Power Window intermittently striking - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-01-2016, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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Question Power Window intermittently striking

Hi guys,

First of all, THANK YOU, for such an amazing forum and the single best resource on the internet for learning more about my 91 S4.

Despite using the search, I got a couple of questions left for you. If I am not mistaken, it makes sense to create separate threads to keep content searchable and neat, right? Here we go:


Today, I have been playing around with my wiring quite a bit, trying to restore everything to stock conditions. I have had to take out the interior light timing relay as it drew too much power when off. Since then, my driver's side power window does not work most of the time. Passenger side works fine all the time. Driver's side works perhaps every 20th time, a state that can not be invoked by trying over and over but only by letting some time pass between attempts.

The power window relay is getting rather warm. But I just can't imagine that a relay could cause one side to fail while the other keeps working fine. Can that be the case and I should replace the relay? Or should I be looking for a different fault (wire connections near switches or back of the fuse box)?

Thank you!!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-01-2016, 12:05 PM
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Welcome!

When electrical things get warm it is usually because of high resistance. A few iffy connections can cause it. Sometimes the strands of wire between the door & the hinge post will fracture (inside the insulation so impossible to see). And the grease in the window winder motor can get hard causing extra drag. Even the contacts inside the console switch can get burned causing intermittent operation. If you swap the switches does the problem stay with the driver's side or move to the passenger's side?

- - Eric
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-01-2016, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot! I was dreading this answer, as I really don't know my way around wiring enough and don't know how to start working on them correctly. How do I swap the switches? And how do I find out which of the many wires coming out of the back of the fuse box belongs to which part of the car? They are plugged in in groups of four, I don't know how to separate them...
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-01-2016, 02:32 PM
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I would start by send BB member Papajam a PM (Private Message) asking for copies of his color-coded wire diagrams for your model Alfa. Include your email addess - he'll send some .pdf files that will make sorting out Alfa wires a lot easier. I took my copies to an office supply store and had them print out 11"x 17" color copies and plastic laminate them. Perfect for use in the garage!

One weak point is where the wires go from the hinge post into the door. They go through a rubber accordion shaped thing. You can push aside the rubber thing to check the wires inside. Every time the door is open & closed these wires are flexed. This can cause them to break. Try wiggling the wires while pressing the window switch. If such wiggling seems to have an effect then those wires are suspect.

- - Eric
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~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-02-2016, 04:31 AM
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A quick easy way to figure this out.

Turn key on engine off. Push the window switch while watching the alternator light. If window doesn't move and light dims then its the motor. If light doesn't dim then its the wiring or relay.

For your problem I suspect the motor because the relay is getting hot.

1969 1750 Spider Veloce w/dual webers, 1969 1750 Berlina, 1971 1750 Spider Veloce w/ dual webers, 1985 Spider Veloce 23,000 orig. miles, {Two} 1986 Spider Veloces, 1987 Spider Veloce bought new, 1988 Quadrifoglio, 1991 164S, Plus several more. I think they are breeding.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-02-2016, 04:41 AM
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I can't see it being the relay as the other side works fine.

you could try operating the switch and opening and closing the door at the same time or jiggling the harness going through the door.......if it suddenly works like that, would be wiring.

I bet it is the switch controlling that side......the driver's side gets used much more..(I bet the arrow that side is worn off more!)
try jumping the appropriate contacts on the plug thats on the back of the switch (can't tell you which) or open the switch and clean the little contacts.

Dom - Alfa Spider 1990 S4 - formerly: Alfa 101 Sprint, 2600 Sprint, Montreal - family classics: Jensen Interceptor II, '58 Hooper RR Silver Cloud I, Shadow II, '60 Corvette.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-02-2016, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderserie4 View Post
you could try operating the switch and opening and closing the door at the same time or jiggling the harness going through the door.......if it suddenly works like that, would be wiring.
That's it! I am assuming that I should expose the wires, identify the cracking sections, cut them back to a healthy point, use new wires and connect those wires again. Right?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-02-2016, 04:18 PM
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Retrace your steps to see if you inadvertently contacted, moved, bent, broke, or disconnected something. Its more likely that's what happened as opposed to a sudden part failure. If it worked before you messed with the wiring, what could you have messed up to cause the problem. Don't start opening too many cans of worms until you're sure the messing around didnt create the mess you're in. Sorry about the messy response.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 01:26 AM Thread Starter
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As mentioned in post #7, the wiring between the door and the frame has rubbed against the metal so much, that multiple wires are blank now.

This week, I want to take off the door panels, replace the weather sheeting, grease the window mechanism with silicon spray, possibly take off the door mirrors and attempt to affix the glass properly (so that it won't wobble around in the mirror case anymore).

Can anyone share information around how to best replace the wiring? As I have said before, cutting them back to a healthy point and then reconnecting them with a new piece of wire seems to be the logical solution. However, accessing them is really tricky and I am wondering if I need to pull them from the footwell and then somehow get them back in the frame.

1) There must be a best practice here?
2) What thickness are the power window wires?
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by goulet115 View Post
possibly take off the door mirrors and attempt to affix the glass properly (so that it won't wobble around in the mirror case anymore).
no need to take off mirrors just to get the glass out....glass removes from front (just be real careful!)
some useful photos here:
http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/652415-post18.html

Dom - Alfa Spider 1990 S4 - formerly: Alfa 101 Sprint, 2600 Sprint, Montreal - family classics: Jensen Interceptor II, '58 Hooper RR Silver Cloud I, Shadow II, '60 Corvette.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 07:52 AM
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FWIW, if you are getting intermittent operation from your window switch it might be worth looking at what was causing a similar problem with mine.

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/show....php?p=7051969
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Considering the wires in the doors look like they do (see picture), I will start off with that. Will give the switch a look if the problem persists, certainly helpful advice!

Thanks spiderserie4 for reminding me that the glass can be taken out without disassembling the mirror case. In post 30 of the linked thread, it looks like there is a ring behind the glass housing. I don't have that. Is there anything I can do to reattach the glass housing more securely to the motor base? I suspect the wobbling to come from either this connection (motor base <> glass housing) or perhaps the motor base itself. The mirror case sits tight.

Thanks! Also, if anyone know the wire thickness for the power window wires, that would be helpful as well







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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-14-2016, 11:40 AM
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Your wiring issue is not uncommon: same thing happened to me.

The right way to do it would be to pull the wires completely out of the door and patch them, but god help you with that. The way I fixed it was to just patch/splice things as best I could by pulling the rubber tube covering the wires out of the way, then reinforce everything with a lot of electrical tape. This has held for like ten years.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-06-2016, 08:41 AM Thread Starter
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I did it the right way. I cut the wires, attached a string to them, pulled them from the door, replaced them with silicon wires, pulled those back in and reconnected them. Painful, but lasting solution.

While the door covers were off, I greased the power window pulleys with silicon spray. This is when I saw that the wire (strand) for the passenger side's window is disintegrating and about to snap. Needless to say I am not turning down that window anymore...

Does anyone have instructions for the daunting task of replacing that steel-wire?
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drainage, fuse box, power windows, relay

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