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Does any-one know if there is a circuit breaker for the headlights/hi-beam on a 85 Buick Riviera? If so where is it located? If not is there a relay for the headlights/hi-beams? My headlights/hi-beams flash on and off after the headlights and hi/beams have been on after about 10 min. Now if just the headlights are on and Not the hi-beams, the headlights are ok, they won't flash. Please respond if you know what the problem is! joed59

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You may or may not have a defective headlight switch...

Do you know if you have stock headlights? If they are the standard sealed beam units, their current 'draw' should not exceed the rating of the internal circuit breaker in the headlight switch. FYI: This circuit breaker is 'self resetting'. This is why the lights flash. If aftermarket headlights have been installed with removeable lamps, the current 'draw' of these lamps may exceed the capacity of the circuit breaker in the switch. Years ago, I installed Hella 'H4' low & high beam headlights with high powered lamps. When the high beams were on for several minutes, the circuit breaker would trip. I solved this problem by installed a 30 amp relay which fed the headlight circuit (through an inline 30amp fuse) directly from the alternator o/p stud. The headlight switch only controlled the low current relay coil...

You may wish to verify the current flowing through the headlight circuit before you open up the instrument panel to replace the switch. Use a digital volt/amp meter in series with the negative side of the battery. With the ignition off and doors closed, measure both the low & high beam current. I'm not sure of the stock lamp wattage but you can easily find this out...

Put on your Sherlock Holmes hat...

Paul

Hi Paul,

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! I replaced a headlight on this car, about 4 yrs. ago but I didn't have this problem then. I just installed a hi-beam headlight only because one of them, the lense was cracked! And of course the headlights still flashed on and off. When I shake it a little it sounds like the filament was broken, but the light was still working! So I changed it any way. But I only use the type off headlights, that originally came with the car sealed beam, Sylvania I think is the brand. My other question is where is the circuit breaker located on these cars? I looked on the fuse box under the dash, and couldn't locate it! It doesn't seem to be under the hood either! Please respond Thank You!!

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Thanks for getting back to me Rivieraman. This car does not have twilight sentinel. Thanks for offering to purchase another switch, I have a friend that owns an Auto Parts store. I will let you know in the future for any parts. Do you still own many of these cars listed here? I few years ago I had a 60 t-bird convertible that was in I would say a strong 3 condition almost a 2. I also had a 65 t-bird Hdtp, that was in a 2 condition. I also owned an 89 Pontiac Trans-am That I bought new, when I sold it, it had 40k. I've since sold these cars. I generally like all the American makes but I definitely lean more towards the GM brands.

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The trickiest part of removing a headlight switch from one of these cars is figuring out how the switch knob comes off. On most cars there's a button on the actual switch that releases the knob AND the shaft. On these cars, there is a spring clip on the back of the knob. There's a small slot on the back of the knob that allows access to the spring clip. Depress the clip with a very small screw driver and pull it off the shaft. Only then can you get the panel off to reveal the switch. The panels are held on with clips. You'll have to take then entire panel off of that part of the dash. That will expose the speedometer, all of the idiot lights, etc. It will be easier to remove the panel with the tilt wheel all the way down. From there it's a piece of cake.

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)

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The circuit breaker for the headlights is inside the headlight switch itself... The switch & circuit breaker are replaced as a unit.

It sounds like you have the OEM type headlights which should not trip the circuit breaker. The reason why your high beam lamp worked even though the lens was cracked is because the actual bulb is sealed in it's own quartz peanut housing within the lamp itself. At least in '84 on my Toronado, this applied only to the high beam lamps, not the low beams.

I suspect that the circuit breaker contacts in your present headlight switch are oxidized. This creates heat fools the circuit breaker into tripping...

Hopefully, those who are familiar with the '79 - '85 Rivieras will tell you how to remove the instrument panel cover on the driver's side to gain access to the headlight switch. The procedure is probably very similiar to what was required to remove the panel cover for my '84 Toronado... Take your time and don't force anything...

Paul

Thank You so much Paul. Yea, it's not a problem removing the instrument panel cover, I've done it a dozen times, but I had no idea the circuit breaker was inside the switch it-self. I thought the circuit breaker was located some-where else under the instrument panel. Again Thank You so much! Even thought the Haynes manual is helpful, they still don't tell you everything!

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You have a bad headlight switch! I have a couple extra do you have twlight sent?

Do you have the headlight knob, or rather the retaining clip that goes inside the knob, for that 85 riviera so the knob will stay on the stem. I seemed to have lost it and can find anyone that has it.

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Do you have or know any-one that has the knob for the headlights for my 85 riviera? Actually I need the retaining clip that goes inside the knob, so that the knob stays on the stem that goes into the switch. I seemed to have lost that clip and with-out it the knob will not stay on the switch!

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Yeah I have a knob with the clip send me a PM and I will mail it to you

Sorry if I sound dumb, but what is PM? Also my headlights still flash, even though I put in the new switch. It usually takes about 15 minutes or so before they start to flash on and off. Something

is getting hot. When I first put the highbeams on, they wont go on and off. It usually takes about 15 minutes. What could it be?

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PM = Private Message.

Click on the persons ID who is requesting that you "PM" him. You'll go to his link and you can communicate through the site but no one but the two of you will be able to read the messages.

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So where did you get a "new" switch from? It could be possible that is bad too. It was my understanding the part is not available.

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From Advance Auto parts. I doubt the new switch is bad. You can get another switch for the Riviera, not an original AC Delco it's an aftermarket. I am inclined to believe that the problem is the relay. The problem is I don't know where it is located on the car. I can't find a schematic for it and no one seems to know where it is located, not even the service dept. at a Buick Dealer. Because the car is too old. Do you know where it is located on the car? Let me know! Appreciate it!

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Hi,

According to my Buick factory service manual, an intermittant high or low beam action can be caused by opens in a couple of wires or a defective dimmer switch. I can check the locatoin and color codes on the wires and let you you know tomorrow, but I'm willing to bet it's a "flaky" dimmer switch.

kaycee

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Kaycee, the dimmer switch was already replaced. The reason I think it's the relay is because when I turn on the headlights and highbeams, the lights stay on for about 15 min. or so. Everything is fine. Then they start to blink on and off, so something is getting hot. Let me know what you come with! Appreciate it. Joe.

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One of the headlights was replaced a few years back. Their was no problem then. And I also replaced one of the hi-beams in conjunction with replacing the dimmer switch, just recently. According to the auto parts stores Napa, Advance Auto parts here in Connecticut, they do list a headlight relay. I have done that disconnected one of the hi-beams and the rest of the lights, stayed on without incident. Then I went to the other hi-beam and again they didn't flash on and off. Connect them back up and they start to flash. My other question is how do I measure the total current in the headlight circuit when the hi-beams are on. I have a new multi-meter tester that I purchased thru Napa, and it's not cheap, but also not one those $3-$400.00 ones either. I am a novice when it comes to testing circuits. This only happens after the headlights and hi-beams are on for at least 15 minutes, before that there isn't a problem, so something is getting hot. Please respond! Appreciate it! Joe.

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I did'nt get time to look at the wiring diagram for your '85 today, but I had a question pop up. Do you have a alarm system on the car where the lghts go on along with the horn? It may be in that circuit even though your horn is'nt going off and on.

I'll try to get back in my manual tomorrow.

kaycee

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