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Strictly European Autosport - View topic - Another DIY, Demystifing Headlights Guide/Thoughts
It is currently Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:46 pm




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Another DIY, Demystifing Headlights Guide/Thoughts 
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The Guru

Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2005 8:58 am
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Location: Corpus Christi, Tx
New post Another DIY, Demystifing Headlights Guide/Thoughts
OK so we have all owned or seen a car with fogged up headlights. And I'm sure most people here don't own expensive buffing machines, or feel safe wielding sand paper. So most of us either leave it alone, or spend a hour buffing them by hand with some "magic product".

So first lets examine what exactly causes the haze. When you drive what hits your headlights? Bug guts (very acidic), dirt (70mph sand blasting anyone), and other airborne materials that get peppered all over these things. Being that in the US all headlights (almost all) are plastic so these things get pretty nasty quick.

Image
Mine had a added ugliness added thanks to sloppy wax job a while back.

So my first thoughts were I finally find a use for that dremel. Being that this thing starts off at 5,000rpm and goes up to 13,000rpm I had to be VERY careful and only use speed 1. Anything above 3,000 rpm will generate heat VERY quick. So I go to Home depot and buy a $3 polish pad.
Image

Looking at this I realized this would take FOREVER to do with this little thing and the metal bit in the middle make it only usable on the end. So I cut up strips and fold it into thirds like so...
Image

I quickly found out a dremel has a weak clutch and absolutly no torque. If you put the cloth under the end and try out speed one nothing happens, except that all familiar smell of burning clutch :oops: So I decide to tempt fate and just use the end of it. Here are the results after a very careful play of speed 1 off headlight, rev up dremel, put on surface, slows to a stop, remove repeat.
Image

While this works It take WAY too long. Time to bust out the big guns, no jacking around~!
Image

Well this baby definitally has the torque to do the job. I left nothing the end and let the cut come out about 1 mil to get a little bite on the cotton to spin my little trifold pieces. The trick to this is to use alot of lubrication/polish (Autosol plastic cleaner/polish ... Can be found at www.bavauto.com ....but any plastic cleaner will work). Do NOT apply any pressure, and don't go faster than the slowest speed (est. 1,000-1,500rpm).
Image

This method works great, and if careful requires no effort. It saves your arms from scrubbing, but I had to be certain the results were good.
Image

^^^Can you tell the difference between the side I did at hand, and the side I machine buffed^^^
Of course the answer should be I see no difference.

So what did we learn from this lesson boys and girls? Use less muscle and more ingenuity. Not everything has to be hard. Just take some terry cloth and cut it up. Pull out a decent drill (take out all bits and pull the chuck almost all the way into the housing). Put the strips in 1.5 inch squares and a dab of your plastic cleaner on the tip. Drill in your headlight at 1,000rpm (speed 1, Low on most drills), Counterclockwise moving left to right, applying no pressure. Stop if the cotton stops spinning. It means it needs more plastic cleaner. Buff off access and enjoy your results with maybe 15min tops for 2 headlights. :thumbsup:

Ian Crosson

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Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:47 pm
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Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 12:42 am
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Here's the DIY I've always used.

This applies to any car with clear plastic headlight covers.

Materials needed:
600-grit wet/dry sandpaper
1000-grit wet/dry sandpaper
automotive paint cleaner
Meguiars #17 plastic polish
Meguiars #10 plastic cleaner


First open the hood and tape off the corners of the fenders that protrude towards the headlamp covers.

Next, having a steady stream of water flowing over the headlamps, knock off the major pits and crap off the assemblies with the 600-grit paper using very light pressure. You don't want to create any major scratches - just remove the junk off the face.

Next - still with a steady stream of water over the headlamps, follow-up with the 1000-grit paper - using very light pressure, smooth the surface out as much as possible. This may take a little while, but is crucial in getting a smooth surface. After you are done with this and the water dries, you will have a very smooth but a very hazy surface - good.

** NOTE: The following can either be performed with some elbow grease or a small random orbital buffer. **

Next - with a dry surface and a clean terry cloth towel, rub the automotive paint cleaner into the lenses. This will take the majority of the haze out of the lenses.

Follow-up with the Meguiares #17 Plastic Polish and #10 Plastic Cleaner with separate, clean towels.

Courtesy of: bmwtips.com

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Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:57 pm
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SEA black-sheep
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Great write up, both of you. I'm doing the first one to my car later today (too lazy to scrub).

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Thu Sep 15, 2005 2:20 pm
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BM Double Jew
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Damn dude you are the DIY masta detailer!!!! Where are you at the mod/detail day! lol

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Thu Sep 15, 2005 3:23 pm
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The Guru

Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2005 8:58 am
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Location: Corpus Christi, Tx
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A friend of mine had a comment that I felt I needed to share with everyone. He said it was his understanding that plastic headlights come from the factory with a special coating that protects them from getting hazy. And that after you buff them you will have to do it alot more often, because you removed this layer. Now I don't know if this is true. And so far my headlights have never looked better. I have not hit it again since last time I did it. Although I will say that the plastic cleaner I use from Autosol says it adds a protective film while cleaning. So maybe this "protective film", is taking place of the previous permanent barrior of protection from the factory. I think it's all just rumor. Anyone hear different? :-?

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Fri Oct 14, 2005 9:40 am
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jajou318 wrote:
Damn dude you are the DIY masta detailer!!!! Where are you at the mod/detail day! lol


what he said.

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jake. wrote:
why do people thing that there will be less traction with stretched tires? the contact points will still be the same, its only the sidewall that gets stretched.


Fri Oct 14, 2005 4:06 pm
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BM Double Jew
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I don't know you should be fine though. If anything does happen just do it again.

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Fri Oct 14, 2005 4:13 pm
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Got this one up too.....Start whoreing out this link! Haha

http://www.strictlyea.com/features/headlight.html

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Tue Dec 20, 2005 8:23 pm
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