The 2012 Porsche Cayenne S (958 / 958.1) that I picked up in the summer of 2020 is a reasonably well optioned example. It has the Premium Plus Package (PU3), which includes integrated power window shades for the rear passenger windows. I’ll pause here to give you a moment to lean back and be impressed. Moving along, these window shades rely heavily on a deeply buried, under-built plastic gear set. When that gearing fails, the window shade fails in a way that is truly a bummer - see the video below for 25 seconds of horrible plastic banging. Worse yet, the window becomes inoperable as well. So any push or pull of the window switch will have this result, and the window won’t work. I'll pause another moment to allow for an audible gasp.
Thankfully there are four options to avoid the above experience
- Don’t order or buy a car with this option (option code: PU3, or stand-alone option: 3YB - Electric Roll-up Sunblind for Rear Side Windows)
- Replace the entire mechanism for the window shade ($400 or so per door, plus labor / time)
- Code the feature out using x431 Launch. As far as I can tell through forums such as Rennlist, this may be possible, but has not been confirmed ($800 for the tool)
- Replace the plastic gearing inside the motors ($16 per door, plus labor / time)
In this article, I will share 7 tips that help with replacing the plastic gearing inside the window shade motor (option #4).
There is a wonderful DIY article on Rennlist that goes through the major steps of performing this work. The reason I am writing this “DIY+” article is to share some additional wisdom I gained through doing the project, and to create a record of the fix that lives outside of a forum.
This one is simple. Pull or push the window switch and experience 25 seconds of this thing banging against itself. If you are lucky and have guests in the car, you will experience an additional 10 minutes of everyone bitching about how horrible of a sound that was, how they can’t believe a Porsche would ever do such a thing, and how their car has never once made that sound.
First, order new gears. The gears can be obtained from Bross Auto Parts. They cost $16.20 for the two plastic gears per door, and arrived at my house in Montana from Turkey in about 4 days.
Next, pull up the DIY post from Rennlist. I’m going to spell out the additional steps and insights with respect to that post and Youtube video included for door card removal embedded within said post.
Tip #1 - Door card removal - separating the shade from the rod
The Youtube video from the Rennlist post shows removal of the door card, but glosses over a couple of very important steps. You must first detach the shade from the rod. The door card won’t come off without doing this. The DIY post does mention this step as well. However, beyond the post, you should know that the shade is very firmly attached to the rod.
- I found that using a vice-grip on the rod itself was key. Be advised that the force required to separate the two may result in that vice-grip or pliers hitting the window. If you aren’t cautious you could damage your window tint.
- You will have a much easier time separating the shade from the rod if you are pulling “straight” away. That is to say, make sure you are not applying a twist as well, otherwise the grooves in the rod will have more purchase to stay connected.
Tip #2 - Door card removal - removing the upper decorative trim
The decorative trim (walnut, in my case) comes out easily if you know how it is connected. Start from the outside and pop gently outward. Once loose, shift the trim piece 1/4in toward the rear of the door before fully separating.
The DIY sort of addresses this, but I almost broke the tabs on my first door because I missed the step. There are two hooked tabs that require the rearward shift.
Tip #3 - Beyond the screws and clips
Once you have removed all of the screws holding the door card to the door and popped the door off of it’s plastic clips (with considerable force, see the youtube video linked), there remain three connections to the door: the window switch, the tweeter, and the cable connecting the locking mechanism.
At this point, having someone help is a nice-to-have.
The electrical connectors are very easy to disconnect. But the connector to the locking mechanism is a bit tricky (photo above). First you must release the rear most tabs to allow them to flex inward. Secondly you must pull the entire piece toward the rear of the door to release it from the door. Third, you then swing the connector in toward the door to allow the cable to release.
Congrats you can now set the primary door card down. Wait…. There’s another door card? Read on.
