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Unread 09-08-2007, 03:04 PM   #1
itasor
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Fixing 97+ Window Lock Switch for Dummies.

Like most other Cherokee owners, I found that the windows could only be rolled up or down from the driver's door controls. This has happened on all 3 Cherokees that we have owned, including one that was only 3 years old. A quick search on these forums told me everything I needed to know about this issue. The window lock switch on the driver's door controls tends to become dirty or otherwise broken (solder breaks) and it becomes "always on".

There's some confusion when people say to "clean the contacts" to solve the problem. Most of the time, they are referring to the contacts where the two harnesses connect to the driver's door controls, inside the driver's door panel. While I suppose there could be some corrosion/bad contact there causing the window lock switch to malfunction, most likely the switch is damaged inside the actual driver's door switch module. Opening this module is not for the inexperienced at all, as there are tons of tiny parts. Even getting it open isn't easy.

Before I go on, let me say that I am only posting this because I took pictures and feel that many people (like I was) are hesitant to pop off their door panel, solder wires, etc. I figured since so many people have this issue I would try to make something a little easier to follow, kind of like those "for Dummies" books do. I also did not invent this fix at all. All of this information comes from two great people on this forum: AZ Jeff and JBassXJ.

Read those two posts over (click their usernames for the posts) and you'll see that (especially from the pictures) you are soldering onto the factory wiring harness in order to jump or bypass the window lock switch.

I can personally solder pretty well, but I didn't really want to "hack up" my wiring harness in that way. I like things that are easy to remove if needed (i.e. I found a new driver's door switch module in a junk yard for cheap and no longer needed the jump/bypass).

I decided to use some wire taps instead. There are two major types of wire taps that I know of/have in the garage. Here is a picture of the two different types:


The top two are complete, that's all you need. The bottom two use spade connectors that slip over them when closed. You'll see these additional connectors in my next picture. I decided to go with the bottom type, because I think the way that the connect slips over them seals the connection off a great deal more than the other type. I think they are also easier to work with in this situation. Very easy to remove in the future as well. Make sure you get ones that are rated for 18-14 gauge wire.

Gather your tools. You will finish a lot faster if you have everything you need in front of you. You'll be removing your door panel, so you will need a door upholstery removal tool (NOT A SCREWDRIVER) along with wire strippers, 2x wire taps+spade connectors, phillips head screwdriver, regular pliers, needle nose pliers, and at least 6 inches of 16ga wire. Here are most of my tools laid out (greenish things in the bottom right are the spade connectors that go with the wire taps):


First you need to remove your driver's door panel. Because you can find tons of instructions on how to do this, I didn't take too many pictures. This is very easy, even if you have never done it before. First remove these four screws:

One above the door release:


One under the switch panel:


Two under the arm rest:



Now that the screws holding the panel are off, you can proceed to remove the panel. This is where your door upholstery removal tool comes into play. I bought mine at Advance Auto Parts for around $7. Do not use a screw driver. If you really don't want to buy this tool, a small "cheater bar" or crow bar could possibly work. The door panel is held on with fasteners that look like this: . You need to use your tool to pry them out of the metal door. Go EASY. They pop out very easily if you're prying right on them.

Insert your tool into the crevice between the door panel and the metal door. Careful not to scratch your paint if your tool is metal:



As you see in the last picture, my door panel had a small gap here, so it was the easiest spot to start. Start where every you can get it in. Now move your tool around until you hit into something. This is a fastener. Back out a little, slide your tool so that the fastener is in the opening, and pry towards the door to pop the fastener out. Keep going all around until you have popped them all out. DO NOT PULL THE PANEL OFF YET.

This next part I'm lacking pictures of, unfortunately. Your door panel is not ready to come off yet. Pop the top of it out of the door by pulling gently upwards (you can hold onto the arm rest/bid door handle). Keep holding it close to the door, but look inside and you'll see two metal arms connected to the latch/lock mechanism. These are held on with a yellow and black clip, which very simply unclip from the rods and then the rods slip out. Do this to both rods. Then unplug the two harnesses that are connected to the driver's door switch module. The door panel is now free. Set it aside in a safe location, you'll be working on those two harnesses you just unplugged.




Last edited by itasor; 03-29-2008 at 01:48 PM..
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Unread 09-08-2007, 03:05 PM   #2
itasor
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Next locate the two wires you need to jump across. AZ Jeff described them as a tan one on the blue connector and yellow wire on the white connector. As you can see, both of my connectors are blue. You'll want to find the TAN wire on the BIG connector (on the left in my picture) and the THICKEST YELLOW WIRE on the SMALL connector (the one that goes to pin #8, in the bottom left corner, it's the thickest yellow one). You can use my pictures to tell which wires are the correct ones as well.

