The great feel of a fresh restoration comes from the proper assembly and adjustment of new components along with the charisma of cruising Main Street with crispy new threads. All the new parts in the world are pointless if they are installed and adjusted incorrectly. Doors that don’t close properly. Windows that jam. Rattles that insult. Sloppy operation. These and a host of other items make us obsess over what’s wrong.
Anything you tackle in a restoration must be handled methodically. If you are in a hurry to get a restoration finished you may miss the crucial details that make or break the overall quality. We see it all the time here at Chevy High Performance—lights that don’t work, windows are hard to roll up or down, non-operational instruments, engines that don’t perform, sloppy transmission shift quality, and the list goes on. When you restore a classic Camaro, Chevelle, or Tri-Five, be prepared to go the distance on form, fit, and function. If the darned thing doesn’t work right, and that means all items functioning, your restoration isn’t complete.
Of all the restoration items we can think of, window regulators and door function are among the most hated. It’s always a challenge to get the doors and windows working smoothly. We get frustrated, too, and at times give up and go watch the ball game in disgust. However, once you come to understand how windows function, the dreaded task of adjustment gets easier.
The crew at Hot Rods & Hobbies in Signal Hill, California, have been working on our Pro Touring 1969 Camaro, which is in the final phases of a full-scale restoration. They’ve done this window dance more than a few times, so with all the necessary parts in hand from Auto Metal Direct and Classic Industries, we followed along to show the right way to fill a Camaro door and get all the mechanisms and glass working properly.
Let’s get started.
1. The first-gen F-body door is actually easier to work with than most. There’s generous room to get your hands and tools inside. We’re going to take this empty door and show you how to fill it with Classic Industries reproduction parts for smooth operation and road-going quiet.
2. Assembly begins with the exterior lock installation. The door lock hole needed to be worked with a file to get it sized for the new Classic Industries lock. The door lock fits through the hole with the lock arm pointed in the right direction.
3. This is the pivot point for the lock rod/bellcrank mechanism.
4. The forward window track is installed first and secured loosely. Don’t fully tighten until the window glass is installed and you’re ready to start adjusting. These window tracks are fully adjustable. If you’re patient and take your time, you can get the windows spot on with a tight seal.
5. The forward window track adjusts in and out with these two bolts.
6. The aft window track is installed with the arrow end located at the top. Keep the fasteners loose for glass installation and adjustment.
7. The adjustment bolts for the aft window track are located topside, as shown. They adjust the glass forward and backward.
8. This is our window regulator from Classic Industries, which is a scissor style driven by a geared mechanism connected to the window handle (white arrow). As the window handle is cranked, it turns a small gear that drives a larger half gear (black arrow). The half gear runs the scissor (red arrow), which raises or lowers the glass. A coiled helper spring (blue arrow) counteracts the weight of the glass to make raising or lowering the window easy.
9. The window regulator must be generously lubricated with white grease. Lubricate the helper spring, gear mechanism, and scissor once the regulator is installed. When you lube the regulator before installation it gets messy and frustrating.
10. This is the idler track, which works in unison with the scissor to move the glass up and down.
11. The idler track bolts to the glass.
12. This is the Camaro/Firebird Door Glass Mounting Kit (PN KW050). Here are the all-new fasteners, insulators, and the tools to make it happen. These fasteners secure the window glass to roller brackets.
13. Classic Industries makes it easy to replace window glass with simple OEM fasteners, insulators, and tools. This is the right-hand forward window track/roller assembly. The installation tool (inside the socket) is available separately.
14. This is the aft right-hand window track/roller properly attached to the fresh glass (PN 550-3568) we got from Auto Metal Direct (AMD). It comes in clear and tinted.
15. Here’s the flip side of the forward right-hand window track/roller as installed. The rubber bumper is a window stop.
16. This is the quarter-window and roller assembly as installed. You will need PN K846 for the right-hand window and PN K845 for the left.
17. This is the time to lube the window regulator with white grease at the gear mechanism, helper spring, and rollers, and also the tracks. The window should glide into the tracks as shown. Never force the glass. Tempered glass, if placed under abnormal stresses in the corners, can explode all over your garage.
18. This is the idler track we addressed earlier, which bolts to the glass. Lube the idler track with white grease.
19. Here’s the quarter-window regulator, which works on the same basic principle as the door regulator. It is all about mechanical advantage and moving the weight of the window glass with minimal effort.
20. The quarter-window glass glides into the lubed tracks like this.
21. The window glass buffer is installed next, which prevents unnecessary window chatter/rattle.
22. Install the weatherstrip with the window glass all the way down.
23. The quarter-window weatherstrip installation is straightforward, and clips into place like this.
24. The window perimeter weatherstrip retaining stainless needs a dose of 3M Strip Calk, also known as “Dumb-Dumb” between the stainless and body. Don’t forget the hardware, which is designed to vector weatherstripping as the window is closed.
25. The perimeter weatherstrip stainless is positioned and attached as shown. Run the screws down snug, but not tight. Once all the screws are seated, run through and tighten them all fully.
26. The door mechanisms and checks are next. Pack the mechanism with white grease for smooth operation. Don’t forget to order fasteners when you order your door latch mechanism. This is the right-hand latch for 1969 Camaros/Firebirds and 1969-’70 Novas (PN 8720401). The part number for the left-hand door latch is 8720402.
27. Adjust the felt guide in or out to where the window is stable but not too tight.
28. Once the windows have been properly adjusted, and this takes practice, we’re ready for the door handle mechanism. Attach the handle to the linkage and secure the handle via the two bolts shown.
29. The door assembly is complete and the window is adjusted. Note the use of Dynamat sound deadening inside the door. This gives a classic Camaro a quiet ride like it never had from the factory.
If you’re having trouble installing parts, such as driprails, trim work, door handles, lock cylinders, and the like keep paint in mind. If the part doesn’t fit, the problem is likely paint thickness. Carefully shave the paint down to achieve a proper fit. Be careful not to go down to bare metal. If you reach the metal, give it a touch-up with a self-etching primer sealer. Otherwise rust will develop, undermining the paint.
Photos: Steven Rupp