2004 Ford Thunderbird electronic modules

  • 8.9L
  • V8
  • RWD
  • 34,000 MILES
Drivers side window wouldn't go up and down, I brought it to the dealership and supposedly had it fixed. Returned home and passenger side didn't work. Brought it back and the window went up & down for the dealer got home and hasn't worked since. Brought it to another dealer they said I needed a regulator and a master switch which I thought I had replaced the first time. They got parts and called me and said it wasn't what they thought because it didn't fix the problem and now the convertible top won't go down and both windows are having problems. They told me I needed an electronic module and/or a rear electronic module but parts can't be found anywhere. Dealer tells me to call Ford Customer service. Customer Service tells me to call Ford Dealer because they are the only ones who can advocate for me with Ford. So three weeks later my car is still at the dealership and nobody knows what to do.
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Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 AT 8:00 PM

1 Reply

Well, you just found out how well Ford supports their products. It's hard to get parts from them for cars over five years old, so you often need to find used ones at local salvage yards. In this case it's impossible to do any type of diagnosis over a computer, but as a general rule when you have new problems cropping up right after a different one was fixed, it's usually caused by something they have in common. As an example, the insane engineers have seen fit to hang notoriously unreliable computers onto every part of the car that never needed computers before. The environment they have to live in is not suited for electronics. In this case it is easy for corrosion to develop on the connector pins. Simply unplugging the connector during other service can disturb that corrosion and make an intermittent problem go away and falsely appear to be fixed, or it can make a new problem occur. Those pins can break loose from their solder connections inside the computer module too and cause intermittent problems.

Another thing to consider is broken or frayed wires between the door hinges. That can happen on any car, and there's no telling when a second or third wire will break. If a wire for the passenger window broke just as you drove into the dealership, or while they were working on it, it's only natural for you to assume the mechanic did something to cause it, but in reality, it was going to happen anyway. It's just a matter of who was in the car when it happened.

As a further point of interest, if possible, don't run to different dealers or repair shops. If the mechanic at the first one did something wrong, he should be given the chance to correct his mistake. If that mistake needs to be diagnosed and repaired at a different shop, you'll be the one paying for it. Also, just as with running to different doctors, each mechanic is going to have to start the diagnosis from the beginning, and you'll be paying each one to do over what the last one already did. Unfortunately, with the extremely complicated electronics today, there often is no easy way to diagnose a problem except by substituting a computer. When they don't have one on hand, they have to go with experience and their best guess. That means, ... Again, as with doctors, trying different things until they find the solution. That means multiple return trips or leaving the car with them until it is fully repaired.

You ran into these problems with the second dealer. Logic would dictate that the switch OR the motor on the regulator could cause the window to not work, but how did they justify telling you two totally different parts became defective at exactly the same time? They too need to swap known good parts to do their diagnosis, but in this case, motors and switches are easy to test without resorting to replacing them. Now they're guessing at the various modules, and they may need to order them to try them. Who is going to pay for them if they don't solve the problem?
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Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 AT 8:42 PM

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