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NEW Reatta owner needs your help, please.


magicalheat
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HI to everyone! I am the proud new owner of a white / red 88 hardtop. My vehicle has 117,000 miles and is stock to the core. I have 2 pressing issues 1 of which will keep me from driving the car if not fixed, the other an annoyance. My major problem is that when the headlights are turned on, the rear won't display any lights at all UNLESS the brake is pushed or the blinker turned on.. can't drive at night legally until fixed. The other is that the passenger side window rolls a quarter of the way down and you hear rhythmic clicking, like the gear is just rotating on the actuator or something. It does the same when you roll it up all the way and continue to push the button... any ideas? Also, on a side note, the CRT is telling me that the cruise is "disabled", wondering what that is all about. Thanks so much for the time and help! Glad to be a Buick Owner, will be joining Reatta club if I can get this vehicle street worthy.. outside of these cpl things, the car is very very nice!

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I doubt the problem with your lights is in the switch. There are a lot of grounds for the rear light in the trunk wall (back side, closest to the tail light).

My guess is that one of these (the one for your running lights) is loose or disconnected. Take a look under the carpet there and see what you find.

My '89 says the same thing about the cruise. I also believe it is the servo. It's that little black pill-shaped thing to the left and down from your air cleaner.

This part is common to thousands of GM cars. You should be able to go to your local U-Pull-It and grab one. I'd try to stay in the same era though. (before '93 or so).

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One thing that helps with posts.........tell us what year you have. Since you have a CRT, then we know you have a '88 or '89. There are some things that are different between the two years.

The lighting problem will need more diagnostics, there are relays in the Reatta lighting system and if you are going to be working on the car yourself, I strongly suggest you watch Ebay for a service manual. The service manual will be a great help to you in tracking down electrical problems and worth the purchase price on your headlight problem.

The power windows is probably a motor assembly. They are a common GM part and again Ebay has lots of them for sale at very reasonable prices.

Does the cruise work?

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One thing that helps with posts.........tell us what year you have.

He said.... ;)

HI to everyone! I am the proud new owner of a white / red 88 hardtop.
Does the cruise work?

My guess is no. When I try to engage my cruise, the same message he's getting pops up on my CRT, and my cruise is rendered inoperable.

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Congratulations magicalheat and welcome to Reatta ownership and the forum! Too bad there is no cure for the Reatta fever.

There are a few things you need to learn quickly to help you survive the illness.

One is Ronnie's website which holds much information and tutorials on how to diagnose and repair your vehicle.

Start here and learn how to get the computer to tell you what is going on with it: How To Access Trouble Codes - '88 & '89 Models*-*ReattaOwner.com

Go to this website and register to gain access to the online Field Service Manuel (FSM) for your car. Use the one for the 89, and if you run into one of the few areas that don't match up, ask the forum if the 88 is different from the 89 there. Do keep searching eBay until you find an 88 manual at a decent price.

Reatta Data Page

The computer code for your cruise control issue will tell you what is not responding properly to the computer. It's a simple system that just needs the electrical connection to the computer, a good vacuum source, and the mechanical connection to the throttle valve.

As others have said, will probably turn out to be the servo, but first check the condition of the two vacuum lines and that they are properly connected to the servo which sits beneath the air intake hose from the air cleaner to the throttle body on top of the trans-axle case. If the vacuum is OK it will most likely be electrical and replacement of the servo will be easiest solution.

As to your lack of tail lights: check fuse #10 (20 amp) on right side of console. If good, problem is most likely a bad connection inside the light switch module on the dash. Probably not a ground issue in this case as the break / turn lights use the same ground circuit, so if that were the issue, you wouldn't have those lights working.

Best to get another good light switch at this point, and then if your present switch is in good shape mechanically and appearance wise, either learn how to fix it yourself, or send back to Jim and have him repair it and return, so you will have a spare.

There is a growing core of us on the forum who are undertaking efforts to be able to repair Reatta / Riviera specific parts that are quickly becoming unobtainium and are asking that nonworking units not be discarded, but saved as rebuild able cores or sources of repair parts so will will be able to keep our cars on the road for years to come.

