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How do you change the power window motor in a 2002 Chevy Cavalier?

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It is not an easy job. Get a manual on your car from the parts store.
I recently replaced the electric motor on the driver's side door of a 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier. Chevrolet did not make this an easy repair because they used rivets to mount the motor and window regulator to the interior of the door. In addition, the motor and the window regulator are riveted together so that both assemblies must be removed from the door in order to replace the motor. I performed this repair without a Factory Service Manual (FSM). I expect that the repair would be easier with the FSM, but since I have not seen the FSM I can't be sure this is the case.
At the time I replaced the window motor ( 7/10/2009) I checked the price of the motor and the cluster of window switches in the center console at three Chevrolet dealers. The best price for the motor was $175 and the best price for the switch cluster was $98.
Before replacing the motor I recommend that you verify that the switch is functioning properly. Replacing the switch is considerably easier than replacing a window motor.
Here is a description of what I did to replace the electric motor in the driver's power window on a 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier.
1. Remove the interior door panel. There are two screws in the arm rest and four around the sides and bottom of the panel. Disconnect the window door lock cable from the switch on the door.
2. Remove the sound system speaker by first disconnecting the electrical cable and then removing four screws.
3. Remove the plastic water shield. The shield is held in place with an adhesive that behaves like bubble gum. Pulling the plastic shield away from the door causes the adhesive to become stringy like bubble gum. The nice feature of this is that some adhesive adheres to the door and some to the shield so that during reassembly the shield sticks well to the door. During removal I used a razor blade to cut the strings to help reduce any mess. Some of the shield was caught under the door panel armrest support so that it was necessary to cut the shield to completely. Rather than cutting the shield I just folded it up and taped it to the door. Be careful of what comes in contact with the adhesive because after a few hours of contact the adhesive sticks to almost anything. It even stuck to the wax paper placed over the adhesive to keep it from attaching to anything it came in contact with while I was removing the window regulator/motor assembly.
4. Remove the window glass. There are two nuts holding the window glass to the window regulator. It is easiest to have the window positioned about half way up to allow access to the two nuts. The window glass can be pulled out of the door by lifting the rear edge of the glass first.
5. Disconnect the electrical connector from the window motor.
6. Remove the window regulator and motor assembly. This will require an electric drill and some drill bits to drill out the 5 rivets. There are two bolts that attach part of the window regulator to the door. These need to be removed as well. Once the rivets and bolts have been removed the entire assembly (window regulator and motor) can be removed through the large opening near the rear of the door. It may not look like it will fit, but it does. The most difficult part of this repair was locating rivets to replace the rivets that are removed. The Chevrolet dealership that I bought the motor from did not have the rivets available in their parts department. I had to locate some at a local tool supply. Be careful to find replacement rivets that are the same length as those that were removed because at least two of the rivets could interfere with the moving parts of the window regulator if they are too long.
7. Remove the window regulator from the motor. There are three rivets that hold the window regulator and the motor assemblies together. Remove the rivets by drilling them out. These rivets can be replaced with screws from the local hardware store if you prefer not to use rivets.
8. Attach the new motor to the window regulator assembly using rivets or screws. I used stainless steel machine screws and nuts along with a lock washer under each nut. Choose whatever attachment method you prefer.
9. Lubricate the window regulator with white lithium grease.
10. Reinstall the window regulator/motor assembly in the door.
11. Plug the electrical connector back on the window motor.
12. Reinstall the window glass. Insert the front edge first to make this easier. Reinstall the two bolts holding the glass to the window regulator.
13. Test the new motor by opening and closing the window to ensure that it is operating properly. If not, resolve the problem and continue.
14. Reinstall the plastic water shield.
15. Reconnect any electrical connections.
16. Reinstall the sound system speaker.
17. Reinstall the interior door panel. Remember to reconnect the power lock connector.
The job is complete. It took me 13 hours to complete the process. Before I started I did not know what was required to complete the job and I didn't have access to a Factory Service Manual. One hour was required to test the motor and the switch to determine which component failed. Two more hours were used in locating replacement rivets.
Since completing this repair I researched the price of power window motors and found that the Chevrolet dealership will be the most expensive place to buy this part. There are several other places on the web to buy remanufactured motors for much less than a new one costs. Also, there are companies that make replacement motors that are better quality than the OEM motor.


I replaced all 4 of my Cavalier windows! When one goes, the next 3 do as well. I used blue painters tape to hold up the window and I also got a 2 pack of window motors from EBAY for $50. I bought an assortment of nuts and bolts and cut them off so they wouldn't hit the door panel, instead of using rivets. Great explaination!
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