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Power Windows DEAD!


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June 18, 2007
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First off, I would like to say that this is my first post in this forum. I've been looking around, and I must say I'm pretty impressed with the knowledge base. Hopefully somebody will be able to help me with this seemingly common problem (and yes, I've spent the last few hours searching)...

The girlfriend pulled her 97 Mountaineer into my garage a couple days ago, stating that all of her power windows (4 door) were down, and that she couldn't roll them back up. None of the individual switches worked, either. I, of course, told her it was a fuse, and I'd have her back on the road in minutes. Well, don't I look like an ass, as it's been four days, and her truck still sits!

I visually inspected every fuse in the dash, and also in the power distribution box under the hood. All fuses looked good, so I pulled every relay and exchanged it with a similar relay in the same block (figured it would solve the window problem, and cause a new problem somewhere else, but at least I could isolate the problem). I did this in both the power distribution block under the hood and the relay box located behind the steering wheel. That did not help. Next, I took the drivers door apart, and checked the master switch assembly. I pulled the master switch (which was still illuminated) and checked power to the switch, which was 12V. I figured if there is power to the switch, then the switch must be the problem. I went to the junkyard and picked up a new master switch for $30. When I installed the used switch, it too illuminated, but the problem of the windows not working persisted. I'm assuming if the buttons on the master switch illuminate, that it probably isn't the switch malfunctioning, and certainly not an issue of power getting to the switch.

So what's my course of action from here? I've read up on battery saver relays, accessory delay relays, and GEMs. I can't figure out which relay is the battery saver relay, as I'm yet to see a definitive layout of each relay in the box under the dash. I would love to determine which relay (both the battery saver relay and accessory delay relay are) so I could test them. Otherwise, is it the GEM at this point?

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. While her Mounty is out of service, she is destroying my daily driver. She ran out of gas with it on the freeway today, and that's probably the nicest thing she's done to it!!!

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well, the illumination doesn't "give its voltage" to the windows... so just because there is voltage there, doesn't mean your switches are powered. "Looking" for voltage is tough.... get a meter and check both sides of the switches (with the key in on of course). Likely cause is a fuse (again check with a meter, not looking) or a broken wire (LB/BK in 96... my drawings) OR possibly a bad accessory relay... again check with a meter for voltage coming in and leaving along with its operation.

Welcome new member, I can help with some of it. All of the power, and all of the ground, goes through that main switch, no exceptions.

In the LF door, the large blue/black wire is the one window power feed wire. The large black wire there is the one ground wire. If either of those does not flow power/ground, the windows will not work. Start with those two, thats the most likely place you will find a problem.

Check for power at the red/blue wire, it should turn off and on with the switch to disable the other three windows. That is the only power source for the three single switches.

Have you confirmed that you have power in the blue/black wire with the ignition on? That would tell you the first thing, that you have no relay/fuse problem. The owner's manual points to the fuse and relay in the power distribution box under the hood.

If you have the main power and ground, then it has to be downstream, the switches themselves, or an individual motor etc. If all windows aren't working, then I'd be guessing as you did, a relay or fuse. What do find with all of that. Good luck,

Oh, how things change. In a small fit of rage, I slammed the door shut one or five times, and decided to give it one more shot. To my surprise, both drivers side windows and the rear passenger side window would roll up and down. Still no action from the passenger side front window, though. Now, I assume it's probably a wiring issue, possibly where in that box where it enters the door jamb. Problem is, I can't figure out how to get in there. There's a 10mm nut on top of the box, and two clips that appear to hold the top on the box. I "opened" the clips, but that 10 mm nut spins and spins and spins, yet I can't get the top to come off. In the process of messing with this 'junction box' (if that's what you call it), everything stopped working in the drivers door (all windows, and now the power locks, as well). Something is fishy, and I bet it's a loose/broken/corroded wire somewhere in there. So...

1) How do I get into that 'junction box?' Does that nut come out?
2) Am I barking up the right tree, or do you think there is a bigger problem here than a wire?

Thank you so far for your quick responses. I will get the multimeter out and check voltages and continuity at the master switch, although right now I doubt I'll get anything since I started messing with that junction box.

It has to be a wire. I definitely agree that it is highly unlikely that a switch or fuse is causing this. There is definitely 12 V at the blue/black wire with the ignition on. When the door is shut, all windows can be controlled via the master switch, although none of the individual window switches will operate there respective windows. I checked that junction box in the door jamb, and now have a better understanding of that truly massive electrical connector. It looked clean, and I installed it good and tight to prevent anything else from getting in there. I wonder if a wire came loose that leads to that box? I do suppose that the master switch I got from the junkyard could be suspect. I have a piece of paper from her stepfather with information on how to test the master switch (checking for continuity between certain points while switch at rest and being activated, and they both failed that test). The reason I think that is suspect is because both switches do the exact same thing, and I have a hard time believing that both switches are malfunctioning in the same way. As anybody else ever had this problem? Where, and more importantly, how would you look for the bunk wire(s)?

i have a similar problem, but in my situation the fuse burn every time i try to change it. i must have a shortage somewhere, but i don't have the money or the time to take appart all the interior panels to figure it out.

Isn't there a known issue that "junk" gets stuck in the window lock switch? Cleaning out that switch clears up the problem?

What I hear is that the switches work from the driver door but not from other doors (as if the window lock is on).

Yes, I've read of the common problem of things getting stuck in the window lock switch, but I doubt that is my current problem as the drivers side front window was also affected. That window lock shouldn't cause any issues with the drivers window that I'm aware of. I just have to try to find the wire that is acting goofy. Any other ideas/opinions though? So far, I've been quite impressed with the responses, and very appreciative.

FIXED! Thanks for all of your help, especially budwich and cdw6212r! It turns out that I had a 'semi-broken' wire coming through the door jamb, just underneath the junction box. And it was the blue/black wire (the most important one!). Occasionally, a strand or two would be touching, but when the door was open and the wires pulled more taut, they would not touch at all, causing my problem! A little solder and wire splicing and the problem will be solved. I owe you guys. Thank you.