Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lessons Learned - Vehicle Ownership Edition

Last Thursday, the passenger side window in the Mrs.' van rolled down and wouldn't roll back up. It didn't matter if we tried the master switch on the driver's side, or the switch on the passenger's side. Naturally, this happened while the car was in the shop, so the van was the only vehicle available. Seeing as how there were errands to run and a schedule to keep, and it looked like the weather would hold off, we puttered around town with the window down all day.

I just knew that the window motor had gone bad, so on the way home that evening we swung by the local auto parts store and picked up a replacement. An hour later, with car parts strewn about me, I discovered that it was in fact NOT the motor. With everything disassembled, and the motor connected to the wiring harness, I could hit the down switch and the motor would spin like crazy. Hit the up switch?

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

After I grabbed my multimeter, I was able to confirm it. I was getting good voltage on the inputs to the switch. I was getting good signal from the master switch to the passenger switch. But downstream from the passenger switch, I was only getting voltage on the down lead when the switch was toggled.

I manually raised the window, reinstalled the motor,  left the power lead disconnected so it couldn't accidentally be rolled down again, and buttoned the door back up.

Yesterday, the replacement switch that I ordered from Amazon came in. 30 minutes after I got home, the new switch was installed, the motor was reconnected, and everything is working fine now.

I will say, the window goes up and down much quicker with a new motor.

So, the lesson learned? Do some troubleshooting before you just start throwing money at a problem. This time, it was only a ~$45 lesson, but it could have been worse. If I'd done the proper troubleshooting to start, I'd still have that money in my pocket. It wouldn't have saved me the pain of pulling the door panel, though, because I still had to get the window raised.

Live and learn, and if you're smart, learn from others!

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