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Discussion Starter #1
I just finished replacing the cable on the automatic sliding door on our recently-purchased 2009 EX-L. I had replaced the rollers earlier, but later, the cable snapped.

I had previously done this on our 2002 using sizzlemp’s write up. Much of it is the same, but there are very important things that are different. I haven’t seen any details on doing this job on a 3rd gen, so I thought I'd post them. This is not a full write up. I'm only writing about what is different with the 3rd gen.

First off: this job is not pleasant. If you can find the entire motor assembly for a price you’re willing to pay, go for it. The entire assembly is definitely easier to remove than it was in the 2nd gen.

Parts
All the parts are the same, except for the cable. The green cable from Home Depot won’t work. The OEM cable is 1/16”, just the same as the green cable. But the OEM cable has a very, very thin coating. The green stuff has a thicker coating that brings the outside diameter of the cable to 3/32. That’s too big to fit in the motor used in the 3rd gens.

I ended up using 1/16” uncoated galvanized aircraft cable. Here in Canada, it seems to be harder to find this stuff. My father-in-law ended up calling around for me and got some from an aircraft mechanic. It cost more than it would elsewhere ($1/ft), but this stuff is tough. I couldn’t cut it at all with wire cutters. I ended up using my angle grinder to cut it. You can find 1/16” galvanized cable at Home Depot, though the quality may not be the same.

Being uncoated, there is a worry of it rusting out if the galvanization wears off. My OEM cable rusted out where the coating was damaged, which caused it to break. That’s one factor of why I’m more comfortable getting it from who I did: the galvanization is probably better and less likely to wear off as quickly (or at all). Time will tell.

Some Home Depot stores in the US stock 1/16” stainless steel wire rope. That would work too. Although one of the aircraft guys my father-in-law talked to said that the stainless stuff is weaker and also doesn’t like to be constantly bent. Your mileage may vary.

The length of the cable is very important to get right. You don’t have much leeway. For the driver’s side, the cable going toward the front of the van is about 66”. The cable going around the back is about 62”. I did not replace the passenger side, so I can’t tell you those lengths. Cut it a half inch longer just in case. You can always cut some off later, but you don’t have too many options to length is. I did have to lengthen mine a bit. I added about an inch on the back cable. I put a short length in the roller, and used one of the stops from the ferrule and stop set to attach it to the cable going to the motor. You can only put on a couple inches in that spot, so it’s much better to just get the cable length right the first time.

Opening the motor
The driver’s side motor is so much easier to get to. The passenger side is in an awkward spot, so you will have to unmount it to work on it. The motor has a bunch of screws on the outside of it. Those can all come off. Here is a picture with the cover removed.
door motor.jpg

A 10mm bolt and washer releases the pulley, and everything comes out. The white stoppers just clip in, so you can pull those right off. You may need to release the bottom clips of the white stoppers and push them up, then pull them out.

Putting it back together
I could not get the wire to feed through without taking off the rest of the assembly (where it feeds to the outside). There are 3 10mm bolts at the back, 4 in the front. Take those off, and pull off the rubber covers. Feed the wire from the inside out: feed it through the tube, so it eventually comes out at the roller. I found that it would stop right where it met the roller. The end of my cable was frayed a bit, so I think that’s why. I was able to use some pliers to push it through with more force than I could by hand.

Put the rubber covers back on and reattach. At this point you have one end of the cables at the motor and the other end outside.

I found that I had to feed the cable into the motor pulley before crimping the stop on it. But before that, feed the spring and white stopper over the cable. The springs have a straight piece at the one end, which must go toward the inside of the motor. Make sure you have the white stopper with the clip toward the bottom. After those are over the cable, you can feed the cable into the pulley. The cable coming into the left of the motor goes into the back of the pulley. The cable coming into the right of the motor goes into the front of the pulley (regardless of driver or passenger side). Feed the wire straight through to the other side, then crimp on the stopper. You can then pull it back and ensure it doesn’t come back out.

Once both cables are attached, go outside and attach the roller (you could do this first if you want). The instructions for this are the same as the 2nd gen. Although I found that the cable was slipping out of those lugs. The screw was bottoming out before it was quite tight enough (although it was quite tight). So I ended up putting a small second piece of cable in the lug with the main cable so I could screw it down harder. Attach the door at this point if you want.

