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Headlight renovation WITHOUT buying "a kit" WITH PICS

Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:13 am
by Ducklakeview
Ok,

Not sure if it's been posted before, I know people have used the "kits" available on fleabay and the like, but thought I'd do mine without one..

Bagged myself a set of facelift xenons for the bargain of £200 delivered.

Upon arrival, noticed the lenses were showing the usual age related clouding, so decided to remove this before fitting them. You can do this in situ, just make sure you mask the areas around the headlight with TWO layers of wide masking tape, to prevent paint scuffs.

This is how they looked.. Photo doesn't highlight just how bad they were.
20170802_140204.jpg
20170802_140204.jpg (168.63 KiB) Viewed 4486 times

So, after washing them, I proceeded to hand sand with plenty of water, and 400 grit wet & dry. At this point, if you haven't done it before, you'll probably be thinking "oh hell, what I have I done" but don't worry.. The aim is to get the surface smooth all over and remove the hazing/cloudiness. Sand in a circular direction, NOT straight lines, or it'll be harder to remove the sanding marks at the next stage. By now, they should be looking like this;
20170802_140209.jpg
20170802_140209.jpg (193.79 KiB) Viewed 4486 times

And after a wipe down, like this;
20170802_141246.jpg
20170802_141246.jpg (157.39 KiB) Viewed 4486 times
If there are still clear or excessively cloudy sections at the above stage, continue wet sanding with the 400 until the whole surface is an even dull matt like the above pic.

After that, I used a 1500 grit disc in my DA on medium speed, again wet sanded, until it looked like this;
20170802_142422.jpg
20170802_142422.jpg (176.64 KiB) Viewed 4486 times

Washed off and swapped to a 3000 grit disc, again at medium speed and wet, until after wiping, the lens looked like this;
20170802_143328.jpg
20170802_143328.jpg (223.85 KiB) Viewed 4486 times

Finally, I switched to a pad and did 3 passes each with meg's 105 cutting compound, followed by 205 polish, before finally sealing with a couple of coats of Collinite 426s, which left the headlamps looking like this;
20170802_145325.jpg
20170802_145325.jpg (233.32 KiB) Viewed 4486 times

Total time, around an hour to do both and a few pence in wet&dry/sanding discs....

Very rewarding!!

Mike

Headlight renovation WITHOUT buying "a kit" WITH PICS

Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:27 am
by jamie_z4
wow they look brand new!

Headlight renovation WITHOUT buying "a kit" WITH PICS

Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:50 pm
by bz4kev
Very good job mike look great the finish looks spot on :thumbsup:

Headlight renovation WITHOUT buying "a kit" WITH PICS

Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 4:05 pm
by maxman
Should add 20mph to your top speed when it gets dark . :D

Headlight renovation WITHOUT buying "a kit" WITH PICS

Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 4:10 pm
by Chris_D
tip top mike!
:thumbsup:

Headlight renovation WITHOUT buying "a kit" WITH PICS

Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 4:16 pm
by flimper
Looks good, hoping to do mine soon

Headlight renovation WITHOUT buying "a kit" WITH PICS

Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 4:19 pm
by Ducklakeview
flimper wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 4:16 pm
Looks good, hoping to do mine soon
Did your car even come with headlights? Weren't they optional?? 😁😁

Mike

Headlight renovation WITHOUT buying "a kit" WITH PICS

Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:29 pm
by flimper
Don't you start!

Headlight renovation WITHOUT buying "a kit" WITH PICS

Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:21 am
by Swiftly
That's a impresive result, well done :thumbsup:

Headlight renovation WITHOUT buying "a kit" WITH PICS

Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:44 am
by Marlon
Neat job Mike :thumbsup:

Headlight renovation WITHOUT buying "a kit" WITH PICS

Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:49 am
by cj10jeeper
Looks great and pleasing to do

Well established method of restoring and did similar on mine. Only word of caution for others that copy is when using any machine polisher to keep it slow and moving. I've seen the result on a VX when the plastic gets too warm and smears and it's not pretty. New lights then required...

Headlight renovation WITHOUT buying "a kit" WITH PICS

Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:23 pm
by kammy1975
Great work Mike, and nice pics showing each stage clearly.

I went for the 3M kit and learnt quite quickly that using a cordless drill on the slowest setting was still too aggressive, and left some "burns" in the plastic. Ditched the drill and used good old hand power. Got a smooth finish, but it was a little rushed, so will revisit at some point, as it does make the front end stand out when the headlight lenses are gleaming!

Headlight renovation WITHOUT buying "a kit" WITH PICS

Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 2:08 pm
by cj10jeeper
That's pretty much the issue with drill or standard rotary polishers. They concentrate all the work effort on a single spot. Excellent for pros who do it all day, but not rest of us. Random orbital with care or hand