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Nelly

Pop up headlight issue

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Hi all,

This is my first techinical post since I got my S2 Esprit 5 weeks ago.

The car went down to a local specialist to have a couple of mechanical problems sorted. However, on getting home yesterday I found that only one of the headlight pods is coming up (the passenger side).

Both worked fine before it went down to the garage, and they even confirmed they saw both working (I am sure its not related to anything they have done).

On the last part of my journey, having stopped for a small break, the working pod kept going up and down on its own. I ended up putting the light switch on just to keep it up, I get enough looks without a comedy headlight! The pod continued to go up and down even after I got home and had turned the ignition off. It did eventually stop on its own when I was putting the car back in the garage 10 minutes later.

I have had a look for anything obvious - loose wires etc - and drawn a blank. The actual lights work on the non raised pod, so it is purely the lift.

Bearing in mind the fact the working pod was going haywire, I seem to think it may be electrical rather than a duff motor . Does one run off of the other? The working pod always raised slightly ahead of the non working one when they were both OK.

Thanks

Neil

Edited by Nelly9000

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There is a knob on the back of the motor you can press and turn to raise or lower the headlamp. Turn on the lights and wind the non-working lamp up. When it is fully raised, turn off the lights and see it if goes down by itself. If it does, the culprit is the switch assembly built into the front of the motor.

On the front of the motor is a cam which raises one peg when the light is down and another peg when it is up. These move a copper strip up to break the circuit to feed the motor from the relay. Sometimes the strip or contact gets corroded and one end won't make contact stopping the motor from operating in one of its actions (up or down). This copper strip is easily accessed by removing the motor and taking off the cover near the lever and spindle.

The flapping lamp has the opposite problem where the motor feed is not being interrupted and could be the relay sticking on.

Note that the lights themselves are either fed directly by the switch or through a separate relay depending on how old the car is.

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Thanks for the info, I didn't realise they could be raised manually (obvious really for bulb changes) so I will give that a try and go from there.

Regards

Neil

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IIRC, when you use the knob to raise the lamps, after you've moved them a bit they just cycle all the way up and back down again, unless the lights are on. I stop mine in the up position by turning the lights on, waiting for the pods to elevate, then turning off my battery master switch. Agree that the problem is most likely the limit switches on the pod motors.

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Neil

Give me a bell on the no I emailed you, I have a couple of tips for you.

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Just one more note:

when turning the knob, either pull the fuse/relay first or take care of your fingers...! :)

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Was this problem solved?

I'm having a problem with my pop up headlights as well.

They were working fine ever since I got the car in March but since I flashed my lights a couple of days ago the pop up headlights won't go all the way up.

The lights work fine but they will only pop up to half way up and then stop, like they are blocked by something or missing power to go all the way up.

I can switch off the lights but the headlights wont pop down.

I tryed turning the knob on the motor, they went all the way up and then down and I even managed to get my hand crushed.

My motor is very clean, wires are not messy, everything looks fine.

Any thoughts?

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Sounds like a continuity issue in the contacts in the motor. When you turn by hand you are easing it over the problem area, and its then rotating on to the park position as it should.

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No, not solved yet. I took the motor apart at the weekend and cleaned the contacts, but this has made no difference.

When I reconnected the lift arm, I think I have it out of sequence - as when I reconnect the battery cut out it does come half way up. The working one then continues going up and down all on its own!!!

Met up with Pete G on Monday and he reckons I have excessive play in the lift arm mechanism joint..its much looser than his, but I don't think that is causing a problem.

I reckon my problem is an electrical issue - it was at Sportomotive for four weeks having the manifold sorted and I reckon it was obviously left outside for periods....reckon the rain may have done something. The wiring on my lights is not the best.

Will have another look at the weekend and post any success back.

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Arggggg, headlights poped up fine today, they went all the way up like they used too (and down).

I suspect next time the problem will be back. I need to take the time to take the motor appart.

Who said S1 is a problem car? :D

Looking forward to your results Nelly9000.

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Ditto Mat's comment, excellent work Carlos!

Hemlock, good to hear you are okay for the moment. I must admit I was hoping mine would magically be fine again but no luck yet. Thats my main job for the weekend.

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Hi glad I was off help.

It took me 6 weeks to figure out my S1 lights loom and lift motor from(Triumph TR7) used in later esprits models, as the dont go together.

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Update - still no luck, had the unit out again tonight.

The working headlight (passenger side) starts winking as soon as the battery is connected without even putting the ignition on. It still locks up OK when the ligths are switched on but nothing from the other unit.

