The power window controls on my 1998 crown victoria police interceptor were difficult to see at night. When I wanted to roll down the drivers side front window in a hurry at night, I would often press the control switch for the drivers side rear window by mistake. After some investigation, it became apparent that although the power door lock and power window switches were not illuminated, they had green light emitting diodes (LEDs) in them.

1995-1999 civilian and police model crown victorias use the same power lock and power window switches as civilian models, but civilian models are illuminated at night and the police models are not. The difference is in the 14a005 body wiring harness installed in the car, not in the switches themselves.

Starting part way into the 1999 model year, ford removed the backlighting leds from the switches entirely. The plastic castings are the same between the civilian and police models though, so it is possible to install some small leds and current limiting resistors if one is familar with the use of a soldering iron. But the easiest solution if you've got a 2000-2002 crown vic and desire backlighting for the switches would be to acquire some new switch assemblies.

Below are some notes about adding backlighting to the power window and power lock switches in 1995 and later model year police crown victorias. This article does not apply to 1994 and prior crown victorias as they use non-lighted chrome switches.

Note that the switch backlighting leds are not very bright and even if the lights are functioning, they will not appear to be illuminated if viewed during the daylight hours. On a cloudy day when the car is parked in a shady area, you should be able to see the lights by cupping your hands over the switches and looking closely at them. But the easiest method to see if the lights are working properly would be to install the needed jumper wires during the bright daylight hours when you can see what you're doing and then wait until the dark nighttime hours to see if the door switch lights are working properly.

Drivers Master Control Switches:

This is the easiest switch to add backlighting to, it is also the most useful as well.

There is a small electrical harness that connects from the drivers door harness to the switche sockets. The harness provides a ground path to the leds, all that is needed to get them lighted is to apply +12V on pin12. As can be seen by the diagram below, an ignition switched power lead is avaliable on pin19 of the switch sockets. If a small jumper wire is installed between pins12 and pins19, the switches will be lighted whenever the key is in the run or acc positions. Lights are not that bright and will not be visible during the daytime even if they have power applied to them.

Front Passengers Switches:

Not having the front passengers switches illuminated at night when the drivers are lighted looked out of place and was not symetric. To add backlighting to the front passengers side switches requires more effort than the drivers switches though.

The switch socket is the same on civilian and police models, but the four pins that connect to the switch leds are not installed. For this part of the project, I cut the switch sockets off a wrecked taurus at the salvage yard and slid the four pins out of the donor socket and then slid them into my vics socket. Now had 4 unused wires not connected to anything.

I then proceded to locate a 9volt battery that would typically be used in smoke detectors and television remote controls. Applying the terminals of the 9 volt battery to each pair of backlighting wires illuminated the switch which meant that the leds were installed and I had a good connection to the switch. Also of note is that leds are polarity sensitive so it does matter which terminal is grounded and which has +12V, leds will only light one way.

Both the power lock and power window switches are a ground at rest setup, so pins 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12 can all be used as a ground source.

Pin 5 has +12V on it but it is also a constant live. Since it is undesireable to have the switches illuminated even when the ignition is turned off, Pin 10 is a better choice to use for a +12V source as it is switched on and off with the ignition.

Problem with using Pin10 as a +12V source is that it is only live when the drivers master switch window lockout control is off. But I found this desireable, since when I lock out the ability for the passengers to control their windows I also remove the temptation to play with the lighted switches because the lights turn off.

Rear seat switches:

This part of the project strongly resembles adding backlighting to the front passengers side switches.

Connector pins need to be installed into locations 6 and 7 on the socket.

Pin 3 is the only ignition controlled +12V source avaliable in the door, but it is only live when the drivers master control lockout switch is turned off.

Can choose any one of pins 1, 2, 4, 5 as a ground source since the power window system is ground at rest setup.

