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For photos of everything, check out the full write-up at

There's now a great option to replacing the entire regulator assembly if all that is broken is the plastic cable block (which is what usually breaks). You can now buy a replacement metal block from for about $30. Not only is this cheaper than buying a whole new assembly (even off ebay, where we bought ours) but you're not scrapping a perfectly good window regulator assembly over one small part!

Unfortunately it seems that broken window regulators are fairly common in WJ Grand Cherokees. We know three people who’ve suffered from them, one of which being my mother-in-law. Two of the people had their regulators break within the same month (one front door and the other a back door). The good news is that while replacement regulator assemblies aren’t cheap, they are fairly easy to swap out. This write-up is going to cover replacing the window regulator in my mother-in-law’s 2001 WJ.

Tools needed:

* phillips-head screwdriver
* T-25 torx driver
* socket wrench
* 8mm socket
* 10mm socket
* small prybar (often called a “Wonder Bar”).

To get to the window regulator, we’ll have to pull off the interior door skin panel. There’s a phillips-head screw in the bottom of the handle (screw has already been removed in this photo). There’s a T25 torx bolt in the door latch pocket (bolt has already been removed). There’s one more phillips-head screw behind the round cover on the A-pillar of the door.

Once you get the 3 screw removed, use the small prybar to pop the trim clips loose that hold the door panel on. Be careful when you’re doing this, the clips are relatively easy to break. If you do break some of the clips though, you can get replacements from your local Jeep dealer. There are a total off 11 clips holding the front door panels on. This is the mini prybar I used during this project. They’re available from most home improvement stores (I got mine from Lowes) in a variety of sizes and don’t cost very much cash. You’ll be surprised how often they come in handy.

Once you have all the clips pulled loose, you can pop the door panel off by pulling straight up and out.

The door panel is still connected to the vehicle though so you can’t take it all the way off just yet. You’ll need to disconnect the latch and lock connecting rods by popping the white clips loose and pulling the levers straight up. Below the levers is a white electrical connector (barely visible in the bottom-center of the photo) which runs the door lock and power window. Push in on the tab on the back of the connector and pull it straight out.

There’s also an electrical plug by the A-pillar that you’ll need to disconnect.

Now you can completely remove the door panel and set it aside. Next unscrew the speaker and disconnect the plug on the back of it and set it aside too.

Now start to carefully peel back the black plastic. It’s stuck to the door frame using some sticky black caulk type stuff. It should peel off without too much trouble though, and if you do it right all the black caulk will come off with the plastic.

The new window regulator. These are driver and passenger-side specific, as well as front to rear specific. Because of the way it’s designed, you have to replace the entire assembly as a single unit, you can’t just replace the broken part.

So now we need to set about removing the broken regulator from inside the door. The first thing to do is disconnect the window bracket from the regulator. There is a clip on each side of the regulator that holds it to the window bracket.

Here’s where that mini prybar comes in handy again. The clips aren’t that hard to remove though, you could pull them off fairly easily with some small pliers.

With both clips removed you can pop the window bracket off the regulator piece. You’ll need to do both sides at the same time. Hold the window up so that you can reach through the speaker hole and the hole on the right of the door, then with one hand on each side of the window bracket, use your fingers to push the bracket away from the regulator. It should pop right out.

Now that the window is detached from the regulator you can slide it all the way up and out of the way. To make sure it didn’t come sliding back down on me, I used some blue painter’s tape to hold it up. The nice thing about the painter’s tape is that it doesn’t leave any residue on the glass or paint but is still fairly strong. I probably went a bit overboard using 7 pieces of tape but I wanted to make sure the window wasn’t going anywhere.

The regulator is held to the inside of the door by four 10mm bolts, and the motor is held on by three 8mm bolts. You only have to remove the top left and center bolts from the regulator. The other two bolts as well as the three bolts on the motor just need to be loosened as there are holes and slots in the door to get everything else out. This is actually a pretty nice design and really helps out when you’re putting the new regulator in because it keeps you from having to hold the regulator and motor in just the right spot to get the bolts started.

You’ll also need to disconnect the regulator motor control plug. To disconnect the plug push the red tab up, then push down on the black tab on the end opposite the regulator plug and pull the regulator plug out.

Once everything is disconnected you can wiggle the old regulator and motor down out out through the big access hole in the bottom of the door.

With the regulator assembly taken apart you can better see the bracket that breaks. The plastic tends to break right where the upper cable connects. Once this breaks, the top cable comes out and the whole window just slides down into the door. You can see how the upper cable (in my hand) is supposed to attach, along with the piece of plastic that breaks off.

To get the new regulator and motor into place, slip it into the bottom of the door sideways. Be sure you have it in the correct orientation (it will only bolt up one way). Once you get the whole assembly in the door, you can rotate it up and set it in place. It can take a bit of wiggling to get the bolts into their slots. What I found worked best is to get the bottom-most regulator bolt in its slot first, then get the motor bolts slipped in, then finally align the upper regulator bolt.

Snake the motor plug through the square hole and plug it back into the door wiring harness.

Now we need to lower the window back down into the door and snap the window bracket into the new regulator bracket. With the window bracket attached, pop the gold clips back on the regulator bracket. If you didn’t pop the gold clips off before installing the new regulator in the door, you’ll need to pull the off before trying to connect the window bracket to the regulator.

With the window connected to the new regulator it’s time to start putting the door back together. Just start putting everything back on in the opposite order in which you removed it. The black plastic liner goes on first, followed by the speaker, and finally the door panel itself. Be sure you get the door latch and lock connecting levers in the correct locations, they’ll really only go back on one way so it’s kinda hard to get them mixed up. Snap the lockcaps back onto the rods so they don’t pop loose. To get the door panel back on, slip it into place at the top of the door by the window seal, then line up the fasteners with their respective holes and go around the door panel pushing each one into place. Put the two phillips-head screws back in, along with the torx bolt by the door latch, and you should be ready to go.
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