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Love this Forum with the wealth of information about the Element! Here's my small contribution.

--I am not responsible for any damage that may occur during this process. This job requires a bit of mechanical ability. Please do not attempt this if you don't have the ability to do so.--

I went through with the task of replacing my rusted side window buttons on my '04 Element the other day. Decided to take pictures to create a guide for someone who would like to do the same or use this as a guide to remove the window. Overall the job took around 3 hours but I took the time to thoroughly wash then wax the window cavity & seal. It also took some trial & error to figure out how to compress the fresh seals & buttons to reinstall the retaining clips. I apologize for some of these pictures as they are not focused on the intended subject, which I didn't realize until I uploaded them on my computer. Descriptions are place below the images.


This piece was causing rust water to tarnish the paint & window as shown.

These are the parts I purchased for replacement. You don't necessarily need the seals if you want to wash the rust deposits off the the original ones.
73141-SCV-000 Window button
73145-SCV-000 Seal
There's a total of 6 of each, 3 per window.


--Tools used--
8mm socket
Philips screw driver
Two flat head screw drivers (small & large)
14mm open ended wrench
Pick
Extendable magnet
A Pair of panel prys
Magnetic dish to hold bolts as I removed them
Bubble wrap to safely lay the window on the table
Microfiber cloths + glass cleaner
Isopropyl Alcohol to clean rust deposits
3 small pieces of wood (Two being the same thickness, one slightly thinner).


Pinch the seatbelt adjuster, Set to the highest position

Using a panel pry from the back to remove the cover while still pinching the adjuster

Use a pick to remove the cover in the interior door pull to reveal 2 phillips screws. Remove these two, then slide the door pull forward & out. Leave it dangling by the actuator cable

Slide the cover off by pulling toward the inside of the car, this piece came off very easily.

Pull the weather stripping out of the door. This gives you access to the backside of the panel clips as well as releasing a tab on the gray panel that is sandwiched by the weather stripping. Pry at clips in the lower black plastic, through the area where you just removed the weather stripping to separate it in the body. It doesn't have to be completely removed, just in the area around the gray plastic.

Use a panel pry to remove the press in clips to allow you to separate the gray plastic from the body. The location of the clips are circled in red in this picture. Once the gray panel is free from the body, there are a couple latches that hold it to the lower black plastic. One can be accessed through the side where the weatherstripping is removed & the other through the hole of the door pull.

After freeing the gray plastic, pull it upward from behind the lower black piece. Pull some slack in the seat belt & rotate the top seat belt mounting position. This will allow you to remove the gray plastic with some finagling. Be cautious not to damage the plastic on the exposed bolt head of the top seat belt mounting position.

Circled are the six 8mm mounting nuts and bolts. Take note how much force was required to unscrew these so that you have an idea as to how tight they should be upon re installation. Remove these to release the window from the body. I unscrewed the nuts on the right a majority of the way, then used a magnet and my finger to completely remove them. Making sure not to drop them into the door. Do not push with too much force on the last nut, otherwise the window may fall out.

You can also use this method for reinstalling them.

Be conscious about these red paper washers that retain the bolts. They might fall off if you completely remove the bolts on the opening mechanism.

Lay the window onto the table, using bubble wrap or a towel to protect the glass.

Using a small flat head screwdriver, pry in a rotational motion in the opening of the retaining clip to slide it out. Use a larger flat blade screwdriver to remove it the rest of the way using the same motion. Make sure not to lose these clips as they are fairly small. Once the clip is removed, the pin should slide out, leaving the glass with only the rubber seals. Remove the seals and clean the window to your liking.

To reinstall the new seals, pinch the round portion & feed it gently through the backside of the glass. Use care when installing as this is thin rubber that can easily be ripped. Reinstall the new pins by sliding them into position & the rest of the hardware from the opposing side.

Prop the window buttons on the wooden blocks, using the thinner block to support the side you will by compressing against. This will allow the button to sit flat and not at an angle as you compress the assembly to slide in the retaining clip.

Using the 14mm open ended wrench, compress the assembly until you can fit both tips of the retaining clip in the groove. This is definitely the hardest part of the job. It requires a lot of force to compress the fresh seals while also pushing the clip into position. A good bit of cursing seemed to help the situation.

Once both ears are in the groove, you can use a flat blade screwdriver on the back of the clip & a piece of wood to tap it in the rest of the way.
Repeat this process for the rest of the buttons, rearranging the wooden blocks to allow the button to lie flat as you compress the assembly.

Once all the buttons are installed, reinstall the window back onto the car. Apply pressure on the outside of the window as you thread on the fasteners to make sure the window does not fall out. Install the plastics along with door pull and bolt cover, press in the weatherstripping & you're done! Now you can admire your fresh buttons on your 15 year old car. :)
If you have any questions, feel free to post them below.
 

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Wow, nice work thanks for all the great pics.
 

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This is an exceptional write up. Completed in just over an hour (though I reused the seals, which simplified the install).

Couple additional suggestions:
A 3/8 deep 8mm socket allows a magnet to be slipped into the socket (after loosening the nuts) preventing the nuts from falling into the door.
A careful razor blade, cleans the residue off the windows (this is a detailing tip to make glass look new).
 
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