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Old 10-27-2008, 04:04 PM   #1
Spartus
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1997 SL2
Default Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

On my girlfriends '97 SL2, the rear defroster seems like it is not working. The orange light also does not light up when I press the button.

Could this be a fuse or another problem. Please guide me in the right direction with winter approaching quickly.

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Old 10-27-2008, 04:51 PM   #2
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Default Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

I would start off with the fuse panel inside on the passenger side underneath the glove box on the side of the center console. If it's a blown fuse you can put a new one in for pennies from the auto store.

When I bought my 94SL2...my cigarette lighter wasn't working. Turns out, there wasn't a fuse in the fuse box. Put a new fuse in and it works great. I use it for my Sirius Satellite power.

You'll also want to check the underhood junction fuse box as a 2nd check. My guess is that the interior fuse is blown or is not there.

...
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Old 10-27-2008, 05:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

Ok, which fuse would correspond to the rear defroster?

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Old 10-27-2008, 05:23 PM   #4
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Default Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

look on the inside cover of the fuse access door, there should be a diagram to corespond the fuse to their function

...
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Old 10-27-2008, 05:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartus View Post
On my girlfriends '97 SL2, the rear defroster seems like it is not working. The orange light also does not light up when I press the button.

Could this be a fuse or another problem. Please guide me in the right direction with winter approaching quickly.
+1 on the fuse. If the fuse is OK, try swapping out the relay. If that's not it, then it is likely the switch or possibly the light on the switch.

I had a similar problem, but the light came on while I held the switch down, and went out when I released the button. My problem was with the chime module -- which has a circuit to time the defrost for a few minutes. The chime module was *missing*. Replaced it, and works great.

...
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Old 10-28-2008, 02:10 AM   #6
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Default Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

Chime...Interesting!

I've noticed that the chime that comes on when he key is left in the ignition no longer comes on. You are saying these two are related? The belt light no longer comes on as well. Perhaps the three are related?

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Old 10-28-2008, 09:34 AM   #7
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Arrow Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartus View Post
Chime...Interesting!

I've noticed that the chime that comes on when he key is left in the ignition no longer comes on. You are saying these two are related? The belt light no longer comes on as well. Perhaps the three are related?
The rear defroster has several components. There's the switch, relay, timer and lamp. The switch energizes the relay, which starts the timer circuit and lights the lamp, as well as passing current to the defroster. When you let go, the timer circuit keeps the relay energized for a few minutes. The timer circuit is part of the chime module.

In your case, you're not seeing the lamp on the switch light. So, we should check things that we can test.

1) Fuse -- if the fuse is open, then nothing will work. Check that first. Look at the owners manual or passenger-side cover panel to figure out which fuse it is.
2) Relay -- the same relay is used for another circuit (I can't remember what it is -- heater/A/C blower maybe?). Swap the relays. If it works you can swap it back and try again -- it may be a bad connection.
3) Lamp -- it could be that everything is working, you just have a bad lamp.
You can check for voltage at the back window when you depress the switch. (you might need some help for that) Maybe you could hold down the switch and see if the the window heats up any.
4) Timer -- if the timer were bad, the light should light, but go out when you let go. You might try unplugging and replugging the chime module. This is a deck of cards sided plastic module that is on the opposite side of the fuse panel. Take off the driver side cover panel and you should see it.
5) Switch -- if the switch is bad, you won't get started. You can take off the outer radio panel and pull the switch connector off. You can wire across the switch and see if the defroster heats. (or again check with a voltmeter)
6) Connections -- these are the hardest to diagnose, but you could have a bad connection somewhere. Sometimes fiddling with the components will wipe the contacts clean and it will start working.

From the description, it doesn't sound like the timer is the problem, but if your ignition key chime is missing, that could be an issue as well. Does your headlight chime work? Does the driver door jamb switch work? If your dome light doesn't come on when the driver door is opened, then you may have a bad switch there and the chime won't work for either the headlights or the ignition switch.

For the record, my 1995 SC1 was missing both the chime module and the door jamb switch. I replaced them, and the rear defrost and the dome light and chimes all work now.

