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1990 Reatta headlight problem


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Last week I posted a headlight problem that I thought was the switch. I was advised it was another problem instead of the switch. I haven't had a chance to fix it yet but in the meantime it's gotten much worse!!! Now the headlights will not stay up and on when I release the switch. They ALWAYS close!! Is there a way to get around this problem temporarily so we can use the car??? Manually extending the headlights does not work....as soon as I push the switch to try to turn them on, they retract again. Can I manually override the extend/retract mechanism while still being able to turn the headlights on and off?? There ought to be a way to do that.All help will be appreciated.

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Guest llaramie

With both lights up, pull the two headlight motorfuses. The headlights will stay up but otherwise operate properly with the on/off and light-sentinal switches.<P>These two headlight-motor fuses are clearly marked and are located in the black-box under the hood, under the support-brace nearest the battery. You can store the fuses indummy slots in the box and then re-insert them when the problem is resolved.<P>This procedure works in Northern Winters to prevent motor burnout or stripping ratchets when there is a good chance the doors will freeze shut.<P><p>[This message has been edited by llaramie (edited 10-05-2000).]

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Both unplugging the headlight motors and removing the left and right HD LP DOOR 1 & HD LP DOOR 2 fuses stopped the doors from closing once they were manually opened. However, the headlights WILL NOT stay on. The moment I release the switch they go off. As long as I hold the switch in they stay on. The parking lights work normally. I still say it's the switch!!!

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I guess we didn't listen to you... sounds like the switch. Why don't you contact one of the Reatta owners with a parts car and see if they have one. It's a lot less shocking to your wallet than the GM dealer. Plus.. most of the people with parts cars will refund your money if the part doesn't work.<P><P>------------------<BR>Barney Eaton Reatta technical advisor for BCA and keeper of the Reatta database.

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Barney, somewhere I read in this forum that the Riveria (90 - 94) used the same switch. Is that true....because it'll make it a lot easier to find. Also this problem acts like relay problems I've encountered on other cars. Is there a headlight holding relay that the switch activates?? I ask because if I hold the headlight switch in, the headlights do work but will go out and retract as soon as I release the switch. Even before, the doors would extend and the lights would come on....but only with my finger on the switch. Thanks again in advance...you've been a great help.

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Barney, also how does the instrument cluster trim and light switch come out......other than very, very carefully. Also I have ordered the headlight motor repair kit knowing that I'll eventually, if not now, need them.

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First you must remove the cluster bezel (trim) there is a torx screw in the right and left ac vent. There are two screws above the instrument panel, they screw up into the overhang. Once those are removed use a hook and pull the bezel straigh toward you. When the bezel is removed you can get to everything.........<P>------------------<BR>Barney Eaton Reatta technical advisor for BCA and keeper of the Reatta database.

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Barney, did you read my questions in 1:15 pm post about relays and other models that might have the same switch?? I sure would appreciate it if you would and answer them. They're the only questions I have left before I tear into this thing. Thanks again for the help on the bezel/switch removal.

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There is either one or two relays, depending upon your Reatta. Early production had a single relay located in the relay center on passanger side of console. The manual does not tell us when the change was made. <BR>Late production had two relays. The one above and another in the front of the console (like an afterthought)<P>A standard Riviera headlight switch may be the same as the Reatta, except the Riviera did not have the fog/driving lights and I don't know if the headlight switch contains the fog switch. Some Rivieras had a headlight delay and I can't tell you if that would work on the Reatta. <P>If you send me your email address, I will attempt to send you the headlight pages from the manual.<P>------------------<BR>Barney Eaton Reatta technical advisor for BCA and keeper of the Reatta database.

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Barney, my e-mail address is tmynyk@aol.com and I would greatly appreciate those headlight pages if you could e-mail them. I was a Technical Writer at Bell Helicopter for 15 years so I think i could figure it out. There are no "spare relays" stashed in some location...are there??? All I need is one!! Maybe I could use one of the others as a "test" relay....if they're all the same. As always...thanks again.

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  • 10 years later...
Guest curtis6234

,,,,tried 3/8x1/2 seal it seems to be working,try tweety's.com item#38-8853, it might work, let me know,,,,,have used this weather stripping for 2 weeks and thru two rain falls so far no leaks,.to get the 10 ft. I needed had to buy 50 ft ,if you want try it call me at 443-812-2745, thanks. had big rain fall,about 1 inch in a 6 hour period, no leaks . It does work !

