What's this noise when the headlights open/close on my 76 NY?!

Electrical & Ignition

  1. fakirone

    fakirone Member

    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    87
    Joined:
    May 8, 2020
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I can't find the answer searching so here I am.

    The headlight covers both open and close on my 76 New Yorker, but VERY slowly. While they are moving there's a quite loud ticking coming from under the passenger dash or passenger side firewall area and once they are done moving it stops.
    What the hell is it, and is it the reason they're moving so slowly, or is something else causing both things?
     
  2. marko

    marko Well-Known Member FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    415
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2014
    Location:
    Victoria, BC Canada
    a relay would be my guess.
    check your shop manuals / get em if you dont have em.
    ive had the headlight door motor relay buzz in some of my 78s but it has come from around the steering column
     
  3. Chrome58

    Chrome58 Active Member

    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    156
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Location:
    Belgium
    I think it's a circuit breaker opening and closing (but I'm not sure they still had these on a '76). For some reason (mechanical or other) the mechanism must draw too much current, and the circuit breaker closes because of the overload. After some time, it reopens again, and the cycle can start again.

    That would explain also why they open very slowly.

    EDIT : I just checked and yes, 1976 Chrysler still used circuit breakers.
     
  4. 78Brougham

    78Brougham "Chump" FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    14,325
    Likes Received:
    13118
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    Location:
    Wellsboro, PA
    My '78's snap open, you better do some maintenance on that motor before it cooks.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. Big_John

    Big_John Illegitimi non carborundum FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    13,482
    Likes Received:
    8324
    Joined:
    May 21, 2013
    Location:
    Marcellus, NY
    From what I've seen, the bottom bearing in the motor gets dirty and stiff. The answer is to take it apart and clean and grease it.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  6. Mr C

    Mr C Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,819
    Likes Received:
    1678
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Location:
    All over
    Your system is operating as designed. The CB is supposed to buzz to annoy you to alert you to the fact that your system has an issue. As mentioned previously, the motor needs cleaning/ lube in this case and is drawing too much power.
    It will do the same thing if the motor completely fails and the doors do not open with the lights on...then you'd have to twist the knob on the motor to open/ close the doors manually.
     
  7. CBODY67

    CBODY67 Old Man with a Hat

    Messages:
    5,298
    Likes Received:
    1206
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    With the motor being maintenanced, also lube the linkages to free them up. Once it's all free and working well, then put a slightly more durable grease on the friction areas of the linkage. Possibly some dry silicone (as for garage door rollers?) or something else that won't attract dirt?

    Take care,
    CBODY67
     
  8. fakirone

    fakirone Member

    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    87
    Joined:
    May 8, 2020
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Good info, THANK you all. I'll try to clean up the motor and see what happens.
     
  9. Welder guy

    Welder guy Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

    Messages:
    6,449
    Likes Received:
    7911
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2016
    Location:
    Millet Alberta
  10. CBODY67

    CBODY67 Old Man with a Hat

    Messages:
    5,298
    Likes Received:
    1206
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    Gears are the key to the electric motor-driven headlight systems working at all. At least on the early Camaros, the gears were about the size and thickness of a silver dollar, with small teeth on the perimeter. ONE tooth breaks off and the whole thing can stop. Designed for 'low load, low torque" situations, obviously. The later vacuum systems usually worked better, but could have their own issues when a diaphragm might have issues.

    Enjoy!
    CBODY67