headlights won't come up


centervilledon
09-29-2005, 08:31 PM
The headlights were coming up the other day just fine. But tonight while the wife and I were out shopping and were headed home the headlights wouldn't come up. The lights were on but neither one would raise up. Where could I start looking for the problem? Don

ctesla
09-29-2005, 08:36 PM
hey Don,
should be a headlight relay???
crud, forgot. think it's in front on fire wall, I'll double check,
but being close to winter time, might want to consider manually cranking them up with the knurled knobs, and unplugging the power to them.
they'll stay up ALL the time, and save those little motors (because I know midwest winters) from wet snow icing over, and freezing the light covers down.

will pull up schematics and email in a few.

hope this helps,
chris
nrt racing

ctesla
09-29-2005, 09:13 PM
both headlight actuators on the '88 run through different relays, AND different fusible links.
(not sure if yours is the same, but should be)
so even if one motor burns out, for safety, one should pop.
try toggling the headlight switch a couple of times, in rapid succession,
and maybe hitting the markers on first, then the main headlight switch.
the actuators can sometimes "stick" on older vehicles, and need resetting or to be recycled before raising.
if not, could be the motors gave up the ghost at the same time (possible), but not likely. and probably not the switch, as you said the lights are on (just pointing into the spare tire).
if you do end up needing motors, let me know, but good luck.
chris

centervilledon
09-30-2005, 05:10 AM
I tried different settings on the knob that says open on it and they started working. ??? Is that knurled knob supposed to be a manuel open. I turned them all the way to open but they didn't come up. They are working with the switch so that is good I would like to know a little more about getting them up manually in case they won't come up when the switch is activated. Don

ctesla
09-30-2005, 07:25 AM
the "knurled" knob is directly behind each light, and with the hood open, when activating the headlight switch, you can actually watch them rapidly spin as the motors engage. they might just need some white grease. by manually turning the knob (CCW?) you can raise the headlight. directly below that knob and plastic cover is what looks like a smaller, odd looking wiper motor; the headlight actuator/motor, and each headlamp has its own headlight switch/harness assembly.
when you crank the knob, you are just moving/meshing the gears in the servo to lift the link assembly on the crank arm ball; thereby forcing the headlight in its framed structure/housing to tilt.
if you need, send an email, and I can send diagrams & pics.

chris
ctesla@sbcglobal.net

centervilledon
09-30-2005, 07:10 PM
Thanx Chris for the thoughts. I have turned the knob CW that, according to the arrow that says open but nothing happens. There is some resistance on the first couple of turns then it seems to release. After that it turns rather easy but nothing moves that I can see. And if you then release the knob it spins back down. Also I don't see anyway to grease anything as it is all enclosed below the knurled knob even when all the way up. Do you think maybe we have different types of headlights? Mine is an '85 GT. Do you have to unhook some wires before turning the knob? I wonder what I am doing wrong? Don

ctesla
09-30-2005, 10:20 PM
Thanx Chris for the thoughts. I have turned the knob CW that, according to the arrow that says open but nothing happens. There is some resistance on the first couple of turns then it seems to release. After that it turns rather easy but nothing moves that I can see. And if you then release the knob it spins back down. Also I don't see anyway to grease anything as it is all enclosed below the knurled knob even when all the way up. Do you think maybe we have different types of headlights? Mine is an '85 GT. Do you have to unhook some wires before turning the knob? I wonder what I am doing wrong? Don

