How To Repair Your Imperial's Windows

Imperial Home Page -> Repair ->Body -> Glass ->  Windows

2011 - Question from Paul (1964-1966) :

I have declared victory over the vent windows and door windows. They rotate and go up/down properly, if not all that quickly.

The rear windows, particularly the driver side rear window, are a different story.

Both rear windows only go down to about 2 inches showing. They won't go all the way down flush with the body, like the front windows do. Are they supposed to go all the way down?

The driver side rear window mechanism binds in the full up position. To get it to move, you have to whack the regulator right where the pinion gear intersects with the teeth on the fixed arm. Works every time. Can't figure what is binding and I don't see any lost motion/wobbly joints.. The passenger side rear window does not have this problem.

Any ideas/any recommended source for a driver side rear window regulator assembly (less motor)?


From Michael:

I have a 66 convertible similar to yours. All of my windows do go all the way down.

Some are slower than others. I have been told that I need to clean out the slides.

There is a string on the IML dealing with how to clean the window slides.

Another friend of mine recommended that I try silicone first prior to cleaning the window tract

From Michael:

The silicone works well. I've used it on the 64 Continental I had many times and for anything that needed to move smoothly.

From Geoff:

All the windows in my 65 convert were slow until I removed the mechanisms and cleaned the motor commutators.I recall the rears were very difficult to reinstall, ( probably because of my inexprience) and took most of an afternoon apeice.I recommend trying the lube thing first.There is surely an easy method but Icouldn't find it.There is also an extreme risk to fingers as the spring on the regulator is energised until you remove the last bolt at which time it unleashes violently. If you have a finger in the wrong place you will lose interest in the job instantly. Good luck!

From Don:

Hi All,

I have told this story before, but this subject is current again so I'll repeat.

The windows in the 64-66 Imperials don't have to be slow. Part of the problem is in the tracks like others have said, but the real problem is in the motor gear. Here is what you have to do to fix it:

The regulator and motor assembly will have to be removed. There is no way around this both for safety and testing.

Clamp the regulator in a vise so that the regulator arm can move through it's full travel. Use a battery to power the motor. Connect the ground to the regulator body, and probe either wire connector for up or down. You will need to remove the motor next.

There are 3 bolts altogether. One is behind the regulator arm. Move the motor to the end of travel and you can get out this bolt. Do this one FIRST. Now run the regulator the other way to release some tension. With the regulator securely in your vise, remover the other 2 bolts while holding the regulator arm. It is under some spring tension, but can be moved by hand pretty easily. With the motor removed, relax your hold on the arm and let it rotate until it butts up against the vise.

Now you will have the motor in hand. Notice that there is a plastic shield over the gear. This shield is binding on the rubber part of the motor gear. Try moving the motor with your battery set-up with the shield in place, and with it removed. You may have to pry it off the rubber, as the rubber swells with age and contact with the grease. You will see that it is much quicker without the shield.

Now for the repair. Remove the gear assembly from the motor. You can grab the small gear with pliers and pull it straight up. Now clean it up good in a parts washer or with brake clean and dry with and air gun. If you don't have a compressor, do the best you can to get it dry and clean. Next find a bolt that will fit though the hole in the gear and a nut to lock it to the gear. This is so you can chuck it in a drill. Get some very coarse sand paper, something like 24-36 grit. Run the gear in the drill, and sand the rubber until you can slide the shield on without it binding. You may have to remove it from the drill to check the fit. Once you have a loose fit on the shield, clean everything up again, grease it up, and re-assemble the motor to the regulator. You will now find that it works much faster and easier.

For adjusting the windows in the car, here is a general guide line. The upper adjusting bolts are to get the window close to the outer cat whisker molding. The lower adjusting bolts are to tilt the window so it fits the upper weather strip. The slot that one of the regulator arms rides it (or the regulator on some cars) can be moved around to control how level the window goes up and down. The up and down stops are obvious.

I have learned this stuff from many years of trial and error. Working on doors and quarter windows is not something to do if you are in a hurry. If you get frustrated, take a break or try another day. With a little work you shouldn't have to start putting up your windows 2 blocks from home!

