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Headlight behavior

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When i raise my retractable headlights they seem to go up fine but one of them will just drop down with a bang. I wondered if this is a sign of bad bushings or maybe the bell crank?

 I don't know if i should buy a repair kit or just get  a salvage light assembly. Any comments are much appreciated. 

 

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It's hard to say if the bushing are bad or the crankarms without checking it out. I would install a new headlight repair kit that includes a new crankarm. Odds are that will fix it. If you get a used assembly it's likely to have the same problem soon. Information is readily available to repair it yourself.

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I suspect it is the bellcrank.........probably on the verge of failing completely. 

It acts like there is just enough material in the hole to lift them but when the hit the UP-STOP, the motor shaft pops past the remaining material and they fall down.

Bottom line, when you take the time to disassemble the headlight to replace the bellcrank, you might as well replace the plastic rollers at the same time.

I sell the KIT .....it contains a steel bellcrank that is guaranteed for as long as you own the car. 3 new plastic rollers, a new UP-STOP plastic nut and instructions...the KIT is $40 including shipping.......without the rollers it is $35

 

BELLCRANKS.jpg

gear-roller.jpg

upstop III.jpg

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You might want to check for something first. I was having similar problems with mine a while ago and I found that the plastic housing around the headlight lens was hanging up on the splash guard. It is on top of the blinker/park light housing and below the headlight. It is black plastic like a mud flap, mine was bent up and catching when the door would close causing it to slam shut.

Just a thought and only takes a few seconds.

 

If this is only on the 90/91's sorry, I am not sure what year your Reatta is.

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When dealing with the headlights, a book could probably be written on things to do and check.

You can start by opening the hood and cranking the light (or lights) open and shut with the knob.

If you turn the black knob what seems like forever before anything moves, then there are problems with the bellcrank and/or rollers. 

A good light assembly will start to move almost immediately when hand cranked, as all the slop has been eliminated.

When you hand crank them, you can see and hear if there are binds or parts catching.

I did a headlight in the parking lot.....think it was Ames meet......and it was catching like the note above.  The front bumper probably had been bumped and pushed back maybe only 1/4 of an inch but enough

for the light to catch when going up.....going down it slipped past the plastic part.

Once you take the painted cover off the light,  unhook the link going to the bellcrank, now move the light up and down .....feel for binds etc

After you work on the bellcrank, motor, etc......do the same bind test before hooking up the link, this saves a lot of time.

Also when you think you are done......before putting the painted cover back on.......test the function with the headlight switch.

If there is a problem, you save removing some of the parts the second or third time.

In the earlier post #3...the last photo shows both the location of the UP-STOP and the correct routing of the headlight cable.

A cable routed incorrectly causes another set of problems.....the wire strands break (inside the insulation and you cannot see them) as more strands break, less current can get to the bulb and they get dimmer,

finally the light doesn't work, you replace the bulb and it still doesn';t work.

If this happens on the drives side, both lights fail as the wire goes first to the drivers side then to the passanger side.   

 

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 I consider removing the motor housing and cleaning the brushes as "advanced" skill work.

Just taking out the 3 screws that holds the side plate can be a nightmare if the car came from the rust belt and even one of the screws is frozen.

I had written about it before, but sometime after the start of production in 1988 thru the end of Reatta production Delco started using "thread forming" screws.

the screws are 8-32 in size and if salt water gets in the threads, the lock tighter than being welded.   When you start to unscrew them, first you think they are coming...as they start to break off then you have the

hex head in your socket and the screw is still in the casting.

The screws are case hardened so they will make their threads, and if taken out before moisture get to them they come out like normal screws.

So the average owner breaks off one or more screws in the casting,  what do they do.   I have seen new holes drill along side of the broken screw, and mounting tabs broken off trying to get the broken screws out.

not territory for the average owner.

I progressively drill them out with carbide drills... I do the in size progressions because if you get a hole started off center, and you are trying to remove too much material with a pass, the drill can catch and snap.

.even then care must be taken because if you break a carbide drill in the hole, you are SOL.

Over the years I have tried heat and have a collection of recommended penetrating oils....even made a metal tray that I could fill with penetrating oil and let them soak for days.

One good bit of news,  after the car went out of production and you purchased a new motor from GM,  the vendor had gone back to tapping the holes and using normal screws, so if the motor has a date code

after 1992 the screws always unscrew with little effort.

 

Below are good examples of damaged parts by mechanics or owners that tried to fix broken screws.

