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SERIOUS headlight issues!!! Trans Am people inside NOW!!

This is a discussion on SERIOUS headlight issues!!! Trans Am people inside NOW!! within the Firebird / WS6 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; Two years ago, the driver side headlight on my 2000 Trans Am started making the infamous jackhammer noise. I knew ...

  1. #1
    Junior Member TruBloodTransAm's Avatar
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    Vendetta Red
    2000 Trans Am

    Exclamation SERIOUS headlight issues!!! Trans Am people inside NOW!!

    Two years ago, the driver side headlight on my 2000 Trans Am started making the infamous jackhammer noise. I knew it was a stripped headlight motor gear :thinker: and ordered 2 of the aluminum gears from Franker (kept the other as a spare). Went ahead and replaced the plastic gear and didn't have any problems since...until recently...

    Don't know if it's related in any way, but I also installed the BLS HID kit, back in August. Everything seems to have gone okay with the install, tested it numerous times and everything worked great.

    Issue #1: Anyways, so I flip on the headlights and the PASSENGER side headlight pops UP, but NO LIGHT, and the DRIVER side headlight stays DOWN, but LIGHTS UP. So I don't know what the HELL is going on with this? I assume the passenger side ballast isn't "igniting" the bulb. Sometimes it comes on, and sometimes it doesn't (same for the driver side). Someone explain to me how my mom's X5 HIDs light up EVERY single time, but sometimes my bulbs refuse to ignite?? We can put a goddamn robot on friggin' Mars but can't get HID technology figured out??

    Issue #2 Out of my frustration, I kept popping the headlights up and down a few times in order to ignite the bulb (which sometimes has worked in the past). Then the jackhammer noise started again!! I figured it was time for the passenger side gear to die anyways (luckily I ordered a spare). Turns out the DRIVER side headlight motor is making the noise!!! :bang:

    Tear into the driver side headlight motor and this is what I find. There is visible damage to the teeth on the aluminum gear in TWO locations.
    In this pic the damage seems minimal, but perhaps it may be enough to cause failure?


    The second location seems VERY ODD, because it's towards the side of the gear. The damage should be centered on the teeth, but it isn't.


    So I replaced the gear with the spare aluminum gear and everything seemed to work okay last night. Both headlights popped up and both HID bulbs lit up perfectly.

    I was in the garage earlier tonight and decided to pop-up the lights and marvel at my mechanic skills, but now the driver side headlight lights up but stays down (no jackhammer noise) and the passenger side works like it should.

    Can someone please tell me what the hell is going on??
    2000 Trans Am, Bright Red/Black, A4
    Mods: G2 Lid/K&N, !EGR, !AIR, !MAF Screen, FRA, TB Bypass, Pacesetter LTs/ORY, DMH 3" E-Cutout
    Appearance: 17x9.5 Z06 wheels, 3% tint, Kee Audio Standard Speaker Package, BLS HID Kit

  2. #2
    Junior Member
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    Metallic Blue
    02 WS6 Trans Am

    Motors go all the time

  3. #3
    Member innerchi89's Avatar
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    Pewter, and Black
    2001 Firebird, 2002 TA

    The exact same thing happened to me. I prayed to God to make it work again, it did. True story.
    Last edited by innerchi89; 10-27-2010 at 10:48 PM. Reason: spelling

  4. #4
    Member 1998 T/A's Avatar
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    Black
    2000 WS6 Trans AM

    I'd replace your motors, I had almost the same problem one was coming up and lighting one was staying down and lighting. It'd varied day to day if it would stay down (driver side staying down btw)

  5. #5
    Member herculesrider1's Avatar
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    '00 TransAm RamAir WS6 M6

