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1986 Esprit Black/Red
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29 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The issue: the passenger headlamp pod blinks up and down in rapid succession. So far this has happened at highway speeds. I have been unable to reproduce the condition when driving around town or at rest. This happens after I turn on the lights (no issue with the driver side). Usually it will wink up/down four or five times and then stay up. Then 10-20 seconds later it will begin the winking sequence again.

Recent work:
1. Had the headlamp motor out recently for a different issue. Everything inside seemed fine, at least with the nylon gear. I have the older style motors that don't have the plastic bushings.
2. I removed the two relays that seem to control the headlamps, gave them a gentle tap, and reinstalled them. All the relay connectors have recently been cleaned.

I searched the forum and didn't see anyone with quite this issue. Any ideas?
 

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1986 Esprit Black/Red
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29 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Bumping this in case it was lost in the shuffle of topics.
 

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Registered
1987 Turbo Esprit HCI
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66 Posts
My 87 has done that with the right side lamp since at least 1995, almost always when wet.
I don't think it has to do with the motors themselves. The motors should only go 180 when power is applied, there are little plastic nubs on a spinning disc that physically disconnect the motor power.

If I were to guess I would think it could be a weak connection in the headlamp switch itself. Making one of the relays think you've gone back to parking lights.
Or maybe, since mine happens usually when wet, it has to do with the bullet connectors Lotus used letting water in somewhere.
I don't have a full understanding of the circuit and headlamp system, so keep in mind they're just guesses.

I'd be interested to see if someone can explain why it happens.
 

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Dreaded Prior Owner
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723 Posts
After swapping out the relays with known good ones, I would double check the internal switch under the gear. it performs the up/down park function and maybe it's not opening in time to stop the motor in the up position, or is intermittent on one conact. Compare the linkage geometry on the good and bad sides to see if its different.
Winking is not uncommon, search this forum and The Lotus Forum for more discussion.

1268012
 

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1986 Esprit Black/Red
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29 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies S54Venture and snowrx. It's been a few weeks since I was able to visit this again as I was dealing with an oil leak which had the car down for a while. I swapped the 1st and 2nd relays in the bank and still the same issue - passenger pod winking. And it still only does it when driving above 40MPH which severely limits my troubleshooting. I have not tried to open the motor up yes; that could be next.

Any other ideas, let me know. I did find a few posts on the subject, nothing conclusive that seems to relate to my issue.
 

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1986 Esprit Black/Red
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29 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Update: I removed the headlamp motor from the car. I opened up the wiring and gear sections. The gear grease is nice and gooey. I cleaned the contacts under the copper strip with some light sandpaper and electrical cleaner. As you can see, no nylon bushings so can't replace those. I didn't go any deeper into the motor. I reinstalled it and the exact same problem persists, which is winking at 45MPH+ speeds and now even going over a small bump at slower speeds. Still looking for a solution if anyone has any ideas.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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5,865 Posts
Just a W.A.G., but that is a diode inside right? Might be a bad one. :unsure:
 

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1986 Esprit Black/Red
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29 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Just a W.A.G., but that is a diode inside right? Might be a bad one. :unsure:
Atwell - yes, two diodes in there. Maybe one is sending a signal when it shouldn't due to high-speed vibration/bump.
 

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1986 Esprit Black/Red
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29 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Update: so I don't think it is anything electrical. The motor seems to work fine when not attached to the lightpod. Once attached, the problems start occurring, now even when the car is parked. I took the headlamp lift motor out again and as you can see in the picture, the spindle has sunk into the motor. The rotary link (bracket connecting motor to actuator arm) was not grabbing the flat edges properly, causing all kinds of problems. I have sourced a new gear/spindle assembly and a new rotary link, as well as a new actuator arm with heim joints since mine was "stuck" on one end. We'll see if this does the trick.
 

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1986 Esprit Black/Red
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29 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Because everyone is dying to know how my crybaby issue of a winking headlamp turned out... I replaced the two items in the attached picture as well as the gear inside the motor (see last post). I went for a drive this evening and no winking. I am a happy camper. Note the actuating arm from Lotus was longer than the one I had in the car. Fortunately I was able to cut pieces of either end to make it the same length and still have enough thread for adjustments. For those wondering, no, I don't drive in the dark a lot. Not worth the risk. However, I do early morning fun runs when backroads are less crowded and leave at dawn, which is happening later and later with the days shortening. So for a little while I need the headlights until the sun is fully up.

actuatingRod.jpg
 
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