Back inside, roll the cables around the pulley as much as you can and push it into the housing. The gear the pulley sits on moves quite freely, so you will have a hard time lining it up right.

Clip in the white stoppers, and push the springs into place. This is a pain. The straight piece coming off the springs feed into a hole on either side. Use small pliers and a light so you can see the hole. Once those are in the hole, make sure you don’t pull the wire outward, or you’ll pull those springs out. It’s annoying when that happens.

Put the washer and nut back over the pulley. Make sure the white stoppers are pushed all the way down so that they clip in.

By this point you would have noticed that there are also white clips around the pipe the cable feeds through that hold it to the body of the van. Put those back on. Those can be opened up with some effort if need be.

It’s wise to test things before you put everything back together, but if you test, make sure you either hold down the spring on the right with a finger, or put the cover on with at least one screw. The right spring can pop out otherwise.
 

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I'm into this project now on my van. Question: how to know how much of each cable to wind on the pulley? Did you go by the cable lengths - making cable same lengths as original and winding once other end attached to roller assembly??

Comments: did find that the 1/16" coated in sizzlemp's write up was too large diameter for 2006 odyssey - for cable sleeve and pulley channels. I'm using uncoated 1/16". Will grease up well to slow deterioration and friction.
Hope all this works. My motor was not triggering from door switch. I did test with directly energizing. So I hope all the sensors and controls work once put back together.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm into this project now on my van. Question: how to know how much of each cable to wind on the pulley? Did you go by the cable lengths - making cable same lengths as original and winding once other end attached to roller assembly??
Yes, the length is important. It must be as close to the length of the original cable as you can. Then attach the cable to the roller outside before winding it around the motor pulley.

So I hope all the sensors and controls work once put back together.
You may need to reset everything before it works again. I had to, since it didn't work at first. I just disconnected the battery for about a half hour and then it worked.
 

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Yes, the length is important. It must be as close to the length of the original cable as you can. Then attach the cable to the roller outside before winding it around the motor pulley.


You may need to reset everything before it works again. I had to, since it didn't work at first. I just disconnected the battery for about a half hour and then it worked.

Ok...so, I was not successful. I ended up buying a new assembly and installing.

A key is cable TENSION!

TENSION - in order to work correctly, the cables need to be tight. A new unit comes prepared. IN the motor/pulley, the white tubes are pulled in to compress the springs. This is the purpose of the white stoppers (with tabs on bottom) These stoppers, when in the up position, hold the white tube compressing the spring. This 'shortens' the overall cable length. Install the unit, attach cables to roller assembly, and attach the roller assembly to the door. Then, when the white stoppers are pressed down, the springs push the white tubes out, making the cable path longer, and providing the tension.

A good visual in this youtube video, at minute 50. Video is of install of a new assembly.

Without the tension, the cable can skip out of the grooves on the pulley in the motor assembly. This happened in my case, and the plastic pulley grooves were mangled, and the cable kinked.


Who would have thought automatic doors were so vital...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes, tension is very important. That's why I said the length is important.

In the 2nd gen Odys, you had a lot of leeway because you could adjust the tension. Not so with the 3rd gen. As you found, those white tubes let you switch between "loose" and "tight", but you can't adjust how loose or how tight.

A new assembly is good too. At least you know everything is new. And installation is so much easier than trying to fix the old one.
 

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I like the fix. Very ingenious and industrious. As I'm a professional pilot I even like the idea of using aircraft cable. However, the rest of the system doesn't look like it's built to take the extra wear and tear that an uncoated cable will put on it. That cable runs tight against the door rail where it turns the corner at the rear of the door. I can see quite a bit of wear on your track there already. Keeping it lubed will help but you'll eventually wear a groove in that track. Also, the plastic pulleys and also the mechanisims inside the motor look like they are taking extra abuse and wear.

On the plus side, everything that is wearing is replaced with a new motor assembly with exception of the door track. The track is only around $30 and looks like it can be replaced when you have the rear quarter trim off to replace the motor/cable assembly. So, I see this as a fix that will get you 40-50K depending on how much use the door gets but will cost you $30 more when you finally end up replacing the motor assembly. Finding a coated cable would sure be a plus for this repair.

It's a nice video of the internals of the motor which, until now, I haven't seen out there anywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah I guess I'm not used to thinking about wear from the cable. I just wanted a cable that wouldn't (ever) break.

