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Dash inverter removal ideas?


DAVES89
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They have arrived and they look just as they should. Surprising to me is that they are not individually wrapped. They were laying on a piece of foam rubber with the box folded tight against them so they wouldn't move.

I will be sending them out USPS hopefully tomorrow...

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Dave,

Mine showed up today (Sat 5/1) . Many thanks for coordinating this. Now when I get some time, I need to see if these [pink] inverters can be made to work as a substitute for the console (black) inverter since they are no longer available.

KDirk

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Thanks for the replies. I am glad that they arrived safely. As you know I sent them USPS w/o delivery confirmation, so hearing that they got there is reassuring to me. I only need to know if Richard recieved his and then all will be good.

Fox W glad it got you going again. $37.00 for an easy fix is a great deal.

There is nothing better then having everything work as it should.

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  • 5 years later...

Good to know this is still alive. I guess my question has to do with the inverters. Someone tried several but the problem kept cropping up. That makes me think that it's not the inverter. The problem as described, dash lights going off and on, was cured in one post on the owner's forum by resetting the wires on the Central Power Supply, contact cleaner etc. My question had to do with where the CPS is, if it's the aluminum box on the driver's side of the center console or not. I took the panels off on both sides of the console and there is a loud click when the lights go out, another when they come back on. The click is somewhere in the relay panel on the right side of the console. That kind of narrows it down to a relay or a loose connection somewhere, I think. The car is in storage until April or May but that is the only thing wrong with it. 

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Relays are cheap and readily available. Next spring when you get the car out swap the relay in question with a known good one. If that cures it then you know it was the relay. If you don't think it is the inverter then that leaves the photocell located under the top dash panel. My experience tells me that a photocell typically fails 100%  not gradually.

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Another way to test for proper photocell operation is via the CRT.  In the BCM Data page, BD44, you will find the twilight sensor.  In sunlight, mine reads around 12 and with the sensor covered (i.e. front center of dash covered with magazine or something) the reading goes to 97.  As I replaced my sensor a few years ago with one from RadioShack, I don't know if these readings as typical of the OEM sensor, but I can say that my dash illumination levels as well as the EL backlighting  switches properly.  From what I can glean from the FSM, the normal range is 3-97, outside this range sets the Code B119.  

 

The central power supply is NOT in the console but up behind the instrument panel.  If it is the central power supply you will loose the instrument panel as well as the CRT, so if the CRT is holding in there when the instrument panel goes dark, it is NOT the central power supply.

 

Do you remember the panel dimmer setting when the problem shows itself?  If it is set to minimum and the photocell is right on the edge of falling outside the range necessary, it could be tripping the system into nighttime mode (independent of headlight/parklights being on) in which case IF the panel dimmer is set to minimum WOULD appear as the display almost totally going dark. 

 

I would check the panel dimmer for proper operation in the CRT, BCM Data, B101.  With the dimmer set to max (i.e. fully to the right), B101 should be reading LO, with the dimmer set to minimum (i.e. fully to the left), B101 should be reading HI.

 

I remember that in my particular case, I was NOT setting code B119, but at the same time, I was NOT getting proper operation either, so mine was a situation of partial failure which was due to the cadmium sulfide cell changing its resistance swing below the trip points necessary for proper operation.   Assuming that you have the dash illumination setting on the headlight switch set to MAX, the dash (IPC) should stay at FULL brightness regardless of the photocell.  Also, the system fails safe in that a code B119, when the photocell reading is OUTSIDE the expected range, sets the panel output to MAX.  

 

FYI, the photocell is simply an old fashioned cadmium sulfide photocell.  The one I used in my replacement was in an assortment package from RadioShack (may not be available since the bankruptcy reorg) which included different sizes as well as different resistance ranges.  I simply tried the ones that were correct in size until I found one that operated the circuit properly.  Others have posted that the OEM cell is still available from GM, but they really do like it price wise (around $100).  The cost of the actual cadmium sulfide cell is literally a few cents. 

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OK, good. Lots of tips here to work on. Thanks Daves89. I will check to find the relay that clicks, just need someone to ride with me and put their hand on the relay holder to find the one that clicks. Thanks. My thoughts on this had to do with my experience with electronics: they work or they don't. That leaves a loose connection as the culprit. 