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stripped.jpg

bad motor example.jpg

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15 hours ago, Barney Eaton said:

The screws are case hardened so they will make their threads, and if taken out before moisture get to them they come out like normal screws.

So the average owner breaks off one or more screws in the casting,  what do they do.   I have seen new holes drill along side of the broken screw, and mounting tabs broken off trying to get the broken screws out. not territory for the average owner.

 

I agree that the screws shouldn't be removed unless there is an electrical problem with the motor. Trying to remove the screws could lead to problems that the average Reatta owner might not be able to handle.  All the parts that need to be replaced in the gearbox can be replaced without removing the motor. The large plastic gear in the passenger side gearbox (if I remember correctly?) is a little difficult to get out without using the proper technique but it will come out.

 

Perhaps a tutorial with photos needs to be done on how to disassemble and rebuild the headlight motors properly. I have lots of photos from when I rebuilt my headlight motors but I haven't posted a tutorial for this on ROJ because most headlight motor repair kits come with good instructions on how to replace the gearbox parts and bellcrank.

 

BTW, Barney has written a good tutorial on removing the broken headlight motor screws. It can be found here on Reatta Owners Journal: Headlight Motor Broken Screw Removal  Thanks Barney!

 

 

 

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The bellcrank looks good and not stripped out. I suspect the plastic round bushings in the motor "gearbox" are bad so i went as far as taking off the motor/gearbox and took off the cover for the gearbox  and see the white nylon gear with driveshaft but will not come out. I tried a large plyers and tried to pull it out but could not. This is the passenger side headlight unit and wondered if there is a method to take out the gear/driveshaft unit? I want to replace the bushings if that is the problem. Thank you for any advice. 

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I would save removing the worm gear as a last resort. The white gear will come out. You just have to get the part of the gear, marked with the red line in my first photo, past the worm gear.

 

Here is how I did it.

  1. After you have removed the gearbox cover put the  bellcrank back on the shaft and screw the nut on so you have a good handle to pull on.
  2. Turn the knob on the rear of the motor to position the bellcrank where it is aligned 90 degrees to the worm gear to give you the best grip on the shaft to use it as a lever.
  3. I had a bench vice to hold the motor but if you don't you will probably need an assistant to help you hold it
  4. Grasp the bellcrank and  pull up on the shaft. Then, while pulling up ROCK the shaft and gear to force it past the worm gear.

The second and third photo shows how I installed the gear with new bushings Hold the gear up as shown in the second photo to make it easier to start the shaft in the bearing. Once you have the shaft  in the bearing you can force the white gear past the worm gear as show in the third photo.

 

I have read where people have ground off the solid section of the gear, marked with the red lin,e to make installing the gear easier. I've not tried that so I can't recommend it.

 

SAM_2510a.JPGSAM_2513.JPGSAM_2514.JPG

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The drivers side shaft comes out the other side so the lip on the white gear is on the opposite side and the gear come out without a problem.

You are not the first person to have problems getting the gear out....with some practice they are not a problem, I have changed them in the parking lot at

national meets.....without something to hold the motor, I put my foot on it and pull and wiggle the shaft and they pop out.

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It looks like I successfully replaced the small plastic

bushings in the gear unit but I still don't know what these bushings do.

My guess is they damper the movement of the headlight assembly when they go up or down?

Any comments are appreciated.

 

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From what I know about the plastic bushings they will slip or shear to prevent damage to other components of the gearbox in case there is an obstruction to the door opening or some fool tries to force the door shut. Some people call the bushings rollers but they don't roll. The just connect the white gear with the bellcrank shaft under normal operation.

 

Did replacing the bushings fix the problem with your headlight doors not working properly?

 

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Repairs I did for the headlight motor are for a salvage headlight assembly and motor I bought but it was not in working order so I had to fix it. The taking apart was done ok

and used some wd-40 soaking for 24 hours. Opened the gear assembly and found shavings. Cleaned everything, lightly coated everything with lithium grease and the three

bushings from a kit from Barney. The bushings fit snug and tested it and running good. Thanks everyone.

IMG_3924.JPG

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Note the part number on the motor.....under it is the build date code which is 22 week of 1988......early part, it may not have had the thread forming screws.

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Another headlight question: where can you buy headlight connectors? I noticed that the drivers side has a 4 wire connector and the passenger side has the normal 3 wire connector.

I can find the 3 wire connector but it seems no one has a 4 wire connector. Can I modify the the 3 wire connector to make a 4 wire connector?  Any suggestions are appreciated. 

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