when i turn my flip up lights off on my 98' firebird. My left light makes a loud grinding noise for about 5 sec's and then it stops. The lights work fine, they go up and down, but that noise is nasty.


Asked by Sep 25, 2009 at 02:17 AM about the 1998 Pontiac Firebird

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

please help.

13 Answers


I own a 99 Trans am and to me it sounds like the motor is going out in the light. I am not sure on how much the repair is on one though. Mine was around 150 to have it repaired. Good luck with it.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

Yes its the motor, soon it will completely stop.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

my right side does the same thing when i close it


i had the same prob with my 97 firebird, the gear in the motor is bad. you can get one off ebay for 20 bucks and fix it. the whole motor runs about $200 new. Its easier to just get a whole new motor out of a junk yard or something.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Mine did that for a while too. I found out that if you disconnect the wiring from the light motor, and twist the dial 180 degrees till the flat part on the motor shaft twists 180 degrees, you use the other side of the gear and it will stop grinding. It's a good way to save some money if you don't want to buy a new motor.

11 out of 11 people think this is helpful.

Your gear inside the headlight motor is stripped. I just replaced the gear in my left headlight motor with little difficulty. You can find the headlight gear at napaautoparts.com and it'll run you about $17.00.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

The motor isn't going out; your Firebird's headlight motor has a PLASTIC gear inside. After years of use, HALF of the gear wears down. You can either order a metal headlight gear, or for FREE, simply take out the gear and rotate it 180 degrees. If it turned 360 degrees, the headlight would try and close in itself. Here's a couple links, one of them including an installation video. Enjoy! http://www.bfranker.badz28.com/headlightfix/index.htm http://www.bfranker.badz28.com/headlightfix/gearinstall.wmv

13 out of 13 people think this is helpful.

Hey, check out Jordans post from December 2009, he has a great link that I used and fixed my same issue. The part you need is called the "Healight lift motor gear". There was another post here that indicated the part was 17.00 from napa. True enough I called my local napa parts and the part was 15.99 before tax. Jordan's links (photo and video) made all the difference. If you cant find Jordan's post and links I have copied and pasted here (thanks Jordan). http://www.bfranker.badz28.com/headlightfix/index.htm http://www.bfranker.badz28.com/headlightfix/gearinstall.wmv

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.

yeah my 95 is doing the same thing. I think the flip up head lights were not a great idea but I do love them.


I had that on my trans am, turned out to be the headlight gear. Change it and it will stop.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

my 98 Firebird has been doing that for 1 1/2 yrs now.I think I'll try Zach or Jordan's idea

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Holy necrothread.


Okay everyone. If you just want to get rid of the grinding noise (as irritating as fingernails on a chalkboard), there is a relatively easy quick fix that I thought I'd share, because I don't really have any cash right now, so this fix is free and it only took me about 30 minutes or so. You do not need to replace the electric motor as some mentioned and it's not time to change the gear yet, as there is still half a gear that is perfectly usable (since only 1/2 a gear is being used anyway). It was actually Jordan's post that caught my eye, but I wasn't really sure what he was talking about until I went to the website he provided. http://www.bfranker.badz28.com/headlightfix/index.htm#MetalGu ide2 Scroll nearly to the bottom and go to the section with the header named: "FREE Headlight Fix" Just a couple of pointers, First, the boot is pretty big that covers the manual knob for manually lifting the light. I had to use a pair of pliers to pull the boot off. Secondly, I have a 2000 Firebird and didn't need to remove the housing screws around the lights (I think the example is an older model). Finally, Once you get the nut off the shaft, if you lift up on the headlight by manually pulling up on it, it will relieve the tension on the bracket, making it much easier to remove the bracket from the shaft. At first I thought it was rusted on as the instructions indicated, but once I removed the tension, it came right off. Did the same thing to put it back on once I rotated the shaft 180 degrees. Could not really tell which light had the problem because the noise is so loud and difficult to tell, but I got lucky. Once I did this quick free fix on the driver side, problem resolved--no more grinding sound!!!

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