OT: automotive electrical connector loose, power window

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In Virginia you fail annual inspection for the driver's power window, thoug h none of the others have to work.
Of course that is the only switch that doesn't work. After disassembling, cleaning, and polishing, I got it to work intermittently. Swapping with a known good switch I finally found the real problem: the connector doesn't stay on the pins tightly. Slight finger pressure will make good contact an d the window works fine, but otherwise not. It's a 1991 Volvo if that make s any difference.
Does anybody know a way to tighten these connectors? They just push on, th ere are four sockets in the connector and four fat pins on the switch. I'd swap with one of the other three, but the four switch connectors are all s haped uniquely and can't be repositioned.
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On Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 7:57:47 AM UTC-4, TimR wrote:

ugh none of the others have to work.

, cleaning, and polishing, I got it to work intermittently. Swapping with a known good switch I finally found the real problem: the connector doesn' t stay on the pins tightly. Slight finger pressure will make good contact and the window works fine, but otherwise not. It's a 1991 Volvo if that ma kes any difference.

there are four sockets in the connector and four fat pins on the switch. I 'd swap with one of the other three, but the four switch connectors are all shaped uniquely and can't be repositioned.
It is not clear where you need to apply the "slight finger pressure" so it's a little hard to offer a solution. Could you clarify that and maybe even post an image at an image sharing site so we know what we're dealing with?
Some possibilities include bending the pins for a stronger contact, a shim in between the mating parts to put pressure on the pins, a zip tie looped around the mating parts to hold them tighter together, etc.
As you can tell, the solution depends on where the "slight finger pressure" needs to be applied.
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On Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 10:08:13 AM UTC-4, DerbyDad03 wrote:

hough none of the others have to work.

ng, cleaning, and polishing, I got it to work intermittently. Swapping wit h a known good switch I finally found the real problem: the connector does n't stay on the pins tightly. Slight finger pressure will make good contac t and the window works fine, but otherwise not. It's a 1991 Volvo if that makes any difference.

, there are four sockets in the connector and four fat pins on the switch. I'd swap with one of the other three, but the four switch connectors are a ll shaped uniquely and can't be repositioned.

I've had success with that. Just bent the male pins in various directions, slightly, so they will hopefully push tighter against the mating surface. There are electrical contact cleaners worth trying too, any auto parts store would have them. Also there are contact "enhancer" type products available too.
The final issue though is if it's really a problem where the contacts mate or is it a problem on one end or the other where the connector is crimped to the wire. If it's that latter, the above isn't going to work. He might be able to find the appropriate connector on Ebay from a salvage car, where he could splice the wires.
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On Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 10:20:12 AM UTC-4, trader_4 wrote:

though none of the others have to work.

ling, cleaning, and polishing, I got it to work intermittently. Swapping w ith a known good switch I finally found the real problem: the connector do esn't stay on the pins tightly. Slight finger pressure will make good cont act and the window works fine, but otherwise not. It's a 1991 Volvo if tha t makes any difference.

on, there are four sockets in the connector and four fat pins on the switch . I'd swap with one of the other three, but the four switch connectors are all shaped uniquely and can't be repositioned.

e

ng

,

Sorry, didn't explain very well, but I obviously misdiagnosed this when I f ixed it last year, and succeeded by luck.
The switch assembly is in the door. It contains four power window switches as well as several others (mirror adjustments, child locks, etc.) Vertica l finger pressure downward operates the window. Press down on the back of the switch (it's a rocker) and the window goes down; press on the front of the switch and it goes up.
The individual switch has four pins that extend downwards inside the door. The connector has four female sockets that mate with the switch. The wiri ng harness has 7 connectors. If I pull the entire switch assembly out of t he door panel, and press lightly upwards on the bottom of the connector, th e switch will work.
Last year I assumed the problem was internal to the switch. That's because I found a Volvo web site that explained in detail how to disassemble the s witch and clean corrosion and said this was a known failure mode for that c ar. And it did seem to work. This year I cleaned the switch contacts AND swapped it for a known good switch, and the symptom remains. Pressure on t he connector makes it work. The "bad" switch works fine in the new locatio n.
It could be the pin not mating with the socket, or it could be the wiring h arness wire loose on the socket connection. If the latter is the case this will be a pain in the butt to work on, it's a large wiring harness buried deep in the door panel with almost no slack.
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On Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 10:36:05 AM UTC-4, TimR wrote:

w, though none of the others have to work.

mbling, cleaning, and polishing, I got it to work intermittently. Swapping with a known good switch I finally found the real problem: the connector doesn't stay on the pins tightly. Slight finger pressure will make good co ntact and the window works fine, but otherwise not. It's a 1991 Volvo if t hat makes any difference.

h on, there are four sockets in the connector and four fat pins on the swit ch. I'd swap with one of the other three, but the four switch connectors a re all shaped uniquely and can't be repositioned.

so

ybe

ling

ns,

e.

fixed it last year, and succeeded by luck.

es as well as several others (mirror adjustments, child locks, etc.) Verti cal finger pressure downward operates the window. Press down on the back o f the switch (it's a rocker) and the window goes down; press on the front o f the switch and it goes up.