Again welcome to the asylum.

Edited by Mc_Reatta (see edit history)
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Thanks so much for the help so far!This is a good new bad news situation.. Good News, I have been given with a car a BOX OF PARTS! In this box is a headlight control switch, an 88 manual, a GM 88 schematic running light assemblies, a passenger window motor assembly with actuator, and a bunch of other goodies. So it sounds like the problem I am having with the taillights (parking) will not put me out of business, I assume... BAD NEWS - I don't do a whole lot of the work myself on a car this sophisticated. The Body is straight, clean carfax 3 owner.... Is there anything in the steering column, which has been replaced, that could lead to the taillight issue? Thanks so very much!

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Doubtful steering column has anything to do with tail lights. It has the switches for the turn signals and high beam dimmer though. The turn signals in the rear use the brake lights, so no cross talk with the tails.

Some of the cruise control switches are there though, so depending on what is wrong with the cruise control problem might trace back to there.

Have you pulled your codes yet? Does your cruise control light illuminate on the IPC when you turn it on with the switch?

If you're not afraid to get your hands dirty, and have some basic tools, there's lots you can learn to do that will save you many dollars over paying a mechanic to do the small stuff.

Changing the light switch is an easy job, while the window motor is a medium job. At least you already have the parts on hand to fix both problems as long as those spares are good.

Sounds like the previous owner got you off to a good start.

If you post where you are located, maybe someone can point you to a good Reatta mechanic nearby.

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Ok, thanks for the quick reply. I have purchased car, having it delivered tonight as it is 60 miles away and tag office is closed, obviously. I am going to have prev. owner put in the extra light switch before it gets tow bedded, basic tools and such, for me are no problem, but I love my mechanic, he is GM all the way (I have 2 trans ams) the indicator flashed on CRT immediately upon start for the cruise and the light DOES NOT come on when the button is pushed on dash. I live in the Davenport area of Florida. Thanks!

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My understanding is that the guy I am getting this from is a Jaguar guy.. so I think not, but I am sure these guys could be a lot of help and support along the way. Have wanted a reatta since I was a teen, and am pretty confident I can keep mine A-1 and help get it there....

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Headlight switch removal is easy. Here it is in a nutshell.

Grasp the center bar of the trim plate [bezel] of the instrument cluster. Be sure to have your hands spread to the outside edges. Pull with your finger tips [keep in mind this is a two piece bezel, a top decorative piece and the black backing plastic piece. You want to be sure you are grasping at the black plastic part].

This bezel is held in by friction clips. Pull easy with a rocking motion and the bezel will release.

Once off set the instrument cluster bezel aside. You want the bezel that trims off the headlight switch, but this is the first step to get you to removing the headlight bezel.

Use a 7 mm? socket on the lower of the two screws located on the top part of the instrument cluster and then the top screw on the lower half of the instrument cluster.

That should take the screws out for the bezel piece. Once again grasp the bezel as you did for the cluster and pull straight out. There are two friction clips on the left outside edge of the headlight bezel.

Once you have that removed set it aside.

Now you can see one upper and lower screw holding the headlight switch in place. Remove the screws and grasp the switch assembly. It will slide out to you.

With the switch in your left hand rotate the switch so you can slide a very small flat blade screwdriver along side the wiring harness bracket. This will allow it to pop over the bracket "stop." Then slide another small flat blade screwdriver under the wiring harness bracket and rotate the head prying the wiring harnes bracket up over the "stop" once it is past the "stop" grasp it with your finger tips and pull it off.

Repeat procedure for the other wiring harness.

Reinstalling the headlight switch is the opposite of the above. This is one of those projects that takes longer to write "how to" then to do. It may seem intimidating the first time, but it really is quite easy.

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I know it's not top priority but the window issue is a window motor. Im almost 100% sure that is the problem. The one thing to remember when changing this out, if you are going to do it, is make damn sure you secure the part that the motor connects to. The spring tension could take fingers off. but other than that its a pretty straight forward job.

