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Easy five minute solution to 1965 Buick Riviera unobtanium auxiliary headlight motor relay


Seafoam65
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I have been working on getting rid of the toggle switches on my hideaway lamps that were on the car when I bought it. They were on there because the original auxiliary headlamp relay had gone bad and they couldn't find a replacement anywhere. Just last month I witnessed one of these relays

along with the easily obtainable control relay sell as a pair on ebay after a bidding war for about $600.00!!!!! The control relay GM part number 1365166

AC/Delco part number 15-8172 can be ordered from your neighborhood GM dealer for about $15.00 each. It takes a few days but you can buy them right now from GM. I just ordered five of them for my stock and they will be here in about four days. These relays were used for the blower motors on some GM cars from 1965 to 1977, so they could be discontinued at any time. If you own

a 65 Riviera I would recommend buying a lifetime supply of them right now while you can still get them. The main point of this post is to tell you how in five minutes you can convert your wiring in order to use a control relay as your auxiliary relay, i.e. you will have two identical part no. 1365166 relays

mounted under your left fender lip . It is amazingly simple to do the conversion....the hard part was figuring out how to do it! First unplug your bad auxiliary relay and then remove it from your inner fender and toss it in the trash. Your auxiliary relay has three wires on the plug ....a black with white stripe, a black wire and a black with orange stripe wire. Taking a small

pick, poke the pick in the slot at the end of the plug next to the terminal at the end of the black/orange wire and flatten the latch tab and pull the orange /black wire out of the three wire connector. Next take your new 1365166 control relay out of the box and plug the black/orange stripe wire into the prong that is off by itself, (terminal no. 4) After it is plugged in, wrap the exposed terminal with electrical tape so that is fully insulated. Next take the three way

connector from which you removed the black/orange stripe wire and plug it into the three way terminals on the other end of the 1365166 relay. Now mount the new relay to the inner fender using the same hole and screw that held the auxiliary relay. That's it! You now have a setup that uses only one style relay for both relays. All you have to do now is stock up on the 1365166

relay and you are set for a lifetime! Please note that both of the relays

get their ground from the inner fender so the circuit won't work until

you have the relays bolted firmly to the inner fender. One other thing, to avoid

any confusion, the very early build cars were built with only the control relay

and no auxiliary relay. There was a recall to retrofit the early cars with the additional relay, but some cars may have slipped through the cracks and still have only one relay. The purpose of the auxiliary relay is to make the headlight

motor be able to close the clamshells only when the key is on. This prevents

a dead battery caused by the motor trying to close the clamshells after they are already closed due to out of adjustment linkage or out of adjustment limiter switches on the motor. On the early cars before the recall and conversion, you

could close the visors with the key off. My Dad's September built 65 Riviera was like this when we first got it, then it had to go back to the dealer for the conversion.

NOTE: AS OF SPRING 2017, YOU CAN BUY BOTH RELAYS AS A PAIR ON EBAY, AS THE AUXILIARY RELAY HAS NOW BEEN REPRODUCED . I STILL LIKE MY METHOD BETTER

AS YOU ONLY NEED TO STOCK UP ON ONE RELAY PART NUMBER, AND YOU CAN UTILIZE GENUINE GM HEAVY DUTY RELAYS. AND...................YOU CAN BUY FIVE 1365166

GM RELAYS FOR WHAT ONE REPRO PAIR COSTS ON EBAY.

UPDATE>>>>>>>>>>>>!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In 201`7 GM and Delco discontinued the main relay for our 65 Rivieras. Currently as I write this in June 2018, there are

three other sources that I am aware of. It is available as a STANDARD RY8, a BORG WARNER R3553, or a FOUR SEASONS 35760. I would stock up on one of these if I were you, because they probably won't be available forever.

Edited by Seafoam65 (see edit history)
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I just did something similar 2 weeks ago. Last yr when I bought my 65 GS it had a Ford bronco window motor in the originals place and it was wired to a toggle switch on the cover under the dash. What was different on mine was he unplugged the original motor and the cut the black wires going to that relay and ran new hot wires to the window motor unit. I bought a rebuilt unit on line from one of our venders for around $420 then reconnected the cut wires and found the relay was bad bought a new relay 1356166 at my local federated store for 10.15 and it came in the store in 4 hrs. I have seen some as high as 50 bucks for original GM and as low as 8 bucks for others. I have spent considerable time aligning it all up and replacing home made pivots and wrong bell cranks too now all is well. Plus it all now works like yours right from the factory light switch. Ain't life grand!

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I would recommend using GM relays due to the fact they are designed to handle the high

amp load of a blower motor or headlight motor. Over the years in my repair shop I've had hell with

aftermarket Chinese relays. Sometimes they are bad right out of the box and sometimes fail in just a few months.

