00 How To Install Power Window On ‘73-’79 Ford Pickups

Power Windows For ’73-’79 Ford Pickups

By Ron Ceridono – Photography by the Author

While our 1973 Ford Ranger XLT pickup was considered to be well equipped in its day, the option list wasn’t very long. About all the interior featured was some extra trim, fake wood inlays, and air conditioning. Over the years we’ve made a number of updates to make the classic truck more user friendly—we’ve updated instruments, replaced the original AC system with a Vintage Air system, installed electric door locks, and even added a killer stereo. The only other enhancement we were missing was power windows.

01 Electric-Life’s power window conversion for ’73-’79 Ford pickups simply bolt in place of the original manual regulators.
Electric-Life’s power window conversion for ’73-’79 Ford pickups simply bolt in place of the original manual regulators.

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Power windows were not available on the sixth generation of Ford’s F-Series trucks (’73-’79), so when the driver side window regulator of our beloved Blue Oval pickup cranked up the glass for the last time we had a choice to make. Replace the worn-out manual regulators or install a retrofit power window system, which is what we elected to do.

02 The Electric-Life power window conversion kit features extremely powerful motors and smooth-running, precision regulator gears.
The Electric-Life power window conversion kit features extremely powerful motors and smooth-running, precision regulator gears.

There are a number of concerns when converting to power windows with an aftermarket kit, for us the most important were ease of installation and the power of the motor. While the first requirement seems obvious, the second one maybe not so much. However, our concern comes from experience with underpowered power window kits in other projects that struggled raising the door glass, particularly after installing new window channels.

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03 Removing the stock Ford door panels takes care. They’re held in place with plastic retainers that can be a challenge to remove without causing damage.
Removing the stock Ford door panels takes care. They’re held in place with plastic retainers that can be a challenge to remove without causing damage.

For our installation we turned to Electric-Life, a company that has been in business for 35 years. Starting out with power window kits for early Mustangs, Electric-Life now has over 1,000 part numbers. Recently they added kits for ’73-’79 Ford trucks, exactly what we were looking for.

04 A great investment is this door panel tool we picked up years ago.
A great investment is this door panel tool we picked up years ago. It goes between the panel and door while straddling the retainers, making them easy to remove.

Installing the new regulator/motor assemblies was as simple as removing the original manual regulators and bolting the Electric-Life units in place. No modifications are necessary as the replacement assemblies use the existing mounting holes in the door. Of course adding power windows does require some wiring, Electric-Life includes a harness that powers the two switches on the driver side that control the left and right windows and a single switch on the passenger side controls the glass on that side.

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05 This is the worn-out stock Ford window regulator. Typically the shaft that mounts the handle wobbles in the housing.
This is the worn-out stock Ford window regulator. Typically the shaft that mounts the handle wobbles in the housing. In this case the wear caused the regulator to bind in operation.

To operate the windows Electric-Life offers a variety of switches, including the polished, lighted switches with aluminum bezels we chose. Due to the design of the Ford’s door panels we had to modify them to accept these switches. We could have used different switches or even mounted these somewhere else (we even considered putting them in the dash) but since we were intending to redo the interior anyway, we decided to go for it. Yeah, so much for simplicity, but the results were worth it. Now we can roll down the driver window without fighting a worn-out manual regulator and lower the passenger side glass from the driver seat, thanks to Electric-Life.

Source:
Electric-Life
(773) 467-0200
electric-life.com

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