Put a wire tap on each one of these wires, with the spade connector end facing each other. Use your pliers to close up the wire taps if you can't do it by hand. I used pliers to close both of my taps:




Now you need to make the jumper that will connect between these two wire taps. Cut a piece of 16ga wire at least 6" long. I went with 6.5" and it worked out perfectly:


Strip the ends off. You only need between .25" and .5" of bare wire, as you certainly don't want any hanging out:


Next, crimp on your spade connectors. I used the crimping area on my wire strippers, but I suppose you could use some pliers. You'll see the extra spade that I messed up. That's the thing about crimping; you need to PULL on them after you crimp them on to make sure they're on good. If it comes off, you failed. Take another one and crimp it on tighter:


Here's what the inside of the spade connector looks like:


This would be a good time to cover the inside metal spade connector with dielectric grease if you're not going to electrical tape/heat shrink the connection. This will prevent corrosion from destroying your connection.

Take your jumper and attach it to the first wire tap. It may take some force to slip on. This is good because then it won't fall off:


Then, attach it to the other wire tap. You should have something that looks like this:


At this point, you CAN NOT TEST YOUR WORK. The harnesses must be plugged into the driver's door switch module for you to see if what you've done works. Plug the harnesses in, support the door panel, turn your ignition to ACC and go around trying windows. Hopefully they all work now from each and every control!

Last edited by itasor; 09-09-2007 at 08:00 AM..
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Unread 09-08-2007, 03:05 PM   #3
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If you were successful, now you need to put the door panel on. Make sure that your jumper will press up flat against the door without any trouble when the door panel is back on. This may mean adjusting your wire taps (you can spin them without taking them off):


Connect the two rods to the lock/latch mechanism again (sorry no pictures).

Now pop the panel into the strip along the top of the window sill and then push all along the panel to pop in each connector. You can use the palm of your hand to press all around:


Now put those 4 screws back in (refer to steps above). The small screw goes in above the door release handle and the three huge ones go in the other holes. These are sometimes tricking to get in. Try screwing them in at an angle and sometimes they catch better.

Enjoy not having to roll down people window's for them.

Again thanks to AZ Jeff and JBassXJ for their write ups. I hope mine will help people that needed a few more pictures or don't know how to or don't want to solder or cut up their factory harness.
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Unread 09-08-2007, 03:26 PM   #4
mshaab
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I have read JZ Jeff's post and was hesitant to open the door panel. But now I have the confidence to go ahead. My problem is intermintant and and only happend once and went back in a few days. Maybe a loose connection. I will same this post for future use. Thanks to all who have helped. Ps great photos!
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Unread 09-08-2007, 04:40 PM   #5
-=Gar=-
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Well, I went to an auto parts store and purchased the door trim tool, 14ga wire, and the fancy little connectors mentioned in this write up. Though I am very good at soldiering things, (Use to make training IEDs) I opted for the solder-less connectors for speed. I will say they are quite nice.

Removing the door panel was simple. One note I might add is that my door panels came out of the top track by the window a little easier by sliding the door panel left, then right 1" to 2" while lifting up on it. The plastic clips holding the metal rods connected to the door lever and lock stay attached to the plastic piece that the rods pass through. You simply rotate the plastic clips after they un-snap from the metal rods, and the rods will then slide out. Getting them back in requires a little finesse, but they go in very easily when aligned up correctly.

I also removed my switch module (three screws) and blew off all the dust bunnies that had collect over the past eight years. I left it removed, and connected it directly to my wire harness to test it before attaching the door panel. It worked! My passengers can now roll down their windows when heavy air is present in the cab. lol

Gar
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Last edited by -=Gar=-; 09-08-2007 at 07:35 PM..
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Unread 09-08-2007, 06:05 PM   #6
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Thats basically the same way I did mine following the other write-up in the Tech links sticky, except I soldered my connections and covered in heatshrink instead of your fancy connector thingys
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Unread 09-08-2007, 07:27 PM   #7
itasor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cody_00_XJ
Thats basically the same way I did mine following the other write-up in the Tech links sticky, except I soldered my connections and covered in heatshrink instead of your fancy connector thingys
Thanks guys. Like I said, the credit goes to those two other great guys. I just took pictures and figured I would post them in a write up.

I was planning to solder them but I was looking through our electrical connector drawer, found some wire taps and decided that would be easier, ESPECIALLY since I keep checking the junk yard for a new switch panel (if it's cheap) and would then need to remove the jumper. Pretty easy to remove this way. You would just have a tiny slit in those two wires.

Quote:
Originally Posted by -=Gar=-
This was an awesome post! Thanks brother. My lock switch broke when I first purchased my Jeep and was replaced under warranty. Now it is broke again, and the dealer wanted $158. for a new one! I will do this for sure!

Gar
Same here. XJ came with a short used car warranty, during which the window switched died. They replaced it with a new driver's door module (probably a junk yard part) and now a year later this one is broken too.

