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Old 01-06-2012, 05:06 PM
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Cool Headlight - Wetsanding and Polishing

Okay, so back in Summer when I was detailing my Jeep I thought my lights were beyond repair. The UV clear coating was cracking along the top and they were all pitted. Looked okay, but not up close.

So I bought Gen 3 projectors and XD HID kit. Problem is 1) headlights are LHD, we drive on the wrong side, 2) HID kits fail inspections without washers &/or self leveling systems. The Jeep has neither.

With my inspection coming up in a few months, I knew the stockers had to go back in. This week I have the cold and being fed up today I thought I'd pull the lights down from the attic and give sanding them a go to see if I can make them look like new. Did it work, well read on....


Some before pics for you:









As I said above, from a distance not too bad, but up close they are pitted and the UV coating is fooked.


So I grabbed a spray bottle (filled it with mix of warm water and washing up liquid), 800-2500 grit wet/dry paper, few MF towels and set to work in the kitchen where it was warmer than the garage.

The paper was placed in the sink filled with warm water and washing up liquid for 15 mins to fully saturate the paper. The paper used was Meguairs UniGrit range with the sanding backing plate/pad. Excellent stuff.

Now, I decided to remove the UV coating completely and this took some going - even with the 800. This is an after shot:



The 800 grit was done in horizontal passes and so I moved onto 1200 grit going in vertical passses. This helps you see that you have fully removed all the marks left from the previous paper.



Then onto 2000 grit, this time going horizontal again.



And finishing with 2500 grit going vertical. You can see most of the clarity is back in the lens and just swirling left behind.



Now this one light took about 1 hour in sanding alone. About 10-15 mins with 800 grit alone to ensure all the UV coating was gone or at least level and because I'm anal I wanted it as good as I could possibly make it.



Now, I tried using Meguiar's PlastX by hand first. This did actually work, leaving behind only light swirls. Not good enough for me though (and it was hard work!), so out to the garage to bring in the PC.

Couple of blobs of Menzerana Intensive Polish on a 4" Sonus cutting pad, speed 1 to spread, 3.5 for 4 passes, 5 for 3 passes, 3 for 2 passes.

Much better, I then just for the sake of it went over the light with PlastX and thankfully I did - WOW!

Finished article:












Tomorrow when I've polished the other one they will be sealed with a couple of coats of Autoglym Extra Gloss Protection. You can use any sealant you want, but this is very important to do as the UV coating may be compromised or in my case completely removed.


Thanks for looking and hopefully this mini-guide can help some of you who may want to give this a go. It really is straight forward to do.

P.S. The above method will also correct cloudy/oxidised plastic lights.
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:39 PM
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Re: Headlight - Wetsanding and Polishing

Wow! Looks great dude!
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:23 PM
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Re: Headlight - Wetsanding and Polishing

looks amazing! I need to do my car but it seems to have some oem film on it.
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:29 PM
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Re: Headlight - Wetsanding and Polishing

I'm going to have to do this to my buddies WJ. His Headlights keep hazing. This was an amazing transmoation even though there wasn't a lot of hazing. Great Job Marty!
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:41 PM
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Re: Headlight - Wetsanding and Polishing

Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneCold View Post
Wow! Looks great dude!
Thanks mang.

Quote:
Originally Posted by suzieque View Post
looks amazing! I need to do my car but it seems to have some oem film on it.
Possibly just the UV coating?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaoul1 View Post
I'm going to have to do this to my buddies WJ. His Headlights keep hazing. This was an amazing transmoation even though there wasn't a lot of hazing. Great Job Marty!
Yeah, mines weren't all that hazy to be honest. Just the UV stuff was failing up top and some light pitting from rocks. I can imagine this would be a lot easier to do with the lights installed in the car too - just tape up the surrounding painted areas well!
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:45 PM
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Re: Headlight - Wetsanding and Polishing

Nice work and write up. I have done this to friends headlights and they love it. Good choice of chemicals too. I love making my truck shine. Love that head turning effect and the great all inspiring question... How do u keep your truck so shiny...
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:47 PM
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Re: Headlight - Wetsanding and Polishing

HID kits are illegal?
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:27 PM
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Re: Headlight - Wetsanding and Polishing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unholyskorn86 View Post
HID kits are illegal?
Yeah over here they are unless they're in self levelling projectors with washers or some sh*t. Typical UK laws. Cops will bust you for it.
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Old 01-07-2012, 11:27 AM
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Re: Headlight - Wetsanding and Polishing

Quote:
Originally Posted by nyc_medic View Post
Nice work and write up. I have done this to friends headlights and they love it. Good choice of chemicals too. I love making my truck shine. Love that head turning effect and the great all inspiring question... How do u keep your truck so shiny...
Thanks, never thought of doing a write up at the time but had enough pics to explain it. Should've done a video clip of wetsanding but there are loads of how-to's on YouTube.

Hahaha, yeah. When I used it as my DD, the guys at work were always stunned by how clean it was - got asked so many times "what do you use to keep the inside of the wheels so clean!?" Best answer; I just threw a bucket of soapy water over it yesterday...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Unholyskorn86 View Post
HID kits are illegal?
Overhere yes. I thought you just needed HID specific headlights (Gen 3) but sadly they are LHD - seen a Austrialian seller with a RHD set but where 4x the price!

On top of that your car needs to have hi-pressure headlight washer or self-leveling suspension/projector.

My car has show licence plates (text is legal, just a US flag but that is a no-no), tinted tails and front door tints. I don't want to attract any more attention from the police who so far have been cool > good taste!?

Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneCold View Post
Yeah over here they are unless they're in self levelling projectors with washers or some sh*t. Typical UK laws. Cops will bust you for it.
Yup, people are really going to spend hundreds on all of that stuff aren't they?!

Just wish I figured out I'd have a LHD/RHD issue before I bought the Gen 3 housings and XD kit.
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Old 01-07-2012, 11:43 AM
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Re: Headlight - Wetsanding and Polishing

Those look amazing. Nice Job. Like brand New
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Old 01-07-2012, 01:59 PM
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Re: Headlight - Wetsanding and Polishing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martyp View Post
Yup, people are really going to spend hundreds on all of that stuff aren't they?!

Just wish I figured out I'd have a LHD/RHD issue before I bought the Gen 3 housings and XD kit.

I didn't think there'd be a difference, just adjust the beam pattern. Damn it. I've heard there are a lot of cops who can spot, incorrectly installed HID's from a mile off.
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Old 01-07-2012, 02:01 PM
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Re: Headlight - Wetsanding and Polishing

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjaydeeone View Post
Those look amazing. Nice Job. Like brand New

Thank you sir!

Both are now all polished up and sealed. Think I'm gonna put a coat of Collinite 476s over the top of three coats of sealant - just for good measure...


Aaron, can't adjust the beam pattern on the lights to convert them the RHD. Just tilting the beam vertically. HIDs just aren't worth the hassle here.
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