Over time, things in life seem to slow down a bit. Take for example, myself. Twenty-three years ago I was physically much faster at just about everything I did. Although hardly noticeable, over time the things I used to do quite quickly, have now become somewhat more time consuming.
The same goes for mechanical vehicle parts. After 20 years or so, some of the electronic mechanisms begin to slow down. Soon, you may find yourself waiting in what seems like a small eternity for something as simple as electric windows to go through the basic process of "rolling up." There has even been a time, or two, when I've had to ask my passenger(s) to pitch in by pulling the window up on their side of the car so the tired motor could finish it's job.
It's quite common when purchasing a used car that the seller, or in this case a family member, conveniently forgets to mention some, or all of the "little idiosyncrasies" that have given the said "pre-owned" vehicle its quirky personality.
This was the case when I purchased an '82 El Camino from my uncle a few years back. These little annoyances can come in the form of a leaky radiator, a door that must be closed "just right," or in my case, managing to get the windows to go up and down in a reasonable amount of time.
I told the folks over at Original Parts Group (OPGI) about my little conundrum and they were more than happy to supply me with the proper parts (part #L201256 window motor) and some tips to get our windows back up to speed.
Although the process may seem to be a little intimidating to the slightly inexperienced, like myself, it's really not that difficult of a job. Most of this process entails getting to the window motor itself by way of removing the door panels and unplugging the electronic switches and door locks.
With the help of Primedia's Tech Center manager Jason Scudellari, we knocked this little project out in a couple of hours. The time spent was well worth it, as the windows now operate at the same speed as the day it was originally purchased in 1982.
Here are the OEM electric window motors (part # L201256) from Original Parts Group for the '78-'88 El Camino. This part also fits the Cutlass and Regal.
First, we used a Phillips screwdriver to remove the armrests.
We then extricated stowaway coins and lint before completely removing the armrest.
Now we had access to the screws that hold on the bottom part of the door panel.
With a small flathead screwdriver, we carefully lifted up the decorative dust cover on the secondary door handles for removal.
Now we were able to access and remove the screws holding in the top section of the door panels, as well as the remote handles.
With all the screws removed, we pulled off the bottom panel. With a firm grip we pulled gently until the clips released.
We didn't pull the panel away just yet, as we needed to remove the electric door lock switches.
The remote side mirror adjustment knob was removed through the back as well.
Next, we removed the top section door panel.
To remove the electric window switches, we simply unplugged the connector on the back of the switch.
It's a good idea to plug it back in so it doesn't get lost. Or, in my case to still be able to drive the car to the local sandwich shop to pick up lunch for the tech center manager.
With access to the electric motors, just three bolts needed to be removed. Since these were the original motors, we had to finesse them out with a bit of force. After 23 years, they became somewhat attached to their original habitat.
We then pulled the connector plug apart at the bottom of the old motor and it was easily removed through the opening at the bottom of the door.
We then removed the old dust covers and put them on the new motors. This was done by just removing and replacing four screws.
The new motor fit right in with no problem. We just lined up the gears and bolted it on in. We found it easier to bolt the motor in place then reattach the connecting plug. Although we couldn't see the connection point, it was easy to feel where it went.
Now it was time to put everything back together, but not before liberally adding some new grease to the window rollers and cross section. Depletion of the grease is one of the major things that cause these window motors to wear out.