. The connector has four female sockets that mate with the switch. The wi ring harness has 7 connectors. If I pull the entire switch assembly out of the door panel, and press lightly upwards on the bottom of the connector, the switch will work.

se I found a Volvo web site that explained in detail how to disassemble the switch and clean corrosion and said this was a known failure mode for that car. And it did seem to work. This year I cleaned the switch contacts AN D swapped it for a known good switch, and the symptom remains. Pressure on the connector makes it work. The "bad" switch works fine in the new locat ion.

harness wire loose on the socket connection. If the latter is the case th is will be a pain in the butt to work on, it's a large wiring harness burie d deep in the door panel with almost no slack.
Once again, all you have told us is that "Pressure on the connector makes it work."
Pressure from where? From the side, from the top, from the bottom?
What do you think the "pressure" is moving in order make it work?
Can you do something to make that "pressure" permanent? A zip tie, a shim, Gorilla tape? All we can do is keep tossing out possibilities until you tell us what you mean by "Pressure on the connector makes it work."
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On Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 10:49:44 AM UTC-4, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Well, I did try. <g> Upward pressure on the bottom of the connector block, in the same direction that the connector block inserts into the switch assembly. Once done, downward pressure on the rocker switch operates it normally.
Given the multiple wires in the wiring harness, it is not possible to be sure whether the connector block itself is moving, or wires being moved within the connector block.
Flat terminals have a locking tab that you can depress to remove, but these are round ones. I'll have to see if there's a way to pull them out one direction or the other.
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On Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 11:26:30 AM UTC-4, TimR wrote:

OK, so is there any place that you can place a zip tie around the connector and something "above it" to make that upward pressure more permanent.
Something like shown in the image below. I understand that you probably don't have a connector that is "open" on both ends like in the image, but as long as you have (or can fashion) something "above" the connector portion, you can use a zip tie to keep the upward pressure constant.
http://image.fourwheeler.com/f/62970403+w660+re0/zip-tied-weatherpack-connector

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On Thu, 22 Sep 2016 08:49:11 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

Nope - definitely not the solution - and the connector will just heat up and burn. The "connection" needs to be "repaired". Ford and Volvo had the same problems. The other solution is a connector from the wreckers (if you can find one that doesn't have the same problem) - cut the old one off and solder the reclamed one in i's place

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wrote:

here is a tool made to extract the connectors. - out the back of the connector block. I have resorted to cutting the wires off the block and soldering the wires directly to the switch. Not bad if the window switch wires are in a separate block. If not, pull the connectors out and feed the wires through the block where the connectors were, and solder to the switch. Sometimes soldering extra wire to the switch and then wire-nutting or soldering them to the harness is easier as it gives you some flexibility.
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On Thu, 22 Sep 2016 07:49:41 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

It's pretty obvious what the problem is, and Zip ties or gorilla tape are NOT the answer. Either crimp the connector (temporary) or solder
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On Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 4:34:12 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wro te:

te:

ndow, though none of the others have to work.

ssembling, cleaning, and polishing, I got it to work intermittently. Swapp ing with a known good switch I finally found the real problem: the connect or doesn't stay on the pins tightly. Slight finger pressure will make good contact and the window works fine, but otherwise not. It's a 1991 Volvo i f that makes any difference.

push on, there are four sockets in the connector and four fat pins on the s witch. I'd swap with one of the other three, but the four switch connector s are all shaped uniquely and can't be repositioned.

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n I fixed it last year, and succeeded by luck.

tches as well as several others (mirror adjustments, child locks, etc.) Ve rtical finger pressure downward operates the window. Press down on the bac k of the switch (it's a rocker) and the window goes down; press on the fron t of the switch and it goes up.

oor. The connector has four female sockets that mate with the switch. The wiring harness has 7 connectors. If I pull the entire switch assembly out of the door panel, and press lightly upwards on the bottom of the connecto r, the switch will work.

cause I found a Volvo web site that explained in detail how to disassemble the switch and clean corrosion and said this was a known failure mode for t hat car. And it did seem to work. This year I cleaned the switch contacts AND swapped it for a known good switch, and the symptom remains. Pressure on the connector makes it work. The "bad" switch works fine in the new lo cation.

ing harness wire loose on the socket connection. If the latter is the case this will be a pain in the butt to work on, it's a large wiring harness bu ried deep in the door panel with almost no slack.