Good Luck!

...
Bill Coleman
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1999 Saturn SL2 Auto (11/09-...) "White"
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Old 10-28-2008, 09:54 AM   #8
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Default Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

Most of the above is in your owner's manual.

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Old 10-28-2008, 10:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

Spartus:
By any chance do you have an aftermarket stereo in the car? Or other add on electrical equipment.

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Old 10-28-2008, 10:33 AM   #10
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Default Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

There is no aftermarket radio in this car. The dome lights come on, when the door is opened. The chime for when the keys are left in the ignition does not come on, the seat belt light does not comes on when one is not fastened while driving, the rear defroster switch light does not come on when pressed, and the rear defroster light is not working. Some how I believe the above all started at the same time.

There may be other symptoms the car is having which I have noticed yet.

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Old 10-28-2008, 10:35 AM   #11
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Default Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

I will check if the chime comes on when the lights are left on. From what I remember, the chime does not come on at all for anything at this point.

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Old 10-28-2008, 10:53 AM   #12
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Default Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

Chime module. Remove the kick panel on the DRIVER'S side. You'll see a cigarette-pack-sized module plugged into the BACK side of the fuse box, typically orange, green or white. Remove and re-install it. If that doesn't cure it, replace it.

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Old 10-28-2008, 11:33 AM   #13
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Default Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartus View Post
I will check if the chime comes on when the lights are left on. From what I remember, the chime does not come on at all for anything at this point.
What else does not work? The Chime is only a symptom, not the problem if other items are dead.

The CHIME module controls the rear window defogger in the later cars. Any thing else not working? Dome lamp, radio etc.

EDIT: Saw your response above. Try the CHIME module. It looks like its dead. Or the power to it is dead. Check CHIME fuse also.

Last edited by OldNuc; 10-28-2008 at 11:42 AM..

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Old 10-28-2008, 06:39 PM   #14
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Default Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

Ok, I'll check the fuse first. Which fuse would correspond to the chime and defroster?

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Old 10-28-2008, 06:55 PM   #15
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Default Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

Chime fuse in the inside fuse panel, I/P Panel. IT is labeled CHIME. If the fuse is good then either go to the J/Y and get another chime module or do you have a DVM and decent probes?

The CHIME module from 96-99 is interchangeable.

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Old 11-02-2008, 06:27 PM   #16
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Default Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

Checked the fuses, all are ok. Where can I buy the chime relay/module other than dealership or junk yard. How much do they run?

Summary: Rear defroster not working, defroster button not lighting up orange when pressed, chime not working, and seat belt light not working.

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Old 11-03-2008, 05:05 PM   #17
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Default Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartus View Post
Checked the fuses, all are ok. Where can I buy the chime relay/module other than dealership or junk yard. How much do they run?

Summary: Rear defroster not working, defroster button not lighting up orange when pressed, chime not working, and seat belt light not working.
Did you check the relay? Try swapping it with the adjacent relay in the fuse box.

Junkyard is your best bet for a Chime module. You might try searching on eBay motors. I got lucky and found one there.

...
Bill Coleman
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1999 Saturn SL2 Auto (11/09-...) "White"
1995 Saturn SC1 Manual (9/08-...) "Gold"
1994 Saturn SL1 Auto (7/94-1/04) 144,000 miles "Green"

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Old 11-03-2008, 05:23 PM   #18
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Default Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

Before buying a CHIME module, or making a trip, try (see above) removing yours and re-installing it. There are several reports here of this restoring CHIME-based functions; either it "resets" something, or simply re-seating the terminals does the trick.

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Old 11-04-2008, 07:04 PM   #19
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Default Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

Checked the fuses and all are ok. Pulled out the chime relay and re-installed with no change or success.

Next step is to buy a working used chime relay. Anyone have one that will fit a '97 SL2? I need to get this rear defroster working for my girlfriend before the real winter hits.

Any other comments/suggestions?

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Old 11-04-2008, 07:26 PM   #20
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Default Re: Rear Defroster not working. Defroster button does not light up.

try your local junkyard. probably gonna be the cheapest option.
my guess is and 96-99 sl2 should work

...
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