Tip & How-To about Pontiac Firebird
If your headlight motor is spinning but the headlight is not going up on your 87-92 firebird, the plastic bushings inside the motor over the years have been ground to dust. But save the $175 for a new motor and for less than $10 repair your motor.
The repair is not difficult. You need to go on Ebay and you will find several offerings for new small plastic bushings for sale, in sets of 3 or 6. You need 3 for each headlight. They usually cost about $3-6.00 plus shipping. Buy a set. Buy extra for a future repair if you want.
You need to first raise the bad headlight by spinning the knob on top of the motor. Then you remove the plastic case around the headlight. Remove the two screws on each side, and ease the plastic off and set aside. There are 4 bolts holding the headlight assembly to the car, remove those bolts, and unhook the headlight plug, unplug the headlight motor plug, and pull out the entire headlight assembly with the motor attached.
There are 3 long bolts holding the motor to the headlight bracket, remove those bolts, and also the bolt holding the motor to the arm on the back. The headlight motor is now free and separate. There are 3 or 4 small bolts holding the large black round outside case on one side of the motor. carefully remove those bolts, they are fragile, and then carefully open the motor. You have to wiggle it, but it will come off. there is a gasket, try not to damage it.
Inside the motor there is one large round white plastic gear, and probably a lot of whitish plastic powder. This is the remains of the 3 round plastic pieces that fell apart over time, the reason your headlight motor spins but the headlight does not go up. Carefully pull off and out the large round white gear, and then clean out all the plastic shavings from inside the motor case. When everything is clean, you need to reinsert the large gear with the 3 new bushings in the 3 locations in the gear, carefully replace the black cover and the bolts, and then in reverse order reassemble everything back on the car.
After you have done this repair once, it is very easy the 2nd time. I have probably repaired 30-40 motors over the past 10 years this way, and the repair is good for many years. I have repaired and keep as spares 4-8 extra motors that I acquired "Broken" for free or a few dollars, and fixed this way. Whenever I buy another firebird with bad headlight motors I just pull the bad motors and replace them with the spares, and then repair the bad ones when I have time.
Posted by Jack... on
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