I don't lose the CRT display so that makes it seems as if it's not the CPS. The CRT stays on but reports an electrical problem when the dash is off. Also, the dash affects the headlights, No high beam (as I recall) when the dash is out. As for the dimmer, I didn't know the car had one or where it was. Bought the car in October and spent time getting it running and emission tested and the registration switched over. I'm in Ontario. It's probably not as straightforward as it is in the States. 

Now it's running fine, passed the e test with flying colors and drives like a dream. No radio but that's an easy fix and no dash lights intermittently. That's where I will spend the spring trying to fix. 

 

Thanks David and Dave. It's a relief to know some people are still helping others out. When I look at the dates on some of these posts I wonder if anyone even owns a Reatta now. Seems some do! 

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 As for the dimmer, I didn't know the car had one or where it was. 

Thanks David and Dave. It's a relief to know some people are still helping others out. When I look at the dates on some of these posts I wonder if anyone even owns a Reatta now. Seems some do! 

the instrument panel dimmer switch is located just below the headlight OFF button (left side of instrument panel).  The lettering might have been worn off, but that little slide switch IS the panel dimmer switch.  

 

Since you remembered that the CRT stays active when the instrument panel goes dark, the headlight switch or its wiring should certainly be suspect as Harry mentioned.  

 

Sorry that you caught the forum during a period of minimal traffic.  There are quite a few of us here and yes, it does get quiet from time to time, but that is usually the result of holidays OR no one is having an issue.  

 

Hang in there, get yourself a field service manual, and never be afraid to ask questions.  I would say that virtually 100% of the things that can go wrong have been experienced and typically solved by one or more forum members, so this is THE place to be if you own a Reatta. 

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Let us not forget the wealth of information provided by the folks over at http://reattaowner.com/

John F.

 

I was hoping to use those guides etc. but I get 'page not found' or 'forbidden'. They aren't part of the forum but i can't get to the forum either: "An appropriate representation of the requested resource could not be found on this server. This error was generated by Mod_Security."  

This has been the same over the last few months. 

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the instrument panel dimmer switch is located just below the headlight OFF button (left side of instrument panel).  The lettering might have been worn off, but that little slide switch IS the panel dimmer switch.  

 

Since you remembered that the CRT stays active when the instrument panel goes dark, the headlight switch or its wiring should certainly be suspect as Harry mentioned.  

 

Sorry that you caught the forum during a period of minimal traffic.  There are quite a few of us here and yes, it does get quiet from time to time, but that is usually the result of holidays OR no one is having an issue.  

 

Hang in there, get yourself a field service manual, and never be afraid to ask questions.  I would say that virtually 100% of the things that can go wrong have been experienced and typically solved by one or more forum members, so this is THE place to be if you own a Reatta. 

 

 

Thanks. I have the factory service manual and I'm working my way through the wiring diagrams but slowly. I'm hoping it's just a loose connection. 

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I was hoping to use those guides etc. but I get 'page not found' or 'forbidden'. They aren't part of the forum but i can't get to the forum either: "An appropriate representation of the requested resource could not be found on this server. This error was generated by Mod_Security."  

This has been the same over the last few months. 

 

Sorry to hear you are having problems accessing Reatta Owners Journal. I took a look at your ROJ account. It is still active and in good standing. I've never had anyone report having error messages like that when they attempt to access the website. The website has been a little slow lately but I can't imagine what would be preventing you from viewing it for months as you say. Perhaps your location in Canada has something to do with it?

 

Anyone else having this problem?

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David, Sorry to hear you have experienced problems too. I looked at the website error logs and don't see anything that would point to a problem. I have complained to my hosting service about it running very slow. They tell me that ROJ has got so large that I need to upgrade to a more expensive server. That isn't in the budget so we will have to live with what we've got. Not enough traffic to the website to justify spending more money.

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David, Sorry to hear you have experienced problems too. I looked at the website error logs and don't see anything that would point to a problem. I have complained to my hosting service about it running very slow. They tell me that ROJ has got so large that I need to upgrade to a more expensive server. That isn't in the budget so we will have to live with what we've got. Not enough traffic to the website to justify spending more money.

 

I'm new here so I don't want to say too much but I run quite a few sites, all shared hosting, and they seem to load as fast as any other site. This is off-topic so let me know if you need some information. I also run a forum, only about 1,000 members, so I know what a pain it is to move from one host to another. 

 

Logged in today, no problems. I am in the forum now and there have been no errors yet. I'll run through the tutorials to check further. Thanks Ronnie! (Says one member and 44 guests online so you're getting some visitors it seems.)

