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1984 Headlight Actuator Motors

Dec 27, 2001
Matthews, NC USA
1984 Coupe
I found that one of my head light actuator motors was bad.

Is there sense in trying to rebuild this or just replace the whole unit?

I've also found replacement kits that convert the existing system to a "more reliable" two wire system. Does anyone have experience with these and are they worth the money?

Ken (kmcewan)

Although I have not installed the two wire system before, I have heard that it was a valuable upgrade by other owners.

IMHO, I would replace the whole unit rather than try to rebuild it, but that's just my own personal opinion. Let's see what others have to say here.
Your motors

Is the problem the motors or gears? The motors will usually have burnt out brushes. Good luck in finding them. If it's the gearing there are some rebuild kits available from after market. some people upgrade to the 88 design. Have fun.

Corvettes go a ways in family Generation after Generation

Never had to do the 2 wire though BUT

The Ol Man had some lady in a Winnebago (yes a MOTOR HOME) Back up into his 1974 454 AND

Another Old Lady in a Lincoln Town car ran a Red and crushed his front end into a pole on his 1984 Coupe

BOTH cases He totally replaced the motors and linkages even though there was Jober alternatives at the time and his bud (Mechanic at Edmonton Motors) said that he could fix it through a rebuild process but the reliablity of it wasnt worth it

Oh well was free I guess (Insurance) and he got a new paint job on both BUT I felt this input might help

If your gonna pile up your car NO way out of it TURN OFF YOUR HEADLIGHTS!!!!!!!! I Cant stress this enough! When down it'll be a crunch but you might save the most expensive parts in the front end of your car

BUT if you didnt notice your headlights (C4) do a 180 to turn on so when you pile your front end up they get to do a 180 in the wrong direction doing a real piece of work on your motor/linkages
;stupid :hb
I would not call myself an expert in this field, but I have had tons of experience with both types of motors. In fact, the same basic motor design of type I (84-87 Vette, 84-86 Fiero, 82-87 Firebird) then type II (88-96 Vette, 87-88 Fiero, 88-92 Firebird) are in the same family. The internal guts are identical, with minor changes to the housing and pivot arm.

The Type I motors are more mechanical in nature and require several relays to make them operate. The type II design (two wire as you call them) use a single control module that does it all.

I have had great luck with the type I in my 85 and 86 Vettes. They are noisy and slower, but the mechanical stress if far less than in the Fiero and they last a long time.

They are hard to trouble shoot, as it is difficult to determine if the motor or relay failed.

If you are concerned about your budget, I would suggest you take a trip to the local bone yard and try to get a handful of type I motors from Fiero and Firebird. This is after you verify if you problem is only a worn out gear. How do you do that? Take the actuator off and open it up. You will have to drill out the rivets, but no worries as you can replace with bolts. You will see the plastic gear chewed up, and or the center rubber pivot cushion will be mush. If so, just order a new set of gears from any Corvette retailer. Check out the Portal above, and you will find a source. Or, go ahead and experiment on one or two of the Fiero/Firebird type I actuators you picked up in the bone yard. This will get your feet wet cheap, and you will also may score a good set of brushes, etc, if you have to replace the internal electronics.

So, If the problem is electric (worn brushes, etc), the handfull of scrap yard actuators will come into play.

Here is a tip if you want to do the two wire conversion.

First, just go to GM and buy the complete right and left hand actuators with the brackets attached. Then, go back to the scrap yard and yank a Fiero type II or Firebird type II control module and all the pig tails at each end (you should be able to get one for two or three dollars vs. $150 at G.M. for a new one).

All you do is:

connect 12+ all the time power to the two red wires to the module
connect the black to ground
connect the white wire to the down signal from your switch
connect the yellow to the headlight on wire
run the two two wire jumpers to the actuators,

and................you have done it.

Or, just poney up the bucks and buy the conversion kit.
My thoughts

Get em rebuilt PROFESSIONALLY!

I've tried limping them through a few times.. brushes are hard to find.. when you find a "good" set their about 1/2 down..I ve tried to find a brush manufacturer who will make these with no luck. If you have them rebuilt it's in & out.

If you do it yourself..( and I'm pickey ) they will be out 2 or 3 times, if you add up the labor ( your sweat equity ) you will have paid for a new pair a few times over.

Now the type 1's work fine ( AS LONG AS) you do both sides on the rebuild & replace all 3 relays..AND make sure that the sockets are all good. Oh yes put the plastic dirt sheild & all hardware back into the CORRECT position.

The type 2 are a better design but more bucks.However I've seen some HACK conversions that cause yet more problems.

Key point
You get out...what you put in.

headlight actuator motors

Thanks for all the advice.

I've just purchased one from Ecklers.

I have to try to get this thing inspected before the weekend.

Well why didn't ya buy 2!!!!

Now it will be a race...you will have 1 slow & one fast.

BTW a funny
When I rebuilt my 88 headlamp motors
( the first time)
I forgot to notice the orientation of the magnet housing on one of the motors.

So when I reconnected the battery.....

One went up and the other went down & reversed when I turned the headlights on....


Oh well ya had to be there.


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