    Sounds as if you have an electrical connector issue on top of your bulb problem. For the headlight actuator motor to not even engage points to the electrical connection or the motor itself. Motor failure does not happen very often. I had my '98 for almost 10 years and not once did either of the motors fail. My '00 has had the gears replaced in the drivers side but not the passenger. It is 10 years old, and the motors have never been replaced. From the looks of the wear being on the side, off centered, on the gear, points to perhaps the actuator motor cover pulling away from the housing itself. With the operation of these motors that stop rotation when they torque out, there are pressures inside the motor housings that want to force the screw drives 'out'. Hence, the wear pattern being on the outer edge, which is the result of the torque of the motor pushing the screw drive towards the outer cover. When you replace the cover, the directions tell you that the epoxy will have a hard time adhering to the plastic covers. That is why they recommend cleaning the surfaces with alcohol to get every trace of grease off the mating surfaces. That is why the Rodney Dickman kit comes with a three point 'T' brace which ensures that the cover will stay seated on the housing. The 'T' brace is bolted to the housing via the actuator motor mounting bolts. With this option, there is no way the cover is ever going to separate from the housing. Hope this helps.

  6. #6
    expensive tires az gt eater's Avatar
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    04 2500 4x4 crew cab

    Quote Originally Posted by herculesrider1 View Post
    Sounds as if you have an electrical connector issue on top of your bulb problem. For the headlight actuator motor to not even engage points to the electrical connection or the motor itself. Motor failure does not happen very often. I had my '98 for almost 10 years and not once did either of the motors fail. My '00 has had the gears replaced in the drivers side but not the passenger. It is 10 years old, and the motors have never been replaced. From the looks of the wear being on the side, off centered, on the gear, points to perhaps the actuator motor cover pulling away from the housing itself. With the operation of these motors that stop rotation when they torque out, there are pressures inside the motor housings that want to force the screw drives 'out'. Hence, the wear pattern being on the outer edge, which is the result of the torque of the motor pushing the screw drive towards the outer cover. When you replace the cover, the directions tell you that the epoxy will have a hard time adhering to the plastic covers. That is why they recommend cleaning the surfaces with alcohol to get every trace of grease off the mating surfaces. That is why the Rodney Dickman kit comes with a three point 'T' brace which ensures that the cover will stay seated on the housing. The 'T' brace is bolted to the housing via the actuator motor mounting bolts. With this option, there is no way the cover is ever going to separate from the housing. Hope this helps.
    good advice

  7. #7
    Auto Painter RyanJM's Avatar
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    1998 Trans Am

    I just throw the whole motor away and forget the gears. The brass and aluminum gears are cool but I beleive if the gears go the motor will soon follow. The motors are pretty cheap at the local parts store, forgot which one I got the motor from it's been a while.
    The hid kit not firing usually means a bad ballast or sometimes the connector that plugs into the ballasts wiggle loose depending of what you fastened it to. Also I notice there is something with the flip ups and the old hid ballasts. can't explain it but I have replaced both hid ballasts in the flip ups with new digital slim ballasts since my other stopped working one went then the other a few months later. I have the same brand in my 93 5.0 and 02 trailblazer both with old style ballasts and they work great the ones in my trailblazer are over 4yrs old. Sometimes it's cheap kits and sometimes it's something else still haven't figured out why that it only happended to the flip ups, even the fogs still have the original ballasts and there mounted lower.
    1998 Trans Am 85k miles.
    Bolt ons, MS3 113LSA cam, Circle D Stall, Tune, Modified WS6 style hood, Full Suspension, 6000k HID's, Clear Side Markers w/ Leds, Led 3rd Brake Light and 18" AR Staggered Killer Wheels w/ BFG KDW NT's.- Weekend Toy/DD
    02 Trailblazer -Sold
    09 Ram 1500 CC - Sold
    09 Cobalt SS/TC - Sold
    13 ram 1500 LoneStar CC 4x4 - Magnaflow, K&N,and more to come-DD/Toy

  8. #8
    Sexy Motorhead KarrKraft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by innerchi89 View Post
    The exact same thing happened to me. I prayed to God to make it work again, it did. True story.

    The power of prayer.

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