How to Diagnose Ford Power Window Problemsby Eli Laurens
Ford vehicles use electric motors to turn the window regulator in models equipped with power windows. These motors can wear out, the fuses can blow, or other electrical problems could occur that can prevent the window from moving properly. Troubleshooting most Ford electric windows will take the average weekend mechanic about an hour.
Check the fuses for burned out filaments by pulling the appropriate fuse and viewing it. Most Fords will have transparent fuses, and the filament can be checked with a bright light or in sunlight. Many Fords come with a fuse puller located in the interior fuse block cover. This small puller is a simple pair of clips that grab the edges of a blade-style fuse. There may be a secondary fuse block under the hood on the driver's side wheel well. It has larger blade fuses for protecting the computer and subsystems from damage. Replace any blown fuses and check the window's operation.
Test the window operation in relation to the other windows in the vehicle. If only one window is inoperable but the others work, the problem could be a switch or a failing or bad electric motor. Switch replacement is fairly easy in most Fords as they simply pop out of the door panel openings with slight pressure from a screwdriver. Unplug the switch assembly, replace it with a new unit and press it back into the door panel. Test the window for operation.
Check the window glass for excessive play or signs of a "slipped track." The glass is secured by the window regulator that can fail mechanically and cause the glass to become stuck. Repair this by removing the door panel (turn the armrest bolts and door handle screws counterclockwise, then disengage the pop rivets) and removing the motor by unplugging it along with the mount bolts. Replace the entire window regulator if the hinges and internals cannot be repaired. Replace the motor by pressing it into the window regulator gears, then securing the mount bolts and reconnecting it to the harness. Replace the door panel and switches, then test the window.
Check for operation of the window with the engine on and off, and with the key in different positions. Some Fords are notorious for having accessory issues related to the ignition switch. Intermittent windows, or bizarre operation, could be indicative of this problem or an issue with the computer. During the 1980s and 1990s, Ford computers were used to control a variety of accessories.
Things You'll Need
- Socket set
- Fuse puller
- Circuit tester
- Use extreme caution when working on a Ford's electrical system or computer.
Eli Laurens is a ninth-grade physics teacher as well as a computer programmer and writer. He studied electrical engineering and architecture at Southern Polytechnic University in Marietta, Ga., and now lives in Colorado.