Headlight Refurb

BL330

Member
Messages
838
While the front is all exposed, I suggest you oil the cr@p out of the bonnet release cables and locks.
It's a bugg@r to do otherwise.
 

MarkMas

Member
Messages
3,867
..... If you want to get the headlights redone I could refurb them for you, I've got all the equipment to do it right - but you'd need to send the headlights to Australia......
Jeez! I'm thinking I should just send my whole car over to you for a refurb!
 

lambertius

Member
Messages
341
This is absolutely not a job for a beginner! Sealing them back together was far worse then opening them up or polishing. For the second one I had the knack of it down, but holy **** that was difficult for the first attempt!

Anyway, I doubt most people would even be able to tell they've been opened at this point. Pretty **** clean!

72489

72490
 

Vampyrebat

Member
Messages
2,164
Well done!.........they look great, are you going to treat them to some kind of protective seal?
 

rs48635

Member
Messages
1,867
I'll clean it all up and seal it again soon, but I was pretty happy with how it looked just test fitting the parts together!

View attachment 72447
Love the contrast in this first picture, something of the terminator about the contrasting red eyes.
Assuming the grey colour is primer, why does the paint stop at indicator? Would painting the whole wing be better?
(unless grey is paint protection film and rest of lower parts were painted)
 

lambertius

Member
Messages
341
Love the contrast in this first picture, something of the terminator about the contrasting red eyes.
Assuming the grey colour is primer, why does the paint stop at indicator? Would painting the whole wing be better?
(unless grey is paint protection film and rest of lower parts were painted)
Layering primer and paint increases the risk of cracking (crows feet). You only prime what you need to, which is usually somewhere where you needed to take the paint back to the metal. The unprimed parts are in good enough condition to either not paint to just go over with enough to blend.
 

lambertius

Member
Messages
341
An FYI for anyone who is going down this path in the future.

  1. Unless you need to change the colour of your headlights, don't split them open - once you get a mark on the inside of the lens it will be impossible to remove without professional equipment and experience. You may think that some of the degradation is on the inside of the lens, but it isn't.
  2. Remove the headlight assemblies from the car
  3. It is all well and good to use a headlight restoration kit, but it won't be good enough. You're better off buying a set of wet and dry papers off of ebay and using those. I started at 120grit as my lenses were so bad. I finished on 5000 grit. It took me about 8 hours per headlight.
  4. Resist the temptation to sand this with a machine, you'll eat through the soft plastic and severely regret it.
  5. A finishing automotive polish, or a superfine acrylic polish will remove the sanding marks. You will need a RO polisher, no exceptions.
I tried the polishes from three different products:

Mother's NuLens - Trash
Turtle Wax Headlight Restoration Kit - Pro, but the headlight sealant wasn't very good
Meguiars Two Step Headlight Restoration Kit - Good, the headlight sealant was pro. If you're going to do this, I'd pick this one.

6) Getting rid of the polishing marks in acrylic is impossible, a headlight sealant or clear coating the plastic is the only solution. I found Meguairs sealant the best as it was in a spray can. If you can find a good paint shop, getting them done in automotive clear would be a good solution - but there are issues with painting smooth plastics so take the body shops' advice.
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If you have to open the headlight for any reason:

  1. Polish the lens to completion first, that way you will handle the lens as little as possible while it is off the assembly.
  2. You will absolutely chip the pain on the coloured insert, no exceptions. Be prepared to paint it when you're done.
  3. The chrome on the chrome rings will come off if you touch them. You need to remove them in order to repaint the insert. Be prepared to get them painted or rechromed.
I'm all about DIY, but I would honestly send this to a professional unless you've already messed around with paint and detailing a lot. It is one of the most difficult polishing jobs I've ever done. As it is, I could do better now that I've done it and I had the lenses apart for over a month testing different methods and polishes.
 

BL330

Member
Messages
838
Thankyou for the report on the products to use. On my daughter's car I also found the Turtle Wax sealer didn't last.
I let a paint shop do mine inside and out as mine was definitely discoloured on the inside.
 

lambertius

Member
Messages
341
Went by to drop off the headlights today and it was all sanded back for painting - finally!

72532

I also went and test drove another Gransport today on my constant adventure to get a point of reference for what standard I need to get this one up to. Despite the mileage and the issues, honestly most of the cars I've seen have the same issues.

The one I had a look at had 39 000km indicated, but I suspect that it isn't correct. Its 40% of the way through it's second clutch, wear and tear looks a lot more like 70 000km and I know for sure that the instrument cluster was changed at some point, but wouldn't you know it that receipt isn't with the car... Anyway, the point is, though there are issues with this car and things about it that bug me, overall the low cost has allowed me to address significantly more on this car than had I gotten a more expensive one. The mileage will be high at the end, but I know its genuine at least and the car will be mint when I'm done!
 

lambertius

Member
Messages
341
Cooking in the oven. For a moment I thought I should've gone matte black, but then I remember that I'm not a full on masochist. Sure I enjoy a bit of pain fixing up a car, but I don't enjoy pain while using the car. When I'm rich enough to pay someone to follow me around and clean the car whenever I drive it I'll get a matte black car.

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Also, you UK boys, I feel sorry for you... My car being imported has some minor rust spots and corroded screws. This is the worst of it. I hit it with a screwdriver and a hammer in a few spots and its solid enough to sandblast and powder coat again. I'd hate to have this as a serious concern with using any car. The good news is that is by far the worst of it, the rest I just scraped off and sprayed over. Digging through the body work and bumpers, it really is quite astounding that the car is completely straight with the mileage on it. There are a few broken plastic parts, clearly been hit under the car + sun. Really, this all started because of some sun damage on plastic... Still can't find why the headlights were changed though. The rear has been hit once, but it only broke the bumper and didn't get into the car, the front is undamaged so there is no obvious reason why the headlights were swapped.

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Twinspark

Junior Member
Messages
52
Not a fan of matte black personally, I think its been tainted a bit by all of the cheapo wraps going around. Funnily enough my car has had a matte wrap at one point in its life before I bought it. :rolleyes:
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(picture i had from the previous owner)

Rust on that particular part is no real problem as you could’ve had it on much more integral parts. These cars also like to rust right under the tail lights, ask me how I know. :(
 
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lambertius

Member
Messages
341
I really only like wraps on track cars - cost effective way to stop it looking trashy. Matte paint is effort +100 maintenance. I'd never get it done on a car I intend to drive.

And I am quite lucky with the rust outcome. Definitely could've been more effort! I bought the car on an impulse when it was offered at such a low price. I knew there were things wrong with it but I didn't do a thorough inspection, and so I have been learning about it as I go.