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Are the Power Windows Really the Problem?

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Ed Fuller
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Iron
Source of requirements
Ed Fuller   5/21/2013 11:29:21 AM
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I think the applicable US requirement might be "Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 118, Power-Operated Window, Partition, and Roof Panel Systems." It applies to passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 4,536 kg (10,000 lbs.) or less (see http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/rulings/safety_switch/SaferSwitchesFinalRule.html).

WV1800es
User Rank
Iron
*&^&*(!! Lock out switches-
WV1800es   5/21/2013 12:25:29 PM
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In my Land Rover, Yup, window lock-out switches!  No use for that in my life, so I re-wired the lockout switch to work on the sunroof.  That's a lot more helpful, especially in the winter.  There's nothing like pushing the sunroof switch by mistake, and getting 'snowed on' :-)

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Source of requirements
Charles Murray   5/21/2013 7:31:40 PM
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I, too, have run into the window lock-out switch problem. It's one of those things you're not aware of because no one ever tells you and therefore, almost inevitably, causes frustration. For most people, the only way to learn about it is the way Mr. Murphy did.

radio-active
User Rank
Iron
Re: Source of requirements
radio-active   5/22/2013 8:49:07 AM
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Wow, Reading that standard gave me a headache.

watsonm05
User Rank
Silver
Further differences of behavior
watsonm05   5/22/2013 8:52:00 AM
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The most interesting aspect of the issue to me is that the driver's controls are locked out when the passenger's are.  As far as I recall from cars I've driven with a lock-out switch the driver's switches were not locked out.  That way Mr. Murphy would have been able to operate the window as desired and only if a passenger tried to operate the window would there be any questions.  In that case the troubleshooting is virtually intuitive - "Hmm, the window operates at the driver's switch but not at the passenger's switch - must be the lock-out!"   As I recall that's what my thought process was when I faced this situation.

Now in the interest of full disclosure I don't often experience this situation.  These days I've been mostly driving the most recently acquired car - a 1991 Mazda 323 with manual windows.  The newest car I own is a 2005 Chrysler minivan and it doesn't have a lock-out since its rear windows are permenantly locked-out - they don't roll down.

You've got my curiosity piqued.  In a few weeks I'm travelling for business and we'll be using a rental car.  I'll check its behavior and report back.

GTOlover
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Further differences of behavior
GTOlover   5/22/2013 9:38:56 AM
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Having driven many rental cars, I can concur with all the design issues highlighted in this article. However, when the windows (any of them) do not work, I mash on the window lock-out button. If they still do not work, I mash on the window lock-out button some more!

Like you, watson, I do not drive anything newer than a 1993 Suburban. This has power windows, but no lock-out feature (thankfully).  At this age, the main issue is aging of plastic and the resulting brittleness. Any service work (as a do-it-yourself kind of guy) results in cracked and broken plastic that either has to be glue or replaced. Thus when a window stops working, troubleshooting is low priority until multiple windows quit working.

OLD_CURMUDGEON
User Rank
Platinum
Interesting article, BUT.....
OLD_CURMUDGEON   5/24/2013 2:01:35 PM
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I take issue with one point that the author put forth in his list of items.  While he may believe that pick-em-up trucks are MOSTLY used by tradespeople, etc., I'd say he hasn't visited too much of N. America.  There are areas of both countries (U.S. & Canada) where the "family" vehicle(s) ARE pick-em-up trucks from simple FORD F150s through the monster cousins in this class of vehicle.

taimoortariq
User Rank
Gold
Same Experience Different problem
taimoortariq   5/26/2013 4:29:58 PM
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A year back, I had the same problem. My Driver side power window failed to work somehow. I did the same thing- checked the fuses. There was nothing wrong with them. Then I checked other windows as well, they were working perfectly fine. So, the problem was also not with the battery. I even checked, if the button was working fine or not, by using my DMM. And it was working.

I tried to diagnose all of the problems but couldn't find it. So, I took my car to the electrician. I told him all of the things I tried, he was also a bit confused. Then he opened my door, and pulled out the window motor. He tested it, and it was not working. The problem was with the window motor. He further opened the motor to repair it, and then we found it. It was the carbon brushes that had worned out. Created a big mess for us. So finally, he repaired the motor and fitted it back in the door. And from that day on, it worked fine.

 

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Further differences of behavior
Ann R. Thryft   5/28/2013 4:09:24 PM
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I just used a rental car recently and we had no trouble with the power windows. It was a KIA, for what that's worth. The only problem we had was the lack of space, especially legroom, for the front passenger, which was me. I'm not used to that in compact-sized cars.

ryanolkers1
User Rank
Iron
Automobile convenience
ryanolkers1   6/5/2013 9:03:16 AM
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Of course, like any other automobile convenience, it can become just another problem when they break. There are three big problems with power windows.
Jamming
Burned-Out MotorBlown
Fuse


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