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Doors and Windows

I’ve always dreaded the idea of reassembling a car door.  Its secret innards house mysterious and complex mechanical operations that dance around each other in a very small space.  Just cracking the seal raised fears of popping a spring that couldn’t be replaced, or maybe losing a finger.  What I discovered is that these mechanisms are designed quite well in the Porsche 914, and weren’t so daunting after all, provided the correct order of assembly was observed.  The first door took three detours, but the second door came together in one smooth flow.  It’s now my pleasure to offer to you the step-by-step sequence that worked best for me.   Hopefully, it will save my comrades from the mirth and tragedy of repeated trial and error.

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Before putting the doors back together, some prep work was needed.  Both driver and passenger window mechanisms suffered from some surface rust that needed attention before I could start.  A bit of elbow grease, a wire brush, some emery cloth, and a Scotch-Brite pad removed most of the rust and presented a clean surface for a couple coats of Rustoleum cold galvanizing compound.  It’s a product that inhibits rust with a coat of 93% zinc.

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The door stays, latches, and strike plates had accumulated 37 years worth of grime that needed to disappear before they were ready for reinstallation. A little Gunk degreaser and high pressure rinse at the local DIY car wash returned their shine and made them ready for some medicinal white lithium grease.

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Firstly, I installed the window scissors mechanism inside the empty door, as pictured above.  You can see the window crank shaft poking out from inside the door.  The door latch is blanket right, and the detent assembly is blanket left.  The door stay resides on the hinge side of the door and gives it a couple natural resting positions within its full range of motion.

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Next is the placement of the door latch inside the door, along with the companion door handle release mechanisms, both interior and exterior.  I put a small dab of white lithium grease on all of the contacting metal pieces, and then used Tri-Flow bicycle lube on all of the axial joints (and there are a lot of them).  I like the Tri-Flow because of its deep penetrating properties and Teflon additive.

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Next is the install of the rear window track.  You can see in the picture above that the track would have made it impossible to install the door latch if done in the opposite order.  The exterior door handle release is visible at the top of the frame.  I made sure that brand new fuzzy strips were put into all the window track channels.

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Before even thinking about slipping that pristine and newly tinted glass into the door window slot, some protection needs to be installed first.  I purchased new inner and outer window “fuzzies” for both doors from 914rubber.com, but my focus for now is on the outer fuzzy since it must be installed before the window is in place.  The new fuzzy strip is slipped end-first into the aluminum guide rail, and then holes are drilled through them using the three screw holes in the guide rail as a template.  Then the rail and strip are slipped together onto the outer window lip from underneath and inside the door.  I used stainless steel screws to fasten it, since these will be exposed to weather.  The inner fuzzy installs easily, but should be done later to allow room for the next step: lowering the window into the door.

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The bracket attached to the lower edge of the window will just slide through the window slot with a little encouragement.  I found the best approach was to angle the rear part of the window bracket in first at about the middle of the window slot, and aim the channel in the bracket to mate with the rear roller on the window scissors.  Then slowly lower the thicker part of the bracket on the front of the window down through the widest part of the slot. You might have to pull the window slot wider to gain a little clearance.  Once it’s through, you can then slide the window towards the back of the door, and it will slip right down into place, where a single bolt holds it to the front scissor.  Easy as pie.  Just make sure not to scratch that expensive tint film.

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Now the front window guide track can be put in place.  If it had been installed earlier, the rear scissor roller could not have been mated to its window channel.  I discovered this during my second attempt.  Again, a new fuzzy channel went into that guide track before installing.  Not yet tightening the front guide track will allow it some helpful play during the next step.

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Ease and convenience will always find its way toward the best result.  After wrestling for a good while trying to insert the quarter window into the gasket installed on the door, I discovered it was easier to slip the gasket onto the actual glass first, and then work it down the front guide track and into the door.  After trying some Armor-All to increase slipperiness, I found that slightly diluted liquid dish soap worked best.

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Here’s a shot of the driver side quarter window properly seated in the door gasket.  You can still see the  liquid dish soap residue on the glass from my wrestling match learning experience.  The inner window fuzzy now easily slips onto the inner window lip, and the end caps can be installed on the rear of the door slot and also the top point of the quarter window.  The last step is to slide the window squeegee seal into the channel on top of the aluminum fuzzy guide.  Again, a generous slathering of watery dish soap makes this task much easier.  The next step in window assembly will be installing power window motors.

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2 Responses to “Doors and Windows”

  1. Thanks so much for documenting this process. I followed it on my rebuild and it worked well. I expanded the detail on my blog here http://porsche914e.blogspot.com/2012/01/drivers-door-rebuild.html


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