This is a step by step installation guide with pictures on how to install the new headlight motor controller in your 84-86 Pontiac Fiero. It is two pages long.
Included in the kit is five page paper instruction manual. Use this web page along with the paper instruction sheets to help guide you thru the installation process.
This kit can be installed with the hood left on or removed. Removing the hood gives you slightly more room to work. Leaving the hood on is fine. I installed one kit with the hood off and four kits with the hood left on and there is plenty of room to insall this kit with the hood left on. If you choose to remove the hood outline the hinge locations on both sides of the hood with a pencil, thin marker or such so when reinstalled you can return it to it’s original location. Remove the 4 bolts holding the hinges on the hood. Leave the hinges bolted to the chassis. You should have one or two helpers to hold the hood while you remove the hood.
Disconnect the battery. No exceptions:
Disconnect the battery. This is very important. The red wires feeding the headlight lift system are hot at all times. You have to disconnect the battery before you start to install this kit. Do not skip this step.
The battery has to be left disconnected thru this whole installation process.
NOTE: Installing this kit can take 3-4 hours. Read every step carefully until you understand the step. Make sure you complete each step before moving on to the next step.
A Mr. Brian Nowak from Chicago stopped in with his Blue GT on 5-7-2017 so we could install a system for R&D, pictures etc. It was my third install. Every time I install a system I learn more and find things to improve on in this installation process. I'm making this web page to show the installation process start to finish. Brian was especially helpful helping with the installation, provided helpful suggestions and helped set things up to take these pictures. When we were finished the new system looked very close to factory and very clean. When we finished everything we connected the battery and his headlight system worked like new again.
A note before you begin:
Try to remember to put the shrink tubes on the wires before crimping and soldering the butt slpices. On my third install we forgot to solder the butt splices on one connector to a headlight motor and we had to redo one plug on one headlight motor. It is so easy to forget the shrink tube and soldering the butt splices. I include three extra butt splices and three extra shrink tubes in the kit just in case you mess up like we did. :)
Step one: Remove both headlight buckets:
With the battery now disconnected (the battery has to be left disconnected thru the whole installation process) unplug the wires to both headlight bulbs. Open the black plastic clips (one on each headlight bucket) holding these wiring looms to the headlight bulbs. Unbolt both relays from the headlight buckets. Unplug all the wires to these two relays (you can also just cut the plugs to these two relays off at this time). Set these two relays aside. You will not be reusing them:
Use the 2 prong tool and a variable speed reversible drill (cordless prefered) carefully crank the headlight motors to their full or mostly full up position. Read the note below first. Make sure your drill is rotating the correct direction before doing this.
If you rotate the knob too forcefully with the hand drill you can break the headlight motor plastic housings internally at the end of the up and down travel. As you rotate the knobs wiggle the headlight bucket with your other hand up and down. As you get close to the end of it's travel you will notice the amount of slop decreases. When the amount of slop decreases you should stop rotating the knob. This is not the end of the travel but it is very close to the end of the travel.
There is an arrow on the top of the knobs indicating which direction to rotate the knobs.
Insert the double prongs of the tool into the 2 holes in the black plastic knobs on the headlight motors and lift the headlight buckets to the full open (or mostly full open) position:
Using a 10 mm socket loosen the bottom nuts holding the headlight buckets to the chassis (2 on each headlight bucket). You do not need to remove these two bottom nuts. Only loosen them. Use the tool and crank the headlight motors to the full (or mostly full) down position. Loosen and remove the top nuts holding the headlight buckets to the chassis (2 on each headlight bucket):
With the headlight buckets now in the down position lift the headlight assemblies out of the car and put them on a work bench or suitable work table:
Remove all four white plastic inserts the relays were screwed in to. Push them out from the back.
If you are also rebuilding the headlight motors do that now. Do one headlight motor at a time so you can reference the other one when you reinstall the motor and arm.
Step two: Install the new plugs included in the kit on both headlight motors:
Important tip: Before you start on a step gather all the parts that are used in that step and lay them out in a clean location. This way you will see what parts you are using and will be less likely to forget something.
Important note on installing the butt splices
We found the solder does not always like to flow well into the middle of the butt splces. So to make a better connection I have changed to this:
Strip the wires back about 1/2". Crimp the butt splices in the middle of the barrels. Solder both the middle and the outer ends. You can even flow some solder out and over the butt splce on the ends. This in my opinion is the best way to insure a very good durable connection.
