Power Window Switch Replaced - 2001 Chevy Venture

I had been having problems with the power window switch, when trying to roll up the driver side window.  This problem had been around for a couple of months, but hitting the arm rest near the switch made it function again.

Power Window Switch Symptoms
  • The driver side window would go down, but it would not come back up.
  • At first, a slight 'tap' on the window switch would make it work again, so the window would come back up.
  • I took the switch out and tested it with my multi-meter - tested good.

Final Failure

After a trip of about 700 miles for the Christmas holidays, the switch went into 'full failure mode' - that is, tapping and even hitting the switch with a screwdriver didn't get it working again.  I finally had to disconnect the connector, as shown below, and jumper the correct pins to power and ground to get the window to come up again.

The good news is that the switch was showing signs of failure earlier, and I had ordered a replacement from eBay over the holiday.  I believe it was actually Christmas day when I ordered the part.  Good thing I did it then, because it failed on Dec. 27, as we were pulling back into the driveway from our long trip

Driver Side Window Switches

Here is the bottom side of the driver's switch panel.  Getting to the switch is easy.  Just push a putty knife or thin screwdriver into the back of the switch panel and lift up on the back.  You will see retainer clips on each side, so wiggle the panel and it will come up.  Just be gentle so that none of the plastic parts break.

If you look closely, you will see the plastic retainer (one on each side) that hold the switch into the panel.  Just slip a putty knife between the retainer and the switch to release it.  It will drop right out of then panel.  Remove the connector by pressing in on the key (shown in the picture). 

Putting in the new switch is the reverse of removal.  Put the switch in the panel until the retainers snap in place (I had to push pretty hard), put the connector back on, and replace the panel in the arm rest.

Since I am a "failure analysis" type of person, I wanted to know why and how the switch failed.  So I took it apart and took a few pictures. 
Power Window Switch Contacts 001
This first picture (above) shows the top of the switches, with just the rocker tops removed.  Note that the contacts that carry power (+12 volts) to the window motor when the switch is used are a bit burned.  You should be able to click on the picture to see it full size, in a new window.

Power Window Switch Contacts - Driver Side   Power Window Switch Contacts - Passenger Side
These next two pictures (above) show the switches with the contact bars removed.  If you click on the images you can see them full size.  I noted that there are small pads at the bottom of each of the power contacts except for the one for putting up the driver side window.  I did not look any further, but I assume that pad is burned away.  One other note:  When I used some small jumper wires to put the window up manually, I noticed that these wires got very warm quickly.  So there must be a good amount of current flowing there.  No wonder that these contacts show this kind of wear after 8 or 9 years of use.

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