Don Verity

66 Coupe and 59 Crown

From Ray:

Yours is the first explanation that I feel goes to real heart of the matter. I did this repair myself years and years ago on a '64 LeBaron. The problem is a design flaw to some extent, in that the grease originally used caused the rubber to swell binding on the plastic shield. My solution was to use molybdenum disulphide grease after cleaning the motors (and using your repair directions.) I still have some after all these years! Moly (as it is sometimes called) will not react with rubber or cause the swelling which binds against the plastic shield.

From Rob:

Thanks for the info guys, yes, others read and learn from this. I have to do my the windows on my '67 come springtime, I archive all power window related discussion as I'm sure many others do to.

Question: what is the regulator and what function does it serve?

Thanks again for sharing your expertise and experience.

From Joe:

Does anyone know if the same repairs and issues are involved on the 1957-1963 model power window mechanisims?

From Rob:

Thanks for the info guys, yes, others read and learn from this. I have to do my the windows on my '67 come springtime, I archive all power window related discussion as I'm sure many others do to.

Question: what is the regulator and what function does it serve?

Thanks again for sharing your expertise and experience.

From Don:

The 57-63 windows are a different design and don't have the plastic shield. When I stripped a rusty 58 Imperial parts car, I discovered that the gear was actually bronze! Not the plastic of later years. In most ways they were extremely over built, except in the door latch and handle design. I believe in 60 they finally got a rugged latch. When they get slow, it can be the motor or track alignment. The motors were not sealed, and can get rusty inside. They can be removed from the regulator without worrying about getting injured though.

Someone asked what the regulator and it's function were. It's the part that connects to the window, and allows it to be raised and lowered. All cars have a window regulator whether power or not.

Don Verity

From John:

The 57-63 don’t have the motor or gear issues the 64-66 have. The problem with these are mostly dried out grease in the tracks and/or the nylon rollers are frozen to their shafts of have a flat spot due to operating them while they’re bound up. Cleaning and regreasing the tracks and replacing any damaged nylon rollers should cure your problems. If you need to replace a motor, they are separate from the gear assembly and are easily removed without fear of taking your hand off. You just unplug it and remove the one bolt that holds the strap around it. You’ll then be able to simply pull it off of the gear box

From Kenyon:

57-66 (and later?) cars all had very similar window adjustment setups.

There is an exhaustive essay (with pictures and diagrams) tutorial on the club website.

Stuff like this isn't in your FSM, and this is written so clearly that even a restorer could understand it:

Note the ONE WAY! -> sign on this page:


Thanks for the tip on filing down the sun gear in the window motor.

I had been lubing them, but missed that trick.

I have used brake kleen on the window regulators, and then lubed them with white lithium grease after the solvent has evaporated, and this seems to help, too. Whatever grease went in at the factory turns into a globby chicken-fat sort of residue in there, and it gums up the regulator to a degree, but most of the resistance in the power window motor's transmission. The windows ought to go up pretty darned fast - 1960's with the barrel style motor and direct drive to the point of being mildly intimidating and much faster than modern cars

Question from Tim:

The glass on my Imperial is so dirty for so long it looks cloudy. Is there something I can use to make them clear again? I tried some super fine steel wool but that hardly touched it.


From John:

Take SOS or some other soap filled steel wool pad, and use lots and lots of water, and wash your dirty window. You want the water for lubrication so you do not scratch the window, just float the dirt away in the soap and water.

From George:

It sounds like you might have one of two possible problems. One could be calcium build up on the glass. This comes from really hard water being allowed to dry on the surface. VERY carefully try something like CLR which you can get at the grocery store for calcium deposits in your shower. KEEP IT OFF THE PAINT. The other possibility is the plastic between the glass layers has gotten air in it. in that case glass replacement is the only recourse.

Question from Greg:

Unfortunately I am going to have to rechrome the frames around the windows in my '65 convertible. Has anyone gone down this road before and removed the glass from the frames? What's the procedure? I have removed the screws at the base of the frame (3) but I am hesitant to continue without consulting the List to see if someone has done this before. Obviously, I don't want to harm the glass in any way but it has to come out if those frames are going to shine again! I have four 'regular' windows and two vent windows and they all need the glass separated from the frames.