Also wanted to say that if you read one of those original threads I linked to, people were noticing that the lights on the power mirror circle arrows went out when they used the power locks after doing this bypass. I fooled around with mine for a while and couldn't get the lights to go out or anything..everything is working perfect.
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Unread 09-09-2007, 12:13 AM   #8
filluptrk
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Did mine the Cody way, solder and heatshrink mean no corrosion failure where the tap engages the wire. Phil
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Unread 09-09-2007, 07:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filluptrk
Did mine the Cody way, solder and heatshrink mean no corrosion failure where the tap engages the wire. Phil
I may take mine off and heat shrink the connection. I covered the contacts in dielectric grease though (forgot to mention that, I'll add it) to scare away corrosion.

How would you heat shrink the connection if you stripped off wire insulation in the middle of the wire, and then soldered something to it. Do they make heat shink that isn't little tubes like I always see?
edit: heat shrink tape? I didn't realize they made that, I'll have to get some of that!
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Unread 09-09-2007, 09:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
I was planning to solder them but I was looking through our electrical connector drawer, found some wire taps and decided that would be easier, ESPECIALLY since I keep checking the junk yard for a new switch panel (if it's cheap) and would then need to remove the jumper. Pretty easy to remove this way. You would just have a tiny slit in those two wires.

Most likely a junkyard window switch will have the same problem. The window lock switch is flawed internally. I don't use those pierce connecters any more, the mechanical connection doesn't last. Nice and convenient but they gave me fits diagnosing electrical problems before. Nice writeup with lots of good pics.
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Unread 09-09-2007, 09:45 AM   #11
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This is a great write up. I was also hesistant but this is definately a good guide. thanks
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Unread 09-09-2007, 01:04 PM   #12
-=Gar=-
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Just a note for those worried about corrosion. I was an electrician after I left the Navy, and specialized in low voltage wiring for swimming pool electrical systems. I never soldered a single connection, only used wire nuts, which is good to go, and meets NEC requirements. In fact, many homes in the USA are wired with simple twist on wire nuts, not one soldered connection from the street, to the toaster out let. But your house is not subjected to vibration, and moisture, so wire nuts are not suitable for an automobile or boat wiring job. But a lot more current passes through the wire nut job in your house, then you will have in your car. So the plastic wire splices are more then adequate for the 12 volt system in your Jeep.

Now with that said, the little plastic connectors are just fine for the application they are being used in. If you notice, the blue wire-harness plug only slides into the module, it is not soldered. If it were going to corrode, it would corrode there. Just make sure you press the wire splice firmly into place using an appropriate tool. If you’re still worried about corrosion, just seal the connection with a Marine Grade Silicone Sealant.

I would be more concerned with the soldered connection wearing through the standard heat shrink tube (HST) when exposed to shock and vibration; thus coming in contact with the door and shorting out.

If you are still set on soldering the wires together, here are a few tips to make sure your time spent doing this is not wasted: When you strip the wire in the harness, do not use the razor blade to score around insulation on the wire in the same place. This increases the risk of cutting into some of the wires and will weaken them. Over time they will break, thus reducing the number of strands in the original wire. When removing insulation from wire, use the pencil sharpening technique.

Remove the insulation by running the razor blade alone the length of the insulation to expose the wire. This way, any nicks in the wire will not be along the same line, and the integrity of the wire remains much more intact then the commonly misused technique of scoring around the wire in the same spot.

Then, when you seal the connection, use Marine-grade heat-shrink tubing; which is far superior to the standard HST in an environment like a Jeep is exposed to. To use the HST on an inline splice, it may be best to cut the wire in the harness, strip the ends, and solder them together with your jumper wire. Then slide on your HST, long enough for both ends of the jumper wire to be covered, and solder in the other end of the jumper to the wire harness the same way.
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Last edited by -=Gar=-; 09-09-2007 at 01:18 PM..
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Unread 09-09-2007, 03:03 PM   #13
itasor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_C
Most likely a junkyard window switch will have the same problem. The window lock switch is flawed internally. I don't use those pierce connecters any more, the mechanical connection doesn't last. Nice and convenient but they gave me fits diagnosing electrical problems before. Nice writeup with lots of good pics.
Thanks. Yes I realize a junk yard switch will already or eventually have the same problem. However if I pick one up, it will be a spare that I can afford to try to take apart and mess around with, without risking breaking my only one and not being able to drive the Jeep. I would open up the spare one and re-solder the connection really well so that it holds up better than it originally did (if possible). Of course this will probably never happen because every 97+ XJ that I find it already totally stripped apart because they're so popular.
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Unread 09-09-2007, 03:07 PM   #14
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Beautiful Write Up!
I got everything except unclipping the metal rods for door lock...
Finally fixed my window lock for $0
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Unread 09-09-2007, 03:32 PM   #15
itasor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youngwon22
Beautiful Write Up!
I got everything except unclipping the metal rods for door lock...
Finally fixed my window lock for $0
Yeah, sorry about that. I really, really wanted to have pictures of that because that's what I was most hesitant about the first time I pulled off door panels. However it was too hard to balance that panel, unclip the things, and remove the rods while holding the camera. Next time I'll try to find someone to take pictures for me while I do stuff.

You got them unclipped OK though?
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