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84/85 outside Coach/Opera lights


sosuzguy

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I need some help finding the diagnostic part for the electroluminescent outside side lights in either the 83 or 85 service manual. I can find in the index "Opera lights" listed for E body but when I look at the schematic it does not show an inverter or how to test it - and it shows the lights as being solid state. Interestingly enough if I look at the G Body schematic for Opera lights it shows the inverter and electroluminescent lights. Has anyone found the testing on these lights? I also thought that the rear seat reading lights were called Opera lights while the electroluminescent lights were called Coach lights. Maybe I have them wrong. The service manuals seem to use both of those to describe the same light. Thanks

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Jayson,

Have you found the information yet? I have an 85 service manual set but haven't had the time to check. I remember both the "Ballast" and the lights themselves being problematic in the 80's. I thought that a light source like a 194 bulb and some modern fiber optics might fix the whole system.

Just some thoughts,

Tim:)

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Tim, I have not found it yet. I looked in the 85 SM and 83 SM and didn't see it. The electrical section for my 84 is not complete. I was trying to supply this for an ROA member in FL who called me when his mechanic was trying to fix his. I already told him make sure your getting power to the invertor and power out of the invertor -- then it must be the bulbs. He already ordered two new ones from a company who's bought out all the extras GM had and are reselling them for $ig $ucks. I have a friend who's wanting to experienment with modern LED's and something else aftermarket, but he has to wait till I get a paint job and have to pull my old ones off. I actually remember seeing at least one 83/85 range Eldorado in salvage that had a regular bulb setup with what looked like fiber optic wound up behind a lens - but I have no idea it was already tore up when I found it. Thanks

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According to my 1984 Service Manual, the lamp assembly is, as you stated, "Solid State". The assemblies are not intended to be serviced but simply replaced. Years ago, on another 1984 Riviera that I owned, one of the lamps did not work. I simply pried that one apart and rigged up some small 12 volt bulbs that had wire tails that I spliced into the original 12 volt leads to the lamp assembly. I think that what I used then were CB radio dial illuminator bulbs, as I worked in a shop that repaired CB radios at the time. The did not look as good as the original, but they were a lot cheaper.

I would think that some LEDs should be available that would be a cost effective replacement. A quick Google search found this site that appears to me to be a possible source of something that would work:

Super Bright LEDs ? LED Lights, Bulbs, and Accessories

Luckily, the ones on my current 1984 Riviera work just fine.

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In my experience, when the Opera Lights didn't work, it was always that the lamp assembly was bad and had to be replaced. I would think that you could easily check them by unplugging them and checking for 12 volts DC at the connector, but for the record....

Here is the diagnostic procedure from my 1984 Service Manual:

If OPERA Lights do not work:

- Check TAIL LP FUSE and LIGHT SWITCH by operating switch and observing other lights, such as HEADLIGHTS

- Check that C767 is tight.

- Check that G169 is clean and tight.

C767 is described as as a 1 cavity Connector - In Trunk behind LH rear wheel well

G169 is described as a ground - In Trunk, near LH rear lights

It sure would be nice if your Opera Lights were OK and you just had a loose wire in the circuit. Good Luck with it!

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Further Clarification, The E body and the G body Opera Lights are totally different, As you have found in your manual, the G body has a separate inverter that powers the G body's AC Opera Lights.

At least for the 1984, The E body Opera lights do not have a separate inverter. The E body lights are simply powered by 12 volts DC. (I realize that it makes no sense that they would be so different, but they are.)

I have previously owned one 1981 and two 1984 Rivieras, and this is what I have found to be the case on all of my Rivieras. I am guessing that this is correct for all 1979 to 1985 Rivieras.

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Yes, I thought that they were AC as well until I pulled them out and took some voltage measurements years ago when I re-engineered one. They are 12 volt DC. I am not an expert but, I guess the bulb assembly basically has a circuit board inverter in each lamp, which might explain why they are so expensive to replace.

I double checked my 1984 Service Manual and the A and E bodies use a 12 volt circuit with no separate inverter for the Opera Lights. All of the other bodie styles use a separate voltage inverter. It does not seem to make much sense and I don't know why they used different technology for different body styles, but that is what the research tells me.

