Our Honda Odyssey was hit in the driver-side door. Several months after receiving the vehicle back from the body shop, I noticed that the passenger-side window would go down whenever someone closed the driver-side rear window. The passenger window could then be subsequently closed. This never happened before the accident. We operated the windows like this for some time until I finally decided to try to solve the problem.
My initial thought was that some of the wires in the door had shorted together. I pulled the door panel and discovered that there was no damage, and they were all intact. I then pulled out the shop manual, studied the wiring diagrams, and learned that the driverís window switch assembly was a local controller that sent control signals to window controllers under the dash and at the rear of the vehicle. While operating the windows as part of the troubleshooting process, I also learned that the rear window would close when the passenger window was opened from the driverís door.
The easiest next step would have been to replace the driver-side switch assembly. This, of course, would not be nearly as much fun as figuring out why the windows did not work correctly. I inspected the window switch control board with a magnifying glass.
The leads from the four window switches are connected to the control board in a row of solder joints at the edge of the board. With the help of the magnifying glass, I found a tiny bridge of solder between two of the solder connections. The two connections were from the front passenger-side window switch and rear driver-side window switch! Now it all made perfect sense. I carefully removed the solder bridge with a knife, and the windows now work as they should.
This entry was submitted by Thomas W. Manning, Jr., PE, and edited by Rob Spiegel.
Tom Manning graduated from Drexel University in 1984 with a master's degree in mechanical engineering and began working in the field of machine vibration measurements in the engineering department of DuPont. In 1989, he began process equipment development work for the DuPont Lycra business at Benger Laboratory. He returned to DuPont Engineering in 2005 and now works to improve the quality, yield, and productivity of Nomex and Kevlar products.
Tell us your experience in solving a knotty engineering problem. Send stories to Rob Spiegel for Sherlock Ohms.