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Power window conversion for S30 doors (door cutting required)


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Figured I would post this here, as it pertains exclusively to the first generation Z car. I've seen power window kits that involve a remotely mounted motor, a cable/chain drive of sorts, to a little splined tube that slips over the stock window crank spindle.

Problem is, while it may be good enough for many, I find that the fact that there's a protruding black, plastic cap on the door panel where the crank once was, is kind of cheap-looking in my opinion.

 

 So I decided, while my doors were apart for bodywork and other repairs/upgrades, to try a power window conversion of my own. Keep in mind, though, that the doors are currently (as of typing this) not on the car, and the switches are not wired into the car, yet (we're re-wiring the car at this time, in fact). So let's go through this with the pictures I remembered to take during the conversion:

 

 The motors from the front doors of an '05 Subaru Impreza. The gear tooth pitch is the same as the original spindles, with the two minor details to keep in mind being: The Datsun spindle has 7 teeth, while the Subaru motor has 8 teeth, and the pilot hole needs to be drilled out a little. I don't remember what drill size, exactly. Just make sure it's snug, but still moves smoothly

 

I started by drilling out the three riveted points holding the original spindle in place, removing it. I then determined where the motor had to sit, marked off the area it needed to go, and cut into the bracket mounting flange, so that i could flatten it out around the spindle area.

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 You can see the two holes I had to drill out for the motor to mount. Note the screws.

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 I layed out where everything needed to go on the door to check for any interference points. All clear, so far.

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Demonstration video of preliminary test here.

 

I bolted the un-finished assembly in place to trace where I would have to cut metal out of the door, as the motor will have to sit through about 1/8" - 1/4".

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One session with the zip-wheel later...

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Just pokes through...

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Assembled everything on the door for clearance/bind testing. All good.

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Assembled operation test video here. Still needed to final-adjust rails, hence why it wasn't put up all the way.

 

The finished brackets with motors mounted.. I had to trim some of the motor flange back on the regulator, and weld in some trimmed 1/2" x 1/2" angle steel channel on either side to brace the regulator, as well as provide a new mounting flange for the door, complete with new captive nuts.

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Hard to see here, but I welded in a section of sheet metal to fill in part of the void where the original regulator came through, to add structure back into the doors.

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Doors are now assembled, adjusted, and sitting in a shed until they're needed for the car's final assembly

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Not pictured are a pair of rear door window switches from a mid-90's Honda Accord. They are 5-wire, which can handle the current these motors will push. Plans are to use a 20A stud-type circuit breaker per door, may use 2 if deemed necessary. The switches will be mounted in the change pocket of the center console.

 

Not my best install writeup, but I hope this helps anyone who would want to do this type of conversion in the future.

Edited by Barrel_Ball
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Why not use the factory S30 Power Window Bits from 76-78 S31's? You can see the cutouts in the door panels for the electrical rocker switches!

 

I got a set in my 2/2, and kick myself for chucking the coupe setup I had (inside of the doors) because of shipping weight charge concerns!

 

They're in the Nissan Parts Book, doubt if any of the stuff is still available though...

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Those are basically the reasons why: First, not knowing they actually had power windows, never having seen an example, although I had my suspicions with the door panel cut marks, and second, figuring I can't get the parts anymore, unless I fork over a premium for them. These were cheap, easy enough for me to convert, and they work. Not everybody can find the rare, exotic, optional parts for their cars, but anybody can fabricate something.

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That's a very nice solution although I'm not certain if the structural strength of the door isn't diminished from cutting the sheet metal.

I used a well known aftermarket kit made in Italy (Colibri) that was pretty much bolt-on although working out the exact position for the motor took some work. Didn't have to cut any sheet metal. Since I was getting my door cards re-upholstered anyway, the door crank hole was not an issue for me. I placed the illuminated switches in the center console between the shifter and the ash tray. They function quietly and efficiently.

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Edited by dmoralesbello
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The coupe set I tossed was given to me...I got in a pinch and just had to ditch them as I didn't have the space at the time to store whole doors.

The major components that would wear or need replacement are identical to ZX windows parts far as I could tell. 

I really kick myself for not harvesting them now as it would make a great example for a drop-in kit. 

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Hey, whatever works. I just thought I'd show another way of going about it, since some people were curious about it. As for the structure of my doors, some of the sheet metal was already gone from whomever previous owner from who knows how long ago cutting circular holes in the doors to clear for speakers. Probably end up patching up those holes, again. You could also put in bracing over the motor, to strengthen the cavity. But again, whatever works, here's another method.

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That's a very nice solution although I'm not certain if the structural strength of the door isn't diminished from cutting the sheet metal.

I used a well known aftermarket kit made in Italy (Colibri) that was pretty much bolt-on although working out the exact position for the motor took some work. Didn't have to cut any sheet metal. Since I was getting my door cards re-upholstered anyway, the door crank hole was not an issue for me. I placed the illuminated switches in the center console between the shifter and the ash tray. They function quietly and efficiently.

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Your door panels must bend out around the crank location, right? The aftermarket kits seem easy, but I don't want the bowing that would be present when using something on the stock gear.

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Your door panels must bend out around the crank location, right? The aftermarket kits seem easy, but I don't want the bowing that would be present when using something on the stock gear.

What I did to avoid the bowing was to burr away with a Dremel some of the wood on the inside door card where the window crank marked it during mock up. Went slowly and test fitted several times so as not go through the wood panel completely. The final fit has no bowing at all.

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  • 1 month later...

I revisited this thread as I continue to plan some things out, and I noticed something. Do the windows on 280s not roll all the way down, or did you just not go all the way in your demonstration video? I know you mentioned that's why you didn't go up all the way, but I wanted to make sure that's the same case with the lower travel.

Edited by calZ
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I revisited this thread as I continue to plan some things out, and I noticed something. Do the windows on 280s not roll all the way down, or did you just not go all the way in your demonstration video? I know you mentioned that's why you didn't go up all the way, but I wanted to make sure that's the same case with the lower travel.

 

I didn't go all the way down for the same reason I didn't go all the way up in the demo video: They weren't adjusted, and the rubber bump stop at the bottom of the door wasn't installed yet. Would've been a pain if I took the motor too far and the linkages came apart at the end of their travel on each test.

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  • 1 month later...

I installed the Spal power window kit into my 280Z without any issues, cutting or any other mods.....very simple & straightforward.

 

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Could you post a picture of this with the door panel on? Or at least suggest how you'd change the original to accommodate the attachment to the manual crank gear instead of having the handle there now?

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  • 2 weeks later...
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