Edited by curtis6234
update (see edit history)
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  • 1 month later...
Guest curtis6234

1990 reatta dash boardblinks on -then off,after few min.comes back on--does anyone any idea why.check fuse ,its good.thanks for the help,curtis

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Guest Double M

on a 1990, there are two screws above the instrument cluster that need to be removed before you remove the dashboard face.

It then "snaps" off from the chrome plastic piece behind it. The previous owner of mine broke most of them...

The 90 manual shows 4 screws hold on the dash, but alas there are only the 2 I mentioned. I am working on a way to get the dash back together that may involve putting in the 2 other screws that are only in Buick's imagination.

Also Pep Boys sells a toggle Switch for $19.99 that fits in the bottom hole of the headlight switch and it has been opening and closing my lights for months now.

ALSO TALK TO KINGSLEY - HE IS THE MAN - HE HAS BEEN INVALUABLE IN HELPING ME AND HAS HELPED ME BEYOND WORDS TO HELP MY REATTA SEE THE LIGHT!

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The Buick shop manual is correct. To remove the instrument panel bezel on a '90, there are *four* T-15 head screws that must be removed. One at the top of each of the HVAC vents, and two above the steering wheel. (On a '91, the two above the steering wheel were no longer used.) Once these screws are removed, one can start gently prying under the 'chrome' edge to release the tabs.

If you do not remove all four screws, and just start prying, you will end up with a mess of broken plastic.

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[quote=

Also Pep Boys sells a toggle Switch for $19.99 that fits in the bottom hole of the headlight switch and it has been opening and closing my lights for months now.

The '90 headlight switches are one of a kind and only used in the '90 Reattas.

I repair the '90 headlight switches and then test them in my own car before sending them out. I will not sell a switch outright as they are fairly scarce but I send out a good tested assembly and require an exchange. To qualify for an exchange some parts can be missing but the three white pieces inside must be there and the fog light button.

If you are removing the button and adding a Pep Boys switch in that location you are ruining your switch assembly and it cannot be repaired as the parts are not available.

I feel the switches are worth about $ 120 outright as they are available if you look around. I repair them for about 1/2 that.

The 88-89 switches which I also repair are a pretty complicated arrangement of sliders and contacts. These switches can get pitted on some of the contacts and this pitting will cause low current flow which generates heat and can cause some wires to melt on the back of the switch.

The '90 switches were a very simply operating switch. The contacts do not pit so it is highly unlikely any heat will generate and cause damage.

88-89s yes, '90-91 no.

The 90 switches will come apart if someone pushes to hard on the buttons. When they come apart the rocker contacts inside can cause a short but everything is protected by fuses.

In the last year, on several occasions the new switch was installed in a car where their switch had fallen apart. They got the repaired one from me and reported my switch would not turn on the tail lights. I emailed back and had them check the fuse and in every occasion the fuse was blown. They replaced the fuse and everything has worked good since.

Mid '90 GM changed some of the wiring in the body to eliminate problems but the switches stayed the same.

Edited by Jim (see edit history)
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  • 8 years later...

I just put in new bell cranks and the 3 plastic rollers on each side of my 1990 Buick Reatta.....both sides worked fine, but after a few openings and closings my right hand (passenger side) would not open all the time and would need to crank up manually, but it works on it's own on and off. Everything is tight and when it doesn't work seems like no juice getting to the motor and it always closes after I manually crank it up when I shut the lights off. Could this be a relay problem? I haven't checked them out and if that's what it is, is it a good idea to replace both, as I've heard there are 2, one for each side, but not sure where they're located.

Thanks for any help.

On 1/16/2011 at 10:14 AM, wws944 said:

The Buick shop manual is correct. To remove the instrument panel bezel on a '90, there are *four* T-15 head screws that must be removed. One at the top of each of the HVAC vents, and two above the steering wheel. (On a '91, the two above the steering wheel were no longer used.) Once these screws are removed, one can start gently prying under the 'chrome' edge to release the tabs.

If you do not remove all four screws, and just start prying, you will end up with a mess of broken plastic.

 

On 10/6/2000 at 11:34 PM, Barney Eaton said:

There is either one or two relays, depending upon your Reatta. Early production had a single relay located in the relay center on passanger side of console. The manual does not tell us when the change was made. <BR>Late production had two relays. The one above and another in the front of the console (like an afterthought)<P>A standard Riviera headlight switch may be the same as the Reatta, except the Riviera did not have the fog/driving lights and I don't know if the headlight switch contains the fog switch. Some Rivieras had a headlight delay and I can't tell you if that would work on the Reatta. <P>If you send me your email address, I will attempt to send you the headlight pages from the manual.<P>------------------<BR>Barney Eaton Reatta technical advisor for BCA and keeper of the Reatta database.

 

 

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