if the knob is resisting, and spins back to its original "rest" position, the motor is still plugged in and attempting to operate. unplug the headlight switch, and then attempt to crank it open (also without the power to the headlights on). it should open for you. or don't turn on headlight power in cockpit, and try cranking the headlights up, then flip the power, and see if they stay up, or drop, but stay illuminated in the tire well.
if you do not get the power to the motors functioning properly, you HAVE TO unplug the power to the motors PRIOR TO attempting to manually crank up the lights; it is not vital to do it this way, but it insures the lights will not decide to power down, while on the highway at 70mph, or immediately close, after you've spun the knob so hard to try and get them open, only realizing you might be spinning those gears in vain.
I have never heard of both motors going bad at the same time, and if it is like you explained last post, it sounds like they are spinning, but only to "close" the assemblies. I have seen many Fieros driving around with one headlight up, and always thought the motor must've burnt out, but it could be the headlight switch popped like a breaker, and stayed "hot" so it was ALWAYS trying to close the assembly??? a thought.
still; both at the same time?
just a Q; did you wash the vehicle prior to this happening?
those headlight switches near the ball and crank apparatus are only covered by a small plastic cover with a rectangular "o-ring" gasket, if condensation got into those switches, it might have caused a "hot loop" situation---don't know; just throwing things out...
but it sounds like those motors are running, maybe cranking the opposite way as far as it will go to see if the motors have inadvertantly "cranked themselves" into a position of: up is down and down is farther down (know what I'm trying to say here?)
anyway
my direct line is:
713.933.5773 (7A-10P central)
that includes sat, but no sun.
and like I said, if you want to email me, I'll happily send pics.
chris
nrt racing

centervilledon
10-01-2005, 08:03 AM
The car hasn't been washed lately. The headlights are coming up now for some strange reason. What I wanted to know is if I could get them up manually if they failed to come up again. It seerms that they only fail in the evening at dusk:) Twice this has happened. I disconnected the light switch but they still won't come up manually by turning the knob. Maybe I ruined them trying to manually raise them with the light switch still hooked up. ???? Any other thoughts about this? Don

ctesla
10-01-2005, 11:59 AM
The headlights are coming up now for some strange reason. ... It seerms that they only fail in the evening at dusk:) Twice this has happened. I disconnected the light switch but they still won't come up manually by turning the knob. Maybe I ruined them trying to manually raise them with the light switch still hooked up. ???? Any other thoughts about this? Don

well, they are working properly now... figures they don't want to work at night, maybe they think they're just daytime running lights...
if the servos or gears stripped, then they would not operate at all.
so maybe the black plastic knob stripped out, and you are not actually spinning the actuator's shaft.
is this on BOTH, or just driver's side?
see if those knobs are held by a set screw that may have backed out, I do not think they are held via a roll pin, and if so, BOTH could not have fallen out, and you couldn't have sheared them with hand force, so if not a set screw, they must just push on, and if that is so, maybe the epoxy that GM used, or the plastic cogs have stripped away.
since the motors work, like I said, you could get them up, unplug them now for winter's sake, and fight this on your own time. since their is no autobahn in Indiana, you don't need the aerodynamics of the lights down, 'til spring time; and it will insure that they are ALWAYS up and ready, and you can continue to operate the vehicle safely, and diagnose the dilemma at YOUR convenience, instead of the cars'.
if its a set screw, or stripped knob, your done, but if not; I am at a loss.
sorry, could be more assist, if I was actually AT one of my Fiero's locations. I will make an attempt to return to Colorado by mid-October, and I can physically look into it. (and I'll post back, if you need)
-plus, if you find what it is, or it does end up being the motors, and they become difficult to find or buy, let me know. in July of '88 I unplugged mine, as I knew Pontiac's little scam of holding copyright patents on parts for 4-8 years, and then with the shut down of the model, I knew I'd need at least two parts cars for my two runners, so I have two sets with less than 1000 miles of operation on them, and garaged, so let me know.

and good luck,
hoped this helped,
chris
nrt racing

centervilledon
10-01-2005, 03:38 PM
After studying the service manual and doing a couple of tests I think I have found a problem with the switch. The manual says there should be zero voltage at the white wire on the switch when the headlights are on. There is 12 volts there at the white wire when the headlights are turned on! The manual says if this is so then I have a bad switch. So I will replace it. That still doesn't explain why the lights won't manually come up. On my model I can't see anything under the knob. There isn't any room under it. So I caan't tell what holds it on. The bad switch, if that is so, could explain why I can't always raise the lights with the switch. As far as winter driving goes, I probably won't take it out at all. I have a pickup I can drive in the snow. This car has always been garaged and is in real nice, like new condition. And I want to keep it that way if possible. I'll probably keep playing with it to see if I can find out what is wrong with the knobs. Thanx Chris for all your ideas. Don

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