From Kenneth:

There's probably a glass man in the area to take the windshield out and your rear windshield. They guarantee their work and if the glass breaks, it's free! The doors and wing unbolt. Use a good screw driver and ratchet. Also, WD40 is important.

From Paul:

I don't personally have any experience with this procedure.

I am sure that any good glass shop can explain how those frames and windows come apart. Years ago someone (actually it was a mad "ex") smashed all of the windows out of a friend's 1964 Crown Four Door. I gave him my spare set of side windows to install into his car, and a friend of mine who worked in a glass shop (no longer in touch with the friend) put all new glass in the other set of frames. I still have those windows in my garage as a spare set.

From Eric:

I recently replaced the side window divider rubber on my '63 Crown Four-Door. As I recall, I undid the couple of screws on the top of the side
window frame and lightly banged the edge of the frame so that I could feed in the rubber divider seal easier. I think the frames come apart readily w/o much manhandling, just some soft rubber mallet type of hammering will suffice to seperate them from the glass.

Question from Donald:

How do you best remove the stuborn film on old auto window glass which I guess is plasticizer which has bled from vinyl and rubber material.


From Bob:

I've found a home made solution of about 5 tablespoons of vinegar in a pint of water with just a drop or two of dish detergent in a spray bottle works well on auto or household windows (especially those that are rain spotted). I used newspaper to clean the glass and a clean newspaper to dry it. Works better than any prepared solutions of any I've tried.

From William:

Bon AMI cleanser and/ or #0000 Steel Wool and glass cleaner.

Question from Mark:

When it rains, a small puddle develops on the floorboard of my '70 NYer. It is located on the driver's side, approximately where your left foot would be, or right next to the kick panel. You can't actually see any water, but if you touch the carpet it's soaked and the car is beginning to get that musty smell.

I guessed that the leak was from the windshield and taped up the edges of the windshield about 2 weeks ago before I went on a trip. Well, that didn't help. So I'm going to fill in with some silicone sealer, but I'm still just guessing at this point.

It appears to be coming from behind the plastic kick panel. I am guessing the leak is directly above that point. Is there a systematic way of tracking these things down?


From Kerry:

I took mine by a glass shop and they shot it full of urethane. Solved the problem. I did have the trim off already but they did not charge me a dime.

From Elijah:

First, you might want to remove the interior trim around the windshield and also the kick panel on that side. Then close the door (obviously!) and put a garden hose on the roof so that water will run down that corner of the car. Let it run for a while, then get inside (from the passenger side!) and see where the drip is coming from. It could be around the windshield, but it could also be along the drip rail or even around the side glass.

From Rob:

Not sure if this will help, but I know some people complaining of similar problems, it turned out to be those foam seals around the windshield wiper motor. Wasn't anybody with a C-body or Imperial though. It's hard to track the leak because it will run down against the trim and drip to the easiest place.

From Bill:

Sad but true ..but it's actually the door weatherstrip seal.  The water follows the door down then slides behind the kick panel (follows the kick panel molding and the molding around the door).  I have a '71 Newport with the same trouble. I keep my car mostly dry so it's not really a problem but on occasion, hard rain and voila...wet floor. The old weatherstrip is pliable still but shrunk.

From Dan:

I had a 1983 E-Class that did the same thing. It tried tons of things. The floor ended up rusting thru before I found the leak.

The leak was at the top edge of the plenum (where the heater pulls air in, and the wipers are) on the driver's side.

The plenum is basically a box, and the edges are SUPPOSED to be sealed with that factory 'goop' that they use (like in the trunk).

Well right at the edge where the vertical part, and the horizontal part meet, the 'goop' was missing in a SMALL area. (Bad, bad, assembler- 50 lashes.)

Water would seep in and dribble down inside the kick panel area, and soak into the carpet.

It was just a small spot that was missed, but that's what it was . . .

From John:

I've seen it suggested that building up the weather-strip with a shim of some sort underneath will help with this problem. Probably, some thin rubber fastened with weather-stripping adhesive under the weather-strip. Also, make sure there's nothing blocking the area near the lower corner of the windshield pillar where the water drains down.