The important part is that the outer diameter is no more than 1/16". So if you go coated, you'd have to go with 3/64". But I guess if you're using true aircraft cable and not Home Depot special, then it'll be just as resilient.

It's really hard to source a cable to begin with - at least here in Canada - without having to buy a whole roll.
 

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I'm about to begin this door repair as my cable rusted and broke. The local Home Depot didn't stock the appropriate size but I found what I hope will work perfectly at our local bicycle shop. For only a few dollars they sell replacement cables for gear shift and brake mechanisms. I'll need to jury rig the cable ends but it seems like top quality cable which will take a bend without kinking.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yeah, Home Depot in Canada doesn't have a great selection for the cable. The bike shop had a cable long enough? If so, that's not a bad idea.

I'm actually going to have to do this again once the warmer weather is around. The driver-side door had been sticking part way through opening and would suddenly reverse all the time. So there has been lots of pushing on it to stop it and make it open again. Eventually, the cable pulled out of the roller again and the cable kind of unraveled and got mangled. I need to do something different this time. Someone suggested using JB Weld where the cable goes into the terminal screw. But if I can find a cable with an end already attached, that may be better.
 

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I just finished replacing the cable on the automatic sliding door on our recently-purchased 2009 EX-L. I had replaced the rollers earlier, but later, the cable snapped.

I had previously done this on our 2002 using sizzlemp’s write up. Much of it is the same, but there are very important things that are different. I haven’t seen any details on doing this job on a 3rd gen, so I thought I'd post them. This is not a full write up. I'm only writing about what is different with the 3rd gen.

First off: this job is not pleasant. If you can find the entire motor assembly for a price you’re willing to pay, go for it. The entire assembly is definitely easier to remove than it was in the 2nd gen.

Parts
All the parts are the same, except for the cable. The green cable from Home Depot won’t work. The OEM cable is 1/16”, just the same as the green cable. But the OEM cable has a very, very thin coating. The green stuff has a thicker coating that brings the outside diameter of the cable to 3/32. That’s too big to fit in the motor used in the 3rd gens.

I ended up using 1/16” uncoated galvanized aircraft cable. Here in Canada, it seems to be harder to find this stuff. My father-in-law ended up calling around for me and got some from an aircraft mechanic. It cost more than it would elsewhere ($1/ft), but this stuff is tough. I couldn’t cut it at all with wire cutters. I ended up using my angle grinder to cut it. You can find 1/16” galvanized cable at Home Depot, though the quality may not be the same.

Being uncoated, there is a worry of it rusting out if the galvanization wears off. My OEM cable rusted out where the coating was damaged, which caused it to break. That’s one factor of why I’m more comfortable getting it from who I did: the galvanization is probably better and less likely to wear off as quickly (or at all). Time will tell.

Some Home Depot stores in the US stock 1/16” stainless steel wire rope. That would work too. Although one of the aircraft guys my father-in-law talked to said that the stainless stuff is weaker and also doesn’t like to be constantly bent. Your mileage may vary.

The length of the cable is very important to get right. You don’t have much leeway. For the driver’s side, the cable going toward the front of the van is about 66”. The cable going around the back is about 62”. I did not replace the passenger side, so I can’t tell you those lengths. Cut it a half inch longer just in case. You can always cut some off later, but you don’t have too many options to length is. I did have to lengthen mine a bit. I added about an inch on the back cable. I put a short length in the roller, and used one of the stops from the ferrule and stop set to attach it to the cable going to the motor. You can only put on a couple inches in that spot, so it’s much better to just get the cable length right the first time.

Opening the motor
The driver’s side motor is so much easier to get to. The passenger side is in an awkward spot, so you will have to unmount it to work on it. The motor has a bunch of screws on the outside of it. Those can all come off. Here is a picture with the cover removed.
View attachment 74289

A 10mm bolt and washer releases the pulley, and everything comes out. The white stoppers just clip in, so you can pull those right off. You may need to release the bottom clips of the white stoppers and push them up, then pull them out.

Putting it back together
I could not get the wire to feed through without taking off the rest of the assembly (where it feeds to the outside). There are 3 10mm bolts at the back, 4 in the front. Take those off, and pull off the rubber covers. Feed the wire from the inside out: feed it through the tube, so it eventually comes out at the roller. I found that it would stop right where it met the roller. The end of my cable was frayed a bit, so I think that’s why. I was able to use some pliers to push it through with more force than I could by hand.

