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Discussion Starter #1
Guys,
I searched for quite awhile on this today and found lots of bits of information, but a lot of the detailed stuff seemed to be taken with JimM when he left.

Basically I am looking at doing the electric conversion (of some sort) to my rs, vacuum isn't going to work even if it was complete.

So, I recall a couple of people did a more DIY conversion using I believe Firebird motors? And the module that is factory with them?
I like the idea of this, I don't mind doing it myself, and actually enjoy it.

The other kits are the retro electro which is just way too much money IMO, I'm assuming it's driven more for a complete rs grille upgrade to non rs cars. Then the DSE kit seems nice and not ridiculously expensive. It seems like there has been some issues but most seem related to headlight doors not working smooth from the start. Also seems like a bit more wiring than necessary, but maybe not.

And I believe Matt Klemp (is that right?) had the firebird motor kit he sold also. Does he still do that? Have not seen him around in awhile.
Someone else did a variation, can't recall who it was now.

Also, any input on tricks to getting the doors working nice and smooth besides just tearing them out of there and going through them? Any lessons learned by guys that have done it?

Any input much appreciated, thanks in advance guys-

Sean
 

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There are a couple thread on using Pontiac Fiero headlight motors, and some using I think Toyota. They all have issues. If you buy a retro electric http://retro-electro.net/ or DSE conversion kit available at any of the normal Camaro places including Matt's Classic Bowties http://www.mattsclassicbowties.com/contents/en-us/d200.html#p664

With either kit you get all the electronics, fresh and new and new guaranteed motors. Win Win unless you like Jerry-Rigging Both kits and anything you cobble up your self all need your current RS doors to be in perfect working order so you may need to visit NPD and buy a refurbish kit for the bushings.
 

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DSE= extensive wiring and cutting (and some bending) . Been there done it. Works great now tho. Didn't think it that cheap either.
 

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Per Brian I guess I'm guilty of "Jerry-Rigging" my own system together. I always thought the term was "Jury Rigging" but what do I know?

The "issues" that I have are that it was cheap and has worked perfectly for many years. This was all done before any of the kits were available.

Mine is the combination of the original ideas of TC members LukeWarm and MatKlemp and some unknown ebay guy selling plans many years back, with some of my own thrown in. LW originally mounted motors to the undersides of the inner fenders and used a linkage system made from flat bar and nylon washers to operate the bellcranks on the doors. He made a timer circuit to operate the doors using a stock headlight switch. Pretty cool.

I copied his motor mounting idea, but used 1/4" threaded rod and heim joints for a more adjustable linkage.

I originally operated the doors via a SPDT momentary toggle switch located in the ashtray compt.. This was from the e-bay plans guy. It worked well, but was a bit cumbersome.

Mat Klemp figured out how to adapt/wire the Firebird headlight module. He mounted his motors directly to the headlight buckets. With his help I was able to replace the toggle switch with the Firebird module and retain the linkage system. He was kind enough to send me a module free of charge as well. Again, pretty cool.

I originally used Chrysler LeBaron motors (per ebay guy), which worked just fine. Those were unfortunately destroyed when my friend piled my car up. The motors I have now are 88-89 Toyota Celica. I just went to the u-pull and looked for something that might work - these are excellent quality motors - much nicer than the Mopar ones. You could likely use any 12V DC motor you want as long as you can mount it where you want and attach a lever to it.

I you want to do this yourself, let me know via PM. I have a spare module as well as the wiring pigtails with nice weatherpack connectors that I'll give you. I also have the module wiring diagram (somewhere!)

It does open and close the doors quickly, perhaps that is the issue our Mod has with them. I honestly couldn't care less. Pull the switch and they open. Push the switch and they close. Every time.

Here's an ancient thread from right after I originally did it. http://www.camaros.net/forums/showthread.php?t=87077
 

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Per Brian I guess I'm guilty of "Jerry-Rigging" my own system together. I always thought the term was "Jury Rigging" but what do I know?
Two sayings, similar meanings but different uses and origins. Jerry-Rigging is a US Military saying coming from WWII, Coined as the Germans were retreating back to the Fatherland always on the run, short on fuel and supplies, they cobbled anything together they could to keep moving, just to get home. Most of the creations were unsafe or fell apart often and had to be repaired. The term while widely in use in late 44 was first published in Stars and Stripes early 1945.

