Miata window motor & cable installation instructions

Written by aryeh raphael
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Miata window motor & cable installation instructions
Installing the window motor and cables on a Miata can be done in your garage. (reflection image by Furan from Fotolia.com)

The Mazda MX-5, or Miata, is a two-seat roadster that Mazda Motor Corp. started making in 1989. Among its many features, the Miata has 16-inch alloy wheels, a six-speaker audio system and power windows. Over time, the power windows may stop working properly. Take heart, you can replace and install the window motor and cables assembly without going to the shop.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Flat screwdriver
  • Pry tool
  • Cloth

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  1. 1

    Open the door of your Miata as wide as you can. Locate the screws that hold the door panel to the door frame. Remove the screws with a Phillips screwdriver and set them aside so you don’t lose them. Miata models have either Phillips screws or simple cross-head screws, but both can be removed with a Phillips screwdriver.

  2. 2

    Detach all the hardware from the door panel, such as the armrest, map pocket and door handle with a Phillips screwdriver.

  3. 3

    Detach the door panel from the frame with a metal pry tool. Place the tip of the pry tool under the edge of the panel and work your way around the whole panel. This will allow you to detach all the plastic push-clips that hold the panel in place. A Miata usually has 11 clips that hold the panel to the door.

  4. 4

    Pull the door panel toward you, but be careful not to break or damage it. Move the panel up and down holding it firmly in both hands until you feel that it’s completely detached from the door frame.

  5. 5

    Place the door panel carefully on the ground. Disconnect the cables attached to the panel and the door frame. Use a flat screwdriver to unclick the joints.

  6. 6

    Peel off the clear plastic moisture barrier that covers the door frame. It sticks to the thin strip of black adhesive along its edges. Be careful not to touch the adhesive directly since it’s very hard to remove. Consider removing just half of the barrier since realigning it can be a hard and time-consuming task. Try to access the window motor and at the same time leave at least a portion of the barrier on the frame.

  7. 7

    Locate the window motor and the cables inside the door. Remove the nuts that secure the window regulator box to the frame. Remove the two nuts near the top of the door frame and the two nuts at the bottom.

  8. 8

    Unplug the cables and connectors from the window motor. With a pry tool, pry out the three fasteners that secure the regulator cables to the door.

  9. 9

    Remove the whole window motor assembly, along with the cables, guides and the regulator gearbox. Remove the black trim on top of the door. Pry the trim carefully using a pry tool covered with cloth so you don’t damage the paint. Remove the three cross-head screws holding the glass window to the regulator. Lift the glass slowly and carefully and then set it aside on a soft surface. Slide out the rest of the assembly through the biggest opening in the door frame.

  10. 10

    Place the new window motor assembly in the same place as the old one, making sure that it is properly positioned and secured with all the nuts, fasteners and screws. Put back the glass window and reattach the cross-head screws that hold the glass window to the regulator. Connect the regulator cables from the motor to the wire harness inside the door frame.

  11. 11

    Turn on your Miata and check that the window motor is functioning properly. Put back the clear, plastic moisture barrier and then reattach the door panel to the door.

Tips and warnings

  • If the window command isn’t working after you install the new window motor and cables, turn off the car and unplug and then reconnect the cables. Consult the instruction manual for the window motor assembly and the Miata owner’s guide if you are having problems with the installation.
  • Power window problems often result from plastic parts breaking on the window regulator.
  • Working on a car always requires extreme caution, so make sure to minimise risks by parking your Miata on level ground, engaging the safety brake and taking the key out of the ignition.

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