Evora window regulator cable repair - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2017, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Evora window regulator cable repair

The window regulator seems to be a common failure point in the Lotus Evora. Unfortunately, you cannot replace components of this, as the regulator must be purchased as an entire assembly at a cost of several hundred dollars. If you have the dealership or a local shop do the work, the labor charge will be at least as much. Fortunately, some common window regulator problems can be handled by yourself with a few dollars, a few more hours, and a modest mechanical aptitude.

My problem started when I rolled down the window one day and found it wouldn’t roll back up. I could hear the motor whirring, and a slight crunching sound, but no movement. Lack of movement in one direction when the motor still whirs upon clicking the button is a good sign that a cable has broken and the motor is fine. Here is how I repaired mine.

First, you must remove the door panel. There is already an excellent DIY here on this forum which I followed. I do not have much to add except to say you should really use the special tool (as recommended in the tutorial) to remove the plastic “fir tree” snaps. I first thought I could just use a flathead screwdriver. Nope. Save yourself some trouble and buy this tool at your local auto shop. It is often included with other similar tools in an “interior/upholstery removal tool kit”.

Now that the door panel is off, it looks like this. BTW, my Evora is a 2011 so yours may differ somewhat. Familiarize yourself with the various components, bolt locations, etc. The interior panel is connected by the door latch cable and the wiring harness. The wiring harness has plastic zip-tied over the two connectors, so have some spare zip-ties handy when you eventually put everything back together. The inner chamber of the door itself is covered with a foam (plastic on newer models) liner glued to the door. Remove this. You may be able to remove carefully enough that you can re-glue it later but expect to have to replace this with a new piece. I bought some similar material at a hobby shop and cut it to shape. The purpose of this liner is to prevent water from dripping down the glass and finding a way into the vehicle cabin.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2017, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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Next, see if you can position the window toward its upper (rolled up) position. I was able to move mine manually while being careful not to cause more damage. You may need to reconnect the cable connectors to the interior door panel to use the electric motor to move the window. It’s a bit of a pain with the interior panel in the way. While I am at it, disconnect the negative terminal of the battery except for certain moments when you need power. There is a safety concern with your hands inside the door. Also, having the door open for prolonged periods of time draws power (I forgot to turn off the dome light).

Be ready to brace the window in some way. The next step is to loosen the clamps that hold the glass and you don’t want it to fall down and break. At times I was able to use a length of wood block inside the door, and I had some rubber pieces wedged between the glass and the rubber door seals. Point is, be careful.

The purpose of having the window rolled up is to position the front glass clamp bolt near the access hole in the door. My hole was covered by a strip of black electrical tape. This hole allows you to insert a long socket head ratchet wrench. The other clamp bolt is easily accessed through the main opening. Loosening these bolts allows you to open the clamps and free the glass from the regulator.

The regulator is attached inside the door via three bolts. Hold the regulator with one hand so it doesn’t fall. You can’t pull it out yet because the wiring harness is still connected to the motor. It takes some cajoling to orient the regulator enough to pull the connector out of the motor. While doing so, the wires inside the door can be removed from their clamps. Here is a picture from inside the door showing what the clamps look like. They can be gently bent enough to pop the wire bundle free. Later, be sure to hook the wires back into the clamps. These are very important as they keep the wires away from the moving parts as the window goes up and down.

It took me a while, but I finally could get the regulator free of the door. I went slow as I was never sure what else was holding it in place. It is the three bolts, the wiring connector at the motor, and the two clamps on the glass.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2017, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the basic function of the regulator. The glass clamp bar moves up and down along the center rail. This is induced by a cable pulling it along. One cable pulls it up and another pulls it down. Each cable wraps around a pulley at the extreme ends of the main rail, goes through a plastic tube, and winds around a central drum. The motor turns the drum clockwise and counter-clockwise. Each cable gets wound and unwound accordingly. At the drum, a spring on each cable maintains tension in the system. Each cable has a button ferrule (aka stops) on each end which slips into a recess, one for each cable at the clamp bar and one for each cable at the drum.

My problem was that one of the cable ends pulled out of its recess in the clamp bar. The cable hung loose (you can see it at the top of the photo) so there was no means to pull the clamp bar (and thus the glass) upward. After coming loose the cable became kinked. Once kinked, the cable cannot be reused so I made my own.

