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Headlights Are "Winking"!


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I haven't driven my Reatta in long while now, but have been doing things to get it more road worthy and looking great. However, just learned tonight that my right headlight doesn't wish to open all the way! The driver side opens fine, but has always semed to close quicker and with less damping than the right. Now, the right won't open much and it seems that the knob to manually lift it isn't working as it once did. It basically seems to try to open and then just "hangs" there rather loose! Sometimes lifting it makes it stay open.<P>The Reatta factory service manual doesn't show much (or I haven't looked in the right place yet) on this, so I trust some of you have already rebuilt your headlight motors or replaced them. Also, what about the linkage that opens the assembly? Am I talking bad motor here or linkage or both? What is best to do?<P>Barney...did I read a while back that you have rebuilt actuator motors? I don't recall all the details...please e-mail me or post here for all to know. Is a replacement motor the answer?<P>Thanks!

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If your actuator assys haven't been rebuilt, this really sounds like the early signs of failure. Mine showed this type of symptom right before one failed completely. My gear was fine but (per others descriptions / info) the delrin rollers crumble. (The motor drives the gear which is coupled by the rollers to the shaft that actuates the lift arm.) Once you have the gear assy apart it makes sense as they (rollers) appear to take up some of the lock-to-lock shock in the actuator arm. The arm is also keyed and becomes enlarged / sloppy, which is a better failure mode than rounding the shaft. New actuator arms were avail. from buick when I rebuilt mine and Tom / Barney (+ others have roller info at the ~pixi site).<P>Hope this wasn't too redundant.... I just followed they're instructions. I'm actually very impressed with the parts that are designed to fail and preserve more critical / expensive components on this high cycle rate assembly.<P>Gotta-Reatta.......

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Guest jim_houston

Yep, sounds like the rollers. If all of our rollers have gone bad, it only makes sense. It's a 3 hour job if you do it yourself and slowly follow the step-by-step instructions Barney has on the web site. The first one will take you about 2 hours to do because it will all be foreign to you. The other headlight will take you less than half the time because you will know what you're doing.<BR>The hardest part for me was getting the gear off of the motor on the left side. That is a little tricky and took me more time to get that gear off than the right. It doesn't want to come off very easily. The gear on the right side motor comes right out. The gear on the left will fight you, but it does come off. (I'm talking about the white gear you will see once you get the motor out and in your hands). Good luck!<BR>Jim Houston<BR>Charleston, SC

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Guest wally888

Jim -H' Guess I'll mark it up to experience.<BR>I followed instructions on Tom J's site,got to white gear,kept turning motor shaft-everything looked ok,turned motor and worm gear turned,couldn't get white gear off so put all back together-don't work!<BR> I took motor apart(noticed there is a very small ball bearing that fits in end of motor shaft(it fell out and I was lucky to notice as don't see it mentioned in article).I will start over but need a clue to help me get white gear out,possible I didn't remove something??

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The problem may not be the motor. My reatta was doing the same thing and it turned out to be the headlight stop. The part the attaches to the headlight arm and the headlight motor. It was stripped out, causing the headlight to try and extend, but slip back down to a closed postion. I fixed it my self with a tap and die kit, a bolt, a drill and some bits, a few files, some apoxy, and some trial and error. <BR>For thoughs with some guts, the rollers can be made in about an hour in your own home. Get the secs off the data page. Then all you need is good apoxy, a bar of soap, a file, and the right size drill bit and drill. Just drill the right size hole in the soap. Fill the hole with apoxy and wait. Once dry, file and round off to the proper size and install. Total cost, about $5.00 for the apoxy, and you can make as many as you need.

