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Old 03-04-2012, 07:35 AM   #1
ZBrink
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Default Headlights Won't "Pop" Following Gear Replacement

I have replaced my plastic headlight gears with brass gears.

Initially my plastic drivers side gear was stripped so I went ahead and replaced both with brass gears at the same time. My passenger side however worked perfectly before replacement of the plastic gear.

Now after replacement with brass gears, both lights very often fail to pop up when I flip the switch. BUT, if I flip the switch and then have a buddy barely touch the manual ***** under the hood, they pop right up. Its as if the gears break free with a little help.

My brass gear kit did not come with lubricant or grease so I used some general auto grease from the store. I'm thinking I used a grease that was too "thick".

Anybody else have or had this problem? What were your solutions? What is the correct type of grease or lubricant for the gears?

Thanks,
Zack
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:01 PM   #2
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I have replaced my plastic headlight gears with brass gears.

Initially my plastic drivers side gear was stripped so I went ahead and replaced both with brass gears at the same time. My passenger side however worked perfectly before replacement of the plastic gear.

Now after replacement with brass gears, both lights very often fail to pop up when I flip the switch. BUT, if I flip the switch and then have a buddy barely touch the manual ***** under the hood, they pop right up. Its as if the gears break free with a little help.

My brass gear kit did not come with lubricant or grease so I used some general auto grease from the store. I'm thinking I used a grease that was too "thick".

Anybody else have or had this problem? What were your solutions? What is the correct type of grease or lubricant for the gears?

Thanks,
Zack


Zack I'm about a year into the same exact problem you're having. Still haven't figured it out. The grease could be the issue, but I've got the replacement gears that don't come with the rubber insert, so folks have said those "hit" a little harder when the lights go down causing the ***** to overtighten. I'm going to take one of my motors out this week and just examine to see if I can find something. The next step for me is a full replacement of both headlight motors. Kinda sad but I'm out of options.
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:57 PM   #3
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guys, do you hear any noise like the motor is spinning? can you manually raise/lower your headlights using the ****? i replaced both gears last summer, not one issue with them so far. (knocks wood)
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Old 03-04-2012, 04:53 PM   #4
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Don't know if 98 is the same, but when I did my 02 gear, the metal housing of the motor was loose where it connects to the plastic gear housing. There are four metal "tabs" , attaching the motor housing to the plastic section. I tapped those tabs with a small nail set, tightening them together. I hope this makes sense to you. I noticed how this "play" in the connection kept the gear from fully contacting the worm drive. I think this might be what caused my plastic gear to wear. I checked the other working headlight, and the connection was tight. Just something to look for.
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:40 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by darkstar.c5 View Post
guys, do you hear any noise like the motor is spinning? can you manually raise/lower your headlights using the ****? i replaced both gears last summer, not one issue with them so far. (knocks wood)
I hear the motors clicking and then immediately shutting off when I flip the headlight switch. But no, it is not spinning because it is jammed! A quarter-inch turn of the manual **** and the headlight will pop up fine on the next cycle of the headlight switch - problem temporarily solved, only to return again very soon...


Quote:
Originally Posted by guido7834 View Post
Don't know if 98 is the same, but when I did my 02 gear, the metal housing of the motor was loose where it connects to the plastic gear housing. There are four metal "tabs" , attaching the motor housing to the plastic section. I tapped those tabs with a small nail set, tightening them together. I hope this makes sense to you. I noticed how this "play" in the connection kept the gear from fully contacting the worm drive. I think this might be what caused my plastic gear to wear. I checked the other working headlight, and the connection was tight. Just something to look for.
Thanks, I understand what you're saying and my tabs are definitely loose to the point where the motor moves around on me. I have heard that this can cause the gear to strip, but how would it cause the ***** to overtighten and not allow the headlight to come up??
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Old 03-04-2012, 07:38 PM   #6
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I hear the motors clicking and then immediately shutting off when I flip the headlight switch. But no, it is not spinning because it is jammed! A quarter-inch turn of the manual **** and the headlight will pop up fine on the next cycle of the headlight switch - problem temporarily solved, only to return again very soon...




Thanks, I understand what you're saying and my tabs are definitely loose to the point where the motor moves around on me. I have heard that this can cause the gear to strip, but how would it cause the ***** to overtighten and not allow the headlight to come up??
Maybe the looseness causes the gear to not engage the worm fully? I don't know, tighten them and see.
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:09 PM   #7
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Maybe the looseness causes the gear to not engage the worm fully? I don't know, tighten them and see.
I'm on it! Have the motor apart now, taking a look at things and everything looks OK. Will make sure the tabs are tight as can be when I put it back together...
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkstar.c5 View Post
guys, do you hear any noise like the motor is spinning? can you manually raise/lower your headlights using the ****? i replaced both gears last summer, not one issue with them so far. (knocks wood)
No noise and no motor spinning. It's as if the lights are "stuck". If I turn the headlight switch on, then barely touch each manual ****, the lights "break free" and automatically pop open.
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guido7834 View Post
Don't know if 98 is the same, but when I did my 02 gear, the metal housing of the motor was loose where it connects to the plastic gear housing. There are four metal "tabs" , attaching the motor housing to the plastic section. I tapped those tabs with a small nail set, tightening them together. I hope this makes sense to you. I noticed how this "play" in the connection kept the gear from fully contacting the worm drive. I think this might be what caused my plastic gear to wear. I checked the other working headlight, and the connection was tight. Just something to look for.
This sounds like something probable to look into as well. Thanks!
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Old 03-05-2012, 01:19 AM   #10
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This sounds like something probable to look into as well. Thanks!
you could also check the alignment of the headlight covers and boots, make sure you're not sticking somewhere. maybe check all connections to make sure they're snug.
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Old 03-05-2012, 02:33 AM   #11
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i believe there are some bumpers underneath the headlights that let the motor know when to stop... basically your motor may be shutting the lights too far which is causing it to jam... mine did the same thing after replacing the gears and i used the solid ones without the rubber insert as well and everything worked perfectly before, i just installed the gears because at the time i was running light cannons and they are quite a bit heavier than the stock lights so i wanted to prevent a future failure... i don't know why this happened but these lights can be funky
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:47 AM   #12
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Do you have the housing that glues together or the one that screws together? If you have the one that glues together, it may be separating with the pressure.
The fix for that would be to get Rodney Dickman's brass gears. They come with braces to keep the glued housing from pulling apart.
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:56 AM   #13
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Another thought, and it's a wild one but worth mentioning.
(It's been a while since I changed gears and I've done them in F-Bodies as well, so my thought may be wrong.)

