I guess this is a question to those that have tore into them. A while back I recall reading about someone who was looking into replacing the plastic gears with metal ones. That seemed to have died off so I assume it has been determined to be too complex or the needed resources were not available. Over the weekend I was thinking about this and something crossed my mind. I think most efforts have been at reverse engineering a poor design to reproduce it with stronger components. A problem with this is the components that were being looked at were failed components. Another approach to this problem would be to redesign rather than reverse engineer. What if we redesigned how it worked with a better drive?
What I am looking for is come more information at this point as to how it works. I think there are cables that are attached to the movable parts now. These cables could possibly be reused or if needed replaced to relocate some components. This is what I am focusing on at this point. Can the cables be removed at the motor side and be driven by something else? Also what is the current range of motion of the windscreen. Since mine is shot, I can't move it anymore to determine this. I know that currently it is limited by relays or switches. This was done in an effort to prevent the plastic gears from stripping. I guess it didn't work
This weekend I was sitting in a deerstand with lots of time on my hands to think about this problem. This is when I got the idea to redesign rather than reverse engineer. I was thinking about the possibility of replacing the motor and gear box with a lineal actuator perhaps something like this. Link to spec sheet This was the first one that I came across that might work in this application. It is available in 2", 4", 6", 8"+ range of motion. It is a screw drive so it could be reversed at any point. It supports a static load of 500lbs and a push pull load of 110lbs, 25% duty cycle with a .5"/sec speed. I haven't looked at what the current range of motion is of the windscreen to see which would be the best model yet. While it may be possible to retain the current circuitry that limits the range of motion now, we still don't want too big of a unit in there. I think the issue Honda was trying to engineer a way around was having too big of an assembly. For instance in order to get 4" of travel the actuator ranges in size from 9 3/4" to 13 3/4". This is pretty big and may mean that the actuator may need to be relocated. The nice thing is that since I think this is currently cable driven we might be able to relocate it pretty easily. We have lots of plastic to hide this under. We just need to find a place for it. Honda probably wanted to keep the assembly as small as possible so that explains why they designed it as they did. It doesn't give them an excuse for plastic gears though.
So what do you think? I'll bet we can come up with a better design for this thing using off the shelf components.