1956 power windows problem

Joined
Aug 30, 2022
Thunderbird Year
1955
Just purchased a 56 t-bird that needs a lot of restoring. Neither power window works.
Should I first simply purchase and install two new motors?
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
Just purchased a 56 t-bird that needs a lot of restoring. Neither power window works.
Should I first simply purchase and install two new motors?
Don't just throw parts and money after it. Half the fun is diagnosing and learning of restoring a classic. Be a detective assuming you have a basic knowledge of tinkering on cars, especially old ones. Buy the shop manual if you have not already and the electrical manual. Could be as simple as the relay. There are several threads on here about power windows
 
Joined
Dec 18, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1963
Yes buy new motors. Do you want your windows to work? I bought a car with hand cranks specifically to not have that problem. I have manual seats too. Funny I saw I need to take 3% of my sale price because of it. It’s funny to me, but my windows and seat work fine.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
Yes buy new motors. Do you want your windows to work? I bought a car with hand cranks specifically to not have that problem. I have manual seats too. Funny I saw I need to take 3% of my sale price because of it. It’s funny to me, but my windows and seat work fine.
NO! You don't know if that's the problem. Those motors are strong. My windows were slow and when cold I had to help them up and down. Needed to replace a cracked passenger window so I pulled the whole system and cleaned and repacked all the hard grease in the gearbox and replaced the rollers and the broken helper spring. It zips up and down now. Need to do the driver's door this spring.
 

knuckle47

Active Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1956
@Ward 57 is spot on … my ‘56 windows worked but were a bit sluggish. After cleaning the hardened grease and re-lubricating the mechanism my windows sail up track effortlessly. As these cars have fallen into the realm of real vintage automobiles, you will be better off learning to investigate issues or you’ll be on the road to shelling out money at every turn. Helps to inspire the confidence to take the car out on rides knowing you’ll be more capable to deal with things as they develop.
 

jsonny

Active Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
@Ward 57 is spot on … my ‘56 windows worked but were a bit sluggish. After cleaning the hardened grease and re-lubricating the mechanism my windows sail up track effortlessly. As these cars have fallen into the realm of real vintage automobiles, you will be better off learning to investigate issues or you’ll be on the road to shelling out money at every turn. Helps to inspire the confidence to take the car out on rides knowing you’ll be more capable to deal with things as they develop.
Spot on. I am having the same problem...slow windows. My thought is that it is the "hardened grease" since I had the same problem with my seat rails; took the rails out, cleaned them, re-lubed, and now it works fine. Still looking for info on how to take the window regulators out since my Ford manual does not explain how.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
Spot on. I am having the same problem...slow windows. My thought is that it is the "hardened grease" since I had the same problem with my seat rails; took the rails out, cleaned them, re-lubed, and now it works fine. Still looking for info on how to take the window regulators out since my Ford manual does not explain how.
The official shop manual at least for my '57 has a pretty good description on how it's done across all the different models. They are all different. I had no problem.
Just make note of which screw for the access cover to the mounting fasteners goes where. It's not rocket science, just pay attention of what goes where. I bought a packet of wire labels so I could label which screw came from where and the same applies to the wires on the switch so you don't need the electrical manual to put it back together. The biggest bugaloo was getting the retaining clips off the rollers so I could remove the window from the regulator.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
Just purchased a 56 t-bird that needs a lot of restoring. Neither power window works.
Should I first simply purchase and install two new motors?
As I said the relay on the firewall may be stuck from lack of use. Have somebody manipulate the switch while you smack it with a cloth covered hammer or rubber mallet. This last spring my heater motor wouldn't run but I smacked it with the heel of my hand, squealed a moment and has been working fine since. Repair, don't replace.
 

doug7740

Active Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2014
Thunderbird Year
1955
As I said the relay on the firewall may be stuck from lack of use. Have somebody manipulate the switch while you smack it with a cloth covered hammer or rubber mallet.
Before you start smacking an electrical component with a hammer, let’s diagnose your power window problem the proper way. Since you said that neither of the power windows are operational, the window regulator safety relay on the firewall or the 30 amp circuit breaker under the dash could be the cause.

Relay.jpg

Notice, the window regulator safety relay has only three wires connected to it, which means that the relay must be properly grounded on the firewall before it will work. Make sure the surface where the relay mounts on the firewall is clean and free of paint.

Wiring Diagram.png
Looking at the attached wiring diagram;

The black wire at the window regulator safety relay is connected to the starter relay; there should always be 12 volts at this wire.

The red wire at the window regulator safety relay is connected to the ignition switch; there should be 12 volts at this wire when the ignition switch is turned to the on position.

If the window regulator safety relay is working properly, the yellow wire at the safety relay should have 12 volts when the ignition switch is turned to the on position.
30 Amp Circuit Breaker.jpg
The yellow wire at the 30 amp circuit breaker under the dash is connected to the window regulator safety relay; there should be 12 volts at this wire when the ignition switch is turned to the on position.

If the 30 amp circuit breaker is working properly, there should be 12 volts at the red/blue wire when ignition switch is turned to the on position.

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
Before you start smacking an electrical component with a hammer, let’s diagnose your power window problem the proper way. Since you said that neither of the power windows are operational, the window regulator safety relay on the firewall or the 30 amp circuit breaker under the dash could be the cause.

View attachment 25286

Notice, the window regulator safety relay has only three wires connected to it, which means that the relay must be properly grounded on the firewall before it will work. Make sure the surface where the relay mounts on the firewall is clean and free of paint.

View attachment 25287
Looking at the attached wiring diagram;

The black wire at the window regulator safety relay is connected to the starter relay; there should always be 12 volts at this wire.

The red wire at the window regulator safety relay is connected to the ignition switch; there should be 12 volts at this wire when the ignition switch is turned to the on position.

If the window regulator safety relay is working properly, the yellow wire at the safety relay should have 12 volts when the ignition switch is turned to the on position.
View attachment 25288
The yellow wire at the 30 amp circuit breaker under the dash is connected to the window regulator safety relay; there should be 12 volts at this wire when the ignition switch is turned to the on position.

If the 30 amp circuit breaker is working properly, there should be 12 volts at the red/blue wire when ignition switch is turned to the on position.

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue
That is an excellent description. I was going back to my young & dumb shade tree mechanic phase before I knew what went where.
 
Top