There is a pair of three wire plugs included in the kit in a bag marked headlight motor plugs. You will be installing these black connectors to the headlight motors. Use the two all black plugs on the headlight motor leads:
Cut off the original plastic plugs to both headlight motors. Cut all three wires about an inch from the old plastic plugs plugs (so most of the of wire length stays on the motors). Next cut all three wires so they are all the same length. Cutting them about an inch away from the plugs insures the copper wire is nice and clean.
Strip the ends of all three wires on both headlight motors 1/2". If you find any wires are corroded use some fine sand paper and carefully sand the copper wires until they are clean. One popular trick is to use vinagar to clean the copper wires then baking soda to neutralize the vinagar. Do a search on the internet for this process.
Tools and materials used to install the new headlight motor plugs:
NOTE: Most all of the pictures from here on down show my first method of soldering the butt splices in the middle only. I found in some butt splices I soldered the solder did not flow well into the center of the butt splice. Possibly because they are air locked. I have changed to a new type of butt splice now that has a larger open area in the middle. Use the method I show below. Strip the insulation back 1/2" and solder both the middle and both ends of the butt splices. You can even use a small sharp tool and lift the wires in the middle slightly to help the solder flow around the wires in the middle:
Putting the new plugs on the headlight motors:
With all the wires stripped back 1/2 crimp a butt splice on all 3 wires on the new pigtails. NOTE: Crimp the butt splices in the middle of the outer ends. This allows more solder to flow on to the wires in the next step. Install three shrink tubes (one on each wire).
A trick to crimping on the butt splices: Put the butt splice in the crimping tool first then put the wire into the butt splice and crip it.
Don’t forget to install the 3 shrink tubes before crimping on the new pigtails. It is very easy to forget to do this. In the kit I include 3 extra butt splices and 3 extra pieces of shrink tube in case you mess up. :)
Another note: When I installed this kit on a local owners Fiero we forgot to solder the butt splices before we shrunk the heat shrink tube over one headlight motor. We had to cut out the butt splices and remove the heat shrink and redo that plug. This experience made me add the extra shrink tube and butt splices to this kit. It is easy to mess this up. Take your time and make sure every step is complete before moving on to the next step.
With the shrink tube on all 3 wires - crimp the headlight motor wires to the new plug matching the colors blue, green and gray (Again crimp them in the middle of the barrels).
NOTE: Make sure you have installed the three pieces of shrink tubing before crimping the new connector on these wires.
Solder the butt splices. The center area of the butt splices is open. Apply the solder to that center opening and on both ends until the solder flows well to both wires and on both ends of the butt splice. Make sure the shrink tube is far enough away so it does not start to shrink on you. Soldering the butt splices insures a solid connection that will not get loose over time. I strongly suggest you do not skip this step.
Slide the shrink tubes over the butt splices centering them. A nice trick is to hold the shrink tube next to the wires and mark the wire when the shrink tube is in the correct location. This insures the shrink tube will be perfectly centered on the butt splices. Use a heat gun and shrink them until a small amount of clear sealant flows out of both ends. You now have solid long lasting waterproof connections on your new headlight motor plugs.
Install a piece of the convoluted tube on each of the headlight motor wires. Tape the ends with black electrical tape:
Step three: Install the new plug on the passenger side wiring harness:
You will now be installing a new plug with the yellow band on the passenger side headlight motor wires. This is the factory wire loom that originally went to the passenger side headlight motor and relay. Cut the old plugs off and then cut all four wires from the wiring harness that used to go to the passenger side headlight so they are all the same length (black, blue, pink and red).
Strip the ends of the blue, pink, black and red wires about 1/2".
You are now going to change the color of 2 of these 3 wires:
On the red wire install one piece of the gray shrink tube (this wire now becomes gray). On the pink wire install a green piece of shrink tube (this wire now becomes green). Move the green and gray shrink tube back so about 5-8 mm of the old wire color shows. This insures that when you put the adhesive shrink tube on it forms a waterproof seal between the original wire and the shrink tube. Use your heat gun and shrink the gray and green shrink tube on the two wires with this shrink tube.
