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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After 150k miles the projector lenses on my HID headlamps have become dirty, there is significant reduction in the light output, and the cutoff isn't nearly as sharp as it used to be. It's not the bulbs themselves, as I have recently changed them out with the exact type.

Is there a way to get to these and clean them without removing the bumper cover, removing the lamp assembly and heating it to remove the lens covers?

The same thing has happened to my wife's 3-series BMW, but with about 1/3 the mileage.
 

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After 150k miles the projector lenses on my HID headlamps have become dirty, there is significant reduction in the light output, and the cutoff isn't nearly as sharp as it used to be. It's not the bulbs themselves, as I have recently changed them out with the exact type.

Is there a way to get to these and clean them without removing the bumper cover, removing the lamp assembly and heating it to remove the lens covers?

The same thing has happened to my wife's 3-series BMW, but with about 1/3 the mileage.
You can buff the housings. I do that to all my vehicles when they get ugly.
 

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Most likely going to have to clean the "bowl" of the projector. Have had this happen on other vehicles of mine and it is pretty common after many years/miles.

I don't have any experience with WK2 projectors specifically, but my guess is you're going to have to remove the headlight housing. Whether you have to physically separate the lens from the housing, I don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Most likely going to have to clean the "bowl" of the projector. Have had this happen on other vehicles of mine and it is pretty common after many years/miles.

I don't have any experience with WK2 projectors specifically, but my guess is you're going to have to remove the headlight housing. Whether you have to physically separate the lens from the housing, I don't know.
I've done it before, installed retrofit HIDs in my 05 Mustang. The clear cover (lens?) is glued to the housing with butyl glue, which softens with heat. Put the whole assembly in a kitchen oven set at 250 for 7 to 10 minutes and they come right apart. To put back together, back in the oven and then reassemble.

I was hoping that there was a way to access the inner projector lens some other way.
 

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You might be able to access it from the back and get to the bowl that way. I just ordered a set of OEM HID housings for my '18, so i'll be able to tell ya once they arrive.
 

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my 11 was hit and it damaged the headlight. i asked the shop if i could keep it, and so i took it home and disassembled it. this was an original lens and you could definitely see the difference between that and the brand new one on the other side (separate/previous accident). now, the outer lens was obviously faded a little, but the light output was just plain dimmer. well, with the light broken, i was able to pull the reflector out and confirm that the projector lens itself was actually dusty, on the outside and inside. i can tell you that it can be done, but it'll damn near impossible without removing the outer lens and removing the projector itself. in all honesty, i say give it a shot; those lights are relatively affordable now, so if you mess up, you can just get a new/clean light.
 

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Just a tip, if you have to polish out the deteriorated surface of the Plastic/Lexan, you need to seal it.

Hopefully it's just dirt and you only need to clean it. And clean it may mean some buffing to get the dirt off the surface.

I'm talking actual polishing, the surface has turned rough and matt, discolored below the surface. That means the sealant from the factory has been eaten away and now the elements and radiation are eating into the plastic/lexan. You may be able to repair it by polishing it out, which is remove the damaged plastic/lexan to get down to the undamaged plastic/lexan and polish it smooth. If you do this, you have to seal it somehow, either using a specific sealant for plastic lenses or even clear plastic paint. Otherwise the elements and radiation will start eating away at the surface again, and even faster this time, cause you didn't have a sealant layers to start with this time.

If the projector lense is glass, you may have nothing to worry about. If they are plastic, then the same might be true as the headlamp housing lenses.

Finally, I have replaced yellowed/oxidized/eroded plastic/lexan headlamp housing with Cheap Aftermarket I've found on RockAuto.com, this was other than JGC. They are shockingly affordable, and you really have to look close to see any difference, and they worked just fine.

Of course HID's may require more precision or higher quality for the heat, than cheap aftermarket housings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've done a Xenon Projector retrofit on my 2005 Mustang so have experience taking these things apart and putting back together. It looks like my Jeep is the same basic configuration. I'll have to take the bumper cover off to access the headlight assemblies. Put the assemblies in the oven at 200F for 7 minutes to soften the butyl sealant holding the plastic lens to the housing, then clean the glass proctor lens. To replace the plastic lense, back in the oven to soften up the butyl.

Or, I might be able to remove the projector assembly from the housing and clean it that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Since I had to remove the front bumper cover to fix a transmission cooler leak I took the opportunity to remove and clean out the assemblies. Here are before and after results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I also figured out why this occurred. The heat of the incandescent DRL gradually destroyed the chrome plating of its reflector:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Lessons learned:
1. Change out the OEM DRLs bulbs with LEDs as soon as you can and avoid this issue altogether.
2. Don't drive the car with the bumper cover removed. The sides of it hold the soft inner fender splash guards in place. Without this support the splash guards will rub against the tires and get destroyed. :eek:
3. Unlike most headlamp assemblies, Chryco did not used thermoset (butyl) glue to attach the lens. No amount of heating in the oven will soften enough to separate.
4. 250 degrees for ten minutes (as is used to soften butyl glue) will destroy the HID ballast. :eek:
5. The projector assemblies come out with three T20 screws and can be maneuvered out of the back of the assembly. The glass lenses can then be cleaned with Windex, and the rear of the lens reached with a regular Q-tip.
6. The plastic assemblies can be cleaned by removing the bulbs and electronics, pouring in a few tablespoons of Windex and agitating with what is best described as a ten-inch Q-tip. (I'm not sure where I acquired mine but I thought they'd come in handy some day.) Rinse with warm water several times, then dry in a convection oven at 170F, taking out every few minutes to let the condensation out.
 
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