How To - Install A Stealth Power Window Conversion
Keep your stock interior appearance while adding the convenience of power windows
For some owners it’s easy to tear into a vintage Mustang with wild abandon, throwing concours ideas out the window in the name of modern amenities and creature comforts. At the other end of the spectrum are the diehard concours guys who spend countless hours looking for an NOS part and researching their Mustang’s factory build details to the tiniest degree. Yet there are others who enjoy the classic styling of the Mustang and want to drive a relatively stock appearing car but with a few hidden upgrades to make driving safer and more enjoyable. For those who fall in this middle area (or even the diehard restomod guys looking for something different/cool for their vintage Mustang), we want to introduce you to Electric-Life and their power crank switch.
What does the power crank switch do, you ask? It’s simple, really. The power crank switch is a reverse polarity-based Delrin assembly that houses a pair of micro switches and a splined shaft that accepts the stock window crank handles. Originally designed for custom interiors and the street rod market, many builders have been integrating them into stock interiors to give owners the ability to have power windows without modifying door panels and adding unsightly, or “incorrect,” window switch controls on the door or center console. The power crank switch is spring loaded and has internal stops that allow the window crank to rotate far enough to engage the internal micro switches while protecting the switch from overzealous window crankers.
Wiring the switches is no more difficult than wiring a traditional up/down rocker switch, but to fit the switches in the stock locations will take some minor grinding work to clearance the switch and the regulator for the front door fitment. If you are fitting power windows to a coupe or convertible, the rear window setup is a little more involved to use the switches, but is still very much possible to install in a home shop with hand tools.
We’re installing Electric-Life’s excellent bolt-in power window conversion kit on a ’68 Mustang coupe and adding their power crank switches to the install as well. While this ’68 has a mild interior upgrade (TMI carbon-look upholstery and Billet Performance Accessories window cranks), the owner didn’t want to cut up his new door panels for switches.
Hind Sight Suggestions
As always, once we finish a project, there are several “Why didn’t we?” thoughts, so we figured we’d throw them into this sidebar and save you some frustration and/or time when you add your own power windows.
- Wear mechanic’s gloves. Not only are the regulators sharp, but so are the metal openings in your car. Our hands look like we were on the losing end of a hand shake with Freddy Krueger!
- While we pulled the whole glass out of the car to drill out our stripped screws, later the idea popped into our head that we most likely could have drilled out the screws right in the door opening. Doh!
- Drilling the cowl side wiring hole is easy; it’s the door side that’s not fun. While we crammed an air drill and hose into the door and got it to work, we’ve since installed a second set of these power windows on another car and had great success with “quick release” drill bits and a 12-inch drill bit extension chucked into a cordless drill. It allows the drill to be farther away from the vent window frame and gives more room for viewing.
- As noted, we had to destroy the glass scrapers during removal to get the glass out (see hind sight note above!), but we also had one door with a torn moisture barrier and a few damaged door panel clips. Do yourself a favor and order door panel clips and inspect your door for worn weatherstrips, etc. so you can order it all at once!
- If you’re installing power windows with the power crank switch on an early car with clip-on style window cranks, be sure to order the later crank handles that are retained with a screw, as that’s the only handle that will work on these switches.
- Using a readily available diagram online and some relays, you can get the driver’s crank switch to control the passenger side window too. It’s a neat add-on, but the owner of this car didn’t want the extra wiring.