NOTE: In some of the pictures you will see a red cap on the black wire. This red cap is no longer used. The black wire is now attached to the chassis to create an additional ground.This will be covered after the installation of the new connector.
You can now move on to installing a new connector. Strip the wires on the connector back 1/2". Crimp a butt splice on all three wires on a new pigtail with the yellow band. Crimp the butt splice in the middle. This allows more solder to flow on to the wires in the next step. Install three black shrink tubes (one on each wire) on the three old wires from the harness. Don’t forget to install the 3 shrink tubes before crimping on the new pigtails. It is easy to forget to do this. Matching the colors (gray, green, blue) butt splice the new plug with the yellow band to the old factory wiring harness. Solder the butt splices in the middle and both ends and install the shrink tubes with a heat gun.
Add the short piece of split convoluted black tube to cover the new wires. Wrap the ends of the split convoluted tubes with black electrical tape:
Insert the new piece of convoluted tube into the factory convoluted tube but leave the black ground wire out:
Tape the convoluted tubes together:
The black wire is now used to create an additional grounding point. We attached it to one of the radiator shroud bolts. It is slightly too short so add 1 1/2" of black wire to it with a butt splice. Use the longer piece of shrink tube included in the kit and put it on the black wire. Install a large eyelet. Solder the butt splice and the eyelet. Use your heat gun to shrink the heat tube.
To insure it does not touch the headlight bucket we routed it around and under the wiring loom:
Doing this does not help the new headlight controller system but will help the grounding of several other systems in your Fiero:
Passenger side headlight bucket is now going back in:
You can now install the passenger side headlight bucket back into your Fiero. Tighten the two nuts on the top of the bracket by hand. Now use the tool in your variable speed drill and turn the top knob to lift the headlight bucket all the way up or most of the way up. Be careful you do not hit the end of the travel forcefully. It may damage the headlight motor. Tighten the bottom nuts holding the passenger side headlight bucket to the chassis with a socket wrench. The headlight will still be in the up position. Use the variable speed drill and lower the bucket all the way or most of the way. Tighten the top nuts with a socket or wrench.
Coat the inside of both connectors with some dieletric grease included in the kit. Plug in the headlight motor to the wiring harness. Tie wrap the harness so it is not in the way of the movement of the headlight bucket when in use. Use a tie wrap and go thru both holes where the old relay mounted to and tie the wire loom in place as it goes upward. Plug in the headlight bulb routing the wire thru the square opening. Close the black plastic wire holder for the headlight bulb convoluted tube.
You are now finished with the passenger side.
Step four: On to the drivers side. Wiring in the new headlight motor controller:
Unbolt the isolation relay from the steel side wall and cut all 6 the wires going to the isolation relay. Set it aside. It is no longer needed. It is on the drivers side just ahead of the trunk on the vertical steel side wall. It has 6 wires going to it. Pink, blue, blue with a white tracer, yellow, white and black. Cut the plastic connectors off all 6 wires that went to the isolation relay about an inch from the plastic plugs.
Open the large black plastic wire harness clamp just under where the isolation relay used to be. This allows you to lift this large bundle of wires up so you can work on them. Remove all the black tape around the wiring harness just below where the isolation relay was mounted. This can be somewhat difficult to do so take your time. Use a razor blade if need be but do not cut into the plastic tube or the wires inside the tube. With the black tape removed from the harness pull the large black convoluted tube off the wires about 6” towards the front of the car exposing the wires inside.
In this large bunch of wires there are 2 small diameter red wires and one large diameter red wire. The next step below is instructions on cutting these two small red wires. You will be cutting the 2 small diameter red wires. Do not cut the large diameter red wire.
Pull the 2 small diameter red wires out some. Cut both small diameter red wires at about 5” from the rubber firewall plug. You will now have 2 small diameter red wires coming from the trunk area and 2 small red wires going into the harness going towards the front of the car. Leave these wires as they are for now. You will work on these wires later (one red wire going towards the front will be removed in the next step).
Step 5: Modify the wires that originally went to the drivers side headlight motor:
Next you will work on the wire harness that originally went to the drivers side headlight motor. Cut the larger plastic plug off the wires that originally went to the drivers side headlight motor and relay. The wire colors going to the drivers side headlight motor plugs are: pink, pink, red, and black. There is no need to cut the blue wire.