Bonus trivia: This period and set of conditions is also where the origins of the term "Jerry-Can" now used as a generic term for any type of gas-can came from. As their fuel was in short supply many German soldiers were captured with a Jerry-Can and a length of rubber hose to siphon fuel from dead vehicles or other sources to keep the unit moving forward.

Jury-Rigging has its roots in the Navy first being printed in the late 1700's. The term refers to any type of temporary repairs made to rigging and masts while underway at sea. Jury is a temporary body, and rigging is rope work. So the term both implies and infers that the work is temporary and meant to be replaced by more substantial repairs or replacements.

So they both kind-of mean the same, one nautical and the other land based. I tend to use Jerry more often than not.

In any event I'm sure your homegrown headlights are of sound design and no disrespect was meant by use of the term. Although I'm not sure if I'm your Mod in question, I have stated in other threads that to replicate the original system the doors should be smooth and the original DSE systems crashed open and closed, a design defect they have since corrected. Retro seems to still crash and bang which is just not unattractive, but is damaging to the doors and grills. I agree at the sticker shock. DSE is the clear advantage on that front and they don't require metal fab work.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
There are a couple thread on using Pontiac Fiero headlight motors, and some using I think Toyota. They all have issues. If you buy a retro electric http://retro-electro.net/ or DSE conversion kit available at any of the normal Camaro places including Matt's Classic Bowties http://www.mattsclassicbowties.com/contents/en-us/d200.html#p664

With either kit you get all the electronics, fresh and new and new guaranteed motors. Win Win unless you like Jerry-Rigging Both kits and anything you cobble up your self all need your current RS doors to be in perfect working order so you may need to visit NPD and buy a refurbish kit for the bushings.

Thanks Brian.
I have heard the DSE kits had quirks, maybe that's when they were first offered. For $450 it seems slightly high like most DSE stuff, but most of the stuff they sell is also nice quality. Not terrible though, I would be willing to pay that if one of the other options didn't work out.
There is no way I can see dropping the $600 or whatever it is for the Retro Electro kit, that's nuts. It must be supplied with the buckets etc. for that.

As for the DIY kits, I actually like the idea of the ones like DSE offers because they put it in a nice neat package which makes for a clean install. But I also like doing stuff like that and I'm confidant that I can wire as neat or even more neat than the kits I've seen.
I'm a commercial/industrial electrician and I've actually done pretty extensive wiring on 2-3 race cars. I'm pretty anal about how stuff looks when it's done, I'm not the fastest but I am pretty confidant in the end result.

So as for having a Jerry rigged (which is what I have used, or Jury rigged, potAto potahto....;) ) I don't see that happening. What I would be concerned with is if the available factory parts you have to work with are not big and clunky.
I just wired up an electric fan/relay/temp sensor (thanks again onovakind) using factory junkyard parts, and it turned out better than what's available in my opinion, and cost a fraction. The parts lend themselves well to it though.

Have you messed with the RS stuff much or used one of the mentioned kits? Curious how the install/ end result was.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Here's the Firebird module wiring diagram

It was you I was thinking of then Al! Wasn't yours part of the sticky we used to have on here?

Thanks for the offer on the parts, I may just take you up on that.
So how large is the factory module? Where did you stash it?

So basically you mounted the motors (and it sounds like most will work, is there some that are more recommended than others?) and wired them up to the module. Does the module pick up available wiring at the headlight area or does it need to go back to the dash?

From what I have read, the module uses a current sensor so the motors run until they see the motor stop (and current spike) for X number of time and they shut off. When you turn the light switch the other way they change direction and repeat the process.

Seems like a pretty simple process? My only concern is hiding everything so it looks nice and clean. I also like the idea of not having to hack up the factory RS buckets.

Thanks again Al!
 