"Opera Lights" is the term used in the Service Manual.

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  • 8 months later...

I have an 85 Riv which has one of the outside Opera lights not working. I am told that the access to them is thru the inside rear sail panel which houses the rear inside reading lamps. The opera lights are apparently 110V and I am looking at the replacement transformer I have. It has a GM part # of 25504394. It is a small black box with a lead coming off it with a plug on the end. I am getting this replaced in the next few days thru a friend at a dealer who still has someone who is familiar with this car. Hope this helps.

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I cannot confirm that the 1985 is the same as the 1984, but the 1984 is removed by gently prying on it from the outside. The light assembly has small "ears" that hold it in place. You can gently pry it out and if the 1985 is the same as the 1984 you are going to find that it is 12 volts DC, not 110 volts AC.

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When I removed the vinyl top from my '85, the outside "opera light" came out as MCHinson describes. I had those holes welded shut so there is nothing on the outside of those sail panels. Recently I replaced the headliner and interior sail panels. There is no way to get to the outside opera light from the interior.

Ed

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Based on my experience, I agree with Matthew. The correct way to remove the opera lights from the 79-85 Rivs is from the outside. Gently pry off the "R" face cover. You will then see the electroluminescent pad. It will have two attached wires behind it. You will then see two screws that hold the base plate to the sail panel. Because of apparent thefts, the 86-93 opera lights were redesigned so that removal is through the inside sail panel only. They are also built better...a sealed unit...doesn't fall apart as many 79-85 opera lights do.

I once owned an 85 and have owned two 92's. All were/are 12v DC (no inverter box involved).

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I have an 85 Riv which has one of the outside Opera lights not working. I am told that the access to them is thru the inside rear sail panel which houses the rear inside reading lamps. The opera lights are apparently 110V and I am looking at the replacement transformer I have. It has a GM part # of 25504394. It is a small black box with a lead coming off it with a plug on the end. I am getting this replaced in the next few days thru a friend at a dealer who still has someone who is familiar with this car. Hope this helps.

<!-- google_ad_section_start(weight=ignore) -->vicmar55

What did you find out on these? I too thought that there was an invertor somewhere but according to the service manual for 85 E-body there is just one solid state unit, like the invertors were built into the small bulb assembly that's unplugged from the outside. Let us know & Thanks

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, after a trip to the dealer I am still confused. The inside sail panel was removed which exposed a steel plate covering the back of the outside coach lamps/lighted emblem. I had a small replacement 110 V transformer part# 25504394, which I described in my previous thread. The mechanic told me that he tested the voltage and it was 12 volt for that emblem and it appeared as if it was an entire assembly, no replacement bulb. They gave me a part number of a housing #5936484. The parts manager who has been at the dealer forever said he recalls those emblems being 110V but nothing is shown in their system as to how to replace/repair. If it is a one piece unit, removing the lense from the outside, if it can be, seems useless unless there is a bulb. The GM parts system does not indicate that there is a bulb. Still need help.

Thanks

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As previously described, I pried one out in the past and pried the assembly apart and re-engineered it.

I understand why the dealership guys are confused. According to my Service Manual, some of the other body styles used a 110 volt lamp assembly and a power inverter. The Rivieras of that vintage used a 12 volt powered solid state lamp assembly. Your best hope is to find one in a junk yard. Other than that, years ago, I pryed one apart and re-engineered it using some small bulbs that were designed to be CB radio dial indicator bulbs.

I really don't know enough about Electoluminescent sheet material, but I wonder if it would be practical to rebuild these lamp assemblies. I think that the following link is where I would look for parts if I wanted to try to rebuild one today:

E-Luminates

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I have two of these I bought from vintage parts about 3 years ago. I was waiting on the car to go to body first before I put them on. From what I can gather the transformer is inside the unit itself for the Rivieras. There isn't a lot of info at all in the 85 service manual on these. The wiring schematic doesn't show an invertor either, just the solid state.

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  • 2 months later...

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