As far as the cruise control issue I would look at the vacuum lines first as they are the easist to replace.

Good luck and god speed with all the repairs and welcome to funhouse

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magic.........you do not need to be a mechanic to isolate most of the problems you have.

With the service manual, you can read the section of the manual that covers the problem.

You might even do some of the test/diagnostics and your mechanic will be impressed when you tell him what is wrong.

A non-working cruise.... could be a vacumn problem. The first step in isolating that is try changing the heat/ac from floor to vents to windshield. If you can do that vacumn is probably not the problem.

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Have seen a replaced motor stop/click if the screws holding the mototor to the regulator (replacements come with what look like #6 screws & have seen them come loose). I drill a bit and replace with #10 screws.

If this is happening, be VERY careful. There is a big spring in the regulator which is held in place by the motor gear. If the motor comes loose with the spring in tension... FSM says to drill and bolt the regulator before removing the motor.

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See my posts started on 2/11/2011 Re window motor replacement. It was worth the money to buy the 1/4" rivet tool from Harbor Freight, as opposed to trying to weasel the nuts, bolts and washers thru the door. See Ronnie's site for excellent instructions, and YES BEWARE the deadly SPRING!:eek:........ Jim

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i know its not optimal but the way i avoided the spring coming loose was i just used the cross piece of the regulator basically like a pair of scissors. just to be extra sure i used about 7 thicknesses of duct tape and had a friend replace the motor while i held the spring tension.

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Ok, so did a little investigation and the rear light will work when placed into constant power, so it looks like a relay.. working on it.. just getting the door panel pulled apart and will update, and will do the cruise after door panel comes off. I NEED the filler for C in BUICK on the rear panel.. if anyone has a lead. Also, the car came with a BUNCH of extra parts, some of which I may part with, like a tan horn button, etc. Thanks and update again soon!

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As I had stated earlier in thread, the turns and brakes work, the parking do not, so I put the rear lights under constant hot from the power antenna and they lit right up, changing the switch didn't help and the grounds are solid.... Still need the filler for the C in the trunk panel area. Thank you

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Do the tail lights work when you turn the fog lights on?

There is no relay in the circuit when the parking light switch in the left pod module is turned on.

There is a relay ("F" in Interior Relay Center - located beside the fuse panel on the passenger's side of the console - need to remove the panel to access.) but it is only involved when the fog light switch is turn on. It in turn powers the tail lights.

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  • 1 month later...

After bypassing the relays, nada on the low level parking lights all the way around front and back. Going to put them on a toggle as that seems to be the only fix for the parking lights, all of them. I need a right hand light assembly, complete with motor and housing, no door or lamp though, please help if possible.. I am on month 2 of trying to get this on the road, thanks!

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I need to know if anyone can vouch for either low quality freon or if a converted R12 system, when gauged with a 134 meter needs more psi than if it was a 134 system, complete. My A/C is respectable when in the throttle but not too cold when idle, all of my other older cars are colder. Compressor is working as it should and is not "gasping" by turning on then off on then off... So, I am wondering if the combination of sitting for a couple years mixed with possible "bad" freon could be the cause of this. I LOVE MY REATTA! UPDATE BELOW!

Update on my car.. Right at 2 months ago, I decided to sell a honda that I got WAY too much for and turn some of the money into a car I had wanted since I was a kid. I found this White over flame 88 reatta with 111,000 miles. Passenger window gear is 1/2 stripped, parking lights had no inkling of working passenger headlight motor is trash, interior great, ac converted to 134 runs good, will evac and put in new freon. motor cleaned, oil changed, tires new, all interior buttons work. Cruise is disengaged by computer for some reason. The parking light issue was simply someone doing work in the light switch and misplacing the hot wire for the parking circuit, tracked it down using a schematic, parts cost = $0. Got a rebuilt motor for the headlight, works like a dream, parts cost $64. Passenger window assembly with motor setup came with the car, parts cost = $0. Have had the car on the road now for 60 miles, runs very well, rides like a dream. CRT and DASH are doing phenomenal, couldn't be happier, except I need COLDER AIR, lol. Tons of new parts in the fron, underneath, no leaks, no worries, oil pressure, premo! Extremely happy for such a tiny bit of money. To sell a honda and have this car AND have more money in the bank then when I started...... PRICELESS.

