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Power Window Jams - '98 Grand AM


rckowal's Avatar
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05-01-04, 05:29 PM   #1  
Power Window Jams - '98 Grand AM

Passenger side, front door, power window is jamming when it's being raised from the open position. As it rises to where it's nearly closed; the back edge is up much higher than the front - by as much as 4 - 6 inches. Because the rear edge hits the door frame first - it jams & doesn't fully close.

To close it, I have to power it back down. Then I have to pull the front edge upwards while someone runs the power window switch.

Some one suggested that the front window track maybe binding. I tried spraying WD40 into the track - it helped somewhat but didn't eliminate the problem.

One other thing that's curious. This window mechanism seems very loose/insecure when compared to the driver side (which works fine). Almost seems like something may be wrong in the power drive mechanism (between the motor & regulator) that operates the window regulator arms.

I'm unable to see or figure out what's causing the problem. I would very much appreciate some help to identify what might be wrong.

Best regards, Dick

 
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Desi501's Avatar
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05-01-04, 07:03 PM   #2  
You'll have to remove the door panel and examine the regulator. It likely has lost or broken the support from one end of the window, making it lift on one side only. Some windows have a plastic retainer attached to one side of the glass that keeps it within the channel. You should be able to see what's out of whack in there.

 
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05-02-04, 06:23 AM   #3  
Thanks for the quick & helpful reply Desi501. It's much appreciated.

When you speak of the "support" on the regulator; are you referring to the scissors mechanism - or the regulator mounting bracket that's riveted to the door?

Regardless, it sounds like the motor/regulator assembly will need to be replaced to repair it. Is this the case?

Best regards, Dick

 
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05-02-04, 11:43 AM   #4  
Open it up and inspect it first. There are many different way for it to fail. You didn't say what kind of car we're dealing with so i can't get specific. Sometimes your talking about nothing but a plastic channel retainer or something like that. There are many different style regulator nowadays. Look first, buy parts later.

 
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05-02-04, 01:24 PM   #5  
Thanks again for the reply Desi501, it's appreciated. The car is a '98 Pontiac Grand AM 2 door. The passenger side is bad.

I took it apart to check the mechanism. The nut that holds the regulator to the front side of the window was very loose. I tried tightening it; which helped but didn't completely fix it. It appears that the scissor arms may be bent and its pivots have become worn & very sloppy fitting. At this point, the best fix appears to be to replace the regulator/motor assembly.

From what I can see, it appears that there are only two bolts in the lower mounting bracket & two more that fasten the window to the regulator scissor arms. Is that all that's holding it in place? Are there any rivets (or bolts) other than these? I can't tell if the motor is also riveted to the door panel.

One other thing. Are the (new aftermarket) replacement assemblies (like those for sale on Ebay for $50-60) alright for this kind of job? After all the car is 6-7 years old. Or should I go for an OEM part at six times greater cost?

Thanks again for all your help & best regards, Dick

 
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05-02-04, 01:53 PM   #6  
As Desi said, the regulator has some plastic parts that wear out. This type of regulator does not use cables. It is what is called a scissor type regulator. It uses metal arms that lever the window up and down. You may just have a track that is bent or the window is out of the track by your description. There is one rivet however I am not sure of its exact location. I think it is in the center of the lever. You will need to remove the door panel and watch it while you attempt to operate it to see what exactly is going on in there.
Hope this is helpful to ya,
Billy

 
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05-02-04, 04:46 PM   #7  
Posted By: rckowal One other thing. Are the (new aftermarket) replacement assemblies (like those for sale on Ebay for $50-60) alright for this kind of job? After all the car is 6-7 years old. Or should I go for an OEM part at six times greater cost?
I'd stay away from that stuff on E-Bay. Somebody's trying to make a buck with knock off junk. You'd be replacing it again next year if it even works at all. Quality really matters on things like window motors and regulators. The OE is the only way to go.

 
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05-02-04, 04:50 PM   #8  
Thanks for the reply Billys68ss. I've already watched the window while it's operating but that doesn't tell me how many rivets to remove.

What "track" are you referring to? There is a white nylon track (rubber seal above it) that's mounted to the door (it's vertical). It guides the front of the window as it's raised.

Or the metal track along the bottom of the window (part of the regulator assembly) where the scissor arms push it up?

Best regards, Dick

 
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05-02-04, 05:06 PM   #9  
Hi Desi501. I don't mean to question your sound advice. I'm sure the OEM part would be best.

