Mechanics

SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME!

1988 Toyota Camry • 0.5L 4 cylinder 2WD Automatic • 141,600 miles

I have an 88 Toyota Camry and the rear drivers side window won't go up but it will go down if I press the back window button. When I try to control it in the front, all of the panel lights for each window go off and back on when I let the button go. Also, I've tried to locate the problem with my lights. Every time I put a fuse in and turn on the parking lights to light up the dashboard, the fuse blows. Ive replaced the circuit board and still the same thing. I've disconnected the yellow box and opened it, to find that a small wire that's soldered onto the board was messed up, so I know that has to be replaced. Even with the box disconnected I'm still having a problem keeping the lights on. There's also a clicking noise as tho I'm unlocking the door and stops if I turn the car of and back on again when I press the power locks. Checked all wires for any cuts and I don't see any. When I hit the turning signal control there's a buzzing noise and then the light comes on.


Will someone please help me and please. I'm new to this "fix it yourself" thing and this is my first car so. Simple language that I can understand would be helpful. Someone help me please?
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Yota1988
February 13, 2014.




I can help with some of this. First of all, the lights in the switches going out when you press one of them suggests not enough current can get through to run those lights AND the window motor. That is almost always due to broken or frayed wires between the door hinges. Usually the insulation will crack first so you can see it, but if only the strands of wire break inside the insulation, you can be left with a carbon track that can possibly conduct enough current to run the lights in the switches, especially if they're led lights, but that's all. You may need to tug on the wires one at a time. Another potential clue is the lights and / or window operation may change as you're moving the door open or closed.

If those lights hadn't provided a clue, the next suspect is an arced or pitted switch contact. This can be confusing because there's actually four sets of contacts for each passenger window, There's two in the driver's switch for the passenger window, and there's two in that passenger's switch. All four of them will measure continuity to ground when both switches are released, and both window motor terminals will measure continuity to ground. When either switch is activated, one of its two contacts breaks the circuit to ground and is connected to the 12 volt supply. By alternating which switch contact gets 12 volts, you alternate which way the motor will run. When the motor works one way, the motor and all of the wiring has to be okay. That leaves a bad switch contact, and that contact could be in either switch.

For the blowing fuse, there's an easy trick we use with tv repair. Pull the blown fuse out, and if it's the common spade-type fuse, replace it with two solderless spade terminals, then use two small jumper wires to connect them to a 12 volt light bulb. When the circuit is turned on and the short is present, the bulb will just be full brightness and if you're using a brake light bulb, it will limit current to a safe value of about one amp. The bulb will get hot so don't let it lay against anything that can burn or melt, like plastic door panels and carpet. Now you can move wires around and unplug things to see what makes the short go away. When it does, the bulb will get dim or possibly go out.

Caradiodoc
Feb 13, 2014.
So it has to be a shorted wire or the relay needs to be replaced? I was going to get a new power window control for the driver side. I'm just trying to get the window up even if it never works again.

I'm not sure what u were talking about in terms of the fuses, but the fuses are not the problem. There's got to be an electrical short somewhere along the wires, causing the fuse to blow. This only happens the moment I turn the light switch from off to the parking lights. The moment the lights come on, they go back off and the fuse that I put in is blown, even with the light sensor removed. I thought that was the problem, but it's obvious that there is some kind of connection problem somewhere. The person who had the car had installed hi def lights on the car and he said when he turned the lights on that's when the issue started. He removed the components and put back the original parts and still the issue wasn't fixed.
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Tiny
Yota1988
Feb 13, 2014.
I understand exactly what is happening and I gave you a troubleshooting trick that few mechanics know about. You have a short after the light switch. That causes too much current to flow when you turn on the switch, and the fuse blows to protect the wiring. How many fuses are you going to install and allow to blow before you figure out there has to be some other way to troubleshoot the cause of the problem? That's where the light bulb comes in. By replacing the fuse with a light bulb, it limits the current to a safe value so nothing gets damaged, AND it gives you something visual to look at to know when you did something that removes the short. That allows you to narrow it down and find it. Once the bulb is installed, you'll see it get bright when you turn on the tail lights / dash lights. There's your indication the short is in the circuit. Now do things that might remove that short. When you do remove it, the bulb will get dim. Unplug that box you're talking about. If the light stays bright, that box is not related to the short. Move on to the next thing. Look for a chewed-up trailer harness, wires torn apart inside the trunk, a corroded wire that fell of the license lamp socket and is touching something metal, that aftermarket wiring someone added on, and things like that.

I made a harness by soldering a blown fuse to a bulb socket so I could quickly plug it in to any car, and I've used it dozens of times to find shorts. It works especially well for intermittent shorts like when the car hits a bump in the road. But instead of making you go through all the work of building this test tool that you may never use again, it's faster to just use a pair of spade terminals and a pair of jumper wires.

I didn't mean to confuse you with too much information about the windows. You gave two different symptoms. Each one has its best suspect. The point is, if it is a switch that's bad, it could be either one regardless of which one works or doesn't work. Both switches have contacts that are used when they are released, AND different contacts that are used when the switch is pressed one way or the other. If a released contact is burned or pitted, the other switch won't work. You can use a test light with a service manual to figure out which switch is bad, but it's easier to pop them apart to look for a burned contact, and it's easier to just plug in replacement switches to try if you have them.