s

m,

BS
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On Fri, 23 Sep 2016 07:38:41 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

BS? Try it. I did this crap for a living for over 20 years. I've fixed the same problem numerous times. Trust me, tape or zip ties will NOT solve the problem. This is not a problem with the tab on the plastic "plug" being broken. allowing the connection to come apart. It is a connection loosing tension from heat. A close look at the switch and/or plug WILL tell you which connnector is the problem. At least one will be discolored. In many cases the white nylon of the "plug" will be discolored brown or even be deformed from the heat.. If it is other than white, the discoloring is less obvious, but a "wrinkling" deformation is usually still present to one degree or another.
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On Friday, September 23, 2016 at 10:03:38 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrot e:

wrote:

e:

wrote:

:

window, though none of the others have to work.

isassembling, cleaning, and polishing, I got it to work intermittently. Sw apping with a known good switch I finally found the real problem: the conn ector doesn't stay on the pins tightly. Slight finger pressure will make g ood contact and the window works fine, but otherwise not. It's a 1991 Volv o if that makes any difference.

st push on, there are four sockets in the connector and four fat pins on th e switch. I'd swap with one of the other three, but the four switch connec tors are all shaped uniquely and can't be repositioned.

sure" so

and maybe

re dealing

act,

rections,

surface.

parts

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acts

or

ng

bay

when I fixed it last year, and succeeded by luck.

switches as well as several others (mirror adjustments, child locks, etc.) Vertical finger pressure downward operates the window. Press down on the back of the switch (it's a rocker) and the window goes down; press on the f ront of the switch and it goes up.

e door. The connector has four female sockets that mate with the switch. The wiring harness has 7 connectors. If I pull the entire switch assembly out of the door panel, and press lightly upwards on the bottom of the conne ctor, the switch will work.

because I found a Volvo web site that explained in detail how to disassemb le the switch and clean corrosion and said this was a known failure mode fo r that car. And it did seem to work. This year I cleaned the switch conta cts AND swapped it for a known good switch, and the symptom remains. Press ure on the connector makes it work. The "bad" switch works fine in the new location.

wiring harness wire loose on the socket connection. If the latter is the c ase this will be a pain in the butt to work on, it's a large wiring harness buried deep in the door panel with almost no slack.

akes

shim,

you

The OP has stated that a small amount of upward pressure on the connector solves the problem.
If a tiny amount of upward pressure on the connector solves the problem the n it doesn't matter how that pressure is applied. A zip tie can apply that up ward pressure in a more permanent and convenient manner than the OP's finger.
It doesn't take 20 years of experience in the automotive industry to know h ow to make a loose connector tighter.
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On Sat, 24 Sep 2016 03:53:26 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

He's free to try iot but I assure you it will be at best a short term repair.
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On Saturday, September 24, 2016 at 1:54:16 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wro te:

rote:

ca wrote:

rote:

03 wrote:

ote:

wer window, though none of the others have to work.

r disassembling, cleaning, and polishing, I got it to work intermittently. Swapping with a known good switch I finally found the real problem: the c onnector doesn't stay on the pins tightly. Slight finger pressure will mak e good contact and the window works fine, but otherwise not. It's a 1991 V olvo if that makes any difference.

just push on, there are four sockets in the connector and four fat pins on the switch. I'd swap with one of the other three, but the four switch con nectors are all shaped uniquely and can't be repositioned.

ressure" so

at and maybe

we're dealing

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is when I fixed it last year, and succeeded by luck.

ow switches as well as several others (mirror adjustments, child locks, etc .) Vertical finger pressure downward operates the window. Press down on t he back of the switch (it's a rocker) and the window goes down; press on th e front of the switch and it goes up.

the door. The connector has four female sockets that mate with the switch . The wiring harness has 7 connectors. If I pull the entire switch assemb ly out of the door panel, and press lightly upwards on the bottom of the co nnector, the switch will work.

t's because I found a Volvo web site that explained in detail how to disass emble the switch and clean corrosion and said this was a known failure mode for that car. And it did seem to work. This year I cleaned the switch co ntacts AND swapped it for a known good switch, and the symptom remains. Pr essure on the connector makes it work. The "bad" switch works fine in the new location.

he wiring harness wire loose on the socket connection. If the latter is th e case this will be a pain in the butt to work on, it's a large wiring harn ess buried deep in the door panel with almost no slack.

