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On this episode of How It’s Made: Wild West holsters, underwater video housings, soy beverages, and pet nail trimmers.
Citroen XM electric front window – common problems and how to power it up out of the car;
New video: XM electric window fault-finding – Outer cable guides
Electric windows fall into three basic types – motor powered cable drum with rigid slide unit, motor powered cable and semi rigid cable guides and motor powered quadrant/scissor lift.
Manufacturers have gone over to motor-cable drum units to save weight, cost and reduce assembly time however these cable units do tend to suffer from cable issues such as rusting, seizing, snapping or tangling up. The older direct geared quadrant/scissor lift type are robust, bulky and also heavier which is why they’re rarely found on modern cars now. Ironically these old scissor lift types are the most reliable.
The Citroen XM and other models in the Peugeot-Citroen family and also in other makes uses a motor powered cable drum unit which winds in or out a bowden steel cable which is attached to a plastic ‘carriage’ which in turn is clipped to the window pane. Failure of an electric window can be caused by electrical fault such as failed motor, failure of the power supply, switch or relay pack (rarely all three) or mechanical – such as snapped bowden cable, rusty, seized or tangled cable, failure of glass support carriage and guides or if a scissor lift/quadrant type – missing teeth on the quadrant which wont engage with the motor drive cog. Also worth noting that there are two basic cable window lifts – one with just two flexible cable runs and guides where the guides are mounted in the door, and the type in my video where the metal slide/guide runner is part of the mechanism and is removed as one along with the cables. In my example, the failure was due to the cable drum cover plate securing screw vibrating loose, falling out thus allowing the cover plate to release which in turn allowed the cable to unspool off the drum making a right mess. As the motor was running the tangled cable ends bent sharply thus preventing it being reused.
I sourced a replacement cable made from thinner, stronger stainless steel bowden cable from a kit sold on Ebay. The repair kit is much cheaper than buying a new window lift unit and as second hand units are probably already worn out, it makes more sense to replace the cable. I warn you – removing the motor and cable unit from inside the XM door is a bit of a challenge as you have to manipulate the unit in several different directions. Could’nt show you on video as there just isn’t anything to see as both hands are up in the door and you really can’t get a camera inside to actually see anything. I will be inspecting the unit in the passenger door when the weather warms up so will try and film that process as and when it happens.
To keep your electric windows running smoothly, ensure the guides and slides are lubed and if your unit is starting to creak or take ages to cycle up or down, you really need to strip it down and see if the cable drum is at fault.