Window Switches 101 [long]

Kent McLean kentmclean at
Fri Oct 5 17:47:08 EDT 2001

Subtitled: The Windows On the Audi Go Up and Down
(sung to the tune of:

The passenger side window on my '89 200 TQ now goes up and
down. Yes, it was a broken wire, but finding it was the hard
part. Here's the synopsis of my effort to fix it, with
special thanks to Marc Swanson for his help.

1. I pulled the passenger side arm rest to check the switch
    and wires. Switch tested good with an ohmmeter. Here are
    the pin numbers for the switch (use a monospaced font):

	*                   *
	*  3|   4---   |5   *
	*                   *
	*      1|   |2      *
	*                   *

2. I checked the wires to the connector for voltage, ground,
    and continuity. Here's what I got:

	1 - black	(to motor)
	2 - green	(to motor; Bentley shows it as black/green)
	3 - white	(ground for light when headlights on)
	4 - red/black	(12v+ to motor and light)
	5 - black/green	(switched ground?)

    [In an emergency, if you jump a 12v battery's + and - posts
    to pins 1 and 2, the window should go up/down.]

3. Double and triple checked the wires between the door
    jamb and door for breaks. Everything was solid (or was
    patched solid).

4. At the John Harvard's dinner, Marc Swanson helped debug it.
    We could cycle the window by grounding pin 1 and jumping
    pins 2-4, and grounding 2 and jumping 1-4. This indicated
    a bad (broken) ground wire -- pin 5 black/green. He
    mentioned that the ground wire goes back to the driver's
    side door. Time to break out the Bentley.

5. The Bentley manual shows the pins for the RF passenger
    switch in the driver's door as follows:

	1 - white
	2 - black/green
	3 - brown
	4 - red/blue
	5 - brown

    P.S.S (passenger side switch) pin 5 goes directly to D.S.S
    pin 2 -- black/green wire.  [FYI, P.S.S pin 3 white wire
    goes directly to D.S.S. pin 1.]

6. I pulled the arm rest on the driver's side and connected
    the ohmmeter to P.S.S. pin 5 and D.S.S pin 2. There was
    no continuity, confirming the break.  Jumping the two
    pins (door to door) enabled the window to cycle up and
    down with the ignition on.

7. I dug into the rubber boot between the driver's door and
    door jamb.  There was no black/green wire!  I pulled the
    boot where it connected to the door jamb and poked around
    some more. There was a black/green wire, with a broken
    end. Eureka!

8. I poked into the hole in the driver's door and found a
    plastic butt end connector. I pulled it out and found a
    black/green wire on the other end. Ah-ha! Broken wire
    in the driver's door. QED.

9. I dug into my electrical collection and found some green
    wire. I put butt connectors on the free ends of a 12"
    (30mm) piece of wire. I used a magic marker to add a black
    tracer line. Perfect. No monkey lad sh!t for me.

10. I tried my new wire up against the door jamb side wire.
     It wouldn't fit my small connector. I'm guessing my
     splice wire was 16 or 18 gauge, whereas the window wire
     was 14 or 16.

11. Back to the house for thicker wire. No thick green wire,
     so I put on my Monkey Lad (TM) hat and used yellow. I
     marked it with black magic marker, hopefully to indicate
     it's a funny wire.

12. I first connected the wire on door side. It barely came
     out an inch (2.5cm), so I used a needle nose pliers to
     grab it, then with my other hand I cut off the old butt
     connector, stripped 1/4" of insulation off it, made the
     wires shiny with a Scotch Brite pad, put on the new
     connector [1], and crimped the bejeezus out of it with
     my El Cheapo crimpers. It was nice and snug. I tucked
     the connector deep inside the door.

13. I threaded the end of the new wire through the rubber
     boot. On the jamb side I had more wire to play with.
     I stripped it, cleaned it, and crimped the two wires
     together, and tucked the butt connector deep into the

14. With the ignition on, my passenger side window went
     down and up from the driver's side switch. I tried
     the passenger side switch, and it still worked. :-)
     Yee-Haaaaaa. My window is working again.

15. I put the armrests back together and buttoned up
     everything. The job's not done until you clean up
     the mess.

There is a great feeling of satisfaction when you fix
a problem that has been neglected for so long. My next
purchase is a good ratcheting crimper so I can fix the
rest of the cracked wires in the driver's door jamb.
And maybe re-do the one I just fixed.

Kent McLean
'89 200 TQ, "Bad Puppy"

[1] I spent big bucks (~US$1.00 each) on butt end
     connectors that had heat shrink tubing already
     attached as insulation. It would have worked
     great, but they were the small ones and didn't
     fit. I'm not sure I'd spend that kind of money
     again, though.

More information about the quattro mailing list