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Thanks for this information. I just got my rebuilt motor back about a month ago but am having relay problems. i was dreading trying to track down the infamous unobtanium auxiliary headlight motor relay. Rock Auto has the AC Delco relay including shipping for under $12. Two ordered this morning.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...
  • 10 months later...
  • 10 months later...

Winston, Thanks for the bump.  

 

Can someone tell me if there's a way to "bookmark" certain threads on this forum.  There's some great info in this one and I'd like to be able to access it sometime down the road without looking at every thread that has the words 'clam shells' or 'relay' in it.

 

Thanks,

Ed

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6 hours ago, RivNut said:

Winston, Thanks for the bump.  

 

Can someone tell me if there's a way to "bookmark" certain threads on this forum.  There's some great info in this one and I'd like to be able to access it sometime down the road without looking at every thread that has the words 'clam shells' or 'relay' in it.

 

Thanks,

Ed

You can follow the thread.  Go to the upper right corner of the page.  There's a little gray box that says "Follow".  Click on it and set your notification preference.  If you just  want to keep it for easy reference, you can set it to no notifications.  It will still be accessible through your control panel: go to the top upper right of the page and click on your user name with the little down arrow beside it.  That will display a drop-down menu.  One of the menu items is is "Manage followed content".  Click on that.  It will bring up a new page ("Manage Followed Content").  If it doesn't say "Topics I Follow" in the dark gray title bar, look at the menu on the left of the page. Click on "Topics".  It will display a page with links to every thread you follow.

Edited by KongaMan (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, KongaMan said:

You can follow the thread.  Go to the upper right corner of the page.  There's a little gray box that says "Follow".  Click on it and set your notification preference.  If you just  want to keep it for easy reference, you can set it to no notifications.  It will still be accessible through your control panel: go to the top upper right of the page and click on your user name with the little down arrow beside it.  That will display a drop-down menu.  One of the menu items is is "Manage followed content".  Click on that.  It will bring up a new page ("Manage Followed Content").  If it doesn't say "Topics I Follow" in the dark gray title bar, look at the menu on the left of the page. Click on "Topics".  It will display a page with links to every thread you follow.

That was too easy.  Thanks.  Now I need to go back and find a couple of others and mark them as well.

 

Ed

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  • 7 months later...

Bumping this back to the top for new members struggling with their 65 hideaway headlamps. One thing that has

changed since this post is that someone has reproduced the auxiliary relay and is selling both headlamp relays

as a pair on ebay. I still like my idea better as you can stock up on only one relay and you can use genuine GM relays.

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  • 7 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...

I have asked for it to be added to the thread "Riviera Web Sites, Vendors and Services".

 

Pinning too many threads makes it pretty busy at the top so that was why that thread was started and pinned. Any posts that you feel need to be readily available, post in that thread and they can be added there so it stays at the top.

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I was happy I stumbled across this thread until I started trying to find these GM/AC DELCO relays. Then I realized that this thread is 3 years old ?. Did U guys buy them all? haha 

 

So I scrambled to find these relays online while at work & had no luck.  My plan was to stop at my local GM dealership parts department on my way home. 

 

Then my super computer savy coworker jumped on the net to help me & finds some in NY! I’m in Cali haha…whatever. So I order 4 of them at $8 each. 

 

They got here today & they look right. But the paperwork says nothing of the part number I order. No where does it say GM #1365166 or AC DELCO 15-8172. Lemme guess…is this one of those Chinese made repop’s?

 

Is this common? How can I ensure that this relay is correct?

 

78A7BC19-C955-43C2-BAE2-57E4F3F8F31D.jpeg.6c7348b0d927c339b79db06387725d25.jpeg 

 

02602592-2454-4D69-9BFD-C5AA42DB9608.jpeg.cd9dcd23d60f76de9d8feedf5d0d1dfc.jpeg

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56 minutes ago, RockinRiviDad said:

I was happy I stumbled across this thread until I started trying to find these GM/AC DELCO relays. Then I realized that this thread is 3 years old ?. Did U guys buy them all? haha 

 

So I scrambled to find these relays online while at work & had no luck.  My plan was to stop at my local GM dealership parts department on my way home. 

 

Then my super computer savy coworker jumped on the net to help me & finds some in NY! I’m in Cali haha…whatever. So I order 4 of them at $8 each. 

 

They got here today & they look right. But the paperwork says nothing of the part number I order. No where does it say GM #1365166 or AC DELCO 15-8172. Lemme guess…is this one of those Chinese made repop’s?