Pull the red and blue wire out of the wiring harness. Because the wires to the isolation relay have been cut the red and blue wires will both pull out of the wiring harness. Discard the red and blue wire. You will not be using this red and blue wire.
Cut and additional 1 1/2” off of one pink wire.
You are now going to find and pull the black wire out. Spread the wires out some near the large rubber grommet going into the front trunk where the isolation relay used to be:
There are several black wires in this bundle. Grab a black wire and pull on it. If it does not move try another black wire. When you find the correct black wire it will start to pull out of the bundle. Pull it completely out. Leave it as is for now.
Strip both pink wires 1/2". Install a piece of shrink tube on the longer pink wire. Butt splice the two pink wires together. Solder the butt splice in the middle and both ends. Center the shrink tube and, using a heat gun, shrink the heat tube until some clear sealant comes out of both ends
Fold the pink wires. Cutting them at unequal lengths allows you to bend them like this.
Tuck the pink wires back into the black convoluted tube.
NOTE: The wiring harness/plug that goes to the drivers side headlight motor will now come out of the new controller that you will install later.
Step six: Change the color of two wires on the harness wires going towards the radiator:
You now have seven cut wires (plus two black ground wires) under where the isolation relay used to be.
Coming from the front of the car you have red, pink and blue with a white tracer. Coming from the trunk area you have red, red, white and yellow.
Now that you have removed one red and the blue wire you now have three loose cut wires coming out of the large wiring harness that was below the isolation relay that go towards the front of the car. These are blue with a white tracer, pink and red. Cut these three loose wires so they are all the same length.
Strip the ends of all three of these wires back 1/2". On the red wire install one piece of gray shrink tube making this now a gray wire. On the pink wire install a green piece of shrink tube making this now a green wire. Move the green and gray shrink tube back so about 5-8 mm of the old wire color shows. This insures that when you put the adhesive shrink tube on it forms a waterproof seal between the original wire and the shrink tube. Use your heat gun and shrink the gray and green shrink tube on the two wires with this shrink tube. Be careful to not melt any plastic items while doing this.
Step seven: Working on and installing the new headlight motor controller unit:
This work is done on your workbench.
Install the new plug with the yellow band on the three short wires coming out of the new controller (gray, green and blue). Again strip the ends all of the wires 1/2". Install 3 pieces of shrink tube (one on each wire). Crimp and solder these three wires in the middle and both ends. Center the shrink tube and, using a heat gun, shrink them until a small amount of clear adhesives comes out of both ends.
Cut a piece of the convoluted tube about an inch shorther than these three wires and put it on the three short wires. Tape the ends.
On the new controller (this is also done on your work bench) you have 2 bundles of long wires coming out of the new controller. Green, blue, gray. Red, red, white and yellow. In the kit are two pieces longer heat shrink tubes. 1/4" and 3/8". Install one of these long heat shrink tubes on each bundle of these long wires pushing it up to about an inch from the plastic controller box. The larger diameter (3/8") heat tube goes on the four wire bundle and the smaller diameter (1/4") heat shrink tube goes on the three wire bundle (the two shorter pieces of 1/4" and 3/8" shrink tube you will use later). Use your heat shrink gun and shrink these two long heat shrink tubes. Be careful near the plastic box. It does not take a lot of heat to start melting the black plastic controller box. Make sure these pieces of heat shrink tube are shrunk the whole length as the shorter pieces of the 1/4" and 3/8" shrink tube will need to slide over these longer shrink tube pieces in the next step.
Next slide the shorter pieces of the 1/4" and 3/8" over the two wire bundles and over the longer shrink tubes. Do not heat shrink these two shorter pieces of shrink tube. Push these short pieces about 5" over the longer shrink tubes, not all the way up to the controller box.
Add the two remianing large eyelets to the two black wires coming out of the controller. Crimp them on and solder them.
Take the controller and set it in place as shown in the picture below. Open up the three plastic clamps on the factory wiring loom. Insert the two long wire bundles into the factory convoluted tube. Tape the convoluted tube to keep these wires inside the convoluted tube. The controller sits about 1 1/2" above the convoluted tube. Make sure it is at that amount.
