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Front door window regulator replacement howto (long, lots of pix)

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Front door window regulator replacement howto (long, lots of pix)

Old 10-03-2008, 03:21 AM
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Default Re: Front door window regulator replacement howto (long, lots of pix)

Thank you for the post. Made the job a whole lot easier. It did take me longer, but I did add a few more steps. (IE More Beer)

Thanks Again. John
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Old 10-24-2008, 08:47 AM
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Default Invaluable writeup. PIMAX & S4 notes below

Without Mike's writeup, replacing my window regulator would have been nightmarish.

I thought I'd pass along some additional useful information, since Mike was so kind with his original "how to."

First, I have a 2004 S4, but (as expected) everything was basically identical to the A4 notes here. In fact, just about every time I thought my car was slightly different than the description here, it meant I was looking in the wrong place. One exception was step 28, where the rubber insulation pictured didn't seem to match my car, but I muddled through it.

Another thing: I found that Step 8 (triangular plastic piece) couldn't easily be removed until the door skin was pulled away in Step 10. I'd recommend waiting until after the skin is off before trying to remove that triangle or you risk breaking the plastic (at least on my car).

But, overall, I can confirm that these instructions work great for a 2004 S4.

I will say that it was tricky to get the Window/Regulator/Frame assembly back down in the door without having it bind against the cable dangling from the assembly. And you may not realize that it's binding until you have the whole door together and the window doesn't work. Luckily, that didn't happen to me. When I went to fish the cable through the hole / foam plug and route it properly along the front and bottom of the door, it just seemed a bit "short" to me. Further investigation revealed that it was hung up in there. I was really glad I found that up front.

Now, here's a completely separate set of information. Just a few months ago, the RIGHT (passenger) window regulator died, and I paid big $$$ to have the dealer replace it because there was a three day weekend coming up, and the window was stuck in the down position, and I had a road trip planned.

When my driver's window died, I figured I'd do it myself; probably one of the few things on this car I'd feel I was able to work on.

Furthermore, normally I'd go with genuine Audi parts. But Audi had already proven to make shoddy window regulators if BOTH of mine died within months of each other after four years of light service. (In fact, my regulator had the exact same failure mode as in Mike's pictures; clearly a design flaw, but out of warranty.) SO, I decided, what the heck. If a 3rd party window regulator is available, why not use that instead? Not only will it cost less, but the quality can't possibly be worse.

Clearly these regulators fail frequently, because the auto aftermarket has indeed moved in: PIMAX offers a replacement part. So I ordered one.

In the end, using a genuine Audi part would have saved me some grief -- but if you read my notes here, I think you can do it with about the same effort as an OEM part. As a bonus, though, the PIMAX part appears to overall have a superior design, and I don't think it will fail as quickly. Hopefully Audi has redesigned theirs by now.


The PIMAX installation instructions are of course terse, confusing, misleading and translated (probably from Italian). I would NOT have succeeded with the whole process without Mike's instructions here.

Page 1 of the two-sheet (3 page) instructions contains a picture of both the PIMAX and OEM regulators, and a brief instruction: "Remove the gear pvc clamp" (a poor translation referring to the PVC tie-down). So, I removed the tie-down.

Regardless of the fact that this instruction was on Page 1 in the first diagram of the two-sheet instructions, this was: WRONG!


Unlike the Audi part, the PIMAX part housing (which is metal, vs. Audi's plastic) does not include a mechanism to hold the gear in place. The gear is held in place by tension and by it's installed location against the inner door metal.

The minute I cut the PVC tie-down, the gear, which was under tension, went "sproing!" and the steel cables unraveled part-way and the gear flipped over. Sort of like taking apart a clock mechanism as a kid.

A huge part of my extra time was spent in figuring out how to properly re-wind the cables onto the gear and reconnect them and get the whole thing back under proper tension. The secret, by the way, is to remove one of the plastic cable guides from the metal gear housing to relax the tension. Insert & wind cables properly, then apply the tension by pulling the plastic cable guide back into place in the slot of the housing. The picture on page 1 is invaluable for figuring out the proper winding and cable positioning.

The other annoying part is that because of the different design of their parts, they use different screws at the top to attach the regulator to the Window/Regulator/Frame assembly. That's fine. Unfortunately, they chose to use none of the types used by Audi and didn't provide a list of required tools. Their screws are not Philips. Not Torx. Not flat-head. Nope. At the moment, I can't even remember what they used. They were probably hex (Allen wrench). All I know is that you get all the way into the project and if you don't have that handy, you're in trouble. I recommend checking ahead of time that you have a screwdriver with a head that will fit the two PIMAX-supplied little black screws with the tall heads. Those will be used to attach the top of the regulator to the window assembly.

That's really about it.

The PIMAX gear housing is metal vs. Audi's plastic, but Audi's housing didn't fail on mine, so I don't think the added durability of metal is going to be of value there.

HOWEVER, the PIMAX gear itself seems taller and has a nice lip around the edge. I'm hoping that this will prevent the cable rubbing / fraying problem that occurred on my Audi regulators (as pictured in Mike's). Of course, even the poorly designed Audi regulators lasted four years. I'm sure there are plenty of other more expensive things to fail if I keep my car another four or five years (which I'd like to).

For instance, just a month ago, my starter failed. Had to push-start it (thankfully, I prefer manual transmissions, so I was able get people to help me push-start the car, then I parked it facing down on hills for a day or two until I could get it into the shop).

Thanks again, Mike! I don't know what I'd have done without this posting.
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Old 02-09-2009, 01:00 PM
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Default Thanks Mike, couldn't have done it withoutcha

My 2004 S4 drivers window regulator was replaced under warranty and 45 days after the warranty expired, the passenger side regulator let go. This is indeed a 2- 3 hour job, and not too complex. The write up is spot on, just follow along and enjoy the cold beverage, especially after a job well done. I owe you one Mike!
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:31 AM
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Default In stock: A4 B6 front and 'big green' rear clips

Just in case someone needs a source for the front (pair) or rear ('big green') clips: I have them in stock (ship from Michigan).

[email protected]
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:59 AM
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Any tips on getting the weatherstripping back into the window frame?
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Old 01-05-2014, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by nanotech View Post
I guess someone else was posting where I was logged in, friends or something. I wasn't really congratulating myself
Yeh, Yeh<G>. I know this is old but worked great on my 2005 S4.
Write up is excellent and you should congratulate yourself. May not sound like much but i owned a shop for 4 years and if Mitchell wrote like you did consumers would be charged less hours for auto work! That is a good thing.
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:30 AM
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The pictures will not load for me, any suggestions? Does anyone maybe have a downloaded document that they could email to me? [email protected]

Thank you!
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Old 12-22-2016, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by amayser View Post
The pictures will not load for me, any suggestions? Does anyone maybe have a downloaded document that they could email to me? [email protected]

Thank you!
Yes, unfortunately the pictures would not load anymore.
Is there a way to correct this, please ? Admins ? author ?

Thank you for the great work.
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Old 12-22-2016, 07:44 AM
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Default Other DIY links RegulatorFix

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Old 12-22-2016, 07:51 AM
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Excellent !
I saw the video at happywrenching.com but coupled with these other informations and tutorials, it's just neat.

Thank you very much.
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