Piston Slap: Oldsmobile Aurora Window a Real Downer

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

TTAC Commentator KalapanaBlack writes:

My mother has a 2001 Oldsmobile Aurora 4.0 with 60,000 miles. There have been four or five problems with it since new, but it hasn’t been as disastrously unreliable as I feared a $40,000 knock-off Caddy would be, especially given the “reliability” of the other K and G-Body sedans.

The problem: about two weeks ago, she attempted to roll the passenger side front window down and noticed that it wouldn’t budge. I thought it might loosen up with repeated closing of the door, but that didn’t work. The window lock button is not engaged, and the window refuses to work for the master (driver side) switch or the switch mounted on its own door.

The G-Body FWD big sedans (LeSabre, Bonneville, Aurora, Park Avenue) are infamous for their power window troubles, however this is different than anything I’ve heard of. Usually they fall into the door or the motor goes out or the track breaks off.

This, however, is stuck all the way up, failed sometime when not in use, and the switches cause a clicking noise not unlike someone pushing “up” on the switch while the window is already all the way up, however in this case, it’s all the way up and experiences that behavior while trying to roll it down.

Furthermore, no Oldsmobile dealers exist any longer, Chevrolet dealers won’t touch the G-Body or Northstar (Aurora) V8, and Cadillac dealers want over $100/hour of labor, and that includes simply looking at it and providing an opinion.

Sajeev answers:

How ironic, as I had this problem on my Mark VIII just last week. Same symptoms. It’s an easy fix (for me) as the usual fail point is a set of three Gummi Bear-ish bushings that dry rot and render the window motor useless. With any luck, you’re in the same boat and a plastic part bit the dust. And you might find the replacement part in the Dorman catalog.

However, after searching the Aurora forums and Rock Auto, I am quite uncertain. Your problem is either the window motor or the regulator which should be easy to spot with the interior door skin removed. If you haven’t made the time to find a non-dealer, non-franchise mechanic with a strong local reputation to help, get off your keister and do it.

We all know GM dealers are hurting for cash right now, and a fully depreciated Aurora in the service bay is like the goose that laid the golden egg. And makes new car salesmen weak in the knees. But we all know there’s no replacement for Oldsmobile’s finest, right?

Bonus! A Piston Slap Nugget of Wisdom:

I’ve heard the horror stories of replacing glass-jaw worthy window regulators, and that truly sucks. The consumer demands a durable power window system, but there needs to be a singular fail point to ensure your car doesn’t double as a Ginsu knife on your pet, child or inebriated significant other. So don’t mess with a good thing.

While some folks replace the plastic “junk” with a metal part (in the case of my car, replacing the bushings with metal nuts from a hardware store), they are asking for trouble. Or handing down some bad karma to their car’s next owner. So think before you act, and maybe leave well enough alone.

[Send your technical questions to mehta@ttac.com]

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

More by Sajeev Mehta

Join the conversation
2 of 28 comments
  • Oldyak Oldyak on Jul 29, 2009

    Those damn american cars..... Just to give the Aurora owner a 'heads up' I just had my power windows rebuilt on my 1989 Taurus S.H.O. It cost me a Whole $300 for both! This 'bad old' american car is still daily driven and I dont think that 20 years is too bad for a power window!! I really hate to think that you would have to pay more than that at an independent garage. If you are looking for a reason to get rid of it,Get rid of it! and by the way.....I wonder how much a 20 year old window rebuild would be for a non domestic....ouch maybe!


    I have a 2001 Aurora 4.0. Over the years, all 4 window regulators failed. I had the fronts replaced, I then got the door panels on the rears off & wired the windows up in place. End of window problems.

  • Theflyersfan I guess I should have kept my first ever car which was also a 1987 Nissan. Probably could have sold it for $50,000 by now if I was living in this fantasy world where used up 37 year old Nissans sell for the same price as a new Versa. I wish a link was here so all of us can check out this treasure among junk 200SX. The only way this car is even remotely worth that kind of money is if there are illicit substances hidden somewhere in the frame that, as part of the sale, you have to drive across the border and "make a delivery." Otherwise, get that thing off of my lawn.
  • Sobro Needs moar Roots.
  • RHD Questions? None, no, not really. Interested in some random Hyundai? No, not at all. Yawn.
  • Formula m Alfa-Romeo had the great idea to unveil my all time favourite car at the world expo in Montreal. Never built or Sold in North America. The called it the Alfa Romeo Montreal. Never even sold in North America.