Edited by Waddy2001 (see edit history)
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Sorry to hear you are having problems accessing Reatta Owners Journal. I took a look at your ROJ account. It is still active and in good standing. I've never had anyone report having error messages like that when they attempt to access the website. The website has been a little slow lately but I can't imagine what would be preventing you from viewing it for months as you say. Perhaps your location in Canada has something to do with it?

 

Anyone else having this problem?

 

I don't think it has to do with Canada as I use a VPN to access Netflix feeds from all over the world. I will try different browsers to see if the problem is mine. Chrome is default but I'll try others. I am not logged in when I get the errors but I can't log in anyway because of the error I posted. I'll update this if I am successful. 

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  • 2 months later...
On 1/20/2016 at 2:19 PM, drtidmore said:

the instrument panel dimmer switch is located just below the headlight OFF button (left side of instrument panel).

 

It's a bit too early to tell but after moving that slider to the right, just before it turns on the dome light, the dash and CRT have stayed on. I took the car for a run today, only about five miles, but they were on the whole way. That is very unusual. If that's all it took, I am so relieved! (Touches every bit of wood in sight!). Thanks to all the help, guys. Really appreciate the tips. Spring is here in Toronto, car is out of storage and the dashlights are on. Life is good. 

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If you find the moving the dimmer slide to the left slightly results in the dash going dark, I would suspect the dimmer switch itself.  It could be a matter of the slider just needing a good cleaning with contact cleaner OR it could be that the slider is shot (the former is the more likely).  Working the slider left to right rapidly will tend to burnish the contacting area on the slider and if this improves things, I would get a good contact cleaner, one safe for plastics, and spray it into the slider using the extension tube that comes with most cans of contact cleaner, followed by rapidly moving it left to right repeatedly.  The fact that you were able to get the dash and CRT to go live pretty much clears everything except the dimmer itself. 

Edited by drtidmore (see edit history)
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20 minutes ago, drtidmore said:

 The fact that you were able to get the dash and CRT to go live pretty much clears everything except the dimmer itself. 

Thanks! I wasn't sure which part I should track back to solve it completely, seemed that the thing under the dash that reads the light level might be the culprit, but the slide and corrosion make more sense. At this point, I think I'll put the pieces back that I took out trying to find the problem under the console and glovebox and drive the car for a while. If the problem crops up again, I'll try the contact cleaner trick. Right now I want to get the radio working and figure out why the driver's seat power doesn't work in all directions. That could be contact cleaner too. Thanks again David. 

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In trying to remember how my dash/CRT behaved when the sun sensor was failing on mine, if memory serves me, they would NOT dim nor would the backlights come on.  In essence the BCM though it was daylight all the time.  I really would start with the slider on the headlight switch.  

 

As for the power seat, verify all the connection underneath the seat.  Also the connector on the door mounted switch is another point due to the fact that bundle of wire is large at the connector and tends to pull on the connection which can unseat it.  As you also suspected, there could be corrosion involved with the switch.   

 

The radio on mine also went on the fritz.  At first it was intermittent and then it failed totally.  The CRT would show the radio screen and appeared to command its operation, but NO sound!  I figured it was a bad radio module, so I purchased a known working spare and damned, it too produced NO sound.  Then I decided to start chasing the bug deeper and found that the ground wire to the radio was NOT grounded.  I proved that nothing more was wrong by initially just splicing in a short wire to it that I then attached to the frame of the console.  BINGO, the radio started working and after a few weeks of flawless operation, I started chasing down the root cause of the ground wire failure.  Turns out that GM ran a specific ground wire JUST to the radio all the way forward to the main grounding point just forward of the battery.  The wire looked fine but when I wiggled it, the insulation broke in half and I discovered that wire inside was totally gone due to corrosion.  Fixed that issue, removed my temporary grounding wire and the radio remained operational.  So you might verify that ground wire. 

Edited by drtidmore (see edit history)
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Be advised the slider on the headlamp switch has a rather weak wiper finger contact and I've seen a few develop dead spots due to this contact being bent or otherwise misaligned to the carbon track on the circuit board internally. Kind of a poor design, really, and it surprises me that most still seem to work ok after nearly 3 decades.

 

Also do not ignore the possibility [likelyhood actually] that the twilight photocell is bad. Very few original photocells in these cars are still giving correct readings and should be replaced for reliable operation. This will affect the nighttime dimming of the IPC and CRT as well as causing the instrument switchgear backlighting not to illuminate when it is dark out. Easy enough to check in diagnostics.