As described in the DIY, you can now see the window shade unit. It, unfortunately, runs through the secondary door card. You are now at a crossroads: get up in this thing like Billy Crystal helping give birth to Norman the Cow in the movie City Slickers, or start working to remove the secondary door card. This will largely depend on your preference for pain and the size of your arms. I have the arms of a person who works in IT and can’t curl more than 35lbs (#blessed). If you have big arms, or can’t bend in odd shapes to get up in ‘er, you will have to remove door card #2. This article assumes you can get in there with door card 2 intact.
The reason this must be done is that in order to remove the shade unit, you must remove ONE screw (see Tip #5) that is behind door card #2. Per the DIY, you will remove the speaker. This makes available the opening through which you can access the screws behind the secondary door card. If you are still following along with my City Slicker’s analogy, you have now exposed the well... you know.
Tip #4 - Make life a little easier by loosening the secondary door card
You will have to reach behind the secondary door card to remove the screws that hold the rod track. To make life a little easier, loosen (or open) the white retaining screws that adhere the inner door card to the door frame. You can then pull, but not remove, the secondary door card away from the frame while you work on the track screws. This will give you much more room to maneuver your arm and a ratchet.
Tip #5 - Remove only one screw holding the shade rod track
A trick that is identified in the comments of the article, but that is absolutely crucial, is to only remove one of the screws holding the rod track. The two screws hold a bracket that holds the track. If you remove one screw, and loosen the other, the bracket will just swing down instead of come off completely. This will make life so much easier when installing. And, after being up in the door for so long, is a welcome shortcut.
Great news - we are approaching the halfway point! Having removed the screws on the motor, the entire unit will now twist and pull out. Note, there is a rubber gasket that is a true son-of-a-gun to get loose. This is also the point at which I cut myself the for the second time in this project.
Tip #6 - Be careful in how you separate the motor from the track gearing
The next step is to separate the motor from the track. Pay careful attention to what screws need to be removed to separate the sides while not opening the plastic housing containing the track springs. I was hasty with it on the left rear door. The two springs let loose of their plastic restraint. This cost me a good 30 minutes putting the thing back together.
Now you can see the damage and replace bad gears with good. Be sure to use ample lubrication.
Installation is reverse of removal. Don’t you love when DIY articles or shop manuals conclude in this way? For this project, however, it is as simple as that. Unfortunately, the install was another 45-60 minutes in my book. I will share a few final tips, and some concluding thoughts.
Tip (set) #7 - Reassembly
A couple of things that come to mind when putting it all back together
- If you want to test before reassembly, you can insert the metal rod into the track and pull the switch. Please note that the rod will push on your window if you aren’t anticipating it, and can damage your tint. I did not do this.
- The plastic tube must be put in before the door card is re-hung. The rod should go in after the door card is on.
- Remember that when it comes time to reattach the door card, having a helper makes life easier. Someone to hold the door card while you reattach the three connectors is nice, but not completely necessary.
- Some of the plastic clips may have stayed with the door frame. Use a small screwdriver or plastic wedge to remove them from the frame and reattach them to the card.
- The card gets hung from the top. There is a little groove that six plastic tabs on the upper part of the door card slide into.
And that’s it. In addition to the DIY article, and the youtube video, this is all you need to get your Cayenne rear passenger door power window shades to work again.
For my car, they both failed within a month of each other. This was right around 80,000 miles. If you bring the car to a dealer, anticipate that they will want to change both motors, not replace the gears themselves. The difference in labor for the DIYer is all of about 30 minutes to do the gears, so that is still the path I advise. For both doors, I believe it I’m into it for 8 hours….. and $40.40.
Lastly, if you do have the x431 Launch device I have an unconfirmed hunch that this feature can be coded out. Knowing that most cars didn't ship with this option, I would think you could code your Cayenne to believe the window shades don't exist.
Ok, one last thing, a couple of glory shots. Below is my Cayenne in both summer and winter guise. Thanks for reading!