Installed Power Windows & Power Mirrors on my 1977 Camaro


After lots of delays, I finally finished up installing my power mirrors and power windows.  I originally was also going to install power door locks.  Before I removed the original window mechanism, I checked to see that the door lock actuators cleared the window mechanism when raising and lowering the window.  However, after installing the door locks and completing all the wiring for the windows, mirrors and locks, I discovered that the power window mechanism would not clear the actuators.  Too bad because the door locks worked great.  Fortunately, removing something is considerably easier than installing it.

On a Chevelle website, I had come across a guy who had installed power mirrors from mid to late ’90’s full size Olds or Buicks with a Ford Focus switch complete with a wiring diagram.  I bought the mirrors and the switch on Ebay.  The mirrors did not come with the gasket.  Upon checking with the local GM dealer parts guy, it was discovered that the gaskets had been discontinued.  However, the parts guy was able to give me a list of dealers who still had these parts in stock.  A few phone calls and the gaskets were on the way.

After removing the stock mirrors, I masked off the mirror area and laid out the gaskets to use as templates.  I enlisted my friend Reese to hold the mirrors in place while I checked to see how they lined up before I made the big decision to drill the holes.  On the passenger door, there was an opening under the mirror location that allowed me to get to the mirror studs to start the nuts.   The driver’s side required some massaging with the Dremel tool to get that clearance.  Once that hurdle had been cleared, it was simply a matter of bolting them on.

One of the things that held me up was deciding on how I was going to get the wiring from the door to the inside of the car.  My initial plan was to go to the hot rod market and get one of their kits.  When I took everything apart, I discovered that the holes for the factory wiring boots were in the door and the door jamb with plastic covers over the holes.  I still had to drill a hole on the inside of the car to get from the door jamb to the interior.  This meant removing the kick panels.  On the driver’s side, this also meant removing the parking brake mechanism. 

A call to Camaroland, a Camaro dismantler in California, discovered that they had a good set of the original boots.  It took a week for them to arrive.  Upon fitting them to the car, I found out that they were too small for the holes in my car. 

After discussing this with them, it was discovered that the boots changed on the 1978 cars.  My car must have been a late ’77 model as it had the larger holes.  Another week passed until the correct boots arrived.  The good news was that the new boots were of a completely different design and extended from the door jamb to the interior.  All I had to do was to enlarge my previously drilled hole to 1 3/8”. 

 As I mentioned earlier, I had a wiring diagram showing how to wire the mirrors from a late 90’s model full size Buick or Olds to a Ford Focus switch.  Of course, the wires on my mirrors were not the same color as those on the diagram.  Fortunately, the two positions for the negative and positive carried over so I only had to figure out the other wiring combinations.  It took me five tries to come up with the correct one.  From this point it was simply soldering the wires, waterproofing them, making sure they did not interfere with the window mechanism and making them disappear inside the car.  I mounted the switch in the ash tray which worked out great.  It is easy to reach while you are driving. 

The power window install began with removing the orginal windows and mechanism.  Next I removed all of the tracks, cleaned them, greased them and re-installed them in the door.  I had to replace the felt on the front guides on both doors as the old ones had nearly worn off.  This explained the scratches in my door glass.  The power window kit came from Nu-Relics and included the power window mechanism and the wiring harness along with a photo of a bare door showing where the new part was to be mounted.  Before installing the new parts, I oiled all pivot points and greased the main gears.
 
Next I moved on to wiring the windows.   Nu-Relics do not have car specific installation instructions but they did send a photo of the naked door skin showing where the window mechanism mounted.  The kit also came with the switches which had to be installed in the door panels.  After doing some of the initial work, I had posted some info on a Camaro website.  One of the guys who had read the post sent me a private message saying he had soome medallions that were designed to cover the hole for the window crank.  After seeing the photos, I immediately sent him some money.  They solved the problem of what to do with those holes.

The wiring was very simple.  A ground wire was mounted to one of the mounting bolts on the driver’s door and, inside the car, a wire had to be run to 12V ignition.  Since the junction box I had added when installing the AC, fuel injection, sound system, etc. was full, I had to add a second junction box.  Again, making sure the wiring in the door was clear of the window raising mechanism was the main priority.  Next up was installing the wiring harness connectors to the switches.

After I made sure everything worked, I could start putting things back together.  First up were the kick panels and the parking brake.  While they fought me some, it wasn’t too bad.  Next up was installing the new door glass.  My old glass had a lot of scratches.  I got my buddy Reese to help me with the glass.  It could be done by yourself, but not easily.  Having two people also helped to make sure we did not scratch the new glass.  All I really needed from Reese was to get the glass in the tracks and mounted to the lower horizontal track. 

Now came the fun part of aligning the door glass.  I had removed all of the tracks to clean and lubricate them.  Based on the photos I had taken of the bolt positions, I tried to put all the tracks back to the same positions prior to disassembly.  A godsend was the information provided by “jamieg285” in this thread:  [url]http://www.nastyz28.com/forum/showthread.php?p=1442321[/url]
Following his instructions, I was able to get the windows to fit perfectly.  They don’t even leak when hit with a direct spray from the hose!!  After the alignment was successful, I covered the inside of the door with Dynamat and re-attached the door panel. 

And the project was done.

I am sure another project will have to be done sometime soon, but, for now, I am going to just drive the car.  Went to a cruise-in in Kannapolis last Saturday and had a great time.  On Sunday, my wife and I took a long drive ending up at the Richard Childress Winery in Lexington, NC.  Got some wine and headed for home to enjoy!!

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6 Comments

  1. Hi there. What a beautiful Camaro! Can you tell me who makes the wheels, sizes, backspacing/offsets, tire size etc. Tks……JM

    • Thanks. I sold the car about a year ago.

      Billet Specialties 17×8 Street Lites w/ Nitto 255/45/17 tires-4 ¾” backspacing
      Billet Specialties 17×11 Street Lites w/ Nitto 285/40/17-5 ¾” backspacing

  2. Nice car man, sorry to hear you sold it. I’m doing the power mirror swap too, do you still have the wiring schematic you used to wire them up to the GM mirrors?
    Thanks,
    Steve

    • I do not have the wiring diagram. I found it on a Chevelle website originally. You might do a search to find someone installing early ’90’s mirrors on a Chevelle with a Ford Focus switch. Maybe it is still there.

      Good Luck!

      Jerry


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