A Bit of a Wind Up by Bart Walsh
With a dull click my window disappeared down into the door recess of my Seven. On all previous occasions there had always been about an inch showing above the aperture in the door-frame.
When I then attempted to wind-up the window to close it the whole lot speedily descended whilst at the same time the window handle pirouetted gracefully clockwise. What had gone wrong? One of the Essex Austin Seven Club’s Sunday runs was due to take place three days later and I was sure that the experts would know what to do. It was, however, the usual story and I should have known better. ‘Oh! Mine’s just the same. I use a wedge to keep it up, but the window on the passenger’s side is OK’ and the other variant ‘They all go like that in time’.
This meant a few hours spent assessing the situation and attempting to find an effective solution. Eventually my technical know-how produced a short length of bungee-type luggage strap – one end of which I fixed round the window handle and the other end I fixed round the rear window winder. The snag here, however, was that I had to disconnect it each time I got in and out of the car! The Mark II variant (much admired by other non-technical club members was shorter and instead of fixing it to the rear window I screwed in a small hook just above the door lock. Now I could open the door without bungee jumping. The day dawned, however, when I became dissatisfied with this lash-up and decided to take the lot apart to identify the cause. In my drawing I have attempted to show the main components of the winding apparatus.
To gain access to the inner workings of the window-winding gear the (interior) door skin has to be removed. This is achieved by removing the handle (F) by unscrewing the retaining screw (H). Next, release in any order, the door chain, the handle which is pulled to close the door, the lock mechanism and the pins which hold the oilcloth covered plywood to the door frame. With a downwards and outwards pull this will come away from the door and leave exposed the winding mechanism. In unrestored cars this is the time to notice deterioration around the bottom edge of the door. The ply-wood may have woodworm or just senile dementia and it is most likely that the door skin itself will be in a poor state where it is folded under to receive the framework for the door.
The mechanism is located on a plate which is held in place by four screws. In earlier models these are set into captive bolts but in my ‘3 7 Pearl the plate is screwed directly into the woodwork of the door frame. Before unscrewing these four fixings it is a good idea to mark the relative positions of the cogs and arms of the mechanism. This will assist with reassembly! Once released the winding gear can then be lowered making it possible to slide the two runners out of the channel under the window glass leaving the window itself still in place.
Next comes the tricky bit. The drum (E) is attached to the main plate by five lugs which must very carefully be prised open. Take your time with this operation so as not to break them off – we are not dealing with a pliable metal.
Once straightened out a few gentle taps on each of them in turn will disclose the essential inner workings of the mechanism. At this stage there should be four separate, loose items – the drum, (E), the spool (D) with its spring (C) and a small cog-wheel (B) which has five cogs and a lug attached. This cog revolves around a ‘spindle (A) which is attached to the backplate by a rivet. It may be necessary to give the square arm on (E) a gentle tap to release the spool and spring.
It is the spring (C) which is usually broken. At each end the spring should be bent inwards at right angles as shown in the diagram (J). It is one or both of these ends which will be found to have broken. The lug on (B) presses on these parts of the spring when the weight of the window is received by it through the cogs and this has the effect of opening out the coiled spring. This in turn jambs the spring, like a brake shoe, against the inside of the drum (E). However, when the handle (F) is employed, the spring tends to get wound up, thus reducing its diameter allowing the spool to revolve inside the drum to enable the operator to raise or lower the window.
All we have to do now is to find a suitable replacement spring… Has anyone out there got any ideas, if so spring into action at once. In my opinion there must be at least 500 required. I’d like two please!