2001 Windstar window locks up

ewolin

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#1
Both driver and passenger window lock up in the up position. If I loosen the window motor and jiggle it a bit it starts working again. I replaced the driver side motor anyway, same problem...works for a few weeks to months, then locks up. It appears that the motor overdrives the window up and causes the regulator mechanism to bend or distort. Then eventually it is unable develop enough torque to overcome all the friction.

The switches and driving circuits are all fine, there is pos/neg voltage at the motor connectors for up/down operation.

How does the system know when to stop driving the window up? I think it just drives it too far up. And what can I do about it? I'm tired of taking the door apart every few months, loosening the bolts holding the motor, and jiggling everything until it works again. I also lubricated the entire regulator mechanism to minimize friction and bind-up, but the problem keeps coming back.
 
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#2
Have you tried applying silicone spray on the rubber window seal? Maybe it just gets stuck to a sticky seal.
 

ewolin

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#3
Once it starts working it works fine for many weeks to a few months before it locks up again, hard to see how it would work so long if it was sticking in the window seal. Might have tried silicone, not sure, can't hurt of course, I'll give it a try. But I'm guessing that the distortion of the regulator mechanism due to overdriving the window motor is the problem, no idea how to fix it.

Thanks for the suggestion...
 

billr

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#4
"How does the system know when to stop driving the window up?"

Yes, interesting question... my guess is there is a driver module that detects motor stall by the increase in current when the armature stops.
 
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#5
You probably are not getting it in there good and square to the runner. Below is the procedure to the stop adjustment on the window. I reread your post and seen that both windows stick sometimes. When they stick, do both stick at the same time or will one work and the other won't or does neither one work when this happens? If they both don't work, does fixing the one window make both of them work? Just curious.
 

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#6
If adjustment doesn't help, you might try adding some kind of stop \ limiter on the toothed plate: to prevent regulator arms from flexing at full upstop. This may be difficult to engineer...
 
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#7
Could be glass cocking, with the regulator down remove the glass bolts so the window can be hand operated up and down. Use to have adjustments for this, but now you have to bend the tracks so it works smoothly.

Other problems I have ran into are the switches themselves, not water proof so when you open the door that is also half the roof in the rain, they get wet. They snap together so can be unsnapped to find dried up grease and green unplated copper contacts. Polish those up and coat with Lubriplate, good for another couple of years.

Yet another problem is by using cheap bare copper wire 8 strand plastic coated wire to the door jam where that plastic gets rock hard with age augmented by cold weather. Open the door and that wire breaks internally. A heck of a job to replace.

Lower outside weather strip gets hard with age as well letting water leak in that doesn't help. And you no longer have to go to Chicago to get robbed in a dark alley. Just go to your parts store.
 

ewolin

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#8
It's random, one side will stop working, then the other might work for another month or so until it locks up. I tried correlating it with weather (hot causes the problem? cold? wet? dry?) but no luck. I also tried slamming the door while trying to lower the window (this trick worked on my Grand Marquis when the hood wouldn't open due to a sticky mechanism...when the door slammed the hood just popped open, then I lubricated everything).

A mechanic at the Ford dealer said either the Front End Module or Rear End Module senses the window motor current and stops driving it when the current reaches some value. Replacing these can be quite costly, though, and it's not clear it will solve the problem. I guess I could spend $100 or more at the dealer for a full diagnostic, but I'm hoping to fix it myself.

The suggestions you folks posted look interesting, especially the one concerning the stop adjustment. This weekend I'm working on my Camry, but I'll give it a try the following weekend or during the Thanksgiving break, then post the results.

Finally, every time it happens I check for voltage at the connector to the motor and always find it when operating the switches. I.e. it doesn't appear to be a problem with dirty contacts, bad switches or anything electrical. As I mentioned, loosening everything up and jiggling it causes it to work again, thus pointing at a mechanical problem.
 
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#9
Have you tried tapping on the motor with power applied (DOWN button)?

I like to use a headlight bulb as a "substitute motor" when testing power window circuits. Bulb should burn brightly when switch is moved to UP or DOWN position.
 

ewolin

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#10
Took me a LONG time to get to this, we have a bunch of cars and I don't drive the Windstar much.

Looked carefully at the window motor and it appeared to be rotated or cocked very slightly even though the bolts were tight...one bolt was square but the other was at a slight angle. I loosened the two bolts and jiggled the motor and it worked fine. I tightened the bolts extra tight and square. I think the motor slowly works its way out of alignment.

The shop manual shows three bolts. I have two bolts (upper,lower) and a bare stud (middle) poking through a hole in the door frame, there was never a nut on the bare stud as far as I know. Could a missing nut be the problem? I.e. two bolts don't hold the motor square enough, you need the third nut on the stud to keep everything in alignment?

Note that if you put a nut on the stud and tighten it the motor will move a little since there's nothing between the motor and frame. Maybe a spacer is missing as well?
 

billr

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#11
I think you are talking about fasteners that hold the whole assembly (motor, arms, gear-case,etc.) to the door, correct? I would put a nut on that third stud without any kind of spacer; see if the window operates that way, after everything is moved that little bit to tighten the nut. If it binds like that, then yeah, use a spacer/shim. I would not put it back together with just two mounting points. Those mechanisms really need a stable 3-point mount to keep from loosening. It's not unheard of them to come loose even when all three fasteners are there.
 

ewolin

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#12
Mystery solved.

I tackled the passenger side, hadn't been in there in quite a while. Sure enough there WAS a nut on the stud, also a large plastic spacer between the motor and frame. Thus there really should be a solid 3-point fastening all around.

The nut and spacer on the driver's side must have never been installed at the factory. Alternatively, since I bought the car used, perhaps someone replaced the motor and forgot to reinstall the spacer and nut.

Anyway, I'm off the buy a nut and scrounge up a spacer...next time the driver's side locks up I'll be ready!

Thanks for all the help.
 

billr

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#13
I suggest you do it sooner than later. When those mechanisms jam, a lot of stress is put on the plastic gear in the gear-case; they often break from that. Might as well not have to R&R and pay for that if you can avoid it.
 

ewolin

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#14
Good idea, I bought a nut and put it on late this afternoon. Turns out the spacer was there, maybe it's part of the motor.

Still the motor drives the window too far up, leading to some distortion in the window mechanism. Since I believe the motor stops when the current reaches some preset level, adjusting the mechanism likely won't do anything, the computer will keep driving it up until the current limit is reached.

I found that I can lightly tap the down button to relieve the stress but keep a good window seal. Dumb, but I'm hoping it works. Note that even the side that had all three fasteners locks up.