Caradiodoc
Feb 13, 2014.
Ok I checked between the doors and I don't see any cuts or bruises on the wires. How can I test the system to see if I truly need a motor for the window? I believe that when he installed the hi def lights in the front, that shorted out some things and caused numerous electrical problems. The back window lever wasn't attached so I wasn't getting any power to the window, even from the front control panel. When I connected it, the window would only go down. I tried removing the door panel to check the wiring but it's stuck. I went along the car and haven't seen any frayed or cracked wires, but I do see a lot of wiring in the car that was cut or changed at some point although not sure where it came from. I wanted to do the bypass of putting the green/red with the green/white wires just to have brake lights and license plate lights, but I'm no electrician and I'd rather not tamper with it to cause more damage. I want to check the relays for the window and the lights. Can these issues be present because those relays haven't been reset even around the time that the previous owner shorted it out? I wanna check all possible things before purchasing parts. It it were easy to rewire all of this, I'd do it myself.

Tiny
Yota1988
Feb 14, 2014.
UPDATE!

I was praying that I didn't have to buy any more parts, especially a window motor. I'm happy that the window motor still runs. So I wiggled the drivers side door wires and this is what happened.

The window went up! Yet when I kept pressing them I was hitting different switches and the same window moved. I believe the passenger side window and the rear drivers side window are having connection issues because the switches seemingly reversed connection and one time when the passenger window control was pressed the rear driver window rolled down. I wiggled it again and it stopped. Right now the window is up thank god but now I'm worried that I can't use the windows.

I still have to check out the lights situation for there has to be a bruised wire that I'm not seeing which is causing the fuse blowout. I drove to the store and I hit the left turning signal and the buzzing sound came on and then the signals turned. I've got a feeling that the wires in the door are messed up so the fuse is blowing because a cracked wire somewhere is kicking back too much power to the fuse box. I'm a beginner at this yet it's common sense. The same thing within a house. If something is kicking out too much energy the fuse shuts the whole party down to safeguard everything else. I appreciate the help btw.

Tiny
Yota1988
Feb 14, 2014.
This is going to be a little tricky because I don't have a service manual to look at. You'll have to tell me the wire colors, then I'll draw my own schematic to work from. I would prefer if you would use a test light, but if all you have is a voltmeter, that's okay too. At some point you may need an ohm meter to do continuity tests. If you don't have a volt / ohm meter, Harbor Freight Tools has a perfectly fine one that often goes on sale for under 5 bucks. Sears, Walmart, and Radio Shack have them too, but don't waste your money on auto-ranging or other features you don't need.

Pull the rear door panel off and take the switch assembly out so you can plug it back in. You should find five wires in the connector. Two of those wires will match the colors at the motor. What are those colors?

Next, with the ignition switch on and the driver's master cutout switch on, you must find 12 volts on one of those remaining three wires. What color is that one?

The two remaining wires go back through the driver's switch, then to ground. What are their colors? Unplug the switch, then measure the continuity with the ohm meter set to the lowest scale. One meter lead goes to the terminal you're testing, and the other one goes to a clean, paint and rust-free point on the body. Sometimes that can be hard to find. Often the brass-colored nuts and bolts on the door striker will work. Those last two wires should read real low, like around, ... Oh, ... 2.0 to 5.0 ohms. Ideally they would read 0.0 ohms but there's going to be some resistance in the wires, switch contacts, and meter leads. The point is you don't want to find an open circuit, meaning real high or infinite resistance. Infinite is what the meter will display when the meter probes aren't touching anything.

Caradiodoc
Feb 14, 2014.
I didn't see your second reply. Sorry about that. Things do not "kick back" in electrical circuits. If something is shorted, the circuit will try to draw too much current, and that's when a fuse will blow.

Electrical theory is normally very hard for automotive people to understand because it requires visualizing everything. You can't see current flowing in a wire. People who like mechanical work learn best by seeing, feeling, and manipulating parts. They do not learn well by visualizing. I had real good luck with my beginning students by comparing everything electrical to water flow in a garden hose or river. I'm adding some pages to my web site on basic theory but it's going to be a while before it's done. Until then, I'll try to walk you though the window problem.

Caradiodoc
Feb 14, 2014.
Ok so I solved the issue with the blowing fuse and the control of the windows. I don't need anything but new wires. I taped up the wiring in the trunk which caused the blown fuses, and my dash and parking lights haven't cut off since. Now I have to figure out how to replace the wiring in the door. The wires that connect to the master control switch are cut between the door and I'm wondering if I can but the wires and slip them thru the door myself. I did cut the rubber piece to get to the wires so I want to know if that can also be replaced. Also, there's a buzzing sound that comes on sometimes when I hit the right turn signal. Why could be the cause of that?

Tiny
Yota1988
Feb 17, 2014.
The buzzing is likely related to a short related to that signal and wiring. I'd need more details or observations to know where to start looking.

For the wires between the door hinges, don't just patch them because the problem is going to occur again. The entire sections have been flexing and are going to keep on breaking. Some cars have harnesses that can be unbolted and unplugged, then you can do the repair on a workbench. For the rest, the way I handle them is to pull the grommets out of the door and the "A" pillar, then I cut one wire at a time beyond those rubber seals. If the piece of wire is ten inches long, for example, I make the new one about 24" long. Splice it at the "A" pillar, feed it through the grommet, then through the grommet for the door, then splice it on that end. To do the splicing, don't twist the strands like you would house wiring that gets a wire nut. Strip about 3/8" of insulation from both ends, slide the strands into each other, solder them, then seal the splice with heat-shrink tubing. All auto parts stores have heat-shrink tubing with hot-melt glue inside to seal out moisture. Don't use electrical tape. That will unravel into a gooey mess on a hot day, and the splices can short together.

It IS okay to wrap the bundle of wires with electrical tape but then slide the grommets over the ends of the tape to hold it in place. The bundle will be more than twice as long as before. Slide half of that through one of the grommets to store it inside the door or "A" pillar. The next time this repair needs to be done, when it gets pulled apart, the person will see that extra wire and the job will be half done. Just cut the frayed sections out, pull the extra out and splice it on the other end.

Caradiodoc
Feb 17, 2014.

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