With the lights on, when I raise the non working lamp manually it gets to a certain point (usually less than half way) and slams itself shut again. It does raise up and down manually OK when the battery is off.

Looks like it might be new motor time.

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I had a similar problem that was caused mainly by a poor bullet contact (on the earth side) that had a high resistance. I eliminated the motors by disconnecting them and by testing with a 12v battery and mimicking the switch with jumpers. This proved that the problem was with the loom at the front of the car. As my car spends a lot of time out side being rained on, this was understandable. I replaced all bullets with modern water tight connectors and checked the loom with a meter for duff wires. I also put a separate chassis earth in for the lamps (This seriously improved the speed of the pods and lamp brightness). Since then, no random winking and pods work well. I never worked out how the winking happened but I think the duff bullet connector was forcing something else to earth through the pod motor , thus making it cycle. I also up rated the lamp relays as they were getting hot.

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Thanks for the info Mark. I have had my suspicions about an electrical problem rather than the motor and have not ordered one yet because of this. I know the wiring in the front of the car is not great so I might look down this avenue.

My car was at a garage for a 4 week period...I am pretty confident it would have been outside in rain for a fair aount of time and the lights were fine when it went down to them.

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my left pod has come to a half way stop. The right is working ok.

I went to turn the manual knob to lower the pod but found that the knob is missing, I also noticed that the motor was incredibly hot unlike the pod that was working ok.

Has the motor burnt out do you think and where can I get a spare knob?

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my left pod has come to a half way stop. The right is working ok.

I went to turn the manual knob to lower the pod but found that the knob is missing,

I had this happen just after getting mine. I tinkered with the mechanics of it a bit, and during one test, the link arm from the motor to the pushrod broke. It ultimately gave me a lot of time to figure it out while waiting on a replacement.

What I eventually did that got both headlights perfect was to unbolt the linkage to the pushrod, leaving it attached to the motor. Leaving the motor plugged in, turn the motor's manual knob until it catches and cycles itself. Watch your fingers! Turn the headlights on and off a few times stopping in the on position, and where the motor stops the link (top and slightly forward on mine) is where the motor thinks it should be under normal circumstances. With the pushrod disconnected, you can adjust the pod height by twisting the end of the pushrod. Keep re-adjusting the pushrod and loosely attaching it to the motor until the beams are in the full upright position. When you think you have it close to right, turn the lights off, and see where the pods lay. If they are a little up or down, pull the pushrod off again, and twist the end until it gets where you want it.

I also noticed that the motor was incredibly hot unlike the pod that was working ok.

Has the motor burnt out do you think and where can I get a spare knob?

First thing you need to do is unplug the motor. If it isn't burned out, this will do it. Mine got so hot, I was afraid it would catch fire. It's doing this because you're still getting current through the motor because it's trying to open or close the pods but can't. The current's just building up heat.

As for the knob, you may not need it. It's really only helpful if your motor is shot. If the motor works, all of the mechanical adjustments should get you right. Also, what's missing? Is it just the black plastic surround? On an '87 you should have a metal screw coming out from that knob. If that's there, you can use something flat and wide like a butter knife to turn it. It's too small for a screwdriver to get in there.

Edited by ABorkat

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Thank you very much Adam, i will give it go tomorrow. On the left pod both the plastic surround and the screw are missing, however I do have these pieces on the right pod so will swap if I need to.

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Check your diodes. There is a diode in the up circuit and one in the down circuit to stop backfeeds by-passing the switches in the motors. A problem with one of these may be the reason why one of your lamps keeps going up and down by itself. The feed to the motor is always energised but the changeover relay decides whether the power goes to the up or the down side of the switch in the motor. A backfeed through the diode could feed both sides leading to the perpetual headlamp motion.

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I managed to work out what the issue was. As I mentioned the left plastic knob with screw was missing but after removing the washer water bottle I could see the knob sandwiched between the motor arm and bracket! It was stuck fast and also prevented the rotor arm from turning! After removing the linkage I pulled out the knob and connected everything back. Does it work? Don't know because in the space of 2 weeks I have a flat battery, which was new last month!

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I've not had much luck with the pods lately.

i never managed to get the left motor working and yesterday the right light pod failed to rise.

I can hear relays switching when pressing the switch, 3rd relay was pretty hot.

I removed the left motor and opened it up as I found it hard to turn the motor manually.

here are some photos. Would I be correct in thinking that it has burnt out?

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