I have a 1996 Firebird. The passenger side headlight wants to stay in the up position. This is not a gear problem.


Asked by May 10, 2013 at 02:21 AM about the 1996 Pontiac Firebird

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

When I turn off the light both headlamps go down then about 1 to 2 seconds later the right head light pops up again.  I can open the hood and manually use the knob and screw it back down with no problem.  Then when I turn on the lights they both pop up and work fine.  When I turn off the lights they both pop down fine then about a second later the right light pops back up again.  When I turn the lights back on the left pops up and the right pops down then about a second later it decides to pop back up again.  Its like the motor wants to keep popping the right light up even after shutting off the lights.  All I can find when I search this problem on the net is that everyone wants me to change the gear that works the light.  In this case the gear is fine, its something electrical that keeps the motor wanting to raise the light up again.  In some cases it likes to raise it up and down a couple of times but it will always stop in the up position.  Do I need to replace the motor or is there a capacitor or chip somewhere that needs to be replaced?

7 Answers


I've never seen the motor and gear arrangement but it's probably has a micro switch that limits and controls the travel. Check that the switches are being made when they are supposed to be.


I have exactly the same problem, except it is the left headlight that pops back up after the lights are shut off. Also, the off/closed position of the right headlight gets a little higher or less fully-closed over time. After a month or so the closed position is really about an inch above flush with the body. My local mechanic quoted $1,456 to replace both headlight motors, the module, labor, and if necessary to program the module to recognize the car. (Although the module will probably self-discover and self-program, which would knock about $125 off the total cost.) I'd love to find a better/cheaper answer to this problem!

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Check out "Headlight Fix for the 4th Generation Firebird/Trans Am" (http://www.bfranker.badz28.com/headlightfix/). Specifically, scroll down to "Common Headlight Gear Failures" (http://www.bfranker.badz28.com/headlightfix/#headlightgearfailures). Failure #6 starts "here is a strange oneā€¦ does one of your lights go down and then immediately pop back up?" It goes on to say there are "two stops associated with each light. One stop will stop the light in the UP direction and the other stops the light in the DOWN direction. If you look down in there and at the raise/lower arm on a properly working light, you'll see that the raise/lower arm is making contact with one of these stops. Well, if you are having the problem of your light cycling up and then back down or down then immediately back up when you operate your lights, what has happened is one of these stops has BROKEN OFF!!! ... Because these stops are actually molded right into the front headlight support assembly, replacing the stops means replacing this entire piece and that is big $$$. ... Good news is that you can make your own stop". It goes on to describe how.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
Best Answer

ccie 5000, you hit the nail on the head. I went out and looked and that is exactly what happened. In fact the whole light housing cover is loose too. The screws holding it in have vibrated out. Will try your fix making my own stops. Thanks a lot!


I have 2002 v6 3.8 I already spent 700.00 replacing both motors and wire harness. They said it was fixed ? got in the Friday morning at 5 am to go to work and GUESS! WHAT!! ?? the right side motor sounded like a JACK HAMMER and would not raise SO, I'm Screwed again I called the shop and of course they said bring it back .This will be the third time!! There MUST BE A BETTER SOLUTION to this 10 Year problem that the years from 1996 to 2002 Firebirds Have always have had . I wish I can sue them for this Bad bad Headlight motor problems. SO What to You think of Just Hard wiring the whole system????? Csale


It was the little plastic stop molded to the light housing. Of course I have to buy a whole new housing. I may try to fabricate a stop somehow.


Waltassault ,thanks for responding.My issue is the opposite I'm now $700.00 for replacement of both motors . And only one on the left works .GM should be sued for this headlight assembly. There are so many people out there that have different problems with these motors. From the 1996 to 2002 firebirds It is just ongoing they work and then they Don't . They say replace the gear to a metal one? People have tried this and within 6 months they have the same problem again !! It's just a bad system!!. I have given UP!! ,I say put the lights in a upright position lock them in and go on with our life . Or sell .What's your opinion?? csale

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