to go about installing window scrapers in the front doors. I'm going to be rather general about it because it’s pretty much the same on all cars. I am not going to cover split window Bus or Things as they have a window frame and don’t have to go through the hassle of scrapers.
The first thing here is decide if you even want to do this. It is not an easy job. I’d rather pull a motor out and put back in twice as opposed to doing scrapers on doors. Also, you may consider doing more than just the scrapers while you’re tearing everything apart. The outer scraper is pretty much the first piece that goes in after the door is stripped. I suggest you get all the seals as you really don’t want to get back into this to replace another seal you didn’t buy. So what should you buy? Here is a basic list. Outer scrapers (This usually comes with a chrome molding attached to it, buy good ones), inner scrapers, vent wing seal, vent wing flap seals, felt channel (this one goes from the vent wing post, down, back and down the back side of the door, again buy good ones), Vent wing post felt channel (this one goes down the back side of the vent wing post), new felt clips if your car takes them, new door panel clip rubber seals, (doesn’t hurt to buy a few door panel clips as well), and medium thickness plastic (enough to cover the door panel and for both sides). I wouldn’t take my doors apart until I have all those parts ready. Be very careful handling the outer scrapers. They are easy to dent or kink the molding. Once you do that it's damn near impossible to straighten it out.
Let's get started. The first part of this job is to remove the inner door handles so we can get the door panel off. Some early handles have a pin that goes through the handle. To get to this pin, push back the escutcheon ring (plastic ring behind the handle). Look at the side of the handle and you will see a hole. Use a small punch and drive out the pin. Try not to lose the pin (But if you do you can buy new ones). On later cars the window crank is held on by a screw. Gently pry the plastic cover back where the handle meets the door. In the center you will see the screw. Remove the screw and wiggle the handle off. On the finger door release handle, there is a plastic cover that hides the screw. It's under the finger pull. Take your small screwdriver and gently pop it out. Again you will see a screw under that cover. Once you have that off you can take off the trim ring around that handle. There is no need to take the handle part off itself. If you have a door pull, don’t worry about that now. It is held in with a clip (hook) and will come off with the door panel itself. Now the door panel. This can be tricky to pop the clips without ripping the door panel itself. I use a plastic stiff putty knife. Slide it behind the door panel and then before prying slide it up against a clip. This is just something you need to feel for. Go round the door panel until you have them all popped out. Now grab the door pull and pull up. That will get it out of the hook that is on the inside. Store the door panel in a place where it won’t see moisture and won't get ruined. Now if you see plastic on the door under the door panel remove it. Most of the time there isn’t any and that’s why your door panels are now warped.
Next is to remove the window off the regulator. There are too many different types of window regulators so I'm going to be real general. Just pay attention here and it’s not a bad idea to label the hardware you're taking off, and take pictures so you can refer back to them as you put it back together. Roll the window down and you will see how the window attaches to the regulator. Get the window free from the regulator and just let it sit in the bottom of the door. Now remove the regulator. This is not fun because some wrap around the vent wing post. On the later cars you will have to remove a bolt that holds the post at the bottom to get the regulator out. Write yourself some notes here so you can refer back.
Once you have the regulator out, it's time to work on the vent wing post and vent wing. On early cars this is a two piece deal and on the later cars it is one unit. So at this point pull back the felt near the post and you will see one or two screws holding the vent wing post in at the top. Remove those screws and then push back on the post. You should have the lower bolt out already. If this is an early car then just the post will come out. If this is a later car then the vent wing assembly will all come out as a unit. Be careful here, it’s a tight fit and easy to scratch the paint. If you have an early car then you will need to find two bolts on the bottom that hold a tension clamp in as well as drill out the riviot at the top where the vent wing pivots. Use a 1/8 drill bit. Once you have the vent wing out, peel out the rubber.
Next are the felts. On early cars it's held in with a tiny screw. Find the screw and remove them. I start by pulling the felt back starting near the vent wing. When it doesn’t come loose you will have to hunt in that area for the screw. On later cars it's just clipped in and will pry out of the clips. Once you have the felts out it's time to start getting the scrapers out. On the early cars sometimes they are held in at the top with a couple of little screws again. If so, remove the screw. On the later cars you will need to remove the clip that held the felt in. This is done by using a big flat blade screwdriver. You will see a hole that the clip is in. Take your screwdriver and put the blade in the hole as to push the clip. Now with the palm of your hand pop the handle. This should move the clip over and out. If the clip isn’t moving and your palm is red then you're trying to move it the wrong way. Get all the clips out. Next, with your stiff plastic putty knife, slide it between the chrome molding and the door and pry the scraper towards where the glass was. They are held in with clips. If you have a nice paint job then you might want to use some painters tape here as not to scratch your paint. Once you have all the clips popped out, remove the outer scraper. It is damn near impossible to get these out without ruining the molding so I don’t even try. Next remove the inner scraper doing the same thing.
That’s it, you have pretty much gutted the door. I strongly suggest you finish this door before going to the other side. You will be able to use it as a reference as you put this side back together. Now the fun part. Get a helper and a roll of painters tape ready. If you have had more than one beer I suggest you call it quits for the day. This next part is hard and needs your complete concentration. Get your buddy and give him the painters tape. Grab your outer scraper out of the package. Be careful here do not stand it up until you have one hand on the bottom and one hand on the top of the molding. Walk over to the door and gently place the scraper in the door. Whatever you do, DO NOT let go of your upper hand. If you do, the molding will fall and kink. Talk to your buddy and have him wrap tape around the molding and the upper part of the door. You do not get to let go until there is tape up there holding it up. A couple of wraps in different spots are nice here in case one comes undone. You can let go once the tape is on and only once the tape is on.
