Modern and more luxurious cars than the 1982 Toyota Starlet have equally modern conveniences such as self-parking guidance systems and electrical windows. The Starlet has a small high-impact plastic crank that is turned to open and close the window. The plastic crank is attached to a simple and durable device known as the window regulator. The window is in turn attached to one arm of the scissor-like regulator. Turn the crank clockwise and window goes down. Counter clockwise and window goes back up. Presto. The window regulator is one of those things like a refrigerator, that you never think too much about until it quits. Removing and replacing a broken window regulator is one of the most reviled tasks in all of old or classic car ownership and maintenance. In older econoboxes like the Starlet, just finding the working replacement part can be an adventure in itself.
Remove and Replace
Removing the door panel and determining the window regulator was well and truly broken was the first step. The next step was locating a replacement. Word came down from Toyota was that the part was long discontinued. The used part search was on. A post on KP61.net and Club 4AG in the WTB section yielded an offer for a complete Starlet shell, and another for not one but two regulators! A trip over to Orange County, and the replacement parts were in hand. Since we had already removed the door panel and blown apart the door, the removal part was already finished. Indexing the location of various nuts, bolts, tracks, or similar fasteners helps in re-assembly.
Grease the Skids
Putting everything back together occurred with a surprising lack of swearing – most unlike the time we tried to fix the rear-quarter window regulator in a 1967 Plymouth Barracuda. That window ended up wedged shut with a strategically placed block of wood and pot metal window crank removed. Not so with the Starlet. With some fresh multi-purpose grease in the tracks and all the parts back in the door, the window is rolling up and down better than new. As long as all the tools are out it might be a good time to open up the passenger side door panel and grease up the tracks before it skips out and strips the other window regulator.
Tools and Equipment
- Service Manual
- Door panel removal kit.
- Screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, sockets, assorted hand tools.
- Possible specialty tool for removing never before seen Moldova-sourced fasteners
- Multi-purpose grease
- Window cleaner and rags
- Genuine Toyota part number 69820-16010 – used or (fat chance) NOS.
Step-by-Step instructions for Removing and Replacing a Toyota Starlet Window Regulator