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Old 05-27-2010, 01:14 AM   #1
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Default headlights stuck up :(

so i tried a search but didnt find anything so here goes:

My headlights are stuck in the "up" position. when i press the retractor button my my dash, i can hear a click, like it wants to go, but then nothing. there is nothing mechanical preventing motion(i hand cranked the motors all the way down and back up with no problems. ) orignially, when i would try hand cranking them, the motors would snap on and promptly pop the headlights all the way back up, however lately when i try to hand crank them, there is no resistance, so I can close them by hand. however, the headlight indicator light in my dashboard is on if the headlights are in any positions other than up, so i can crank them shut or to super cool sleepy eye position and my light indicator light remains on in the dash.

has anyone had this problem? thanks!
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Old 05-27-2010, 01:17 AM   #2
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probly a bad relay.
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:59 AM   #3
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Did you try a search on m.net?



jus sayin'
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:35 AM   #4
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Something is jamming them. Check by the motors and arms.
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Old 05-27-2010, 12:35 PM   #5
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+1 on something jamming them. I found a screwdriver I had been missing for weeks jamming mine up once. If that's not the case, have you taken the center piece with the headlight retract button in it out lately? If so double check everything is hooked up securely.

oh and +1 on m.net as well.
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Old 05-27-2010, 04:08 PM   #6
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nothing mechanical is jamming it, as i said, i can hand crank them full a through cycle just fine. and i can hear what im guessing is the relay "click" when i push the retractor button but no noise from the motors.

how do i know if the relays are bad? the relay im looking for is the one on the driver side under the hood a little behind the wheel correct?
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Old 05-27-2010, 05:10 PM   #7
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a mechanical jam would only jam 1 of the 2 headlights

if you're okay with miata.net, they will probably have better information for you over there - but:

you have an open circuit somewhere. there are 2 "on" wires for the headlights. Flipping your headlights 'up' will close circuit 'A' in both headlight motors. Once the headlight motors are fully up, the motors hit an internal switch that reopens circuit 'A'. When you tell your headlights to go back down, you open circuit 'A' at the headlight switch, and close circuit 'B' circuit 'B' tells the motor to turn on, it moves past the headlight motor switch which holds circuit 'A' open and allows it to close, and once in the fully down position, the motor itself opens circuit 'B', which again stops motor movement.

I know it probably doesnt make sense unless you read it 8 times while taking some sort of heavy prescription, but that's the way it works to my understanding. Your barn door switches are not "on-off" switches, but "A-B" switches, and there is an open circuit somewhere between your B switch and the junction where the wires split off to go to each headlight. Possibly in the actual switch(es) itself.
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Old 05-28-2010, 02:51 AM   #8
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so would this require replacement of relays? motors? wiring? obviously the problem is not the button in the dash, as the headlight indicator light comes on showing it "wants" to lower the lights, but just wont. Im tempted to just hand crank them to sleepy eye and call it a day ha
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:04 PM   #9
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What year is the car?

If you are a 94+, I had the same issue. I could manually turn the headlights down and they would stay. Headlight switch and pop up switch put the headlights up as normal but they wouldn't go down. Turns out it was the retractor relay under the dash (drivers side near the fuel pump relay under the steering column I believe) that went bad. My 94 relay was NOT the same as any 90-93s we had in the shop, so 94+ should be a different part. I found this after pulling the dash twice convinced that I had a wiring issue..
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Old 05-29-2010, 01:23 AM   #10
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its a 93. i dont get any movement regardless of lights on/off or pop up button in/out. my lights turn on and off just fine but wont go up or down. im guessing i need new motors? just thought i would double check before i get new ones, if i get around to it ha.
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Old 05-29-2010, 09:33 PM   #11
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While possible for both motors to coincidentally burn out at the same time, it is pretty unlikely. I still think it has to be either an open in the wiring, or a bad retractor relay.
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Old 05-29-2010, 11:01 PM   #12
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well i dont know when they burned out, i bought the car in april with the headlights as is. he claimed if i waited long enough after pushing the retractor button, the lights would eventually go down. i tried them after purchasing and they did go down about 5 minutes after i pushed the retractor button. then i hadnt tried them since (this was in april) i tried again the other day and nothing.. what would make motors hesitate then come down later? then stop working all together?
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Old 05-30-2010, 01:18 AM   #13
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ok then its a bad cap for the motors or bad grounds in general
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