Now pop the clips of the scraper into the door. Once you have done that, grab your felt clips if it takes clips and start installing them. I work my way from the bottom up. You will have to pop them in place in the reverse order and method that you took them out. If your car is an early one, then you will need to put the screw(s) back in that held it in place. To poke a hole in the molding I use and awl or an ice pick. The molding is soft aluminum so it's pretty easy to do. If you plan on using the OE holes to put the felt back in now is the time to poke the hole and map things out where they are. It’s a Bitch. Most of the time I'll just drill new holes. Now that the molding is held in place at the bottom and the top you can take the tape off. I can't tell you how many times I have let go of the top before the tape was on and kinked the molding, and I know better now. If you get past this step you're golden.
Now the inner scraper. Just place it in the door and snap it in. Sounds easier than it is. Next step is to put the vent wing post back in. If you have an early car then you will want to install the vent wing seal in the door body itself first. If your hands are hurting, you're doing it right. It's all about pushing one side in its groove and tucking the other side in with a dull flat screwdriver. If your car is early, install the vent wing. You will need to re-rivet the piviot, using the OE riviot or you can use a stainless steel short pop rivet. Use a washer between the bracket and the frame. OE fiber washer is nice but a popriviot backing washer works here too. If your car is later and they came out as a unit then yeah you can go in the house sit in your favorite chair and fight the seal there.
Once you have dealt with the vent wing, you are going to want to install the new felt in the post as well as install the vent wing flap seal. The felt glues in, so once you have the old felt out then clean up that channel in the post and just glue the new one in. Don’t get carried away with the glue as we don’t want glue oozing out the side. I use 3m super weather stip adhesive, the black color just in case some does oozes out.
Now the flap seal. Sometimes you can slide it in, other times it is all about tucking one side in and then using a small screwdriver again tuck the other side in. Once you are done it's time to walk over to the door and install it. Tilt the bar to get it started in the bottom of the door. Watch your paint here and try not to dent the molding. Remember, skin grows back, paint does not. Get the post into place and reattach it at the top. Leave the bottom loose until you get the regulator back in as it has to tuck into that area.
Now the regulator. It’s a good idea while you have it out to lube it up and make sure it works, easy up and down. Early cars have a gear style one so get out your white grease and small paint brush and start greasing up the gear. Take your handle and crank it up and down a few times and make sure it's working nicely. On later cars they have a cable style one. I go to a motorcycle shop and buy chain lube and spray the cable. Again work it up and down. New replacement cable regulators suck and I mean suck, so spend some time here and get them working well. Once you feel good about how it’s working reinstall it in the car. The gear style ones are not too bad and have few adjustments. The cable one, well, it’s not as easy. This is where having the other door still together will come in handy for first timers. Once you have it installed use the crank again to make sure it's smooth. This will be without the glass installed on it. Now time for the felt. You will need to just start one end down into the door. Push it down a ways, but do not push it into its channel yet. Now take the end that goes against the vent wing post and push it into its channel. If you have an early car you will need to install a screw. Use a pick here and try and find your old holes for the screw or just drill a new hole. If I remember, right there are only two at the top. If your car has clips then push the felt into the clip. Work your way back to the corner, then down. Go slow in the corner. We don’t want it “bunched” up and we don’t want it away from the door channel either. Once in place in the door window opening, reach inside the door and put it into the channel that is in the door.
Now more fun. You will need to get the glass back in to that felt channel. Once you have it started, push the glass up with your hand. See how it feels. You might need to adjust the vent wing post. If you think you got it then tighten the vent wing post. At this point I use rain X on the glass. This will make the glass slick and the new scrapers won't grab the glass and roll the lip of the rubber when we try and roll it down. Once you think you got it and the window glass goes up and down nicely then we need to attach it to the regulator again. The gear style regulator just slides into a groove with a clip and not much adjustment here. Use grease where it slides in. On cable regulators you will need to leave the bolts semi loose. Roll the window up and let the bolts move where they want to be. Then roll it down and snug them up. Roll the window back up and see how it's working. Be gentle here. We do not want to strip the cable gear on the regulator. Do your final adjustments if needed and tighten.
Ok I think we are ready for the door panel to be put back on. Here is where most people screw up. Grab the plastic you bought and glue it, tape it, whatever to the door. You should be covering the holes that the door panel clips into. You will need to make a cut in the plastic for the door handles and the hook for the door pull. Use duct tape to seal what cuts you make. If you do this your door panels will stay looking nice. If you do not they will warp from water. “But Steve, my car never sees the rain”. I know, do it anyway because you will be washing that car at some point.
Where the door panel clips go, poke a hole and install the new door panel clip seals. Take your wd40 and squirt a little into each seal. This will make the door panel go in easier and keep the seal from pushing in. Don’t get carried away, just a little bit here works. Next is the escutcheon springs. The little end goes towards the door and the large end towards the panel. Now grab your door panel and hook the pull back on its hook. And then push the clips around the outside back into their holes. Install the handles and then you're done with that door.
Now repeat all of that on your other door. Sounds like fun, huh? That’s why I don’t like doing this job. I'm getting older now, so lately I just take it to somebody who does this for a living and just pay them to do it. If you don’t have that option then this is how you go about it in general terms.