Tilt Window Spiral Balance Parts

Home Owner from Virginia
Apr 29, 2023 1:55 pm


I purchased a home and almost all of the tilt windows need repair. I'm interested in the tilt window spiral balances that you sell. Can you please recommend the proper tip color and part number based on the following information:

  • the length of the tube for the existing spiral balance is 34"
  • The diameter of the tube is 3/8 inch
  • The weight of the window sash when removed is 20.4 lbs.

Also I've attached a photo of the lock shoe which I'm also interested in replacing. Can you please recommend the proper part number for this?

One problem that I have is that many of the windows were not even attached to the shoe so I am not able to mark the starting point for the shoe. Can you please recommend how to install the new parts without knowing a starting location?

I plan on ordering a few parts to test the install on one window and if things work out I will then place a larger order for all windows.

Thank you for your help,


1 user uploaded images
7 Replies
Paul from SWISCO
May 2, 2023 1:51 pm

Thanks for reaching out to us, Chris. Based on your photo and helpful measurements, my top recommendation is the S900-34 with a White Tip weight option. As for the shoe, I believe this is our 15-045, but you'll want to remove the original to verify.

As for a starting point for the shoe, I'm not sure what you mean by that. There isn't really a starting point, you just need to make sure each shoe is raised a few inches from the very bottom before you put the sash in. Due to the style of the cams, you also want to make sure that one shoe is a little higher than the other, so that you can put the sash in at an angle. The videos below may be of some assistance.

Home Owner from Virginia
May 2, 2023 3:07 pm
Thank you Paul for your help and all the part information.

One quick follow up question...

In addition to the white tip spiral balance that you recommended, I see that this part is also offered in a yellow and green tip as well. Would there be any downside to upgrading to one of these other tips?

My philosophy with repairs in my home is to always try to use better quality parts that hopefully last longer. Since I'm saving big by doing my own work I like to invest part of the savings in higher quality parts.

Thanks again for your help,
Paul from SWISCO
May 3, 2023 9:44 am

You could possibly use the Green tip, since it still technically covers 20.4 pounds. However there would absolutely be a downside to using the Yellow Tip. If a balance is too strong in relation to the weight of the sash, then your window will be much more difficult to close. In extreme cases, it will even open on its own.

It's important to understand that a stronger balance is not an upgrade. The way these function is by having constant upward force applied to the sash, which is counter-balanced by the weight of the sash itself. If the sash is lighter than the upward force, then it won't work properly.

You only want the balance that can comfortably hold the sash weight. In your case, White and Green both do that, but neither is better than the other. Whichever one you choose between the two of them is ultimately up to you. 

Home Owner from Virginia
May 6, 2023 4:03 pm
Hi Paul,

Hope your doing well.

So the window has won the first round but I'm hoping for a knockout in round 2.

I ordered 2 green tip spiral balances and pivot shoes and also the tensioning tool that you recommended. Everything arrived quickly. Installation of the shoes and new balances was fairly easy but when it came time to put the window back in place it proved impossible to get the spring loaded pins at the bottom of the window to go into and stay in the pivot shoe.

Before reinstalling the sash I assume the pivot shoes should be in the locked position and tilting the window causes them to unlock? If I put them in the unlocked position they slide up to the bottom of the balance and it is impossible to get the window into them.

I noticed that one of the spring loaded pins attached to the window is shorter than the other so I'm assuming it was broken off and that is causing me trouble.

I'm attaching two photos:

1. The original pivot shoe. It looks similar to the one you recommended but maybe the opening at the bottom (for the window pin) is slightly smaller.

2. The spring loaded mechanisms at the bottom of the window. One is shorter than the other. Not sure if it is broken or supposed to be shorter? I didn't see a way to remove this part so maybe you have a video that you can point me to?

Could you please recommend a part for the spring loaded pin?

Any suggestions you might have concerning the install would be great appreciated. I'm sure that once I get one window working the other 40+ windows should be easier.

Thanks again for all your help,
spring_pin_lt originalPivotShoes spring_pin_rt_side
3 user uploaded images
Paul from SWISCO
May 8, 2023 8:32 am

I'm sorry to hear you're having trouble, but I think I can help guide you.

To start, the pivot shoes should be in the locked position before you install the sash, yes. One trick that might help is to make sure that one shoe is higher up in the track than the other. You'll find that putting the sash in at an angle like that will be a little easier than if they were perfectly parallel. You just have to make sure they even out as you tilt the sash in, which requires a kind of "twisting" motion.

As for the pivot bars, they should definitely be the same length. It seems the tip is broken off the first one, which would definitely cause the issue you're describing. Our 26-375 appears like a match for yours (we also sell the 26-016 spring, if you needed it). This bar does also happen to be fully compatible with the 15-045 pivot shoe.

I can't see any major difference between your shoe and ours, but it's easy enough to verify. The hole in the cam in our shoe is 1/4" wide by 3/16" high. If yours is the same size then it should be compatible with all the same hardware.

Home Owner from Virginia
May 8, 2023 9:53 am
Thank you Paul for your quick response, help and the information that you provided.

I will try to put together an order this evening after completing my day job.

BTW, just as an aside, my brother has a beach house in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ which I visit frequently during the summer. Who knows maybe one day I'll get adventurous and visit the Swisco storefront and pick up some parts directly. I don't think it is too far from Brick, Point Pleasant etc.

Thanks again,
Paul from SWISCO
May 8, 2023 10:15 am

I'm very familiar with that area! In fact, I visited Brick not even a month ago. Unfortunately, our business does not have a store front. Our New Jersey location is just a processing facility. Our business is exclusively online at this time. I am very sorry for any inconvenience that may cause.

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