A couple of weeks ago my drivers side cable broke on my sliding door. After searching the net thoroughly, I was surprised to find nobody had attempted to repair a broken cable on this motor. I was told I pretty much I need to replace the entire assembly. So I took it upon myself to take out the motor ( which I found out later was not necessary) to find out how this motor works and try to replace the cables.
The motor has 2 cables: one to open the door, and one to close the door. Both cables are wound around the same center pulley. It is a pull-pull type of system, in which as one cable is being pulled one way, the other is being pulled the other way, and vice versa. There are 2 spring loaded tensioner pulleys which help keeps tension on both cables. The problem is when one cable breaks, the tension is lost, and the cables can get tangled and damaged inside the assembly. So if your cable breaks, try not to run the motor as this may cause damage to the other good cable. If however the cable is tangled in such a way that you cannot close or open the door properly, then just cut the cable, and replace it.
First thing to do is obviously shut off power to the doors. Then you need to take apart the panel to gain access to the motor. You can look at other threads that show this in detail.
You also need to take out the track cover on the outside of the van to gain access to the rear outer cable pulley and the roller assembly attachment for the sliding door (where the cables attach to). This is done by removing the rear taillight to gain access to the 2 rear screws. There is also a 10mm screw in the front.
Rear roller pulley.jpg
Finally, with the door in the fully open position, remove the roller assembly from the door (where the cables attach to) by supporting the door with a jack and removing the 2- 12mm bolts. Be careful the door does not fall off the jack!
Once you have access to the motor, remove the front cover plate which is held in with about 5-6 screws.
Now remove the pulley by removing the 10mm nut in the center. The pulley is made up of 2 pieces, an inner and an outer pulley. The rear cable wraps around the outer, and the front cable wraps around the inner, which then leads around the outer. Remove the damaged cables.
Honda motor 2.jpg
Now its time to replace the cable. To do this , I found 1/16” green coated cable at Home Depot (SKU # 259797). You need 13 feet total to make up the 2 cables. Each cable is a different length. The rear cable is 6’9”, and the front cable is 5’1”. Being off an inch or so will probably not be a big deal.
Once you cut the cables to length, start feeding them from the outside in. It might take a little fiddling to get the cable to go in the cable housing, but it will go.
Once the cables enter the motor assembly, make sure the cables get routed properly between the tensioner pulleys.
Now its time to crimp on the ferrules so the cable will be attached properly to the pulley.
I used 1/16” ferrule and stop set from Home Depot, and after crimping the end on, you can pretty much trim them with a pliers to get the ferrules to seat properly in the pulley housing.
Route the rear cable around the top of the pulley. Wind it around the pulley until you have about 9 inches sticking out on the outside, which is the length of cable exposed normally when the door is fully open.
For the front cable, do not wind it around the pulley yet, but bring the other end that’s outside to almost meet where the other cable is so to prepare to mount them on the roller attachment.
Now after some trial and error, I found some Thomas and Betts L35-B2 terminal screws at Home Depot that fit inside the roller assembly perfect.
You will need to grind off the leg part, and just use the screw and thread part. Once you attach each cable onto the terminal lugs, attach both cables onto the roller assembly with the screw facing down, otherwise if you try to put the screw facing up, there will not be enough clearance.
Attach the roller assembly back on the door and remove the jack.
Now it’s time to route the front cable around the inner pulley. If you look at it carefully, its pretty self-explanatory. The cable gets seated on the inner pulley first, then it eventually get fed to the outer pulley. When you see it up close you’ll get a better understanding. Even though the 2 cables are on the same pulley, they never interfere with another because as one is getting fed out, one is getting fed in, and vice-versa. Tension in the cable will be done via the inner pulley
Carefully assemble the pulley back on the shaft. Then grasp the inner pulley with your 2 fingers, pull out, and rotate to make the cable tight. Compare tension with the door on the other side.
Once everything has been put back, you need to close the door manually to make everything “re-synch”. Once this has been done, turn the power back on to the sliding door and give it a shot. If it has trouble closing, try adjusting the roller assembly where the cables attach to.
All parts were under $10. I made a Youtube video ( albeit a sloppy one) to try and illustrate better:
It's been a few days so far, and the door still works great. If you are going to attempt this fix, take your time, and good luck.