How to replace the door glass on your Miata

By Karl Kittler -

The most awful thing happened to my Miata last Saturday. Some citizen was pleasantly surprised to see my stereo head unit cleanly mounted in my car. He was so ecstatic, he smashed my window and ripped it out.

Now if you're unlucky like myself, your insurance deductible will be greater than the total cost to repair
everything. Replacing the center console and stereo plate are quite simple. All you need is a phillips screw driver and a little bit of patience. Replacing the window seems like a daunting task at first, but I'll share my experience to help you out.

First off, you need to buy the glass. I contacted my local junkyard and had it the same day, with a little begging, for $85 US. They said normally, the do not remove the glass from the door but order it and it arrives in two days. You can do this job in about an hour.

Secondly, you need to install it. You'll need three tools. A vacuum, a #2 or #3 phillips screw driver and a 10 mm socket with 3" extension. You may need a small flat head screw driver.

1. Remove the door panel. This requires that you unscrew the door handle, three screws all large phillips. One is hidden behind a plastic cover. You can pop it out with a fingernail or flat screw driver. Unscrew and remove the trim plate behind the door lever. Pop off the speaker cover by grasping the edge and pulling away from the door. It's held on with plastic clips. It's best to do this when it's warm. The door panel comes off in the same manner. Plastic clips spread about five inches apart on the perimeter of the door, except for the top edge. Slowly work your way around, one clip at a time. Soon enough the panel is off.

2. Unscrew the door lever. Three philips screws hold this on. Do not remove the linkages.

3. Gently pull back the plastic about halfway down. It's glued on with black gunk that doesn't come off anything. The warmer it is, the easier the plastic comes off. Also, the easier the gunk
rubs off on your clothes. Not the job for a hot summer day.

4. Remove the door speaker. This isn't necessary, but makes removing the broken glass easier.

5. The most time consuming step, removing the broken glass. A household vacuum works, with the crevice attachment. This takes about half the total time. Don't worry about the small grain of sand sized pieces. They will eventually dislodge themselves and make their way out the drain holes in the door. Shake the door in and out to move glass out of hard to reach places.

6. To remove what's left of the existing window. Roll the window about half way down. You should be able to access all three screws that hold the window on. Again, more phillips screws. Also make sure you remove the guide wheel left in the track near the outside handle. There should be two white stoppers and one wheel. Be sure to account for them.

7. Remove the window stops. There are two "L" shaped metal brackets with rubber coatings on the bottom. You'll need a 10 mm socket for this, they are located about 1 1/2 inches below the top of the door about 1/3 of the way in from both the front and rear of the door.

8. Place the replacement window in the rubber track. It's okay to have the top of the window above the top edge of the track. Make sure the glass is the whole way in the rubber track.

9. Push the window down. Put your strong hand on the top, your other on the back edge of the window. This requires a lot of force, keep the pressure even and slow. Gently guide the window down, keeping note of the wheel and the metal track. When the wheel reaches the track,
place the wheel inside the track.

10. Continue pushing down until the window reaches the metal plate where you previously removed the three screws. Make sure you align the one plastic connector, highest up the window to rest on the top of the metal plate. The plastic lip needs to be up.

11. I found rolling the window plate 3/4 of the way down makes it slightly easier to slide the glass behind the window. You have to pry the metal plate slightly inwards with your fingers.

12. With the window in place, roll up the window to the previous position (1/2 way up) and install the screws. I turned these pretty tight using a screw driver. I wouldn't use a wrench.

13. Run the window up and down a few times, you may want to add some white lithium grease to the metal track and run the window up and down a few times more. Listen for binding.

14. Reinstall the window stops. The "L" brackets should be down. I found the old position was perfect, but you may need to adjust further. Run the window up and down more. At this point, you want to check for any left over glass and tools in the door. You won't get them back out without
removing everything again.

15. Reattach the door lever with the hex head phillips screws.

16. Put the plastic back on using the black gunk lines as a guide. Press hard. Open and close the door several times to be sure the alignment is okay.

17. Put the door panel back, top first, the perimeter simply presses on. Put the speaker back in and reattach the speaker cover.

18. Put the trim plate back on the lever. Put the door handle back. Pop the plastic cover back in the door handle. Some windex and you're done.

Back to the Garage

18 February, 2002