Based on what they cost, GM is sure proud of them! But I wonder if they're really worth $400?

There is a company called A1 Electric in Gardena CA that sells a better quality, aftermarket replacement assembly for about $100. Some of the bigger auto parts stores (Autozone, Advance Auto Parts, etc.) carry that brand. It's supposed to be decent quality at less than OEM cost.

Do you think this brand might be worth trying?

Best regards, Dick

 
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05-03-04, 02:37 PM   #10  
Posted By: rckowal Hi Desi501. (Autozone, Advance Auto Parts, etc.) carry that brand.
That says it all. Those are discount houses that don't carry any brand names and usually deal with substandard "knock offs". Really, you get what you pay for. I've learned that time and time again. If you have to take that window apart 2 or 3 times and eventually have to buy the OE anyway, How much did you save?
I would NEVER buy anything like a window regulator from AutoZone or Advance. Maybe you wouldn't mind, but I don't like to have to do things twice. That's the difference between a reliable, quality repair and just "rolling the dice".

 
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05-03-04, 03:24 PM   #11  
Thanks again Desi501. That's good advice I'm sure.

Best regards, Dick

 
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05-08-04, 08:32 AM   #12  
Good News

If any one is still following this thread, here's what I found out. I was able to fairly easily make the replacement of the bad OEM power window regulator.

Once the door panel was removed, there were two nuts holding the sash to the regulator. There are also two bolts through the door panel holding the lower track. Then there are four rivets holding the balance of the regulator mechanism to the door. Drill them out using a 1/4" drill bit. Disconnect the power cable from the regulator motor & "fish" the thing out of the door. When reinstalling, use four 1/4" x 1/2" long bolts, nuts & lock washers to replace the rivets.

Although I still believe that Desi501's advice is very sound for a professional mechanic - in this case I didn't follow it. Because I'm a cheap poor boy; in place of the $300 OEM regulator, I rolled the dice! I used one from Auto & Art.com. for $55. From what I can see, itappears to actually be built stronger than the OEM that it replaced. People on a Grand Am enthusiasts forum report that Pontiac apparently did a really crappy job on the OEM design - they chronically fail after only a few years of use.

It also works just as well as the OEM. Since I have no prior user experience with it, I can't vouch for the long term reliabilty of the motor itself. Regardless, if it dies, I still have the OEM motor which isn't difficult to put on the regulator mechanism. And if you're wondering - I don't work for Auto & Art, or anyone else at this point since I'm retired.

Happy tinkering, Dick

 
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05-08-04, 01:48 PM   #13  
Sounds like it may work out well for you. Your in a little different situation than we are. We can't afford to do these things twice both because of the value of our time and the inconvenience of a customer having to come back for the same repair. That's why we try to use the highest quality parts the first time. It's different working on your own vehicle.

 
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05-08-04, 03:13 PM   #14  
I am glad you got it working alright. These things can be a bit of a pain sometimes. I have done so many on the cars I work on that I can literally R&R a power window regulator in about 15 minutes and thats including the door panel. There arent too many days that go by that I am not replacing at least one. I have done as many as 4 in one day.
To add to what Desi said about the quality. When you work for a dealership, as I do, you cant use aftermarket parts, even if the quality was better, because if it fails it is very difficult to get parts warranty on these parts.
Good Luck,
Billy

 
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05-09-04, 11:30 AM   #15  
Hi Billys68ss & Desi501.

I certainly understand that the perspective of a professional mechanic has to be different than a DIY'er. When your reputation & your income hangs on the
kind of work you do, the decisions you have to make are guided accordingly.

However, since this is a DIY'er forum, I thought it would also be helpful to point out the optionas available to the "shade tree mechanic". These folks are usually trying to save a buck by doing some of their own repair work, They can choose to roll the dice on warranties &/or doing the job more than once.

Repeating myself, there's no question that your right based on professional needs.

Regardless, thanks for being there when needed.

 
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05-09-04, 06:31 PM   #16  
I have one last question about power windows. It seems that they tend to slow down some what after they age. This maybe due to dirt &/or gunk of some sort in the front & rear window tracks. Or that the rubber seals in those tracks may have dried out & hardened.

In any case, is there a good way to clean such tracks & then lubricate them to reduce the drag & load on the motor? A local ?mechanic?? suggested WD40 but that doesn't seem like a very professional solution. Besides, WD40 quits lubricating when it dries out - which doesn't take very long.

Your suggestions will be very much appreciated.

Best regards, Dick

 
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