Question from Don:

How do you best remove the stubborn film on old auto window glass which I guess is plasticizer which has bled from vinyl and rubber material.


From Chris:

With a few critical ingredients: patience, numerous absorbent cloths (like cotton diapers), a good window cleaner (not a multi-surface product designed to make your toaster shiny), and cool, cool glass. Don't let the car near the sun... Use liberal amounts of glass cleaner (cover the hat shelf, dash, etc., with paper towels to keep 'em from getting soaked)... And change your cloth frequently... in fact, use one to "wash" the glass once you've applied the cleaner, one to mop it up, and a third to "polish" it clean.

Another trick: Get a good squeegee and remove the glass cleaner that way. Just be prepared to keep mopping up the drips as you go, so they don't mess up your interior.

I have tried so many glass cleaners and find that the cloths I use, the procedure I follow, and the glass being cool and away from the sun are the keys to streak-free windows.

Try it!

From Erik:

Call me old fashioned, but I still love the old newspaper soaked in water or washer fluid trick. Just take some ordinary, black ink imprinted newspapers, soak them well in washer fluid and clean away. I sell car cleaning products, among other things, for a living, and I have still to find one that beats the old fashioned way.

Question from Chris (1957):

On a four-door hardtop, does the door glass interchange for '57, '58,and '59? I am grabbing a '59 soon, and all the door glass is smashed out. I do know where there is a 57 4dr HT sitting in a bone yard with good door glass, but don't know if it will fit.

Reply from Philippe:

Yes, same door glass from '57 to '62. Front vents from '57 to '59.

Question from Tony (1958):

Does anyone have a suggestion on getting the rear doors on my 58 to open? I've pushed, pulled, tugged, kicked, ranted, and raved and they still don't budge. When you pull the handle on the drivers side door it feels like it's doing something but on the passenger side it doesn't even feel like it's connected to anything. Same thing from the outside. I even made an attempt to take the interior panel off but it seems to be impossible without first getting the door open or destroying the panel.


From John:

If the window will go down, lower it & spray WD-40 down inside the door & try to soak the heck out of the lock mechanism. Do the same between the door & the body where it engages the striker. Most likely, your best results will be trying to open it from the inside. Be sure the inside handle is actually connected to the lever. I believe they used an Allen head set screw to hold the handle on. In '60, they went to a Phillips head bolt. I've had this problem a number of times on '60-'63 Imperials & these procedures have always worked for me.

From Doug:

On my coupe, the driver's door has to be lifted slightly to open. The passenger door opens effortlessly. The sag on the doors might be alleviated by replacing the hinge pin and bushing. Also don't lose your head and damage your beautiful door panels, they might be as hard to replace as my rusty unobtainable panels.

Question from Jon (1966):

I'm tryng to follow the Service Manual instructions which has as step 3 (after removing door panel and water shield) to "raise and remove glass from regulator." Sounds simple enough but . . . HOW??!! No diagrams, I can't see any screws/bolts/clips holding it on. What's the trick here please? I really want to get these things working and the next steps look easy once I get the darn glass removed. HELP!

Reply from Paul:

In the Imperial Service Manual there is a separate set of steps on how to remove the window glass from the door. I believe that it is a few pages ahead of the steps on how to remove the window regulator.

Question from Demetrios (1967):

I am wondering if the side glass for the Crown 4-door will fit my LeBaron. It is also a 4-door hard top, but the roof line is higher. I
was wondering if the side glass is by any chance interchangeable (I know the windshield and rear glass is not).


From Dick:

Nope, sorry, I don't think so. You may get other responses, and don't take my word as guaranteed, as I'm remembering something others have said, not based on personal experience - I've owned only Crowns.

From Bill:

If I am not mistaken, do not think the Crown glass will interchange with the LeBaron on the '67 and '68 Imperials. As you mentioned, the roof line on the LeBaron is higher than the Crown, also the rear door glass is of different shape or angle at the rear of the glass.

It might pay to measure the glass from both the Crown & LeBaron, just to be sure. Be sure to check the angle of the rear door glass, am sure it is different.

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