*See the updates at the bottom of this page*
I'm working on a kit to upgrade the 82-86 headlight motor electrical control system. You can no longer find new isolation relays. I looked at having some made and it was near impossible to do so. So I'm working on a kit to replace the relays and the isolation relay in one sealed unit. It may take more than several months and there is no guarantee I'll be successful but I have made some progress and it looks promising.
Most that have headlight motor problems want to blame the headlight motors. They replace them with rebuilt headlight motors but many times still experience the same problems. Some replace the relays but again still have the same problems. Why? The problem in most all cases is a diminished path for the voltage and amperage from the battery reaching the armature of the headlight. The armature is spring loaded and if it does not spin with enough strength and momentum it will not operate the contacts in the headlight motors correctly.
The path for the voltage from the battery and back (all the grounds) is a long one. As on any older vehicle, time takes it's toll on the wiring connections, grounds etc. There is never any one place to look. It starts at the battery terminal and little by little the voltage and amperage diminishes along the way. Slightly corroded connections in all the various connectors. Corroded grounds. Every marginal connection diminishes the voltage and amperage to the headlight armature. By the time the voltage gets to the armature in the headlight motor it can be seriously diminished.
The kit I am making eliminates many of these marginal connections. You remove the isolation relay and the relays on each headlight bucket. My unit splices in to the wires from the wiring harness. I include butt splices and adhesive lined shrink tube to make water tight connections. My unit is in a plastic box and potted thus making it waterproof. My unit also has two ground wires coming out of it to insure an excellent ground. You splice on new connectors to each headlight motor, again using butt splices and adhesive lined shrink tube. Once installed the largest part of the headlight control system is now all new and waterproof. Incorporated into this new relay unit are snubbers for each headlight motor. What does a snubber do? It absorbs the arc you get every time the relay opens thus reducing the degradation on the contacts in each headlight motor and the relays in my new unit.
Start date 8-12-2016
My first idea/design:
08-25-2016: Although it will be more than a few months before I would have these kits available I will have a few prototypes for testing ready in a few weeks or so. They will look very close to what the kit will eventually look like.
09-24-16: Still working on this project. It has taken several twists and turns and it may be a while before I know where this is heading. But I am still fairly confident I will be successful.
12-22-16: My original idea I had for making this upgrade seems to not be feasible at least at this time. The cost to engineer this would be too high considering the small market. We put a lot of time and effort in trying to make this design work. Ultimately it would have been the best way to make these kits.
So on to my second idea/design:
1-21-17: Newest update. My most recent (second idea) idea did not do much to improve the operation of the lift motors. It was a device to make sure both brushes when they were negative had a direct connection to the chassis ground. I really thought this would show a noticeable improvement. So on to the next (third) idea.
So now on to my third idea/design:
1-26-17: Making progress. I hope to have a few on hand soon. Fairly easy to install.As always new products always take longer than anticipated. Oh well.
2-27-17: Some delays but making progress as always. I'm closer to have some kits on hand.
3-14-17: Finally (I hope). I have the circuit board designed and the boards are being made. We will bench test one first to make sure it works as designed. I am waiting on a small quantity of circuit boards so I can make up some test units. I should have some kits on hand soon
3-24-17: A small batch of boards is here and I have one test unit assembled and bench tested on my test jig.
4-7-17: I have assembled a few boards. I made a test board and tested them and they work! Push the headlight switch to raise and the motor runs and stops as it should. Push the headlight switch and the motor runs and stops as it should. They are certainly very labor intensive to put together. I need to look at a few things and get the additional parts required together before I can ship any complete kits.
This single unit replaces all 3 of the OEM relays (including the isolation relay).
Potted and completely waterproof.
The kit includes all new water tight connectors. High temp split wire loom, butt splices (with the open center so you can crimp and solder them), adhesive lined shrink tubing, hex sheet metal screws etc. This is a complete kit.
Every unit is tested in my test device before it is shipped.
Update 4-9-17: I drove down to Chicago today and installed a kit on an 84 Indy. It went in very well. We were able to use the factory wires going to the passenger side headlight motor. Overall the installation was not too difficult. A link to a Utube video is below.
He tells me his headlights have never been that fast, smooth and quiet. :)
4-18-17: I'm making a design change on the plastic box it is encased in. A better design and better mounting location. My original idea was to mount it on the drivers side headlight bucket in the same location that the OEM relay was originally. So it will be a while before I have some of the new version made up. I will update this web page when I make more progress.
New design is shown above. Mounts on the side wall where the isolation relay originally mounted (this applies to the 84-86 Fiero's. I need to look at an 82-86 Firebird to see). Drill 2 holes and screw it to the side wall. This is a nice improvement on my original design.
4-22-2017: I have everything on hand except the new circuit boards. I expect then to arrive around 4-28 or so. Once here I will assemble and solder some and pot them. I hope to have kits available sometime in May, 2017.
What I would like to see is someone in or near Milwaukee contact me so I can look at their 82-86 Firebird to see how the headlight wiring harness routes and where the isolation relay mounts etc. I need to see this before I can make these kits for the 82-86 Firebirds.
Shipping: Shipping is $8.00 (Midwest USA)
Shipping to areas outside of the USA: Generally I ship postal air first class mail. Shipping varies depending on what country they are going to. It ranges from $16.50 to Canada to $24.00 or more to Australia etc.
Core requests: Stan Miller rebuilds many headlight motors. Stan has a hard time finding cores. If you have any old headlight motors or parts of headlight motors you do not need Stan will buy them from you. Contact Stan Miller at: email@example.com