BY: 60 T-Bird (Martin Burs), Tbird1044 (Nyles Beuchel), gaffney1951 (Mike Gaffney) & Simplyconnected

( CLICK HERE to see more motor pics taken by Nyles)

Power Window & Seat Motors from 1959 and 1960 look the same from the outside.  Pre 1960 motors have the commutator and brush assembly at the shaft end. '60 and later motors have the commutator and brushes at the rear or 'bell' end.  Before cracking one open, extreme care must be exercised or your brush holders may be damaged by simply taking it apart.  Even though you cannot tell which motor you have, this can be avoided.  Please read carefully and follow Martin's pictures:

Picture #1    The two long mounting screws were removed for easy wheel access.  Before attempting disassembly, BE SURE there are no dents or raised metal (dings) on the motor shaft.  A shaft ding will hang up on the bearing, causing unnecessary damage and a mad scramble for specialty non-conductive, heat resistant parts made of unobtanium.  Use a fine file or Diemaker's stone and go over the shaft surface.  Any imperfections will show up immediately.  File or stone them smooth.

Picture #2    This is a (3M) ScotchBrite wheel, not a grinding stone!!  The purpose is to remove paint, rust, and scale, not dents or dings.

Picture #3    File the set screw marks so they aren't raised.
I'm reluctant to show a hammer here.  It is important to hold the motor by the housing's FRONT HALF and gently tap the motor shaft.  The shaft should slide off the bearing easily.  If you feel resistance and the front shell doesn't remove easily, DO NOT FORCE IT. Look for an obstruction on the motor shaft.  Continue smoothing until the shaft slides off the bearing easily.

Nyles has another important caution. "One thing that really got me is that, even light tapping on the motor shaft, can move the shaft inside the armature. Then when you put it back together, the rotor will bind. A little tapping will get it back into location, but that is where it gets a little tricky, since you have no measurement to go by. I finally have some target numbers to shoot for and will check shaft location on my last motor, before I reassemble. I always test run my motors after rebuilding."  **CLICK HERE and scroll down to Nyles' last pictures for correct motor shaft placement drawings.

Picture #4    Here are the parts laid out.  This is really an "after" picture, shown to keep track of the washers as they help control end play and center the armature (and brushes) inside the housing.


Picture #5   This is the armature before the commutator segments are cleaned-up. This commutator shows evidence of excessive oil or grease, but a closer inspection shows no burned, scored or tapered *segments.  Caked-on grease will stop the brushes from making contact causing the motor to not work, BUT... there is a big difference between a thin layer of carbon and a thick cake of crud.

* Commutator segments are made of soft copper surrounded by micarta or bakelite. The brushes are made of carbon-impregnated bronze.  This combination serves many purposes:
  The materials are heat resistant because brushes run hot from lots of current and arcing.
  Brush carbon naturally forms a lubricating surface on the copper segments that current easily passes through, so motors should last many decades.  Do not sand this carbon film off.

Picture #6   I zoomed-in as far as possible to show the commutator's silhouette.  I want to see the contour of these segments.  This one is nice and straight so spray cleaning to remove oil is all that is necessary here.

As a LAST resort, a disfigured commutator can be 'trued' by tooling the copper down on a lathe, but the lubricating carbon 'skin' will be gone from the surface and the micarta will need to be undercut with a knife.  Then, the brushes should be arced to match the new commutator radius (do this by hand with very fine sandpaper on the commutator).  Further 'break-in' will sacrifice some brush length.

Picture #7    Nicely cleaned field coils and brush holder plate.

Picture #8    This is an excellent image showing the brush holders and solder-pad connections.  Ford kept the integrity of using colored wires for positive leads and Black for all ground wires.

Picture #9    This image shows the sintered oilite bearing (on the left) with a surrounding felt 'oiler'.  The reason it is out of the nose bearing holder (top) is because the motor shaft had a bur and excessive hammering destroyed the bearing spring.  The replacement spring is on the bottom right.  Normally, this bearing assembly is riveted inside the shell and should not come apart.

Picture #10 (from Mike Gaffney (gaffney1951))  This is a broken brush holder plate from a pre-1960 motor.  Mike used epoxy to repair it..

Picture #11   The yellow wire feeds the UP field coil, the red feeds the DOWN field coil.  Both coils exit with black wires.  Eventually, all black wires will connect on the solder pad attached to the brush holder plate.

Picture #12   

Picture #13   

Picture #14    This is a good picture of Martin Burs's hand. He is showing 'T' pins to hold the brushes back for armature re-assembly. 

Picture #15    (Same picture without Martin's hand.)

Picture #16    This armature was cleaned, turned down on a lathe.  Notice the copper commutator segments nearly touch each other?  It's important to keep the copper separated and to undercut segments by removing micarta between them with a scraper.

Time to reassemble and paint this motor.  Below is the electrical schematic (including the switch).  The motor is shown within the dashed lines.

Picture #17    Squarebird power window motors are DC shunt motors.  Ford kept this configuration in Thunderbirds through 1962.  In 1963, Ford used three-wire series motors.

Created: 18 February, 2011

Last Edited: 21 September, 2013

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