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Old 08-20-2013   #1
86TA355SR
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Headlight Motor Rebuild Steps...

Most of you know that I had more than my share of electrical gremlins this summer.

The previous owner had the tail lights off at some point and crushed the wire between the tail light lenses & body. The wire was touching the body. I spent a lot of time searching for the short and found this:



Shortly after the lights were working again, the headlight control module went south. I ordered the control module from TDS and also the bushings. Like many of you thought, it wasn't long and the bushings in the headlight motors went to dust! Not sure why, they are only 25 yrs old! HAHA.

This is a quick guide that I did to supplement the TDS directions.

I didn't want to mess with realigning the headlight assembly. I was able to remove the motors without removing all of the headlight assembly bracket (if you choose to remove the entire assembly, make sure to follow the directions and mark the location of the brackets; it will make re-assembly easier). Took my time and with some flexible ratcheting wrenches, was able to work out the bolts. As you rotate the motor to lift out, KEEP TRACK OF THE 3 BOLTS AND DON'T LET THEM FALL INTO THE FRONT FASCIA!


Once I got both motors out, I started the tear down. I sprayed penetrating oil (KrOil) on the bolts and let them soak for 4-5 days. Tapped them with a hammer and used heat to break them loose. I did break one of the motor bolts: don't worry, TDS gives you nuts and bolts because this is common. Drilled, tapped and was ready for assembly.

Follow the directions on LH and RH side, there are different steps for each.

DO NOT LOOSE THE BALL BEARING ON THE ARMATURE SHAFT. PAY ATTENTION TO HOW THE SHIMS ARE LOCATED!

When I got the motor apart, I found this:

The new bushings are above the gear, what is left of the old ones are in the still gear. There isn't much left of them. Clean all the old bushing out of the gears and housing, I used compressed air, electra-clean, old tooth brush and brake cleaner on the housing only.

Follow the directions from here for each side. You only need to remove one motor. I made this out of paper clips to hold the brushes back while installing the armature. Bend the end with pliers, pull back brushes into spring pockets, and I used the headlight motor case to bend the paperclip against the housing. This will allow you 'hands free' installation of the armature. Worked the first time, slide armature slowly into housing and after brushes are engaged, turn paperclips 90 degrees and you are done.

Greased and installed the gears/bushings. Work grease into gear.

Added new gasket and put 'anti-seize'on bolts. Do not over tighten the bolts! They only have to be a little bit more than snug.


I have not re-installed the motors yet. I will do that tomorrow. I did check to make sure the motors worked correctly and they do. Noticed they seem to turn slower than they did, but I think they will break in. Hard to tell without the headlight doors connected.

I want to thank TTOP350 for his help prior to doing this. He saved me some headaches with advice I took to heart.

Keep you all posted.

Last edited by 86TA355SR; 08-20-2013 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 08-20-2013   #2
1badGTA
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Re: Headlight Motor Rebuild Steps...

I like the paper clip idea. I used string and taped it to the side. did not work as well
also make sure u don't have a spring pop out. mine did. luckily I found it after much searching!
great info and photos!
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Old 08-21-2013   #3
86TA355SR
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Re: Headlight Motor Rebuild Steps...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1badGTA View Post
I like the paper clip idea. I used string and taped it to the side. did not work as well
also make sure u don't have a spring pop out. mine did. luckily I found it after much searching!
great info and photos!
Yes, as you said, be very careful not to loose the springs. The directions say use the spring from a ball point pen if you loose one. Somehow I didn't get a picture of how I used the paperclips, but I think everyone understands. I had my doubts, but it worked great!

Another thing I forgot in the OP: When sliding the armature back into the housing with the brushes held back, if you feel resistance, STOP. Try again. You are hitting the brushes and they are delicate, don't break a brush or the wire off the brush. If you do, I am not sure what the fix would be (I am not aware of anyone making brushes for these), probably looking at a new motor. And they are expensive!

Tonight, if the wife doesn't have plans for me, I think I'll have time to start putting the motors back into the car. Can't wait!

Hope to have the headliner and other parts thursday. Car will be in the best shape it has ever been since I have owned it!
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Old 08-21-2013   #4
86TA355SR
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Re: Headlight Motor Rebuild Steps...

Got to play tonight in the garage and happy to report everything works!

The install went smoothly on the right side.

The left side was another story. Somehow, I caught the edge of the headlight retaining ring and 'snap'! Man, I was not happy. I finally found one, it was a universal, and it needed modified. Nothing a cut off wheel and a drill press couldn't correct!

Something important I learned tonight: The headlight motor mounts 'float'. I noticed when I took the motors out. I need to do a slight vertical alignment on the one side to match the hood. Still convinced I saved a lot of time just removing the motors than pulling out the whole assembly to realign.

I couldn't be happier with the operation of the motors. They work great and my concern with the motors moviing slow was nothing to worry about: the headlights work just like original equipment.

I am going to order another 2 set for my other 2 GTAs and do them over winter. Great product, nice guy, and good company to do business with!
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Old 04-08-2015   #5
86TA355SR
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Re: Headlight Motor Rebuild Steps...

I bumped the thread for those looking for this info from another post.

Also, I didn't need to do the vertical adjustment in my last post. I decided it was close enough and not worth the effort. If you didn't know, you could never tell.
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Old 04-09-2015   #6
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Re: Headlight Motor Rebuild Steps...

Just made myself a copy of that for future reference. Thank you!
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Old 04-10-2015   #7
86TA355SR
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Re: Headlight Motor Rebuild Steps...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DynoDave View Post
Just made myself a copy of that for future reference. Thank you!
Glad to help. Let me know if you have questions.

Welcome the GTA Page!
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Last edited by 86TA355SR; 04-10-2015 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 04-11-2015   #8
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Re: Headlight Motor Rebuild Steps...

Thank you.

I'm just a lowly T/A owner. So I'm only here for the info.
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Old 04-12-2015   #9
86TA355SR
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Re: Headlight Motor Rebuild Steps...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DynoDave View Post
Thank you.

I'm just a lowly T/A owner. So I'm only here for the info.
HAHA! I've saw your car and you have nothing to be ashamed of having 'just a T/A!"

Believe it was a 3rd Gen Car of the Month, wasn't it?

I first Third Gen was an 86 Trans Am...I still miss that car. Owned it long before I bought a GTA.
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Old 04-14-2015   #10
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Re: Headlight Motor Rebuild Steps...

Yes, it was the February 2015 Car of the Month. Very flattered that it was chosen. There are so many beautiful cars that get nominated over there.
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