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rws
09-18-2009, 04:39 PM
I have a Toyota and the head light lenses are cloudy looking. They aren't cracked and filled with moisture I don't think, it appears as though the outside looks frosted.

How can they be restored to their clear state?

Mark Hockett
09-18-2009, 06:11 PM
I have this 3M kit and it works great, makes the headlights look like new,

http://www.autobodytoolmart.com/3m-headlight-lens-restoration-kit-02516-pc-15674-687.aspx

I have tried some of the cheaper ($30-$100)kits but they don't work near as well. We charge $90 to polish headlights. Most of the items in the kit could be supplemented with items that many home shops have. The sander is a dual action or orbital sander, the polisher is not a dual action so a drill or slow die grinder might work and Novus 2 might work for the polish.

aboard_epsilon
09-18-2009, 06:21 PM
http://www.swannysmodels.com/TheCompleteFuture.html

hows this ..read all .

all the best.markj

chipmaker4130
09-18-2009, 07:01 PM
If they're crazed so badly you can feel the roughness, you'll need to sand with 400 grit wet or dry paper before polishing. If they are just cloudy, you can get very good results with McGuiars Mirror-Glaze (available at auto parts stores) and a sheepskin-like buffing disk in a drill.

Funny how some cars, like my Oldsmobile, can go 10 years and be crystal clear, yet my Dodge Stratus needs polishing every 10 months!

v860rich
09-18-2009, 11:28 PM
I had the same problem with my Jeep G/Cherokee never could get them to stay clear, tried everything, finally broke down and bought new for $90.00 each side. Very happy with results.
Of course I found them for $70.00 each later on.
THANX RICH

People say I'm getting crankier as I get older. That's not it. I just find I enjoy annoying people a lot more now. Especially younger people!!!

doctor demo
09-19-2009, 01:03 AM
Permatex makes a headlight lense restore product that is available at local auto parts stores.
I have not tried it yet, but it got good revews on one of the auto shows on speed channel. Money back if You are not happy, or so it said.

As I understand it, You clean the lense well then apply the product. I believe it works as a chemical polish.

Steve

JRouche
09-19-2009, 01:31 AM
I have a Toyota and the head light lenses are cloudy looking. They aren't cracked and filled with moisture I don't think, it appears as though the outside looks frosted.

How can they be restored to their clear state?

Thats common with the head lights of the 90s and 2000s. A guy was actually refinishing my neighbors plastic lenses on his car about two weeks ago. He was charging I think 100 bucks to do both lenses. I was shocked.

I heard that and said lemme try some of the stuff I use and compare it. I could only compare it on his other car cause the work was already done.

I didnt want to do his entire lens so I just did a round spot about 3" in diameter. Kinda give him a taste so he will have to do the rest.

I use meguiars PlastX. Its a clear plastic cleaner and polish. Inexpensive and it works. So I did the lil spot, in about a minutes time and it was as clear and smooth as the pros plastic.

The "pro" used a buffer, low speed buffer. I used my hand. A buffer can be used but you have to be VERY careful. You can burn the plastic. Then you have to sand the plastic in progressive grits (micro film abrasive) to a super fine grit and then polish.

But yup, those lenses can be polished up to a new look. Thats the great thing about them.

And all the cars get like that. This guy that was doing it smacked a brochure on all the cars on the street cause they all looked yellowed and clouded.

Great thing about the plastic lenses, they can be polished up to a new condition. JR

Circlip
09-19-2009, 03:36 AM
How much distortion is generated in the beam projection by using abrasives??

Regards Ian.

GKman
09-19-2009, 06:58 AM
If they're crazed so badly you can feel the roughness, you'll need to sand with 400 grit wet or dry paper before polishing. If they are just cloudy, you can get very good results with McGuiars Mirror-Glaze (available at auto parts stores) and a sheepskin-like buffing disk in a drill.

Funny how some cars, like my Oldsmobile, can go 10 years and be crystal clear, yet my Dodge Stratus needs polishing every 10 months!

I've done several and there appears to be some kind of clear coat that is much harder than the bare plastic. When you sand/polish that off they wear much faster but it doesn't take much to re-do them. Amazon.com sells a 3M kit among others that is used in a drill.

Wish I knew what the clear coat was, but my paint man says "Be satisfied with what you have , it's not worth the gamble of several hundred bucks to ruin a set."

Your Old Dog
09-19-2009, 08:20 AM
I axed (as they say in Buffalo) that very question some time back and got this responce. I wend with Evan's suggestion and it works great and useful for other projects like Harley windshields as well.

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=32224&highlight=headlights

lynnl
09-19-2009, 10:04 AM
What is the concern here?
Is this just a cosmetic issue? Or does polishing out the little scratches result in better road visibility?

I've wondered about that. It would seem that other than diffusing the light beam slightly, it wouldn't make much difference.

mooney1el
09-19-2009, 05:57 PM
The coating on the polycarbonate lense serves two primary purposes. One is to provide scratch resistence and the other is for UV protection. It is a siloxane and is put on with a very specific process, not air dry. Without the coating, the lenses are subject to excessive scratching and degradation (crazing etc).

Richard

chipmaker4130
09-19-2009, 07:09 PM
The concern on my Dodge was that headlight brightness/range was reduced by around 50% (my calibrated eyeball). After polishing, the safety factor goes way up!

rws
09-20-2009, 02:25 PM
Well I bought some Meguiars Plastx. I soon realized tis stuff is very fine, and it only polishes very little. So I went at the lenses with some 1000 grit wet'dry paper I had, and gave the cloudy areas a good scrubbing. I could feel the roughness going away, and once the 1K grit was done, the Plastx was next. A fair amount of elbow grease brought out a fairly clear lense. It's not as new, but a damn sight better that it was. I can see the back reflector pretty well, so I feel I did OK.

I've use the 3M plexiglass kit years ago, and that would do the same thing. You might as well start with something that will get the scratches out first, them go finer and finer. The Plastx will put the spit shine on it when done.

spope14
09-20-2009, 05:29 PM
This type of thread went around a while back on this forum. I tried it all. Headlights would clear up on the Dog Neon by about 50% of normal, but within a few days things went bad again. Even talked a body shop into polishing them, [probably as mentioned. Cost me $50.00. All chemicals and such, probably put in about $100.00 in marginally effective "repairs".

Finally went to partsline or something like this on line, paid $220.00 for a high end new pair, took me about 1 hour to install, and another 30 minutes of research and just doing to set the headlights.

This was becoming a safety issue anyway, found that along with the cloudiness there were brittle adjustment "ears", as well as screws that were a bit rusted as well. This said, the visability was the main safety issue, the car was all but undrivable in a New England rain or snow storm. Now it is great.

davidh
09-20-2009, 06:50 PM
today i bought meguires number 17 and 10 per advice from someone on the list. polished by hand for at least 5 minutes on part of one light and it did make it a bit better not still a LONG WAY yet to go. . . maybe i should use my buffing wheel and a drill motor. maybe ?

rws
09-21-2009, 07:29 AM
An update. My post yesterday was done after I worked on the lenses. Well I drove it to work this morning, which I do quite early. With the lights ON, it really shows I have a long way to go to get all the scratches out! They are better than before, but I will go over them again.