Other thoughts and issues:

The backlighting on civilian vic switches is tied to the pwm dimming output of the lcm, so they are only illuminated when the parking lamps or headlamps are turned on. On cars such as the ford taurus, the switches are illuminated whenever the ignition key is in the run or acc positions. Leds are constructed differently than incandesant bulbs and even if powered continously whenever the engine is running, they will usually last the effective life of the vehicle.

Many fords share the same window and lock switches, the difference is in the color of the switch buttons and in the color of the backlighting leds. For instance, my 1998 crown vic has black switch buttons in the front of the car and body colored switches on the back doors but they are all backlighted with green leds. Ford tauruses likewise use black switches with the same pinout but have yellow leds for backlighting. The only color leds you're likely to see used by ford are green, yellow, and red. Other colors are avaliable but they are prohibitively expensive for a company that manufactures millions of vehicles a year.

Here's the connector for the drivers master switch socket harness. If you look closely, you'll notice that pin 4 is installed on the short harness that connects from the switch socket to the door harness. But the plug on the door harness is missing pin 4.

If you're ambitous and want to run a new power wire to each door in the car so that the switch backlighting dims with the dash lights, the wiring diagrams for the dash illumination circuit are shown below.

Below is a list of part numbers for the black power window and black power lock switches for a 1998 civilian crown victoria. Note that replacing just the drivers door switches only costs around $65 if you pay full retail for your parts. But replacing the power window and lock switches on all 4 doors in the car would cost close to $200.

Part Number
Retail Cost
drivers master power window switch
front power door lock switch (both the driver and passenger sides use the same switch)
front passenger power window switch (back doors also use the same switch)

All 1995-2002 crown victorias and grand marquis use the same switch sockets, so a 2002 switch will physically fit into a 1995 vehicle without issues. The difference between 1995-1997 and 1998-2002 years is in the color of the backlighting leds. Additionally some other vehicles such as 1993-1995 ford tauruses and mercury sables use switches that will work in a crown vic.

If you opt for preowned salvage yard parts from a wrecked vehicle, acquire switches from a donor car that still has all it's doors and windows intact to lower your chances of getting switches that have corrosion on internal metal contacts from being exposed to the rain and snow.

Also note that each time the switch is pressed, metal parts inside the switch flex. With enough flexing, it is possible for the contacts to fatigue and snap causing inoperative power windows and locks. The switches that tend to get the majority of the use and corresponding wear are located on the drivers door. In most cases, the switches on the other doors in the car rarely if ever get used. It is not too common for contacts to break, but it's still a good idea to get your switches from the newest donor vehicle that you can find to avert problems in the future.

Pictures of Actual Switches:

Below are some pictures of the driver's master window switch from a 99' PI.

(Click on any of the images below to view a larger version)

Below is the driver's master switch with the to switch caps removed. The green dots that are visible are the backlighting led's that we're interested in. The rectangular metal brackets are to improve switch feel so that it doesn't rock side to side.

Keep in mind that to keep their police cruisers in good running condition, many departments use "pre-owned" parts from wrecked vehicles to hold down costs. So even if you've got a 95'-98' police interceptor, it's possible that your vehicle won't have the backlighting led's inside the switches because the vehicle doesn't have the original switches installed by ford during manufacture.

Below are the driver's switches from a 97' P71. Take note of that the led's are an amber color instead of green.

Below is the inside of the driver's switch. The resistors shown are to limit the current flowing through the led's. The two identical springs are present to allow electricity to flow from the bottom conector pins to the led's on the top of the switch. The other spring and the white plastic rods are for the window lockout portion of the switch.

Take note of the corrosion forming on some of the copper contacts inside the switch. If you've got a PI with windows that only operate from the drivers master switch and have already looked for connector pins that have been removed from the switch sockets and cut wires, it's quite possible that the drivers switch is in need of replacement. Similarly, if you've got a PI with windows that only move in one direction but not the other (up but not down), highly suspect that something is wrong with your switches.

Below are some pictures of the passenger's window switch

And here's another picture showing the amber led's used in 95-97 crown vics and the green led's used in 98-02 vics.

Questions or Comments?

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