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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Headlight restoration how to!

My 04 SVT has a set of Mach Audio HID's that were originally on my old ZX-3, and they have gotten rather nasty looking so I have decided to restore them, and here is how I did it.

Here is the passanger side, you can see they are rather dull and nasty looking,




[xx(]
So I got some 1000 grit sand wet/dry sand paper to get out everything but the deep nicks, wiping down the plastic every couple of minutes and keeping the sand paper pretty wet.
Next I removed the 1000 grit marks with some 1500 grit paper, using lots of water and wiping as I went.
Then I went to 2000 grit, by then the light looked pretty foggy but was very smooth, and to be honest looked better foggy than it did before I started.
To get out the 2000 grit marks I went up to Wal-Mart and picked up some of this stuff...

I found out you need to go SLOW with back and forth motions, if you go too fast or use too much power on your drill you will make some burr marks on the plastic and then you will have to resand that section with a bit of 2000 grit and go over it again with the polish pad. This stuff is basically an attachment to an electric drill and some stick on polish pads and you will use 2 or 3 per light.
I will say again during the entire process go SLOW, it took me an hour and a half to get my drivers light looking like this...




I just got done with the drivers light and I was so impressed I figured I'd post this before I started on the passanger light.
I have some Lamin-X on the way and when it gets here I will probably go over the lights again real quick with the polish pad again.
 

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Wow! Looks great! Thanks for the write up, I may do this my my stock SVT lights before I sell them... make them a little more marketable!
 

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one word...NOVUS.

it IS plastic polish. i use it for all sorts of stuff from cleaning up arcade controls to polishing my old rotary desk phone. probably fantastic on headlights too. three levels of polish and it does take alot of elbow grease.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks guys! I am really happy how both lights turned out, other than a few deep chips that I couldn't sand out they look very good, and for a while it just looked like I just had hyper-whites instead of HID's and now I can see the HID's in their blinding glory again!
I am sure their are other ways to do this other than how I did it, but I didn't see any other write ups so I posted how I did it.
Next step is to put on some Lamin-X next week and do my fogs.

Scrammer, what do you mean dust inside the lenses? Mine looked pretty clean to me, but I suppose you could just remove the bulbs and just blow some compressed air inside them to get most of it out.
 

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I'm going to give this a shot at least on my passenger side light...I got my Mach HIDs used for $500 because the passenger side lamp has some heavy scratches on the side (as if the previous owner had a run in with a pole or another car.) I'll probably need to start with a rough sandpaper...800 grit or so on the bad part at least and work my way up from there. BTW, when you wet sand them do you just use water, or something else?

To take the lamp completely apart is a pretty complicated and risky procedure...from my understanding, you need to "bake" the housings in an oven at 200 degrees to get the plastic soft, and the use a knife and a heat gun and cut the clear lens off from the rest of the lamp, to be epoxied back on later. Its usually done to paint the chrome parts of the headlight black...if these headlights weren't so expensive to replace I'd do it to mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I just used water, and if you are going to be using rougher sand paper I suggest you take the lights off your car.

I considered just replacing the cover rather than taking sand paper to them (for a few weeks the idea scared the daylights out of me, after all these are expensive lights), and it would of been my back up plan if I messed them up too badly when sanding them.
 

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dubalicious said:
Scrammer, what do you mean dust inside the lenses? Mine looked pretty clean to me, but I suppose you could just remove the bulbs and just blow some compressed air inside them to get most of it out.
Make sure the compressed air has an air/oil separator. Don't want to blow oil in your headlights!

Nice how-to write up by the way!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
airdrummer said:
Make sure the compressed air has an air/oil separator. Don't want to blow oil in your headlights!

Nice how-to write up by the way!
Thanks!
I just got my LaminX so I'll post some pics on how they look after that is put on.
 

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Another alternative would be to buy a kit of Micro-Mesh. It's what we use in aviation on windows. It ranges from 1200 grit to 12,000 grit. This stuff works great. I'll be buying a kit to do my painted headlights soon.
 

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Staging wet sanding is always a good idea. For anyone else doing this (I might do this myself) the best way to go is 1000, 1500, 2000, then finally 3000 grit Trizac paper will really make them shiny and clear.
 

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this looks like a great write up. the gf is going away this weekend so i will have lots of free time to clean mine. it kills me that my headlights look so bad.
 

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Amazing post, I did they same thing on a MX-6 V6 I had in High School...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I reorganized my photobucket account and unknowingly the links changed, so here is the original post with the new links inserted.

My 04 SVT has a set of Mach Audio HID's that were originally on my old ZX-3, and they have gotten rather nasty looking so I have decided to restore them, and here is how I did it.

Here is the passenger side, you can see they are rather dull and nasty looking,


[xx(]
So I got some 1000 grit sand wet/dry sand paper to get out everything but the deep nicks, wiping down the plastic every couple of minutes and keeping the sand paper pretty wet.
Next I removed the 1000 grit marks with some 1500 grit paper, using lots of water and wiping as I went.
Then I went to 2000 grit, by then the light looked pretty foggy but was very smooth, and to be honest looked better foggy than it did before I started.
To get out the 2000 grit marks I went up to Wal-Mart and picked up some of this stuff...


I found out you need to go SLOW with back and forth motions, if you go too fast or use too much power on your drill you will make some burr marks on the plastic and then you will have to resand that section with a bit of 2000 grit and go over it again with the polish pad. This stuff is basically an attachment to an electric drill and some stick on polish pads and you will use 2 or 3 per light.
I will say again during the entire process go SLOW, it took me an hour and a half to get my drivers light looking like this...




I just got done with the drivers light and I was so impressed I figured I'd post this before I started on the passanger light.
I have some Lamin-X on the way and when it gets here I will probably go over the lights again real quick with the polish pad again.
Here are some recent pics with the Lamin-X installed.

 
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