 

Is this common? How can I ensure that this relay is correct?

 

78A7BC19-C955-43C2-BAE2-57E4F3F8F31D.jpeg.6c7348b0d927c339b79db06387725d25.jpeg 

 

02602592-2454-4D69-9BFD-C5AA42DB9608.jpeg.cd9dcd23d60f76de9d8feedf5d0d1dfc.jpeg

I can't say how heavy duty these relays you bought are, but the diagram on the side of your new relay indicates that is wired correctly internally

so it will work. I doubt the relay is as heavy duty as the GM relay but give it a whirl and see how it does. Also, if you want to get really fancy, you can buy a plastic rectangular single wire terminal on ebay that you can snap on the orange/black wire

before you plug it in , making it look completely like the factory did it.

Edited by Seafoam65 (see edit history)
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30 minutes ago, RivNut said:

Artex Wells part number 1R1216, or Standard part number RY8.

Both cross reference ACDelco 15-8172.  $6 from RockAuto

 

Thx for the reference numbers. But I don’t see those numbers on my box or on the relay…

 

2 minutes ago, Seafoam65 said:

I can't say how heavy duty these relays you bought are, but the diagram on the side of your new relay indicates that is wired correctly internally

so it will work. I doubt the relay is as heavy duty as the GM relay but give it a whirl and see how it does.

 

Thx. I will roll the dice. I’ve gotten good at that haha. 

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12 minutes ago, RockinRiviDad said:

 

Thx for the reference numbers. But I don’t see those numbers on my box 

I know that.  I'm just saying they're out there.  O'Reillys stocks the Standard brand on the shelf.

 

The cross reference that listed the ACDelco part number 15-8172 had probably 10 other OEM part numbers cross referenced as well.

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Ok…thx for the info

 

So the names to look for for a heavy duty relay are:

GM

AC DELCO

STANDARD

RY8

 

NOT 4 Seasons

 

are there any others? We may as well list them all to avoid buying crap like I just did. Unless I’m the only one that is good at taking “one step forward,  two steps backward” then please delete the post mods

 

EDIT: ok…cool…now I don’t feel as bad for buying the 4 Seasons brand. Thx Winston 

Edited by RockinRiviDad (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

UPDATE: Several suppliers have discontinued the main headlamp relay for the 65 Riviera, including General Motors and Delco. I did some

searching and found two companies that still make it for now but I wouldn't count on that to be the case for much longer, so you need to stock up on these remaining relays while you still can. The three brands I have found that you can still buy are the Four Seasons Part No. 35760, the Borg Warner R3553 and the Standard

Part No. RY-8. Get them now.....when they're gone they're gone. Rock Auto sells the Standard RY-8 for 8.26 each online.

Edited by Seafoam65 (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, Seafoam65 said:

UPDATE: Several suppliers have discontinued the main headlamp relay for the 65 Riviera, including General Motors and Delco. I did some

searching and found two companies that still make it for now but I wouldn't count on that to be the case for much longer, so you need to stock up on these remaining relays while you still can. The two brands I have found that you can still buy are the Four Seasons Part No. 35760, and the Standard

Part No. RY-8. Get them now.....when they're gone they're gone. Rock Auto sells the Standard RY-8 for 8.26 each online.

Yep, bought 2 when I rewired mine.  So far no issues.

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After doing the conversion, you have two identical relays that can fail. When I bought my car they were both bad. On my Dad's car that we bought new,

in the twenty years he had it they failed several times. At 8.26 each, it is prudent to stock up on them. Later when you can't get them they can be sold for

way way more than you paid for them if you sell your car and don't need them.......it's a no-brainer.

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  • 1 month later...

I picked up a couple of the Borg Warner relays and replaced both of mine. My old ones were actually both 4 prong, but looked pretty old. Follewd your instructions to the T and they still operate the same. Cannot get the clamshelss to stay open with the lights off, no matter what position the key is in. Been this way for the 2 years I have had the car. However, the relay closest to the bottom of the fender had a blue wire that someone has attached a connector to and plugged into the 4th terminal of that relay. If you undo the blue wire, the lights come on. But visors dont open at all. Hooked it back up for now, and it works, but there still must be a way to have the visors open with the headlights off, I would think. At least I have 2 new relays, lol.

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16 hours ago, jframe said:

I picked up a couple of the Borg Warner relays and replaced both of mine. My old ones were actually both 4 prong, but looked pretty old. Follewd your instructions to the T and they still operate the same. Cannot get the clamshelss to stay open with the lights off, no matter what position the key is in. Been this way for the 2 years I have had the car. However, the relay closest to the bottom of the fender had a blue wire that someone has attached a connector to and plugged into the 4th terminal of that relay. If you undo the blue wire, the lights come on. But visors dont open at all. Hooked it back up for now, and it works, but there still must be a way to have the visors open with the headlights off, I would think. At least I have 2 new relays, lol.