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DSE= extensive wiring and cutting (and some bending) . Been there done it. Works great now tho. Didn't think it that cheap either.
Bob, you installed the DSE kit then? Any pictures? Lessons learned?
 

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No I have kept my vacuum system going and helped sever folks repair theirs to working condition but I have never installed a DSE, but there are a few excellent videos out there including autorestomod's which also covers rebuilding the bucket bushings for smooth error free installs and operation.
 

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Hey Sean -

Yes - mine was one of the stickies way back when before JimM took his ball and went home.

The module is 4.5" x 4.5". I mounted mine on the core support where my washer jar used to be. Handy spot because I tapped the horn relay bus for power.

You will need to run one wire from the headlight switch to the module. This is the light blue wire that runs between the HL switch and the dimmer switch. (see diagram) If you were to use either a high or low beam wire up near the core support the doors would close and open when you operated the dimmer switch.

Optional - You can run another wire from the acc or ign spade on the fuse box to a relay if you want to use a relay for motor power.- the module can also be wired "hot" to the horn relay bus, but I didn't like the idea...

I've only used the two types of motors I mentioned so I can't comment on anything else. The Toyota motors are nicer than the Chrysler motors. You'll have to be at least a little creative mounting either style, but that's half the fun, right?

Motors originally intended for headlight doors would be the best choice as they are likely to have a manual mode thumbwheel in case of failure.

"From what I have read, the module uses a current sensor so the motors run until they see the motor stop (and current spike) for X number of time and they shut off. When you turn the light switch the other way they change direction and repeat the process." Yeah - something like that! However it works, it shuts the motors off when the doors fully open, and switches polarity and closes them when power is removed from the light blue wire. It must be magic.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hey Sean -

Yes - mine was one of the stickies way back when before JimM took his ball and went home.

The module is 4.5" x 4.5". I mounted mine on the core support where my washer jar used to be. Handy spot because I tapped the horn relay bus for power.

You will need to run one wire from the headlight switch to the module. This is the light blue wire that runs between the HL switch and the dimmer switch. (see diagram) If you were to use either a high or low beam wire up near the core support the doors would close and open when you operated the dimmer switch.

Optional - You can run another wire from the acc or ign spade on the fuse box to a relay if you want to use a relay for motor power.- the module can also be wired "hot" to the horn relay bus, but I didn't like the idea...

I've only used the two types of motors I mentioned so I can't comment on anything else. The Toyota motors are nicer than the Chrysler motors. You'll have to be at least a little creative mounting either style, but that's half the fun, right?

Motors originally intended for headlight doors would be the best choice as they are likely to have a manual mode thumbwheel in case of failure.

"From what I have read, the module uses a current sensor so the motors run until they see the motor stop (and current spike) for X number of time and they shut off. When you turn the light switch the other way they change direction and repeat the process." Yeah - something like that! However it works, it shuts the motors off when the doors fully open, and switches polarity and closes them when power is removed from the light blue wire. It must be magic.
Nice, thanks Al.
Definitely magic. As we like to say in the electrical industry, it works on PFM (pure - magic you can guess what the f stands for...)

So, do they seem to shut excessively fast? Any pictures of your install by chance?

This is probably going to be a winter project, because I know once I dig into the grill it's going to snowball. I should replace the old beat up core support while I'm at it. Just trying to compile some info going into it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
No I have kept my vacuum system going and helped sever folks repair theirs to working condition but I have never installed a DSE, but there are a few excellent videos out there including autorestomod's which also covers rebuilding the bucket bushings for smooth error free installs and operation.
Thanks Brian.
I would actually keep my vacuum system if I figured I would have adequate vacuum, but that's not going to happen and I don't want to add tanks, etc.
The entire system is complete and in decent shape, just missing the actuators. It's old and will need a rebuild before I do whatever I do.
Any recommendations on place to get the rebuild parts? Everyone seems to have something available, all I need is bushings and such.
 

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Yeah I understand 100% why you need to go electric. As far as I have seen NPD is the only vendor with a dedicated 68-69 bushing rebuild kit.
 

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