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Door Microswitch or something else?

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I did read the tutorial on this, but I am a bit confused as to which microswitch applies to my case:

Using either the outside or inside door handle, the window will go down, but as soon as I release it, it will go back up to original position. I can unlock the car by pulling on the inside door handle. The problem is that I cannot open the door! The only way I have figured out how to get around this problem is to somehow apply force as if I am closing the door (with the door already being closed...) and as soon as I do this, either handle will immediately open the door (and lower the window). It is as if either handle can't "talk to" the "release door latch mechanism". Everything works as it should, with the exception of the door latch not releasing (whatever latches onto the door striker does not "release"). This is an intermittent problem as sometimes it works perfectly, and others I have to open the door pocket and pull towards me to be able to open the door. Pressing the door lock button on the dash has no effect on not being able to open the door.
So is this microswitch related or not? This from the excellent microswitch tutorial: "2) The window drops, but goes back up when the door opens, or when the handle is released. This can be the handle microswitch, or more likely the 'door open/closed microswitch' ( c ) has stuck. Because the system thinks the door is still closed, it sends the window back up. The remaining five switches are inside the door lock assembly:

c] One switch senses if the door is open or closed."

By the way, this only started happening as soon as I got my car back from the dealer when they did a coolant flush. I know they disconnected the battery as the odometer was reset. I stopped by there today and all they could say is "see you in 2 weeks for your appointment and more than likely it is the entire door mechanism that we need to replace"

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As they disconnected the battery, it sounds like the windows limits need to be reset. From the factory manual (should also be in your owner's manual), to reset the limit position of the windows the procedure is lower the window completely.Then with the window completely down, press and hold the rocker switch to raise the window and once the window is all the way up release the switch. Then press the switch's raise position again (the "front half") to store the limit position in the control module.Repeat for the other window.

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Thanks JFP, will give it a try, but the problem is not related to the windows going up or down, it has to do with the locking mechanism not releasing the door striker. In any case, will do this later tonight and see if it solves the problem.

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If it is a relay problem, here is the quick and dirty:

There are 3 relays in the door.

1. on the outside handle ... to drop the window when you first pull the handle to open the door. As soon as the door latch is released, control of the window droop passes to the relay in the latch.

2. on the inside handle ... to drop the window when you first pull the handle to open the door. As soon as the door latch is released, control of the window droop passes to the relay in the latch.

3. integral to the latch mechanism / strike on the trailing side of the door. This relay takes over and keeps window in droop position as soon as the door latch is opened. That way, you can (normally) then release the inside or outside handle, and the window will stay drooped until the door is closed ... the latch senses closed ... and the latch mechanism relay releases the window to go full up again.

When I went through this, you couldn't buy the latch relay alone. I had to buy the entire latch mechanism.

Edited by Kim
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Thanks Kim. I didn't have the time to reset the window limits as suggested above, but from your post, it seems as if the door latch relay is the one that is acting up, thus my dealer telling me I did have to in fact buy the entire latch mechanism.

When I pull on the inside or outside handle, the window does in fact drop the 10mm it is supposed to do, but the door latch doesn't release. As soon as I let go of either handle, the window raises as it normally does. Seem as if my problem is focused on the door latch relay/mechanism. The oddball thing of it is that as soon as I press the door slightly into the chassis (as if I wanted to make really sure that the door is shut) the door latch works as designed (window lowers and door latch releases the striker).

Will now search on how to replace the door latch :huh:

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Before you replace the latch, just take a close look at it:

- are the attaching bolts tight?

- is there room for slop in the latch positioning; i.e. can you loosen all bolts, slightly move the latch mechanism to a different position, then re-tighten?

I suggest you get in the car, lower the windows so that they are not a factor in your investigation, and spend some time working with the latch. Compare its position, feel, and action to the passenger side door.

Don't be surprised if you have to replace the latch. It seems to be the weak link in the system.

There is a fine tutorial on removing the inner door panel here on RennTech. After its off, you will need small hands and limber arms to reach in through the access holes, disconnect the linkage, remove the latch, install new latch, re-connect the linkage, then work you way backward through the door panel removal. If you are tempted to test your work before complete reassembly, BE CAREFUL when reconnecting the battery ... as your door air bag may be vulnerable.

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The door latch is likely faulty. Some lessons learned doing this job:

If you decide to replace the vapor barrier, which you will need to partially or totally remove, they are between $70-100. I had to replace it in mine because the previous owner had basically totally destroyed it hooking up his stereo system, which I assume he promptly removed before he sold me the car. No sweat, cars are not ideal high-fidelity listening rooms.

The 2 black fasteners that are holding the latch at the opening end of the door are triple-square fasteners, not torx. I believe #8 size, if I recall correctly.

The link between the latch and the handle (see picture) inside the door is a sliding piece of plastic, which once slid towards the latch, allow the handle link in the form of a rod to squeeze through a slit on top of the small cylinder where the slider was. Neat contraption!

The electrical connector to the latch is a typical PCar connector which unlatches just like the MAF connector by pressing a tab forcefully to lift off from a boss on the male part ... don't you love those. Bonne chance!


Edited by Y2K911
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Thanks fellas. Well, based on the airbag comment and the confirmation that the latch itself is in fact a problematic area, I am going to let someone else take care of this (dealer or indie who used to be the head tech at the dealer). Although I understand mechanics and like to learn about them, for some reason or another, I am quite "clumsy" when it comes to repairs (big hands, brute force) and usually end up breaking more things than those that needed to be fixed :eek:

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Just for future reference sake, the dealer confirmed that in fact it is the latch micro switch that is giving problems, but that micro switch cannot be replaced by itself. The micro switch is part of the entire latch mechanism. Current price for the latch is $180-$185. Labor quoted is $200.

Edited by GOB
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  • 1 year later...

I know the post is somewhat old, but since I am now having issues with the passenger window, I thought I would update this thread for archive purposes.  The driver's side door latch was the culprit for the issues presented above and locally (Panama) it cost $197.45.  I took it to the indie mechanic who replaced it for $80 (labor).  Actually, the indie had to do the job twice as we thought the latch was DOA, when in fact, the indie did not connect it properly and it became loose a few miles down the road.  Door taken apart again, connections verified, and all was good.

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