Window Lift Cable Repair
originally posted 11-2023  R. Kwas, revisions on-going.  Comments added.

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The implementation of a Window Lift-Cable was employed on Volvo 444 through 122 models.  The Blue area is an open-link Chain which is driven by a Sprocket at the Windowcrank.  A Spring Tensioning-Mechanism assures Chain stays on Idlers and Sprocket.


Window Lift Cable routing.     

 


Interface of cable assembly to Window-frame is by way of a Ferrule, through which a wire-cable passes
and is unified with it by soldering.  Ferrule is then secured to Window-frame with a simple clamp. 
Andrew Nance picture used with his kind permission.
 


Close-up of Ferrule exhibiting a separated solder joint. 
Note the gray surface-corrosion along cable.

 

It is not unusual for the ingress of corrosion along the wire cable to cause the solder joint uniting Cable and Ferrule to become separated after 50 years of service, or being forced, resulting in the symptom of the window "falling into the door, and the Window-crank being useless to move it".

The repair is to remove the Door Panel for access, then prep and reflow the solder-joint with a torch (adding new 60-40 lead-tin electronic solder doesn't hurt.  I doubt you could get the commi-plot nonlead solder to even flow properly in this application!) while everything is in its proper place (the window glass will be behind where the significant heat needs to be applied, so a temporary sheetmetal heat-shield between area of heat application and glass will clearly be required).  [I promise I wont nibble on the lead containing solder, Mr. EPA, but you in-turn have to promise not to nibble on my car-battery (which contains about a million times the amount of lead!), but which you have exempted from this regulation!  See also:  Lead-Free Solder Sucks! ]

I have performed the prep and resoldering operation successfully, both on the bench, and also with the Cable still installed in the car...the later requires the extra step of shielding the area from collateral damage by exposure to heat from the torch, but repairs are otherwise very doable either way! 

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Preparing the Area for Soldering
Resoldering the Ferrule

Links

Reference Information

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Preparing the Area for Soldering:

Since the Ferrule has become disconnected from the cable, it has likely moved from its original location, allowing the Window to "fall into the door".  A bit of forensic examination of the cable surface is therefore necessary to see precisely where along the cable the repaired and correct location of the Ferrule needs to be.  It's a good idea to measure and record the location before cleaning the oxidation from cable, and obliterating this information. 

The overall length of this cable was 42 inches, and the ferrule location was pretty much in the middle.  Some minor bends and color discontinuities in the cable helped with making it pretty obvious where it needed to be resecured.   

 


Measuring original Ferrule location as determined by careful inspection of witness marks left on the cable. 

 

Surface oxidation will be present on the entire cable length.  This will interfere with a proper and successful solder-joint.  [...and this slow march of oxidation into the soldered connection also contributes to the eventual separation of the soldered connection!]  The corrosion in the area to be soldered, should be mechanically removed, and after it is, the Ferrule is slid back to this original location in preparation for reuniting the two.    

 

WLC ferrule is prepped for soldering by scraping and wire-brushing all surfaces involved until they are shiny, clean, and ready to again bond well with solder.


Clean surfaces are always an important preparation for soldering

 

Once nice and clean, the area is well anointed with solder flux, which cleans further on a molecular/chemical level when heated.  See also:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flux_%28metallurgy%29 


The Ferrule is held in a vice in preparation for soldering.  Since there is little need to heat the mongo thermal mass of the vice, which would cool the Ferrule preventing a good soldering operation, the Ferrule is held by means of 2 screws (which hold, but with a very limited contact area, to minimize thermal transfer and heat-loss). 

 

Resoldering the Ferrule:  

The joint is heated with a MAPP gas torch and new tin-lead solder is applied, until a good joint is recognized. 

 

The reflowed solder joint surface is shiny, and has a nice concave fillet at the junction of the two surfaces. 

 

The operation is repeated at the other end of Ferrule.

 

The repaired Window Lift Cable assembly is stored in a labeled bag, awaiting a future installment, and return to service. 

 

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Links:

From the Thread: 

https://www.swedespeed.com/threads/window-woes-drivers-side-window-loose-from-cable.641926/

Jeff S. pictures used his his kind permission.

Window Lift Cable In-Situ in a 444. 

 


Loosening a single screw separates the Ferrule from Window-Frame.  

The prep and resoldering operation can then also be performed without removing the WLC from car door. 

 

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My response to an E-mail question on repair of a failed WLC:

"There is no reason why a desoldered wire cannot be resoldered back into the ferrule in the original configuration...I've done this repair successfully, and it has lasted under use conditions, for >20 years.

If you determine the area on the wire where it needs to be resoldered to ferrule (if it has simply come unsoldered, there will be plenty of witness marks making this obvious), and preclean that area well with light abrasion to shiny metal to remove oxidation, then wrap some light gauge copper wire around the area (so that the total OD is less than the ID of the ferrule), and "tin" (heat the area and apply fresh solder with flux, see also: SW-EM Wiring Notes and Related) this area will be well prepared for the main soldering operation. After also heating the ferrule and removing the original solder (hold ferrule upside-down and tap out molten solder), position the prepped wire with copper into the ferrule and heat the ferrule until new solder fed in melts, uniting the wire and ferrule for another few decades.

I suggest making some test solder joints in practice before attacking the Door, so that the Door repair soldering will not be "your first rodeo", as they say.

 

My response to follow-up question on using a soldering iron: 

Only a HUGE 250W or so soldering iron would have the thermal mass necessary for this job, and ALL the heat would have to be conducted in, complicating matters for an inexperienced solderer. I have used, and recommend a plumbing-style Burnzomatic torch, where you have better control in that you can play the flame onto the entire ferrule to heat it...as I recall, it didn't even need to be a full blast!
If you have sweated copper plumbing before, this operation will be quite similar, so this will not be your first rodeo!...and no, it is not necessary to remove the window assy from the car...in-fact I recommend against it...it's just not necessary to add more disassembly/reassembly steps.  "

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Reference Information:

How does soldering flux work?  See:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flux_%28metallurgy%29

 

Important reference info for when soldering:

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External material credited.  This article is Copyright © 2023.  The term Volvo is used for reference only.  I have no affiliation with this company other than to present my highly opinionated results of the use and care of their products here, for the purpose of helping other owners keep their vehicles on the road, safe and reliable..  The information presented comes from my own experience and considered opinion, and my recommendations can be used or not, or ridiculed and laughed at, or worshipped, at the readers discretion.  As with any recipe, your results may vary, and you are, and will always be, in charge of your own knuckles and future! 

You are welcome to use the information here in good health, and for your own non-commercial purposes, but if you reprint or otherwise republish this article, you must give credit to the author or link back to the SwEm site as the source.  If you donít, youíre just a lazy, scum sucking plagiarist, and the Boston Globe wants you!  As always, if you can supply corrections, or additional objective information or experience, I will always consider it, and consider working it into the next revision of this article...along with likely the odd metaphor and maybe wise-a** comment. 

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