Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sticky power window switch fix

So my son is driving and I am riding shotgun one pleasant Florida winter, and I decide "Hey, kill the air, let's roll the windows down." I tapped each power Windows switch until the windows go down, no problem… until I smell this really awful smell. Awful in the sense that, this is not good, this cold be really not good. So we pull over right away and sniff around but the odor was gone by then. Later when we pull back to the driveway of our house, the windows would not go up.

After removing the fuse/relay panel, fuse #11 which is part of the power window’s circuits, was blown, in fact the plastic on it had deformed(!). Replacing it, it blew again, which led me to the switch. For some reason, the passenger’s side switch, was sticking on the rear part of the center console. What had happened was that as I pressed the switch, and released it to stop the window motor (typical operatoin for these cars), the switch is meant to swivel back to it’s neutral position. It didn’t, it got stuck and the motor blew the fuse. The switch took a lot of the heat, and actually melted the mating connector as shown below (the connector in the back, is the passenger's side).

Two fixes required:

First I had to replace the connector, this is not a common part so I had to go with shielded female spade lugs. I tightened the spades sideways with a pliers, to ensure that they engaged into the switch firmly.

Secondly I had to stop the switch from sticking. Looking at it in detail it could be a tolerance issue, either the switch or the openning for the switch or a combination of both, contributed to top button touching the center panel when it was depressed. As you can see in the picture, there isn’t much of a gap as installed - especially in relation to it's neighbor switches (window defoger and driver's side window switch).

The spacing is so close that it actually stayed stuck in the down position. So, my solution was to move the switch a tad bit forward. To do this I Dremel-ed the opening just a bit, at the short side of the opening. Then I put an inexpensive, flexible spacer (a heat shrink tube on electrical tape, below)  on the rear side of the switch, to get the spacing required between the switch and the console.

The fit was snug, but the switch now moves freely in both the up and down positions – no more sticking.

Once those were done, the fuse held and it has been working great.

I suggest that you test your current switches for no interference with the panel, in order to prevent a similar scenario.

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