So are my power windows dead?

Well I finally did something rather stupdi to my car. It was pouring down rain and I decided to just sprint to the nearby house from my car, but I guess my hand somehow inadvertently rolled down my driver-side power window and I didn’t notice it (how this happened without me noticing is completely beyond me).

Anyway, skip ahead to a few hours later when I return to my car and surprisingly notice my open window and obviously damp seat and door interior. Now when I go to roll it up, it kinda sounds like it crackles or crunches and then it just stops. I can do the same for it to go down a it will make a few more noises before stopping. Now I can control all my other windows just fine from it, but I did notice that the control panel’s background illumination lights for the side mirror control will go off/on whenever I try to make the driver side window go up or down.

What’s the probably cause? At first I wanted to say someone had broke my window because I didn’t remember rolling it down, nor do I know when I could have when my car was stopped and it made a crunching sound whenever I tried to roll it back up, but there was no broken glass and I felt down into the window’s gap and it all felt pretty solid. Is this problem likely to be remedied once everything dries out?

This is a 2002 Dodge Durango SLT if that helps any. :smack:

If you’re lucky, it’s just water in the motor or the wiring creating paths for current to go where it wasn’t intended. If you can get the door panel off, that will help it dry out. With any luck, once all the water is gone, it will return to normal operation.

An update: I just went to try it again and I can hear the window motor trying to roll up or down but the window just isn’t moving… Is anything in there based solely on friction that might get wet and prevent the window from operating in such a manner?

I hope you’re right Q.E.D. in that it’ll all work after drying. :slight_smile:

One of my power windows failed when something broke. (And the regulator assembly on my Jeep can only be had as a unit – $200 for the regulator and $200 for the work.) It could be that your regulator broke coincidentally with leaving the window open.

I would stop trying it for as long as you can manage. At least a few days. Having current flow where it’s not intended is a Bad Thing. And, yes, there may be frictional components in there which slip when wet. I don’t know about your vehicle, specifically. You’ll get better information on that front when Rick or GaryT show up.

One thing is for sure, you don’t want your windows stuck in the “down” position. Like Johnny L.A. said, repairs might cost you $400. (similar work on a 4Runner: $280).

Personally I don’t think it is a water issue, or that you unrolled the window when you got out.
I think, based on what you described, that the window has fallen off the regulator. The noise you are hearing is the motor trying to run the window up and down, but since the window is no longer attached to the regulator, nothing happens.
The crackles and crunches could have been the regulator bending itself into a pretzel shape.
In general if you get the window mechanism wet, the window goes up and down easier as the water acts like a lubricant.
I am afraid that a door panelecotmy and some exploratory surgery is called for to get a proper diagnosis.

I would look to see if there is a drain or something in the bottom of the door. If not, I’d drill a couple of small holes to help the water go out.

Doors have drains. This is because doors leak. That seal on the bottom of the window is not 100% water tight.

Thanks Rick and everyone else! So am I probably looking at prices in Johnny LA’s range (~$400) for the repair?

This is almost as good as “Og.” :smiley:


Yup, ouch is right. There is a lot of torque and mechanical advantage in a window regulator.

I used to have to replace the (crap) window regulators in my Jeep on a regular basis. It might be a DIY job for your car. You will need to remove the door liner and take a look.

A vehicle like yours uses a cable driven regulator, the cable being a twisted wire approximately an eighth of an inch in diameter. The cable forms a loop that runs from a metal plate that is secured to the glass to a pulley at the top of the regulator then into a sleeve that goes to the gear head in the motor. It then loops around the gear head four times then into another sleeve going to a pulley at the bottom of the regulator and back up to the plate. The ends of the wire have metal tabs crimped on them which are set in a plastic block which is inset into the metal plate. Operating the motor feeds the wire loop in one or the other direction to raise or lower the window. Due to either age or fatigue the plastic block often fails, breaking open, letting one end of the wire free. Attempting to operate the window in this condition will draw the slack end of the wire into the gear head causing a ball of twisted wire, which will make a crunching sound as the bound up wire rubs against itself. I install glass and have seen this to be the cause of this type of problem more often than not, although more rarely the wire will develop slack and jump a pulley. In either the case the regulator would need to be replaced. Regulators are available both aftermarket or from a dealer. Although I would not expect that anyone who is mechanically inclined to have a lot of difficulty in replacing this regulator. a large rivet gun and specialty rivets are a must. The company I work for would charge you $75 labor and dealer list for the part. Check your local glass shops for a quote.

Well the dealership said I’d need a new regulator and motor… Total cost including the labor and diagnostic is $410. They also tried to get me to do a 60,000 preventative maintenance special for an additional $489 but apparently they don’t realize I’m a poor, poor college student. (is that a typical cost for that kind of work anyway?) :slight_smile: I was also sure to ask for them to include the old parts.

Thanks for the advice everyone!

Now another quick question: would a regulator failing in this manner cause my window to roll down by itself? I really don’t remember rolling the window down and it’s been bugging me… Or could it have been caused by slamming door (I was wanting to get out of the car and out of the rain in as quick as possible). Just wondering about the odd set of circumstances.

In my Jeep, when the regulator failed, the window would usually fall into the door…

Ah hah! I thought I didn’t leave my window open… Thanks for making me feel a tad bit less stupid (which will continue so as long as no one tells me I’m getting ripped off with the repair price).

Yes. Gravity is not only a good idea, it is the law. And from what I hear, not subject to repeal anytime soon.

60K service for just under $500? Depending on what is included, probably about right.

I work for a Dodge dealer and the window regulator on this vehicle is a known problem. Take the door apart and have a look. The part number is 55362921AB and MSRP is 202.00. have fun.