Question about replacing sash cords on old windows - NOT the kind with weights.

About three years ago we moved into a 35 year old home. It has what I believe to be the original double hung, wooden sash windows. We'll probably be replacing them soon, but it's not in the budget yet.
On two of the windows, the cords used to counterbalance the sash are broken, so the windows won't stay open. They are in a couple of least used rooms, so it wasn't a big deal.
I finally got around to trying to fix them. I figured the cords went around pulleys, and to the weights on either side of the frame.
What I found out is that at the top of the window frame (inside the frame), there is a plastic trim piece held on by screws. Under that, on each side is a metal mechanism, about the size of a pack of playing cards screwed into the top of the frame. It has "Anderson Windows" stamped on it, along with what looks like "CC 9 27 -12". In that are two wheels with springs that wind up the sash cords. It doesn't look like there's any way to get the thing apart, and I'm trying to figure out how to attach new sash cords to it.
The other question I have is that I can't figure out how to get the sash out of the frame so that I can attach the cord at that end. The track that is used for both sashes on either side of the window frame is a single plastic piece; there is no wood stop or divider strip; it's all part of the plastic piece. On the right side, it's one continuous strip from the top to bottom. On the left side, there is a horizontal break slightly above the middle. The lower part of the track is screwed into the frame. The part that's confusing is that if both sashes are up, the break is above the lower edge of the windows. Even with the screws out, the track couldn't be removed. It looks like the only way to remove the sashes is raise both sashes, remove the screws, slide both sashes into the lower part, the pull the left side of both sashes together with the unscrewed part of the track into the room. That seems very awkward, and I can't help thinking there must be an easier way.
I have done some google searching, but I'm not finding the information I need.
Sorry about the length of this post.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
- Mike O.
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Mike O'Donnell wrote:

....
If "Anderson" is really spelled as "Andersen" I'd go to a local distributor if you have one or contact them directly come Monday...I've not seen their mechanism of that type so don't know about it...

Probably similar vintage replacement frames here (altho not Andersen) are actually a spring-loaded side sash---pushing the window in to the right side channel will allow these to slide out on the other side...that's only conjecture I can offer.
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Typo on my part, it is stamped "Andersen Corp, Bayport Minn". It has a little triangular logo with "AW" in the middle of it.
I had searched their web site and didn't find anything that helped.
I was hoping that since it was a major manufacturer, that someone (who reads alt.home.repair) has run across these & can give some advice.

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Mike O'Donnell wrote:

I figured as much, but there's always the chance of some knock-off "name alike" local outfit....

Those are old enough and uncommon enough I think you'll need to contact them directly...my experience has been they're pretty helpful, particularly if you do have a local showroom/sizable distributor.
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probably
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into
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plastic
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Is this part removable? What you describe sounds like a "tape balance" mechanism. I have never seen one that uses cords. They normally use a thin strip of metal or cable. When needed you replace the whole unit. Just because I haven't seen it doesn't mean it wasn't made.
In the meantime here is the link to the Anderson parts website. First impression is that they only support the newer stuff on the site.
http://www.andersenwindows.com/servlet/Satellite?cid 16852780873&pagename=AW%2FPage%2FawGeneral-3&c=Page
If you can get the part out and post a photo or provide some more identifying numbers I will look through two catalogs of window part that I have.
--
Colbyt
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