Honda Element Power Window Motor/Regulator Replacement

Zach Zach (248)
1 hour

This guide shows you how to replace your window motor/regulator assembly should your window fall down and refuse to roll back up. My 2003 Element requires new window regulators about every five years -- chances are that at some point you will need this guide.

Socket, 10mm ×1
Socket wrench ×1
Socket extension ×1
Screwdriver, flat-head ×1
Screwdriver, Phillips-headScrewdriver, Phillips-head ×1
Baseball glove ×1
Box cutterBox cutter ×1

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Remove the speaker grille

Using a prying object (preferably plastic), pry off the speaker grille. The speaker grille pops directly outwards.

Remove triangular trim piece #1

Using your (hopefully plastic) prying tool, remove the triangular piece of trim located directly in front of the side mirror. This piece pops directly outwards.

Remove triangular trim piece #2

This is the triangular bit located closest to the door jamb. This piece of trim is perhaps the most frustrating trim piece on any Honda ever made. It's nearly impossible to explain how to remove this piece, but it boils down to this: - There is a hidden metal tab, located on the bottom corner closest to the door jamb. This metal tab wraps around an extruded plastic bit and is removed by pulling directly outwards. - The trim piece also has two additional plastic tabs that must be rotated counter-clockwise in order to remove the piece. - To remove the trim piece, pry the triangle from the bottom corner closest to the door jamb; once the metal clip is unseated you can rotate the piece counter-clockwise to unseat it from its slots.

Remove the window switch assembly

Using your prying tool, pry the switch assembly upwards from the side nearest the door jamb (on the passenger-side door, this would be the right-hand side). Disconnect the cable that is attached to it.

Remove the door handle

There's a small plastic screw cover behind the door pull-handle. Using a very small flathead screwdriver, or your fingernail, pry the cover off. Remove the two exposed screws found behind it. Pull the door handle assembly outwards slightly to expose the lock rod(s); the driver-side door will have two rods and the passenger-side door will have one rod. These are the rods that allow the door handle to mechanically engage the door latch mechanism and lock cylinder. The rods are connected using a swiveling plastic clip. To disengage the rod from the door handle, you simply need to use your finger to slide the plastic clip away from the rod and lift the rod upwards to remove.

Remove the speaker

Remove the three screws holding the speaker in, then carefully pull off the two speaker wire connectors. Be careful not to pull on the wires themselves; they will rip off and you'll have to solder them back on.

Remove the 4 door panel screws

There are now four screws holding the door panel on. Remove the three screws surrounding the speaker opening. Beneath the door pull, there is another plastic screw cover; remove it and the screw it exposes.

Remove the door panel

Using a prying tool or your fingers, pull the door panel off from the bottom. The door is held in using small plastic pop rivets. Pull the door panel directly outwards until all of the plastic rivets have disengaged. Finally, lift the door panel upwards and off of the door. Set it aside somewhere that you won't step on/scratch/destroy it.

Remove the vapor barrier

Behind the door panel is a plastic vapor barrier/shitty sound dampener. You have a few options for removing the vapor barrier: a) Using a box cutter, carefully cut the vapor barrier so that it can be taped back in place at the end. b) Using a heat gun, gently heat the glue that holds the vapor barrier in place and remove it. When reattaching, apply new glue. c) Using your fingers and reckless abandonment, rip the vapor barrier off and throw it in the garbage.

Disconnect the window motor's electrical connector

The connector is mounted to the door using a single-use plastic clip. You don't need to remove this clip and will break it if you try. Instead, depress the small release button located on the bottom side of the connector and pull the two connectors apart.

Remove the plastic wire clips

The window motor clips are attached to the door using small plastic clips. Using a pair of pliers, squeeze the plastic rivet connectors and push them through.

Loosen the 3 window motor bolts

Using your 10mm socket wrench (or spanner), loosen the three bolts that mount the motor to the door. Do not remove the bolts completely; they need only be loosened so that you can slide the motor out of its mounting slots.

Raise the window slightly and remove the 2 window bolts

There are two bolts that attach the window itself to the regulator assembly. To access these bolts, raise the window slowly using your hands until they are visible through the two access holes pictured. Use a door stopper, old baseball glove, or friendly hobo to hold it there while you access the two bolts. Remove the two bolts completely, being careful not to drop them into the door. Then, raise the window until it is completely closed and use your door stopper/baseball glove/friendly hobo to hold it in place so that it will not drop and shatter all over your hands.

Remove the regulator assembly's 4 track bolts

There are four bolts holding the regulator assembly's track in place. Using your 10mm socket wrench, remove these bolts completely.

Remove the regulator assembly

With the four track bolts remove and the three motor bolts loosened, reach into the door panel and remove the assembly. First slide the motor out of its retaining slots, and then pull the entire assembly out of the largest hole in the door (the one nearest the door jamb).

Figure out what went wrong

It's important to examine the broken parts so that you can learn what can go wrong with similar mechanical bits in the future. This will help to enhance your troubleshooting skills. In my case, the extruded plastic portion of the motor housing broke, detaching the springs that help to drive the regulator mechanism. This is exactly what happened to my drivers-side assembly a month prior.

As always, assembly is the reverse of disassembly. However, here are some important reassembly notes: - Transfer the three machine screws (bolts) from the old motor to the new one if your new motor did not include them. - After you've securely bolted the window motor and regulator track in place, slowly lower the window onto the assembly until you can access the two holes that are used to attach the window itself to the regulator assembly. - If you broke the triangular piece of trim, don't worry; you can safely and easily reattach it using double-sided foam tape. - If you chose to save your vapor barrier, use tape or glue to reattach it. If you threw it in the garbage, give yourself a pat on the back (or have your friendly hobo do it). - Be careful when lifting the door panel back over your manual door latch so as not to break it. This can be a tricky process.

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