Somebody who didn't have a clue what they were doing has been working on the wiring to the headlamp motor before you bought the car.

Tell what color wires are going to which prong on each of the relays and I will figure out what is wrong.

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Just now, Seafoam65 said:

Somebody who didn't have a clue what they were doing has been working on the wiring to the headlamp motor before you bought the car.

Tell what color wires are going to which prong on each of the relays and I will figure out what is wrong.

I'll have to pull the battery again and take a look, or even better, a photograph. Just from memory, the relay towards the top of the fender is the one that I performed your mod on since it had the plug with the orange/black wire plugged into it. The bottom relay is the one with the blue wire plugged into the terminal by itself. I removed two four prong relays and replaced them with two new ones. Modded the upper one like you said to do, and put everything else back the way I found it. Can't unplug the blue wire; headlights will come on, but visors won't open. Plug it back up, and everything works, but visors won't stay open with the switch off. I will try to take a picture, and send it to you or post here and see what you think. The visors work well and so do the lights, but I just think those visors should stay open if I turn off the car with the headlights on and THEN push in the headlight switch.

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The bottom relay is the main relay and the blue wire is supposed to be plugged into that relay....that is factory. The main relay is working

properly otherwise the visors would not open and close. The problem is going to be at the top relay, which is your auxiliary relay. Tell me what color wires

are going to which prong on that relay.

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16 minutes ago, Seafoam65 said:

The bottom relay is the main relay and the blue wire is supposed to be plugged into that relay....that is factory. The main relay is working

properly otherwise the visors would not open and close. The problem is going to be at the top relay, which is your auxiliary relay. Tell me what color wires

are going to which prong on that relay.

Ok, I will look after work. It definitely has the orange/black wire going to the prong by itself now, and the other two wires of that 3 way plug plugs into the other end of the relay.

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                       If you look at the two black  and black/white wires that should be plugged in to the triangular set of prongs, they should be plugged

in at the top of the triangle and the lower left of the triangle. The lower right prong will have nothing on it as this is where the black/orange

stripe wire was removed.  The black/white wire  should have 12 volts with the headlamps turned off, and the black/ orange wire should have 12 volts  only when the

ignition switch is turned to run. The way it works is that the black wire has to have continuity with the black/white wire for the headlamp visors to close. The auxiliary relay  should kick in and connect these two wires together only when the key is on. Also, the two relays must be firmly grounded to the inner fender in order to work. If the wires are plugged in right, the problem would

have to be that the black/orange wire is connected to a constant 12 volt source instead of a source that has 12 volts only when the ignition switch is turned on. The black /orange wire is supposed to be connected to the orange wire going to the kickdown

switch on the side of the carburetor. this is where it is supposed to get it's 12 volts from when the key is switched on. The fuse for

this circuit is the wiper fuse.

Edited by Seafoam65 (see edit history)
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15 minutes ago, Seafoam65 said:

                       If you look at the two black  and black/white wires that should be plugged in to the triangular set of prongs, they should be plugged

in at the top of the triangle and the lower left of the triangle. The lower right prong will have nothing on it as this is where the black/orange

stripe wire was removed.  The black/white wire  should have 12 volts with the headlamps turned off, and the black/ orange wire should have 12 volts  only when the

ignition switch is turned to run. The way it works is that the black wire has to have continuity with the black/white wire for the headlamp visors to close. The auxiliary relay  should kick in and connect these two wires together only when the key is on. Also, the two relays must be firmly grounded to the inner fender in order to work. If the wires are plugged in right, the problem would

have to be that the black/orange wire is connected to a constant 12 volt source instead of a source that has 12 volts only when the ignition switch is turned on. The black /orange wire is supposed to be connected to the orange wire going to the kickdown

switch on the side of the carburetor. this is where it is supposed to get it's 12 volts from when the key is switched on. The fuse for

this circuit is the wiper fuse.

So I am thinking I need to trace where this orange/black wire goes from the relay?

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With a new relay installed if your wiring is correct on the prongs, I would think that you must have constant 12 volts on the orange/black wire for it to act as you describe, but you need to check it at the relay for voltage. Should be no voltage till you turn on the ignition.

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                       It looks like you are connected to the kickdown......you need to get a test light or voltmeter and see what the voltage is

at the orange/black wire with the key on and key off. Is your auxiliary relay wired up like I stated with the orange /black wire on terminal

4 off by itself, and the other two wires where I stated?

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