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Imperial62

1992 Light Switch from a Riviera

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I believe it is interchangeable for the '90 & '91 Reattas and '90 thru '93 Rivieras.

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The 1990-1993 Riviera and the 1991 Reatta uses the same switch. The 1990 Reatta is a one year Reatta only switch.

 The switch shown doesn't have the Fog Light button which is needed for the 1990 Reatta.

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I went out and checked my 1990 convertible and I see what you mean.  Oh well, I will clean it up and keep handy. 

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12 hours ago, DAVES89 said:

The 1990-1993 Riviera and the 1991 Reatta uses the same switch. The 1990 Reatta is a one year Reatta only switch.

 The switch shown doesn't have the Fog Light button which is needed for the 1990 Reatta.

Thanks, Dave.

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12 hours ago, Imperial62 said:

I went out and checked my 1990 convertible and I see what you mean.  Oh well, I will clean it up and keep handy. 

Always good to have extra components around "just in case".

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Not gospel,  but I think Jim Finn said you can use that headlight switch on a 1990 but you loose control of the fog lights.....and the 1990 did not have the electronics for the headlight delay to work.

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One way or another, it is best to pull the part, pay the $5 or $10.  Pretty soon I should have quite a few parts. 

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Stanley

I know, right!  But it's OK.  I have to have a storage building for my employer and there should be room.   I personally think that THIS switch can be modified to work for 1990 Reattas but I will have to do some investigation.  In other words, if your fog lights work on your 1990 but the light switch does not, why can't you switch just the light switch over to the 1990 part or take the fog lights switch over to the 1991 -1994 part? 

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The circuit boards could be different. The housing may have all the right holes. Having a riv spare could come in  handy, my 90 headlight switch wasn't working correctly upon investigation someone had been in there before and lost one of the small contact pieces, 

Edited by 2reattas
Misspelled words (see edit history)

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ok, I get it now. Get the Riv headlamp switch from the years you mentioned, and rob the pieces and parts out of its guts to use to rebuild the '90 headlamp switch. I'd be surprised if the internals aren't common btw the two

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They are common to each other. I am not good enough to rebuild them myself so I send it out to Jim Finn for rebuilding.

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Internal circuit board is different for 90 switch (with fog light switch) versus 91-93 (including Riviera there) and are not interchangeable. There is also  different terminal arrangement for the 90 versus 91-93 version as two pins are moved depending on whether it is fog lamp output or twilight sentinel output to the dash harness. The housing components and switch paddles are identical for the purposes of cobbling together a switch from parts.

 

My advice for 90 owners not concerned about staying factory correct is to ditch the 90 switch when it does or galls apart and use a 91 (or the 91-93 Riviera variant without twilight sentinel which has a blank space in the bottom most position) and wire in a separate fog lamp switch elsewhere as was done with the 91 Reatta on the center console. This gets you around the need for the 90 switch, and unless you are doing show judging  (and can handle the wiring mods yourself) chasing down and paying for a 90 switch isn't really necessary. 

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Thanks Kevin! Welcome back.  Since you were gone I purchased 3 Reattas and sold one. Ha!  Like waking up from a dream.  I have an 88 parts car coming.

 

I am going to keep an eye out for 1990 beaters.   The switch I took a photo of above cleaned up very nice. The grimy part on the headlight switch push area I cleaned up with straight ethanol and there is still white lettering present. 

 

I am doing my best to avoid purchasing a 1991 White and Flame Red coupe in Minnesota. 

Edited by Imperial62 (see edit history)
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I can highly recommend a white and flame red 91 (not that I'm biased mind you). Still my favorite color combo, though polo green over tan and claret over tan are favorites as well. Wish I could get that claret and tan 90 linked in the buy/sell but simply not doable at present. 

 

I've been rebuilding headlamp switches (88/89 as well) and the 90 switch could be easily supplanted by just using an outboard fog lamp switch as I noted above. The switch output from the fog lamp button on the 90 controls a relay which in turn controls the fog lamps, so a different DPST switch  (one pole to control the relay and second to control a pilot lamp  indicator) of proper capacity to power the fog lamp relay coil would be easy enough to install in the center console or another location of one choosing.

 

I find the 90/91-93 switch to be a poor design in some regards. The internal switch contacts for the park and headlamp circuits are inadequate for the load placed on them, hence the addition of a headlight relay partway through production in 1990 cars (and all 1991 models) to stop scorching the switch internals.

 

The plastic housing is not so well thought out as the spring tension on the internal switch actuators eventually causes the switch assembly to blow apart (a frustration experienced by many here) and many small parts that can be easily lost in the process. Of course, GM being the notorious cost cutters they were only needed a switch good for maybe 7-10 years of reliable use as they expected the cars to be retired and replaced.

 

That we're now at three plus times that age for these cars and their components is not something GM of 1988-91 would've  been concerned with, they see these cars as disposable commodities ideally to be replaced  after a few years, otherwise they don't sell more cars and would go out of business if everyone expected 30 years from a vehicle. So, the business model is to make to the parts just good enough to last the time the company wanted car to last (longer than the warranty,  but short enough to guarantee they wear out and encourage the purchase of a new vehicle). Point being that the switch design could've been much better to ensure long term reliability. The finish on the button faces is also not so great and I see a lot of these damaged to the point of being illegible.

 

KDIrk

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So - should a person press the switch and hold for a moment (if that makes sense) or just push and release or does it make a long term difference? 

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I don't think it will make any difference. The one thing that does help reduce wear  is to be sure you are pressing the left edge of the switch face rather than the center. The switch actuators are located beneath the left edge of each switch face (lights, park, fog) and this is why later production switches have the "braille" indicating where to press the face. Each face is "hinged" on the right edge,  sitting in a ridge inside the housing. Pressing the center or right edge of the switch face puts undue mechanical stress on both the face and the internal parts, and should be avoided.

 

Another issue is the slide dimmer (and twilight slider on 91 switches). Be careful with these, as the slider cap is attached to a plastic extension that then snaps onto the slider inside the housing . This shaft extension is a poor design and can be broken easily at this age due to stress, rendering the slider inoperable. My solution to this when rebuilding a switch is to cut a short piece of heat shrink about 3/8" diameter (pre shrink) and heat shrink the shaft extension to the slider shaft. Unless the fingers that hold the extension on are broken off already this will keep it secure without  having to glue it on permanently.

 

KDIrk 

 

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