Window motor or regulator? Is there a way to guess before opening up the door?


2001 Dodge Grand Caravan, 3.3L V6, 100k miles. Front passenger side power window has been non-functional for a while now and the wife is on me to get it working for the summer. I told her that the A/C is all she needs, but that didn’t work. :slight_smile:

My question is, is there a way to take an educated guess at what the problem is before I open up the door? The reason being that I’d like to order the part ahead of time since it takes 4-5 days for it to arrive, and buying locally (Canada) isn’t an option (4 to 5 times more expensive than online prices).

Here’s the symptoms: Normally does not budge down, and there is no motor sound when pressing the “down” button. Sometimes, randomly, it will go down, very slowly. Trying to get it back up is tough, usually needs to be coaxed by pulling the window up by hand, bit by bit, along with pressing the “up” button.

Even when it does move up/down, it’s not a smooth, continuous motion, it just goes a little at a time, and when it stops, you have to let go of the window control and try again (hope that makes sense).

When it’s not budging up/down, it’s quiet, no sound of a motor working hard or anything, so I’m leaning towards the motor over the regulator…?

Any ideas? I know there’s no guarantees but I hoped the behaviour of the window might give some of the experts here the answer.




I would guess that you’ll need a new motor.

But what I would do is order nothing. Pull the door panel, and assess the story w/ the door parts - e.g. you could find that a good cleaning of all the contacts and greasing up of moving parts might mean no need for new parts. (Its unlikely to be like new, but maybe enough to satisfy the other family members for the cost of a bit of lithium grease).

If you do need new parts, just stash the door panel someplace where it won’t get beat up, order the parts and the van goes w/out its panel for a week or so while you wait on the parts and such.

That’s what I’d probably do anyway.


Hmmm I like that idea, I hate the thought of spending $90 needlessly. I think we could live with the door like that for a few days.

I understand there is a plastic barrier (shield? not sure of the right term) between the door panel and the door, will that be easy enough to keep on the door without the panel attached?


I’ve only taken then apart on cars that I’ve owned, so I can’t speak for all - but yes, I’ve always found a thick plastic film held by that thick ever-sticky tar-like stuff - whatever its called. That can be pulled off and stuck back on. You also may find that there is an easy way to stick the door panel on temporarily (couple of screws or something).

Or leave the panel off a really long time - then when your wife complains about that you can just ask her which way she wants it - or some other wise-a** thing like that.


Haha ok thanks - and yeah, I’m sure something smart like that will be said at some point during this repair. She loves that.


My vote is for the motor.


You may also have a worn out track since you noted the window moves kind of sticky like.

I think you are going to have to take it apart to see what’s wrong.



It doesn’t matter. The motor and regulator are all one assembly.



When I ordered a used window regulator from a junkyard, there was a working motor attached. Apparently they are sold together. At least in this particular case.


Just the window motor is available, with a price range of $39.79 to $64.79 at I have found them to have some of the better prices on parts, and the price range is for supposed quality differences - but most aftermarket parts seem to come from China now. The entire regulator including a new motor has a price range of $67.89 to 79.99. The dealer will always charge a lot more.

My experience is that the cables in the regulator bind and/or break, and lock up the motor - hence no motor sound. For the small price difference, think about getting the entire regulator with a new motor already attached (they are often pressed into place and aren’t meant to have the motors installed seperatley). The hardest part is getting the insode of the door off and then keeping the windo in the up position while you switch the regulators. A suction cup on the window will help keep the window up. If it slams down and breaks, you will feel pretty foolish.


I haven’t been able to find the motor and regulator together, RockAuto only lists them separately…I’ll check some other sites out. And I’ll check the local junkyards.

Thanks for the other tips on doing the replacement, I agree that I’ll have to take the door apart to really figure out what the problem is.

I’m not too electronically savvy, but I do have a multimeter and know how to use it…can anyone describe how I can test the motor once I’m in there with the multimeter?


I’d replace both the regulator and motor at the same time. You can do a web search and get them on line. I bought them for my 1998 Regal and paid less than $70 delivered for each one.


When I last looked on the Rock Auto site, the regulator was listed seperately, but if you clicked on the picture of the regulator, I saw that the motor was attached to it and included. This was also the case when I replaced the regulator on my Silverado.


Yes, I just double checked and although they list it as the regulator, when you click on the details, the regulator includes the motor. I’ll still probably open up the door first to assess things and then order the motor/regulator unit.