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Re: Power windows work sometimes
Yep it's a wiring problem and a real headache to troubleshoot, that said, I would start at the fuseblock and check the fuse and see if it has blown, a blown fuse is usually a sign of curcuit wiring problems. If the fuse is blown then you have to repair the circuit that will require finding the open or short, if you have experience with a multi-meter and know how to look for Ohms then you need to locate the connector that goes to the wire that goes to the circuit of the window control ( for this you will need a schematic) and place one lead there and the other where the fuse connection is that will tell you if you have an open circuit or closed. This is just to troubleshoot it, once located you may have to replace the entire harness the wire is in depending on how complex it is. Me personally I wouldn't play around with it, just take it to an auto electric shop and let them take a looksy or if you are covered just go to the dealer.
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Have you actually checked for power at the driver's master switch?
I don't think there would be a window relay, there is probably a power window circuit breaker in the instrument panel fuse box.
If no windows work, pull the master switch out and check for one hot wire with key on. If none, check for broken wires in driver's door opening. Your ground for the windows will be in that group of wires too. Both must work for windows to operate. If you have power and good ground at the master switch, and no windows work, probably a bad master switch.
Most power windows use a single circuit breaker in the under dash fuse panel. And if yours does use a fuse, it will be only one for all windows. Should be in the under dash fuse panel. Do any of your windows work? If none work, most likely a broken power wire or ground wire in the little wiring harness going into the driver's door. Or if wiring is not broken there, could be a bad PW master switch on the driver's door.
Do the individual door switches work their windows? If so, it would be the driver's side door switch, the master switch, that is bad. The fact that one window works off the driver switch means that power for the windows is at least getting to the master switch, and that the ground for all power windows is good. If the other door switches work, it is just the master switch, not a wiring problem.
All the wiring for all the windows flow through the master switch...both power and ground. So the problem is most likely a bad master switch or a broken wire in the hinge area of the driver's door. Get a wiring diagram and check for power and ground coming to the switch. If so, then the switch is most likely bad. Read this post http://ricksfreeautorepairadvice.com/window-goes-up-but-not-down/
Why does everyone think that power windows have relays? Well, maybe Volvos do, but most cars use a circuit breaker at the fuse panel. You need top pull off the driver's door master switch and check if there is one hot wire there to switch with the key on. If you don't, check for broken wires in the door opening. Check if the circuit breaker's terminal has power to it. When all windows fail, it is usually a wiring problem, not the switches or the motors, but all of them may need checked. If you have a hot wire to the master switch, you will need to check the power window's ground-it originates at the master switch and goes back into the cabin, then to a nearby ground. This is the set up for most cars, I suspect your is the same. If hot wire to master and good ground, it could be a failed master switch, but check carefully for broken wires in the door opening.
If none of the power windows work, then it can't be the individual switches or motors. There could be a single central window lock, either at the driver's side master control, or part of the security system. But I would not guarantee the fuses actually are all good unless you use a test light or volt meter. You can't always tell visually. Another possibility is that the connection could have come off of the ignition switch. With a wiring diagram from a good manual, you should be able to determine the color code of the wire, and trace it back until you find the discontinuity.
It has to be a bad master window switch.
See power and ground is supplied thru the master window switch to the other switches. When you press the switch it is routing the power and ground to the window motor. For instance in the up position at the motor the left wire may be hot and the right ground and in the down position it will be opposite.
So if they are working from the individual doors then the wiring has to be good and the switch has just lost it's ability to route it where it needs to go.
First, check the drivers door to body wiring where it passes between the doors. I'd take the panel off and start from the inside and work your way through the part that travels inside the rubber cover to the car. These are notorious for rotting wires in that area, which will cause a large problem.
If the harness is ok, replace the drivers door power window switch assembly. If the drivers door switches are bad then none of the others will work either. I see this very frequently as well from people who use too much Armour All cleaner, or drive with their window down in the rain and get it wet(smokers usually).