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Sounds like you can skip using the gauges and fine tune you AC using the CRT.

Start the car and turn the AC on Max Cold.

Enter the diagnostics mode and go to BCM Data.

Scroll to BD 28 Low Side Temp.

If you knocked the climate control off Max AC setting up the diagnostics, hit the climate screen button and reset it to Mac Cold, Auto Fan then hit the service screen button to return to the diagnostics screen.

Fine tuning the charge is not an exact science due to all the variables that enter into how the system operates. The BCM uses the low side temp to control the normal operation of the AC. The concept is to try to keep the temperature of refrigerant entering the evaporator as close to 0 degrees C as possible. If it gets lower than -1 or 2 degrees C the condensation forming on the outside of the evaporator would freeze and block off the air flow into the cabin. If it gets much above 0 then the system is not working at peak efficiency. So ideally the low side temp would be kept at 0 or -1 degree all the time the AC is on.

Problem with that is it will never get to stay at that temp since so many factors play into how that temp is achieved. The ambient temperature, compressor efficiency, condenser efficiency, air flow thru the condenser, engine RPMs, and of course the amount of refrigerant charge all have something to say about what that temp will be at any given moment.

So how do you optimize your system to get the maximum efficiency out of it?

To some extent personal preference comes into play because you can only optimize it at a certain driving condition, and other conditions will then become a compromise around it.

What I do is to shoot for a steady 0 reading for BD28 on a hot day (~90F) while running at a steady cruise speed around 40 mph. Adding a small amount of refrigerant to the system will raise this temp, and lowering the charge will cause it to drop.

This results in the temp rising to around 7 deg at idle which is less than ideal, and the system will cycle when running 50 mph or more which you will see as the temp drops to -2 and then raises up to 10 degrees and then goes back down to -2 again and repeats over and over.

If you do mostly highway driving in really hot conditions, you might want to add a little more charge to get the temp to be a stable 0 deg or so but then the temp at idle will be higher and in town.

If you hardly ever go on the highway, you can lower the charge somewhat so that the temp will be a stable 0 deg around 1000 rpm or so but then it will cycle more and faster at highway speeds.

So it's a balancing act between performance at a given engine RPM, air flow rate and ambient air temp all the time. Of course this assumes the oil charge is proper, and the compressor, condenser and evaporator are all in good working condition.

The BCM won't allow the system to be more efficient that when BD 28 is at -1 degree steady no matter what refrigerant or charge used.

If you want to increase the performance of the system there are a few things you can do to smooth the performance out somewhat.

Increase the idle speed and get more air flow thru the condenser and radiator. Also clean any debris out of the air path between the blower motor and the evaporator coil.

Until it is feasible to reprogram the BCM to change the parameters the only other thing to try would be to trick the BCM into thinking the low temperature sensor is a few degrees hotter than it really is, which will allow the system charge to be lowered and the actual temperature of the evaporator to be reduced a few more degrees which will achieve lower vent temps, but on humid days and with slow blower fan speeds freeze ups might occur.

How to do that is an experiment for someone to undertake sometime.

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Bottom line: a belt driven a/c is a kludge that has to be lived with to a certain extent. A really class system would use a CVT to drive the compressor at a constant speed but have never seen one. Also would not be cheap.

Automobile a/cs have to work under miserable conditions and most are not small - last I looked most were capable of over 30,000 btus which is enough for a medium sized house - otherwise they would just be electric.

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Mc I just want to let you know that this am I followed your latest post about reading the A/C thru the CRT and what it all meant. I am happy to say that my readings were exactly where you suggested they should be.

My A/C works good, but I always wondered if I was in the perameters, and I am happy to know that my car is.

Thanks...

magicalheat you are reading the CRT thru the hard "status" button. Please go to Ronnies site and there is a tutorial on how to get diagnostic info from the CRT. Reatta Owners Journal - Home

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