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More winder troubles

Posted on 2019-02-10 in The Blue Car

Trim tools? What’s that?

That was the response from the sales staff at Midas when I asked where the trim tools are. I was actually surprised that they didn’t know what I was talking about, but I probably shouldn’t have been. Anyway, I needed to pull my door card off, but I didn’t want to use my hands again. You see, the NA MX-5’s door cards are, essentially, cardboard. A funny mix between cardboard and plywood, actually. And well, in 30 years those door cards have been on and off a few times and the slots where the clips fit is starting to show it.

The last time I had both of my door cards off was when I took it to the paint shop. When I refitted them I replaced some of the old OEM clips with replacement “close-enough” clips that I got in bulk from These are slightly bigger however, and so they fit quite a bit tighter than the OEM stuff. I found this out when I pulled that passenger door card off to investigate the winder motor that had stopped working not too long ago. The replacement pins didn’t pull out of the door that time, they pulled out of the door card.

Some shots of the back of my passenger door card. The white clips are the new ones, and I've had to already start patching up the frail cardboard/plywood with tape.

And much to my disgust, a few days after I fixed the winder switch the window itself got stuck. No amount of silicone spray or Q-20 (WD40) would do the trick. It did move up and down if you helped it with your hands, but being on the passenger side, that was not really practical. Queue me trying to find trim tools. Eventually though my package delivery arrived and I could get to work. Using the tools was a lot better and less error-prone than using my hands.

Part of the set of trim tools. Strangely enough, TakeALot doesn't list this set anymore.

Removing the window is really easy. First remove the two stoppers at the bottom of the window on either side of the rail. These block the window from going up too high. Then you simply undo 3 screws that hold the window to the winder harness. Once these are out (it doesn’t fall into the door, so you don’t really have to worry about holding it) you can simply slide the window out the top, tilting it slightly to get it past the rubber seal ends without tearing them.

You can probably guess that the culprit was old grease. There are two rails inside the door - one for the winder harness that has two rollers, and one that acts as a guide to the rear end of the window which also has a roller bolted onto it. And then of course the front side of the window slides up and down the rubber seal. There was a tremendous amount of black, tangy grease that came out of these two rails. I suspect that previously someone had just lubed it up without cleaning it out first. Probably more than once. And of course my rally saga didn't help.

The roller on the window before I cleaned it, and grease on an earbud.

Cleaning and reapplication of the grease took 4 rags and many earbuds. I also cleaned off the rollers on the window and the winder harness as best I could. The one on the window was so heavily caked up that it wasn’t able to rotate anymore. Putting it back together again is of course very easy. It’s somewhat improved from before it got stuck, but don’t expect miracles. As I’ve said before, the MX-5 window winders work in geological time scales.