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I hear both of you. If it were me and a zip tie can give it the pressure it needs to work, I'd try it, because there may not be an easy, sure fix. I also agree that usually isn't going to make an ideal, permanent, sound electrical connection. And if it's something like a pump or heater that's going to run for long periods or constantly at high amps, a little resistance in a less than perfect connection can generate heat, which leads to further oxidation, deterioration, and failure. But here it's a window switch, so that seems less likely.
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On Saturday, September 24, 2016 at 2:22:33 PM UTC-4, trader_4 wrote:
rote:

wrote:

n.ca wrote:

:

wrote:

ad03 wrote:

wrote:

power window, though none of the others have to work.

ter disassembling, cleaning, and polishing, I got it to work intermittently . Swapping with a known good switch I finally found the real problem: the connector doesn't stay on the pins tightly. Slight finger pressure will m ake good contact and the window works fine, but otherwise not. It's a 1991 Volvo if that makes any difference.

ey just push on, there are four sockets in the connector and four fat pins on the switch. I'd swap with one of the other three, but the four switch c onnectors are all shaped uniquely and can't be repositioned.

pressure" so

that and maybe

t we're dealing

contact,

us directions,

ting surface.

auto parts

pe products

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nnector

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this when I fixed it last year, and succeeded by luck.

ndow switches as well as several others (mirror adjustments, child locks, e tc.) Vertical finger pressure downward operates the window. Press down on the back of the switch (it's a rocker) and the window goes down; press on the front of the switch and it goes up.

de the door. The connector has four female sockets that mate with the swit ch. The wiring harness has 7 connectors. If I pull the entire switch asse mbly out of the door panel, and press lightly upwards on the bottom of the connector, the switch will work.

hat's because I found a Volvo web site that explained in detail how to disa ssemble the switch and clean corrosion and said this was a known failure mo de for that car. And it did seem to work. This year I cleaned the switch contacts AND swapped it for a known good switch, and the symptom remains. Pressure on the connector makes it work. The "bad" switch works fine in th e new location.

the wiring harness wire loose on the socket connection. If the latter is the case this will be a pain in the butt to work on, it's a large wiring ha rness buried deep in the door panel with almost no slack.

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In other words, KIS. I'll respectfully leave off the final S since it doesn't apply to anyone taking part in this discussion.
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On Saturday, September 24, 2016 at 6:53:30 AM UTC-4, DerbyDad03 wrote:

pe


hen

upward

how

As an experiment I put plenty of pressure on the connector block with a klu ge arrangement of rubber bands and toothpicks. As predicted, it did not wo rk reliably, although it did occasionally.
But the car was in the shop getting the headlight assemblies replaced and t he mechanic showed me the same problem on a different connector block so I' m pretty sure I finally know the real diagnosis.
The pins on the switch are solid, male pins. The mating pins on the connec tor block (part of the wiring harness in the door) are hollow, female.
The male switch pins are fixed firmly into the switch, they can't move. Bu t the female pins on the connector block are loose and they slide back when the connector is pushed on. The mechanic had trouble getting the turn sig nals to function after the headlight replacement and he showed me. He ende d up pushing the pins forward out of the connector and connecting it manual ly, then adding the connector block next. I didn't know pins would come ou t forward, but he said on old worn cars it isn't uncommon for these to be l oose. There's a special half moon tool for depressing the tab and getting them out backwards for replacement.
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wrote:

Like I said - special tool. Sqeazing the connector a bir before re-installing will help, but if they have been overheated (will be discolored) they will not hold tension and the only real fix is either solder directly or replace the connectors. If they have been overheated they WILL heat again
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca posted for all of us...

+1 on that. Once they get overheated the are toast (sic)
--
Tekkie

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On Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 8:52:20 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote :

tape

der

ll

It

h

s

tor

m then

at upward

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now how

kluge arrangement of rubber bands and toothpicks. As predicted, it did not work reliably, although it did occasionally.

d the mechanic showed me the same problem on a different connector block so I'm pretty sure I finally know the real diagnosis.

nector block (part of the wiring harness in the door) are hollow, female.

But the female pins on the connector block are loose and they slide back w hen the connector is pushed on. The mechanic had trouble getting the turn signals to function after the headlight replacement and he showed me. He e nded up pushing the pins forward out of the connector and connecting it man ually, then adding the connector block next. I didn't know pins would come out forward, but he said on old worn cars it isn't uncommon for these to b e loose. There's a special half moon tool for depressing the tab and getti ng them out backwards for replacement.

I don't think the special tool is the answer.
I could replace the socket pins in the connector block with the special too l, true. But I don't think the pins are the problem. I think the pins are fine, but they're loose in the block, because the block itself is worn (or maybe even damaged by overheating.) I think new pins will just slide back in the block, failing to make contact, like the old ones do.
I think now there are probably two answers. One is the replace the connect or block, if they are available. Second is just to switch the wires to one of the switches that works. I can't switch the connectors because all fou r are unique, but I could cut the wires to two switches and swap them.
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