Window Switch Stumper

I have an '04 Subaru Forester. When I bought the car two years ago, the passenger side window switch was finicky…it would work about half the time. Then it worked about ten percent of the time. Then it stopped working all together.

So I ripped up the door as needed and replaced the window switch. The new switch worked great for about a year, then stopped working about half the time, and now it once again doesn’t work at all.

I can still control the window from the driver’s side control panel. The passenger side switch still has power, as the little led continues to glow. I don’t want to replace it again, only to have it die in a year. What’s going on?

Why did you have to rip up the door? Can’t the switch be pried out and replaced without taking the door apart?

Sounds like a mechanical problem in the window switch. If you are a pack rat like many of us, the original switch is gathering dust in a cardboard box in your garage or basement. Dig it out and take it apart – use force if appropriate. What you want to know is why it failed – Corrosion? Wear? Gunk collecting in the works? If you can figure that out, you can probably figure out what has to be done with the current switch. If you can’t identify a cause, pull the door panel and look at the wires going to the switch. Maybe a bad connection of some sort.

Well, I was being somewhat dramatic. I have to take out the plastic door handle, which involves removing a couple screws and playing nice with 6 or 8 plastic tabs.

So I guess the question I need to answer is:
Why are window switches on the passenger side door receiving excessive wear? I’ve had the car for two years and am going on my third switch. I’ll look closely at the switch to see what exactly is going on.

Is there a switch that disables the passenger’s window controls so that only the driver can operate it? If there is, I would check it.

If this turns out to be a case of the “disable” switch on the driver’s door panel being activated–or being defective–then this episode represents a lot of wasted effort on the part of the OP.
I agree with Whitey that the “disable” switch needs to be checked.

That would represent a lot of wasted effort! Unfortunately, the slow death of the window switch occurred just as it did the time before. It started being somewhat finicky and then worked less and less frequently every day. The window might go down half way and then stop or all the way and not come back up.

That’s no reason not to test the “disable” switch for an intermittent malfunction.

When the door was apart, did it look like there was sufficient water intrusion ? A gradual build-up of corrosion might explain the gradual malfunction.
Check the window weather strips, lock cylinder, and the front face of the door where the wire harness enters the door for proper seal.

For power lock and power window testing a test light that shows both power or ground has been a blessing to me.