AZVET

Someone was in there before!

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My 117,000 mile Reatta has had good headlights for the (almost) 2 years I have owned it.  The driver's side was a bit slow to open when the weather turned colder but a good soaking with oil on the rotation points always seemed to help.  I has been in the 40s here in NW Arizona at night but we have been in the low 70/high 60 range during the day.  I have not been driving her after dark.

Today I took the headlight and its gear apart and discovered a few things.  The weather pack connector has been boogered up but it is a 30 year car so what else is new.  The bell crank was in excellent condition but had some slop in it. I added a thin washer to fix that.  The gear was hardly lubed at all and the new Delrin buttons inside were completely dry!.  There are supposed to be 3 bolts that hold the motor to the bracket but mine is missing one.

I will be searching the hardware store for another bolt so I can finish putting her together this week.  I lubed everything with Vaseline.  That is what I used on the C4 Corvettes I used to own and worked fine.

I will also be buying new Silverstar headlights to brighten things up too.

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5 minutes ago, AZVET said:

...and the new Delrin buttons inside were completely dry!.

 

Mine were dry too. I'm not sure why you would want to lubricate them?

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I removed the LED set up on the Red as the headlight housing was taking on water. I put the Silver stars I has previously purchased back in. However because I had also at the time installed a relay harness when I did the LEDs I found that the lights seemed brighter then they had before. Good idea anyhow as it takes the strain off the headlight switch.

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Dave You are correct about being much Brighter after the Relay install. I did my car about 3 months ago and WOW what a difference from before. They are brighter then the ones in my Truck. I was looking for an light upgrade and considered the led's. But after the relay install with direct battery power to the lights solved that.  

 

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Thanks for the affirmation Dashmaster. I hear a song now in my head "Follow me I'm the Pied Piper"...

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I suppose you could argue about lubing the "rollers" but they do not turn or roll.......they act as keys that connect the white gear to the output shaft.

The motor design was used before the Reatta and we believe the rollers were to act as a clutch.....if the headlight were frozen shut etc...the motor would try to turn and the rollers would "ratchet" to keep from breaking other parts...

that was the original intent.

In the Reatta, there is a motor controller.....if for some reason the headlight is stuck, the motor current goes up and the controller shuts it off, so the rollers only do half of what they originally were intended to do.

So in the Reatta there is no need for lube on the roller, but it will not hurt anything....unless you were to use some lube that was incompatible with the roller plastic.

I have rebuilt lots of headlight motors and sometimes if they have been worked on before, I have found lots of different things replacing the rollers.  Here is a partial list... ball bearing, hex nuts, wooden dowel (bad idea) the spray nozzle from rattle paint, and a few with the gear and shaft filled with epoxy.

You said the arm/bellcrank was in good shape but was sloppy... there is only one thing that goes wrong with the original bellcranks....they get sloppy, the flatted hold starts looking like a bow tie and get worse until it completely wears out.

The main problem with the originals is the soft material, Reatta owners over the years have added washer, (just tightening the nut will make them work for a while).   If you go to www.reatta.net you will find a post I made at least 15 years ago about making a special washer......it works but not for long, then there is the strip of metal that is formed but that has a limited life. 

We also thought (20 years ago) the the problem was the white gear stripping teeth......but of all the motors I have rebuilt I have had only one gear with bad teeth and that may have happened when someone did repair.

I don't have a list but several GM cars used the internals of the motor for motors on Pontiac, Corvette, and Buick.   The motor armature, gear, and motor housing is the same on all of them.......the variations came with output shafts (Buick has a Skylark that one motor did both headlight s so the motor shaft came out both sides of the motor.

I have attached some photos of various headlight problems and fixes..... the most recent problem that I have seen is the last picture....the output shaft knurl has worn out the cast part and the cast part spins on the shaft when the motor runs.  Epoxy, and lock tite will hold for a while but I drill a 1/8 hole and insert a roll-pin for a permanent fix.

bellcrank repair.jpg

BELLCRANKS.jpg

wood dowel.jpg

Sketch.jpg

Molded gear 2.JPG

fix.jpg

old fixes.JPG

shaft 5.jpg

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 The picture shown above of the use of wooden dowels is a very good example of the harsh environment those 3 balls take every time the doors are open. If you look you will see the flat spots hammered into the sides and the splinters. The balls are allowed to move and do move. The balls are similar to a sprag unit you find in transmissions. The difference is the balls allow movement in both directions and the sprag does not. Both need lubrication because it helps cushion the contact of the parts. In the case of lubricating the balls I would suggest wheel bearing grease laced with fiber not only will it keep the parts lubed it will also absorb the shock when put into motion.        

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5 hours ago, retired mechanic74 said:

I was just thinking that maybe I sounded kind of harsh with my response. I hope you guys don't think that, these are just experiences I've picked up along the way to retirement. 

 

I didn't think was it harsh. I deleted my post about torque tamers because after reading it over again I really didn't think it applied to the headlight motors, although I think the idea behind the rollers is similar. 