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I have rebuilt several headlight assemblies since writing the instructions on Tom's site.<P>Yes, Wally there is a small ball bearing on the end of the motor shaft. <P>To seperate the gear from the shaft, hold the white gear in one hand and hit the end of the shaft with a plastic hammer or piece of wood.<BR>They will seperate and you will have a hand full of plastic powder. The original rollers disintegrate, either intentionally or because of age. <P>There is apparantly LOTS of torque transferred through them. I have tried several types of rollers and unless they are solid, they get deformed. The ones from Eckler's seem to work because they have a thicker wall. A hard, solid roller will work, but if something sticks, or keeps the headlight from opening, you can distroy the large gear. The only know source for those is Eckler's bronze gear at $35.00 each. It appears the rollers were intended as a "clutch" to protect the large gear, motor, etc. <P>Because of the torque, I would not recommend the epoxy fix for the bellcrank. I have made special washers and the torque eats them. Epoxy won't last. A new bellcrank from GM list for $39.00 and until we find another solution, we are stuck with that also.<P>Remember to test the headlight for ease of operation before attaching the link from the bellcrank. If you have binds in the pivot points etc, it just adds to the torque required to open the lights and the rollers will fail within a few cycles. <P>I rebuild the motor assembly, on a limited basis because of the lack of replacement parts. I am charging $50.00 per motor and you must return the old motor. If you do not have a core, there is a $25.00 core charge. The price includes the shipping from me to you, and you must pay the shipping on the core. <P>------------------<BR>Barney Eaton Reatta technical advisor for BCA and keeper of the Reatta database.

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Guest jim_houston

The way I got the gear off (from left side assembly) was to drive a small drywall screw into it until it began to bite. I only drove the screw in maybe 1/4" inch. It was hard to get it started, but once I did, I had something to grab onto to pull the gear out of the assembly. At first, I tried to pry it out with a screwdriver but I didn't want to mess up the teeth in the gear, so that idea didn't work. The screw worked great. Once I had the screw driven a little way into the gear, I got a vice-grip and locked it on the screw I had driven into the gear. It took some persuasion, but the gear did come out. Caution though, if you drive the screw in too far, it will go into your rollers, but if your rollers were like mine, they will be the consistency of sand. When I changed out the rollers, they were completely disintegrated as Barney's page states. It was amazing to me that the lights popped up at all. The rollers inside both of my assemblys were complete dust.<BR>The left side is the bear, the right side is cake. Start with the left and get the worst part over with early.<BR>Good luck, you'll feel pretty accomplished with yourself once you've done the job. I highly recommend doing it, if I can do it, anyone can.<BR>Jim Houston

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The easiest way I have found to remove the gear on the left assembly is...... with the gear cover removed and the motor assembly clamped in a vise.... grab the flats on the shaft with vise grips. Just enough pressure not to scratch. Now pull and wiggle the vise grips, at the same time turn the motor knob.<P>All this motion helps the gear slip over the worm gear. I have not damaged the plastic gear or shaft with this method. <P>Remember if you are repairing the motor for the first time, you may want to remove the motor from the gear box. If that is done, the big gear comes out with effort. I also posted somewhere that I am seeing screws on the motor that have frozen or locked and when you attempt to remove them they break. That creats another problem. <P>------------------<BR>Barney Eaton Reatta technical advisor for BCA and keeper of the Reatta database.

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Guest wally888

I had one of those broken off screws!<BR>Suggest spraying all on both sides and let sit a while before removal.Mine broke immediately upon trying to turn suggesting it had been torqued to tight initially.<BR> It was very difficult to drill out w/o press because screw must be steel and hard to center punch to keep hand drill from slipping off on case,a much softer metal.

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Barney Eaton:<BR><B>The easiest way I have found to remove the gear on the left assembly is...... with the gear cover removed and the motor assembly clamped in a vise.... grab the flats on the shaft with vise grips. Just enough pressure not to scratch. Now pull and wiggle the vise grips, at the same time turn the motor knob.<P>All this motion helps the gear slip over the worm gear. I have not damaged the plastic gear or shaft with this method. <P>Remember if you are repairing the motor for the first time, you may want to remove the motor from the gear box. If that is done, the big gear comes out with effort. I also posted somewhere that I am seeing screws on the motor that have frozen or locked and when you attempt to remove them they break. That creats another problem. <P></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><BR>Barney:<P> Try using Locktite press fit repair on the motor shaft when you replace the links. This seems to eliminate the SS shaft from eating the pot metal link. It also works if the links are only a little bit worn. Won't fill a 20 degree gap though.<P> The link can still be removed from the shaft (with a little extra effort) if later repairs are needed.<P> Bob Rich

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