There is a possibility that your are re-attaching the arm to the motor 180 degrees off. That means the arm is folding in the wrong direction when opening and closing and causing a bind.
The only way you are going to find out for sure since you replaced both of yours, is to look at someone else's arm attachment to the motor and see if yours is correct and not upside down.


Hope this makes sense.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:26 AM   #14
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i believe there are some bumpers underneath the headlights that let the motor know when to stop... basically your motor may be shutting the lights too far which is causing it to jam... mine did the same thing after replacing the gears and i used the solid ones without the rubber insert as well and everything worked perfectly before, i just installed the gears because at the time i was running light cannons and they are quite a bit heavier than the stock lights so i wanted to prevent a future failure... i don't know why this happened but these lights can be funky
I'm beginnng to think it's the bumpers too. I found a write-up today where a guy had the EXACT same symptoms as me...Even the cold weather bit.

http://forums.corvetteforum.com/c5-g...r-install.html
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:30 AM   #15
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Another thought, and it's a wild one but worth mentioning.
(It's been a while since I changed gears and I've done them in F-Bodies as well, so my thought may be wrong.)

There is a possibility that your are re-attaching the arm to the motor 180 degrees off. That means the arm is folding in the wrong direction when opening and closing and causing a bind.
The only way you are going to find out for sure since you replaced both of yours, is to look at someone else's arm attachment to the motor and see if yours is correct and not upside down.


Hope this makes sense.
Yep, makes sense but I am confident this is not the problem. The problem is only intermitent and when they do work, they work perfectly. I am thinking it is something trivial that I am missing... The car is pretty old now and I'm thinking something simple is a little worn.
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:32 AM   #16
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I'm beginnng to think it's the bumpers too. I found a write-up today where a guy had the EXACT same symptoms as me...Even the cold weather bit.

http://forums.corvetteforum.com/c5-g...r-install.html

Zack I've tried all sorts of things related to these bumpers (flipping the original stops over, bushings, gas hose, etc...) and that arm that comes down on them has beat everything to hell and eventually the problem returned. I have not tried the braided PVC tubing that is mentioned in that above post, so that may be a next option.
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:06 AM   #17
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I bought my gears from bfranker and he offered a similar solution as Z06ster when I emailed him...

"Your headlights won't go up? If it is not a corroded connector then it could be the light is getting jammed in place. This can happen with either the nylon, brass or hard coated aluminum gears. I'm not 100% certain what causes it but it does seem to be related to some moving part in the headlight assembly wearing. A lot of people will just raise the hood, spin the manual raise/lower **** a couple times, and then the light will go up/down. This fixes the problem but only for that one cycle and that is no good.

The good news though is that I can explain a fix to you that seems to work most of the time. What you can do to help prevent the light from getting jammed is to STOP it a little early. This will help to prevent the light from getting jammed. You can do this by making the stops which the raise/lower arm make contact with a little larger. Since they are molded into the plastic front headlight frame, just putting a larger one on isn't an option. But, what you can do is something fairly simple. It might require a little trial and error but the fix will be easy and cheap.

What you need to do is put some THICK and fairly firm rubber tubing/hose over the stop. The tubing/hose has to have an inside diameter such that it will fit snugly on the existing stop or it will fall off What this will do is make the raise/lower arm make contact SOONER which means that the light will not go up (or down) quite as far and thus, hopefully, prevent it from getting jammed in place.

If you try this and find that it didn't work for you, it is possible your tubing/hose is too soft or not thick enough. If too soft, get a harder hose If not thick enough you can either replace it with a thicker piece of tubing/hose or you can add ANOTHER piece of tubing/hose over the existing one to make it thicker which will stop the light even sooner.

I don't know what size is best for this. There are so many brands and sizes out there that it would be impossible for me to list what works. What you can do though is take a look down in there and locate these stops. Use a pencil or bolt or whatever you have that is about the same size. You can then go to Home Depot or a hardware store and go to the tubing/hose section and get a few pieces like 6" or 1' long or however short they'll allow you to purchase. You should be able to get several sizes and hunks to experiment with for just a buck or two and have more than enough to do both your lights."
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:16 PM   #18
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Maybe the looseness causes the gear to not engage the worm fully? I don't know, tighten them and see.
I tightened up the motors to the housings and the lights worked fine for about 4 days. Then they started malfunctioning again. So frustrated.
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:16 PM
 
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