The Evora cable is 1.6mm. The closest English unit size is 1/16”, which is what I bought. I also purchased a cable ferrule and stop set (the double ferrules included are not used, only the stops). I had to buy a big clamp to swage the stops onto the cable. All were found at Home Depot.

Remove the cover over the drum. Take a picture before unwinding the cables any further. It is important to make sure the cables get rewound the correct way. Here are some pictures showing what mine looked like coming apart.

I took off both cables, stretched them out and measured. Both came out to be 37.25”. Despite this measurement, my new cables wouldn’t fit (more later) so buy extra length of cable and extra stops. I had to make a couple adjustments in length to get a final set of cables that worked.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2017, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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To make the cable, measure how much you need based a measurement of the old cable. Insert a stop onto one end and swage in place. Before installing the other stop, thread the cable through the plastic tube and plastic end fitting. Note the different colors of end fittings, different tube lengths, and different springs (refer to your pictures). Install the stop at the other end and swage. Once the stops are crushed onto the cable, they will not fit into the recess of either the clamp rail or the drum. Use a Dremel tool or a file to file down as necessary.

The next step took me a while. Position the clamp bar on the center rail. Insert one end of a cable into its recess and route over the pulley. Wind the cable around the drum in the correct direction. This all needs to be held in place as you do the same for the other cable. It helps to have a second person assist you. Getting the second cable on will be a little more difficult. To get it installed and wound around the drum will create tension in the system. To give yourself some slack, both springs will need to be compressed. This is where you really need a second person.

I struggled with this as even with both springs compressed to their solid height, the cable couldn’t be slipped over the drum. I finally made two new cables adding another ˝” to each. In hindsight, it may be better to initially go a little long on the cable lengths as the spring compression gives you some wiggle room in length. Once both cables are installed, if they are too long there will be slack and the springs won’t compress. Make shorter ones. But if you try to install too short cables (as I did) it just gets frustrating as you can’t get both installed at one time. Anyway, don’t be surprised if you must make more than one set.

Once both cables are on, put on some cable grease and reinstall the drum cover. You can slide the clamp bar up and down to make sure all moves smoothly.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2017, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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Final installation is just an inverse of your previous actions. Put the assembly inside the door, connect the wiring connector to the motor, orient the assembly and install in place with the three bolts. Make sure the wiring bundles inside the door are back in their clamps (I forgot one and during a test movement it started to get caught up). Place the glass in the rubber inserts on the clamps. Tighten the clamps but not all the way. You still need to adjust the glass.

Connect the wiring harness to the interior door panel and place the door panel back on. The door panel is just sitting on the door via the two vertical studs at the top. It is easiest to get on and off with the glass rolled down. With the door panel sitting there you can actuate the window switch to check the movement up and down. Then roll the window up and close the door. Look at the alignment of the window front to rear and the tilt of the glass at the top. You may have to roll the glass down, take off the door panel, make adjustments, put the panel back on, check your adjustments, etc. I put a piece of painter’s tape on my glass to mark the front to rear alignment. This let me check how much I was moving it without having to take the panel on and off too much.

The front to rear alignment is done by adjusting how the glass sits in the clamps. The inward and outward tilt is adjusted by screws at the lower front and rear (the front one can only be accessed by removing the speaker). These screws move the internal side rails in and out. Finally, there is an adjustment screw at the center rail clamp bar which limits how far the glass can move up. Once adjusted, tighten the glass clamp bolts, install the foam protector sheet, install the interior door panel, and get a beer.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2017, 05:34 PM
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Nice write-up! I hope I never need to reference it, but I appreciate that you took the time to share
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2017, 11:21 PM
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You are absolutely the man! Thank you for taking the time and effort to post this with such detailed instructions and illustrations!

Next weekend I'm not at the track or working on the beach house project!

What our passenger window is doing exactly and now I have a fix!

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-01-2017, 06:47 PM
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So after the teardown/repair should we rip into perfectly functioning regulators now to do some preventative maintenance? IE try to find a way to make sure the cable doesn't come out of the holder and maybe lube up the cables? Can we get to the cable ends without removing the regulator?

'12 Evora S - 'Bob Lutz' Edition
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-03-2017, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately you cannot reach the cable ends with the regulator installed in the door. But if you ever have to take off the interior panel, say to work on the door latch mechanism, it's not a bad idea to inspect the regulator.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-18-2019, 08:47 PM
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Had to use this how-to today to repair my driver side regulator. Very clear and concise.

2011 Evora NA - Phantom Black | Paprika | MT | 2+.5
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