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17 hours ago, Corvanti said:

about the dimmer switch - mine wasn't working when i purchased my Reatta. some CRC contact cleaner did the trick.

 

i always try the "cheap, fast and easy" repairs first!;)

Being in Canada seems to be a problem when looking for contact cleaner that is kind to plastic. Amazon's prices are out of this world. Even the WD-40 one is sky high. I'll see how long the lights stay on, hopefully for a long time, and keep looking for a reasonably priced c/c. Maybe I'll try electronic stores next. 

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14 hours ago, KDirk said:

Be advised the slider on the headlamp switch has a rather weak wiper finger contact and I've seen a few develop dead spots due to this contact being bent or otherwise misaligned to the carbon track on the circuit board internally. Kind of a poor design, really, and it surprises me that most still seem to work ok after nearly 3 decades.

 

Also do not ignore the possibility [likelyhood actually] that the twilight photocell is bad. Very few original photocells in these cars are still giving correct readings and should be replaced for reliable operation. This will affect the nighttime dimming of the IPC and CRT as well as causing the instrument switchgear backlighting not to illuminate when it is dark out. Easy enough to check in diagnostics.

I'm pretty sure the photocell is bad/gone but as  long as the lights work, I'm happy. I don't drive much at night since it's a summer car. It's light here till well after 9 May through August pretty much. As for the diagnostics...I'll have to study the manual. I can build computers, fix cars but programming a cell phone or doing the diagnostics might be above me. Hahaha. 

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14 hours ago, KDirk said:

Be advised the slider on the headlamp switch has a rather weak wiper finger contact and I've seen a few develop dead spots due to this contact being bent or otherwise misaligned to the carbon track on the circuit board internally. Kind of a poor design, really, and it surprises me that most still seem to work ok after nearly 3 decades.

 

Also do not ignore the possibility [likelyhood actually] that the twilight photocell is bad. Very few original photocells in these cars are still giving correct readings and should be replaced for reliable operation. This will affect the nighttime dimming of the IPC and CRT as well as causing the instrument switchgear backlighting not to illuminate when it is dark out. Easy enough to check in diagnostics.

I'm pretty sure the photocell is bad/gone but as  long as the lights work, I'm happy. I don't drive much at night since it's a summer car. It's light here till well after 9 May through August pretty much. As for the diagnostics...I'll have to study the manual. I can build computers, fix cars but programming a cell phone or doing the diagnostics might be above me. Hahaha. 

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20 hours ago, drtidmore said:

In trying to remember how my dash/CRT behaved when the sun sensor was failing on mine, if memory serves me, they would NOT dim nor would the backlights come on.  In essence the BCM though it was daylight all the time.  I really would start with the slider on the headlight switch.  

 

As for the power seat, verify all the connection underneath the seat.  Also the connector on the door mounted switch is another point due to the fact that bundle of wire is large at the connector and tends to pull on the connection which can unseat it.  As you also suspected, there could be corrosion involved with the switch.   

 

The radio on mine also went on the fritz.  At first it was intermittent and then it failed totally.  The CRT would show the radio screen and appeared to command its operation, but NO sound!  I figured it was a bad radio module, so I purchased a known working spare and damned, it too produced NO sound.  Then I decided to start chasing the bug deeper and found that the ground wire to the radio was NOT grounded.  I proved that nothing more was wrong by initially just splicing in a short wire to it that I then attached to the frame of the console.  BINGO, the radio started working and after a few weeks of flawless operation, I started chasing down the root cause of the ground wire failure.  Turns out that GM ran a specific ground wire JUST to the radio all the wire forward to the main grounding point just forward of the battery.  The wire looked fine but when I wiggled it, the insulation broke in half and I discovered that wire inside was totally gone due to corrosion.  Fixed that issue, removed my temporary grounding wire and the radio remained operational.  So you might verify that ground wire. 

Thanks for the tips. The radio buzzes so I think it works but the antenna is probably shot. Used to be  you could pick up an antenna for cheap at the local parts store but the big one here doesn't have any. I'll try a coat hanger or similar to get some stations then work from there. I tried a cassette but the gears just clicked and clicked even though the tape seemed to work with a pencil. I figure if it hisses or has static then the ground might be OK. Good lead though. 