Put the rubber covers back on and reattach. At this point you have one end of the cables at the motor and the other end outside.

I found that I had to feed the cable into the motor pulley before crimping the stop on it. But before that, feed the spring and white stopper over the cable. The springs have a straight piece at the one end, which must go toward the inside of the motor. Make sure you have the white stopper with the clip toward the bottom. After those are over the cable, you can feed the cable into the pulley. The cable coming into the left of the motor goes into the back of the pulley. The cable coming into the right of the motor goes into the front of the pulley (regardless of driver or passenger side). Feed the wire straight through to the other side, then crimp on the stopper. You can then pull it back and ensure it doesn’t come back out.

Once both cables are attached, go outside and attach the roller (you could do this first if you want). The instructions for this are the same as the 2nd gen. Although I found that the cable was slipping out of those lugs. The screw was bottoming out before it was quite tight enough (although it was quite tight). So I ended up putting a small second piece of cable in the lug with the main cable so I could screw it down harder. Attach the door at this point if you want.

Back inside, roll the cables around the pulley as much as you can and push it into the housing. The gear the pulley sits on moves quite freely, so you will have a hard time lining it up right.

Clip in the white stoppers, and push the springs into place. This is a pain. The straight piece coming off the springs feed into a hole on either side. Use small pliers and a light so you can see the hole. Once those are in the hole, make sure you don’t pull the wire outward, or you’ll pull those springs out. It’s annoying when that happens.

Put the washer and nut back over the pulley. Make sure the white stoppers are pushed all the way down so that they clip in.

By this point you would have noticed that there are also white clips around the pipe the cable feeds through that hold it to the body of the van. Put those back on. Those can be opened up with some effort if need be.

It’s wise to test things before you put everything back together, but if you test, make sure you either hold down the spring on the right with a finger, or put the cover on with at least one screw. The right spring can pop out otherwise.
 

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My driver's side cable broke about 3 weeks ago. The passenger side cable broke only 5 days later! No kidding! Thanks to this video (from Gabe's Hacks) I was able to tackle this project myself. The cables can be purchased from CarCableGuy. There are also installation instructions on that website.

I made a web album where all the pics are in one spot, along with my observations. Here is that link:
 

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Now that you've seen my album, let me summarize some of the lessons learned, in no particular order.

1. The cables received from the CarCableGuy are excellent quality, and appear to be identical to the OEM cables. As you'll see on his website, you'll need a crimping tool to install the aluminum ferrules that are included. I bought this one and it worked great. Swpeet Profession Up To 2.2mm Wire Rope Crimping Tool Wire Rope Swager Crimpers | eBay

2. Each door has two cables. They are not the same length. The instructions on the CarCableGuy's website say to install the long cable in the rear, and the short cable in the front. This is correct for the PASSENGER side ONLY. The driver's side uses the long cable in the front.

3. While I'm talking about cable length, let me warn you about something important...DO NOT USE THE MOTOR TO MOVE THE DOOR AFTER YOU'VE REPLACED THE CABLES UNTIL YOU HAVE FULLY OPENED AND CLOSED THE DOOR MANUALLY AT LEAST THREE TIMES. The reason for this is twofold---first, to get the cables fully seated on the spool by removing any slack left over from winding the spool in the first place; and second, to be sure that the door will close ALL THE WAY without binding or restrictions. Why do I put so much emphasis on this? Because the short cable on the driver's side is about two inches too short! When I tested my door manually, it felt just fine (but I didn't try to latch it) so I flipped on the switch and pressed the close button. The door got about 1" from closing and the motor made a scary grinding and screeching sound and I heard the door warning beeping sound.

These two pictures show situation. First, the spool with the door in the almost closed position shows the cable going up and left to be extended at a 90 degree angle from the spool. Second, the spool removed with the door actually closed and the cable resting beyond where the spool would be if it were installed.

156465


156466


I have emailed the CarCableGuy about this and he told me that there was apparently a mid-model change that affected the driver's side on some 2005 models. He has seen this before and is sending me a different cable. My fear is that in trying to close the door with too short a cable may have damaged my motor. I'll find out and let you know.

That is all I have time to post right now. I'll get back to this thread later. Look over my photo album and read the descriptions along with those photos. I'll be able to answer questions later.
 
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