These two new wire bundles from the controller now exit the factory convoluted tube about two inches in front of the factory plastic clamp as shown below. Tape the convoluted tube to keep the wires inside the convoluted tube. The two loose pieces of shrink tube will be just to the left of this black tape.
NOTE: The second picture is when I installed this controller on a V8 conversion. The extra small convoluted tube and extra black wire would not normally be there.
NOTE: What I found in the first installations is that there is very little extra room by this convoluted tube where it goes over that steel rib. On the first installations we tie wrapped the wire bundles to the factory convoluted tube but found the headlight bucket touched the extra wire bundles or was very close to them in the full down position. So I changed this part of the installation so the new wire bundles from the controller are now routed inside the factory wirring harness loom. GM even made a depression in the steel chassis here to gain additional room for this wiring harness loom.
Connecting the new controller wires to the factory harness where the isolation relay used to be:
First work on the 3 wire bundle. Gray, green and blue. Strip the ends of the wires from the controller back 1/2". Put on three pieces of the 3/16" black shrink tube (one on each wire). Join these wires to the three wires that are towards the front of the car matching the colors. Green to green, gray to gray and blue to blue. Two of these wires you changed the colors on with the gray and green shrink tube earlier on. With the three pieces of shrink tube in place crimp on the butt spices and solder the middle and ends of the three butt splices. Center the shrink tubes and shrink them with your heat gun. Be careful here as there are things in this area the heat from the heat gun can damage.
Pull the 1/4" shrink tube up to these new connections. When I did the last installation we did not shrink this short section of the 1/4" shrink tube. Later on this gets taped and the tape holds this short piece of 1/4" shrink tube in place.
You will now work on the four wire bundle. You have four loose cut wires coming out of the original factory wiring harness coming from the trunk near the large black rubber grommet. Red, red, yellow and white. Cut them so they are all the same length. Strip them all back 1/2"
Strip the ends of all the long colored wires coming from the controller back 1/2". These would also be red, red, white, yellow. Crimp a butt splice on each of these wires.
Do not forget to install a piece of shrink tube before you crimp the wires together!
The reds can go to either red. It does not matter which.
Matching the colors butt splce these wires together. Solder the butt splices and heat shrink the heat shrink tubes on these four wires.
Pull the loose piece of 3/8" shrink tube back to the new butt splices. Again: we did not heat shrink this short section.
All the long wires to the new controller are now connected to the original factory wiring harness wires.
Taping the harness back up:
First you work on the 3 wire bundle. Green, gray and blue. It seems on every installation the split for the large factory convoluted tube was upward. It is best that this wire bundle runs on the side of the convoluted tube on the side towards the middle of the car to make sure the headlight bucket does not touch it in the full down position. To accomplish that we cut a slit part way down in the factory convoluted tube so the wires could exit on the side. Watch the wire bundles from the new controller as they follow the factory harness under that large relay. You can put in some tie wraps but leave them very loose at this point. Position this wire bundle in the approximate location it will be in to determine where to add that slit in the factory convoluted tube.
There is room to make adjustments as needed so do not worry too much about where you put that slit. In the corner as shown below you can give or take some wire length here. The headlight bucket in this area is very far away from the wiring harness. Later as you are wrapping the convoluted tube you can push or pull the new wire bundles in this area as needed.
Put the large factory convoluted tube back over the wires. Start to wrap the harness near the gray, green and blue wires. Keep wrapping it forward to cover all of the new work.
This is about what it should look like when it is all taped up. We did take not the black tie wrap off to add more tape. But in my opinion this should be tapped more towrds the front of the car to cover all the new wires etc. The two black wires are sticking out at this time.The four wire bundle has to be on the side of the factory harness, not on the top. When the headlight bucket is in the full down position there is very little room here (it would probably be OK on the top but why take any chances).
Important note: The new four wire bundle has to be left loose where the large plastic factory clamp is. It has to be on the outside of this large plastic clamp. If you tape it together you will not be able to close the large plastic clamp. In the picture above you can see the four wire bundle is outside of the large plastic clamp.The harness has to be clamped like this. If you break your factory clamp you will need to clamp the harness down somehow in this same location so it stays tight to the steel chassis. There is not a lot of extra room here when the headlight bucket is in the full down postion.
Go to the next page: http://rodneydickman.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=426