Sunday, July 6, 2014

Corvette Headlights

The coating on my headlight lenses started flaking off last year. This year they have gotten much worse and have started to look very bad. Unfortunately the headlamp housings are over $1100.00 each and if you want to bake the housings and separate the lenses you can purchase new ones for $155.00-200.00 each.

I have had fairly good luck with polishing these types of lenses in the past, the only problem is the UV coating is removed and the lens yellows rather quickly.

Here are some shots of the scratches and failed coating on the lenses.

In reading some of the information on the net by people that recondition headlamp lenses for a living I came across a thread in which someone had determined that spar varnish (which contains UV blockers) could be used as a protective coating on headlamp lenses. There are companies that sell UV coatings for this application, many I could not find any information on such as anyone that had successfully used them the ones that had been used were selling for $90.00 for four ounces. I still had much of the correct polishing equipment and the varnish is very cheap so I decided to give it a try.

Most of the people doing this tape off the surrounding areas of the headlamp housings and polish them in place. I was not comfortable with this technique and decided to completely remove them. This required some dis assembly of the car which took less than an hour.

The other thing I had read was the old coating need not be fully removed. I tried this to begin with but the lens looked very hazy where the old coating was compared to the areas that it was completely removed. I decided to remove all the coating which required going to a very heavy grit paper. Because the coating is very hard I had to start with 320 grit paper, even this grit made the hard coat difficult to remove.

 After using 320 to remove the hard coat I then used 500 and 800, this was taken after I was finished with the 800.

After the 800 I used 1000, 1500, 2000 and 3000 then mirror glaze, this shot was taken after the mirror glaze .

The last step which I did not take pictures of was mixing the Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane Clear 50/50 with mineral spirits. I then wiped the lens down with mineral spirits and used a foam brush to put on a coat of the 50/50 mixture.

In the sun the lights dried quickly and I was able to reinstall them 30 minutes after I had coated them.

The thread I read about doing this on was started early in 2008 and is still and active thread. Many of the people using this technique had documented it lasting two years or more on vehicles that spend all their time outside. Even if it only lasts that long for less than $30.00 and a few hours on a Saturday I would do it all over again.

No comments:

Post a Comment