Not quite Hitchcockian, but certainly a Mystery solved..
It’s safe to say that we enjoyed [endured..?] a bit of a Heat Wave here in the UK this Summer, and without any A/C in the Beast, Windows took on a whole new level of Importance. About six weeks ago, at time of writing, the electric windows failed, as did the rear Tailgate Window; I couldn’t believe it, even though actually I could. No response from the Window Toggles, nor the Tailgate Keyhole from which you can open or close the Rear Glass.
I couldn’t believe it, even though actually I could.
Searching the Ownership Forums, there were dozens of Threads on testing and repairing the Relays and Motors, so I set having a look to see if there was anything obvious; loose wires, burned circuitry et cetera. Investigating the Tailgate from the inside was a little sweaty.
If this looks a bit dangerous, it’s because it is. Hair Clips, held by Crocodile Clips, with a 12V Jump Battery attached to see if applying power directly to the Motor would do anything. Nothing happened, except when I accidentally touched the Hair Clips together resulting in a big Spark and a bit of a burning smell.
I figured the Motor must be done for. I was wrong.
I watched a You Tube Video that demonstrates bypassing the Rear Window Wiper check that prevents the Rear Window from operating should the Wiper not be in its stowed position. This wasn’t what I intended to do, but I watched anyway in the hopes that I might learn more about this troublesome area of the 4Runner. Then, at 3M 38S into the Video, a Cold Sweaty moment of realisation that the cause of the problem could in fact be me. Eyes widened. Hair on back of head stood as if [ironically] an electric charge has been passed through them.
It’s difficult to explain the conflict I was experiencing.. Joy.. Shame.. Fear..
It’s difficult to explain the conflict I was experiencing.. Joy.. Shame.. Fear.. Fear that I would have to explain to my Wife that the reason she had not been able to enjoy Fresh Air during the recent Heat Wave, was because I had accidentally and unwittingly engaged the Window Lock button at some point six weeks ago. But oh, the Joy..
..was short lived. The Rear Window would not return to its closed position once opened. Either the Runners, the Motor or the Regulating Mechanism was shot; possibly all three. I had ordered the Parts from RoughTrax4x4 in anticipation of needing to do the work anyways [before finding out about the Window Lock button], so everything was ready for me.
Google informed me that no one had ever attempted this before, so I was flying blind. I set about removing the old system.
I was flying blind.
Window down, removing the Tailgate coverings is straight forward. Clips on the Carpeted cover, Screws on the Metal Plate and a few more Screws on the Tailgate door top.
- Unclip all the Electrical Connectors from the Tailgate Loom, and also the Lock and Door Handle rods from the Regulator Mechanism.
- Remove the Motor using an 8mm spanner, preferably a ratcheted one, since it is on the underside of the mechanism as you look down on it. There are three Self Tapping Bolts.
- Next slide the Glass by hand half up/out of the Tailgate so you can see the Arms in the Runners. You need to then undo the four bolts holding the Mechanism in place and slide the Arms/Rollers out of the Runners. In fairness, I was able to bypass this bit as the Runners came off the bottom of the Glass very easily as they were rusted and the rubbers perished.
- Undo the four 10mm Bolts securing the Mechanism and place it to the side.
- Remove the Glass completely and place on some Pillows/Foam out side down i.e. like a saucer.
This was a Job that had needed doing.
I then cleaned the inside of the Tailgate as best I could, hoovering then degreasing and wiping clean. Don’t get over zealous with the Soap and Water here as there are Electrics in here you do not want to fritz e.g. Registration Plate Lights, Fog Light.
You can see the difference between new and old in the final photo of the sequence above, and the Motor was totally shot. This was a Job that had needed doing.
I cleaned the Glass with Windowlene Cream Cleaner mixed with White Vinegar, applied with a Cotton Cloth.
Use a Silicone Lubricant on the Rubbers and Runners, not use Washing Up Liquid; again, ask me how I know.
Once everything was clean, reassembly:
- Swap over the Electrical Parts to the new Regulator.
- Thread the Self Tapping Bolts into the new Motor. Be careful here as the thread that needs to be tapped is in an aluminium sleeve. This will be a heat exothermic process so go slow and steady; you do not want to snap these Bolts.
- Get someone to help you with this next bit, as they will need to hold either the Regulator in position, or bolt the Motor in.
Wind the Sprung Armature around clockwise so that the crescent’s teeth engage with the Motorised Armature teeth. There are two markings “| |” on each of the Arms’ crescents that need to align so that they raise and lower the Glass not only unison but also at the same level; there is an inspection hole in the Regulator to eyeball alignment. If you do not align these markings you risk misalignment and the Glass will raise unevenly and you will need to redo this list from item 2 onwards; ask me how I know.
- Bolt the Motor in place on the underside of the Regulator. Once done, the Motor holds the tensioned Armatures in place.
- Connect up all the Electrics to the Regulator and with a Screwdriver push the latches either side of the Tailgate to simulate it being closed into the Body; this fools the Sensors into thinking the Tailgate is closed. Get your helper to hold the Regulator by its retaining bracket and operate the Switch in the Centre Console so that the Regulator arms are parallel i.e. pointing directly away from each other.
- Use a Silicone Lubricant on the Rubbers and Runners. With the Glass on its top edge [held by the someone helping you in #3] and resting on the Pillows/Foam, place the lubed Rubbers on the Glass first, then the lubed Runners tapped home with a Wooden Mallet. Do not use Washing Up Liquid; again, ask me how I know.
- Manoeuvre the Regulator into its place in the Tailgate, do not bolt down yet.
- Lubricate the Tailgate Runners with the same Silicone Lubricant used earlier. Slide the Glass back into the Tailgate and into its Runners [you might need to wiggle the Tailgate door top out of the way for this to accommodate the attached Runners].
- Now, manually positioning the Glass half way up/out of the Tailgate you can again manoeuvre the Regulator so that the the Wheels at the ends of the Armatures engage with the Runners on the Glass. This takes a bit of Patience and Wiggling, but it works. Once done, position the Regulator correctly and bolt down. Whilst in this position, spray the Wheels and Runners with the Silicone Lubricant.
- Use the Switch in the Cabin to lower/close the Glass in the Tailgate. Release the Latches by pulling on the Cables. Attach the Cables to the rocker mechanism. Connect the Lock to its mechanism. Close the Tailgate and test the opening and closing of the Window, smiling as you do so.
If you do not align these markings .. you will need to redo this list from item 2 onwards; ask me how I know.
It’s a good idea to test all this a few times, but not excessively of course. Once you are satisfied, put all the covers and carpet back etc.
“Great, but what about the Passenger Window..?” I hear you say. Well, my friend, that as they say is a Job for another Day.
It might be as simple as a blown Motor [likely], and picking up a complete Regulator and Motor can be done for £40 a door. Either way, with the Tailgate Window now opening with ease, the Body off Restoration can happen without any complications, since getting to the rearward Chassis Mounts no longer presents a problem.
Surfer. Biker. Coder. Yota.