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If your power antenna is non functional, the radio simply WON'T be able to pickup adequate signal.  Barney Eaton, here on the forum, does an excellent overhaul of these power antennas and uses a stainless steel/plastic wrapped cable in the rebuild which should last a LOT longer, if not indefinitely, than the original plastic that GM used.  I had Barney rebuild mine and it works flawlessly.  The one thing that I did notice on getting it reinstalled was that it was a bit noisier but in pretty short order the noise vanished. I HIGHLY recommend that if you have the original power antenna intact, send it to Barney!

 

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14 hours ago, drtidmore said:

If your power antenna is non functional, the radio simply WON'T be able to pickup adequate signal.  Barney Eaton, here on the forum, does an excellent overhaul of these power antennas and uses a stainless steel/plastic wrapped cable in the rebuild which should last a LOT longer, if not indefinitely, than the original plastic that GM used.  I had Barney rebuild mine and it works flawlessly.  The one thing that I did notice on getting it reinstalled was that it was a bit noisier but in pretty short order the noise vanished. I HIGHLY recommend that if you have the original power antenna intact, send it to Barney!

 

Thanks for the tip. My antenna works well but I assumed that something in it broke as it rolled out and in again. I was planning on disconnecting it and trying to find a signal with something else, just to see if anything came out of the radio. Even if there is a weak signal, I will check out a new antenna, maybe shorter, that isn't powered. I'll check out Barney's post(s) too. Shipping north to south can be a pain, as in Canada to the U.S. The antenna that's there now has enough black electrical tape around it to sink a battleship so someone along the way (15 owners) tried to fix things. I know the quality won't be there but a little staticky AC/DC might make my cruising more fun. 

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The antenna (i.e. the part that receives the RF signals) is simply the portion that extends outside the car, a wiper inside the sleeve where the mast runs to make physical contact with the antenna mast and a connector where the coax to the radio attaches.  Other than the wiper there is nothing internal to the antenna that can cause the antenna to NOT provide adequate signal to the radio provided the antenna extends fully. Since you say that previous owner had jacked with the antenna attempting to fix it, it is possible that they screwed up the wiper somehow, but I really don't see how.  

 

When my power antenna was out to Barney for rebuild, I purchased an inexpensive, universal, fixed mast stainless whip antenna at my local auto parts store.  It worked perfectly and had Barney not been around to rebuild my power antenna, I would have been inclined to just leave it.  

 

You might also make sure that the previous owner(s) responsible for the antenna "repair" did not also mess around with the antenna connection at the radio module (in the console adjacent to the driver).  

Edited by drtidmore (see edit history)
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OK, I thought of doing the same thing, getting a non-power antenna and trying it. I've got a Cavalier that I'm not using so maybe I can borrow its antenna for a trial. I thought there was something inside the antenna, not sure why, but your explanation makes sense. Thanks.

 

On a side note, nice day yesterday so I thought I'd go for a drive. Started it up, no lightshow. Hmmmm. Drove off, lights came on after about three minutes with the corresponding click on the right side of the console where the fuses/relays are. Drove around a fair bit and the lights stayed on the whole time. I don't know if this gives up any more clues for you doctors of Reattas out there but it seemed curious to me. There's almost always a lightshow. The anti-theft was on, as far as I know, because I used the power lock button to lock the doors. 

 

Here's a tip for anyone who reads this, my hood was very dull. If you have a red Reatta, you know what I mean. Oxidized is the term, I think. That color is known for fading plus the hood is fiberglass as you know so it's like a double whammy. My son had a bottle of Meguiar's Ultimate Compound for some guitar project and suggested I try it on the hood. Wow, what a difference! I didn't do the whole thing, just to see if it worked and lasted. It has so far. I'll do the rest and some plastic on the lower back, below the bumper, which has faded the same way. (No affiliation with the company at all but it does work.) Wax on top, I guess, and then it will look brand new again. The difference is startling. 

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Fiberglass hood? All four of mine (and the two I parted in the last 6 months) have steel hoods. The front fenders are thermoset plastic, TPO if I recall. Rest of the body is steel, the bumpers are aluminum. Does yours have a custom hood?

 

The only factory fiberglass I know of on the Reatta is the carpeted rear storage bin unit in the coupes, and the vinyl upholstered tonneau cover inlay on the roadsters.

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Oooops, that's embarrassing. It sure doesn't look like steel to me but it seems it is. The color is very different as if the material accepts the paint differently, hence the fiberglass idea. No custom hood but maybe some body work since one of the shock/hood supports is white. No evidence of any other damage though. Anyway, thanks for setting me straight on that. Nicely. 

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