 

I don't agree on the rollers needing grease because the rollers don't turn inside the large plastic gear.   But as Barney said, if you put grease on the rollers it shouldn't hurt anything.  The rollers inside the gear on my headlight motor fit pretty tight so they didn't actually have any movement that needs to be cushioned with grease.  There are rollers on the market (usually not what's included in a headlight repair kit) that aren't the exact size for the Reatta headlight motor. They will work but they fit looser inside the gear.  I believe they are made for certain window motors.

 

SAM_2513.JPG

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Since all this talk about the headlight motors I thought I would give mine a try since I don't drive at night very often. When I turned them on and off they sounded like a screen door slamming shut and this was with the windows up.

 

Is this normal or are they suppose to be somewhat smooth and not as noisy?

 

Could this be an indication that mine are wearing out?

 

Thanks

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They definitely make a mechanical noise as they are in motion and some thump at either end but there are supposed to be a somewhat cushioned landing. I found I could make mine a little quieter by reducing the backlash in the gear drive. There is an adjustment screw under the cap inline with and on the opposite end from the manual knob. Manually open the headlight maybe halfway and try to push/pull on the manual knob while also moving the headlight bucket itself. If it moves back and forth more than 1/16" or so, you can reduce that by turning the adjustment screw in. It does need a little play so it doesn't bind the shaft but it will help if it is minimized. 

Edited by 2seater (see edit history)

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2 minutes ago, 2seater said:

They definitely make a mechanical noise as they are in motion and some thump at either end but there are supposed to be a somewhat cushioned landing. I found I could make mine a little quieter by reducing the backlash in the gear drive. There is an adjustment screw under the cap inline with and on the opposite end from the manual knob. Manually open the headlight maybe halfway and try to push/pull on the manual knob. If it moves back and forth more than 1/16" or so, you can reduce that by turning the adjustment screw in. It does need a little play so it doesn't bind the shaft but it will help if it is minimized. 

Sounds Great I will definitely try this... because mine actually move up and down about 1/4" or more

Thank You

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23 hours ago, Ronnie said:

 

Mine were dry too. I'm not sure why you would want to lubricate them?

My memory is not what it was but the headlight repair kit from Corvette Central that I used on my last C4 came with a packet of lube and 6 Delrin buttons.  The instructions were to brush out the pieces and crumbs from the old buttons and to use the lube on the new buttons and the plastic gear.  The lube was the consistency of petroleum jelly so that is what I used on the Reatta.

I took the car out just now and the Silverstars are great for my needs.  The temp was only down to 52 F so it was not a good test of the light's rotation ability.  I rolled them open and closed several times with no problems though.

I found it interesting that you can adjust the level of the headlight lids by turning the 4 bolts that hold them to the headlight assembly.  Mine always set a bit low to the hood and fender.

Fun in the garage!

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Slamming shut is not normal operation......when all the parts are good the headlights open and close with a smooth motion.

Stuttering when going up and slamming down is usually an indication the rollers have been ground into powder.   The powder is trapped in the gear cavity, so it moves around creating the slop.

 

AZVET comment about adjusting the covers or lids by turning the attachment screws indicates to me the studs are unscrewing out of the cover.

Normally, the lids have 4 studs.....the end that screws into the lids (going into plastic) is a course, woodscrew like thread and is not supposed to come out. 

The other end of the stud has 6mm threads and they accept the attachment nuts.

From the factory, if the lids/covers do not align with the fender and hood, washers were placed under them to correct the misalignment.

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Vaseline is petroleum jelly. Over time- it's hydrocarbons will deteriorate the plastics, into a goo. The kit I bought from Kingsley had a packet of red synthetic lubricant. Other kits contain a small vial of blue synthetic lubricant. I would also think the lube is an added cushion, but probably not necessary (even though I used mine).

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The screws Barney is talking about are used to keep the lights from "shimmering" and is a very poor design. The plastic "nuts" the screws go into are installed upside down This is OK when the system is new but when the parts wear down the slamming accures. That slamming has a hammer effect on those screws and will punch the plastic nuts out of their place. I took those plastic nuts and reversed them to help stop this from happening.  

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Heh, I can just  hear Andrew Dice Clay doing his signature "OOOOOoooh" after that joke.  Around here we have a burger joint called Five Guys. Kinda changes my perspective on the place. 

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28 minutes ago, KDirk said:

Around here we have a burger joint called Five Guys.

 

Yes we have 2 in my area, and they're quite good (not "good for you") LOL

 

capture-20180107-213656.thumb.png.e09a174bb1cf58beb9d76fb8b7b4d696.png  (I AM THE EYE)

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5 hours ago, retiredmechanic74 said:

The screws Barney is talking about are used to keep the lights from "shimmering" and is a very poor design.

 

I thought so too. When I got my Reatta they were missing. I didn't know what was supposed to be there so I came up with my own up-stops that I'm still using. I took a threaded nylon insert made for a fold-able closet door adjuster and pressed it into the hole where the plastic up-stop nut normally goes. Then I screwed in the threaded bumper for a door hinge pin stop (shown in the photo below). The result is an adjustable rubber bumper that can be used in place of the factory up-stop nut and screw. It can be adjusted with a Phillips screwdriver.

Click to enlarge image.

SAM_1829.JPG SAM_1830.JPG

 

door-hinge-pin-stop.jpg

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