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Discussion Starter #1
So it seems as though this has been a VERY common subject lately. Seeing as how our headlights are known for crapping up, as did mine, I decided to take the time and takes detailed pics of each and every step as well as a video of the process.

Materials: 3M 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper, 3M 800 grit wet/dry sandpaper, 3M 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper, 3M 1500 wet/dry sandpaper, 3M 2000 wet/dry sandpaper, any quick detailer, degreaser (diluted), IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol), rubber sanding block, masking tape, trash bags, PC 7424 (or equivalent), polishes (I used the XMT line by Pinnacle), Sealant, wax, generic clear coat from Autozone.

Elapsed time (including clearcoat drying and re-wetsanding): 3.5 hours

Before:



1. Before doing anything, let ALL sand paper soak overnight. My mixture was 1/3 cup 1:1 Simple Green, 1/3 cup Meguire's Quick Detailer, 1/3 cup Dawn Dish soap, 1/3 cup IPA, and filled the rest up with water.

2. Remove your headlights by pulling the 2 metal pins out and unplugging the lights.
3. Clean you headlights off with diluted degreaser OR IPA.

4. Tape off the electrical sockets. (No need to tape everything off yet)

5. Take the 400 grit sandpaper and stretch it over the rubber block. Make sure it is tight.
6. Now, spray the headlight with the quick detailer and begin sanding with the 400 grit. It should look roughly like this after the 400 grit. (pictured on right)

7. Wipe residue with IPA soaked microfiber cloth.
8. Again, spray headlight with quick detailer and begin sanding with the 800 grit now. Should like this afterwards.

9.Again clean with IPA and prepare the next sand paper.
10. Spray with quick detailer and being sanding with the 1000 grit. It should look like this afterwards.

11. Wipe with IPA.
12. Begin sanding with the 1500 grit. Should look like this afterwards.

13. Wipe with IPA.
14. Sand with 2000 now. It should look like this.

15. Wipe with IPA.
16. Prepare your buffer and use a wool pad ot cutting pad with a true compound if possible. I used Pinnacle XMT Compound #4.

17. It should look like this after the buff. Remember, it will be hazy. It's what compounds do.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
18. Follow up with another less aggressive polish. I used Pinnacle XMT Intermediate Swirl Remover #3.

19. It should look like this afterwards.

20. Follow that up with another least aggressive polish. I used Pinnacle XMT Ultra Fine Swirl Remover #1.
21. Should look like this afterwards. It should have a "brand new" look at this point.

22. Wipe headlight down with IPA.
23. Now, tape EVERYTHING off that you do not want cleacoat on. I used a trash bag, masking tape, and duct tape (to save on the masking tape)
24. Clear an area for the spraying of clearcoat. Try to use it in a controled environment with low humidity and roughly around 70F.
25. Spray nice even coats, the first being light and the second being more heavy.
26.

27. Use the 2000 grit and re-wetsand after the clear coat has dried for 1 hour solid.
28. Re-polish in the following manner: Compound, #3, #1.
29. Pull out your sealant and apply that.
30. Let sit for about 30 minutes. Now apply your layer of wax.
31. Final product. Video is uploading at the moment. Will be up shortly.

After:

 

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awesome!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Here's the video. It shows how fast you should go with the strokes. ONLY go horizontally and vertically.
[ame=http://s273.photobucket.com/albums/jj222/zinc02gt/?action=view&current=SDC11054.flv]
[/ame]

All together I dunno. I haven't added it up.

Clear coat was like $5.99
5 different sandpapers were like $14 at WalMart
Rubber block was free. Already had one.
I had all the chemicals and all the detailing products.

The buffer was $119, polish #4 was 9.99, polish #3 was 15.99, polish #1 was 15.99, buffing pads are $7.99 each, sealant was like $16.99, wax was $19.99, tape was like $4.

I dunno. I had most of the stuff alread, so to me it was only like $20 and sometime out of my day. The headlights are MUCH brighter. I jsut went on a drive and it's a very noticeable difference.
 

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ps i mailed mine out to you yesterday please clean them up and make them look like new like yours and return them to me lol jk
 

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In all seriousness... you could prolly make some extra cash by offering to do headlights that people send you. I mean, some people would not feel able to do this and having someone that knows how would help.

Might want to think about it :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks guys! If you pay for the sandpaper, shipping, and a few extra bucks for the labor, I'll do it without an issue at all.

The sandpaper, is all together like $12-15.
 

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hey zinc, where did you get the foam pad for the PC? links would be nice! been looking for one lately.

i just bought some 4" pads as i'm working with 6.5" pads right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I buy all of my detailing gear at We Are Car Care -- Car Wax, Car Polish, Auto Detailing Supplies, Car Buffers & Car Accessories Store . I used 5.5" pads and they seemed to work perfect. My wool pad thoguh is a 6". I do NOT have the counter weight, sadly. SO I wrestle with is a little bit, but I can keep it under control.

OC 5.5" CCS Orange pad located here
CCS foam buffing pads,foam polishing pads,lake country foam pads,foam polisher pads,buffer pads,lake county pads,porter cable pads,pads for air sander
OC 5.5" CCS White pad located here
CCS foam buffing pads,foam polishing pads,lake country foam pads,foam polisher pads,buffer pads,lake county pads,porter cable pads,pads for air sander
 

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I got to thinking about it but want to clarify before I go out of my way to do something I don't have too, but will this same process work on the stock foglights?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yes, but it's a much quicker process. I can't see the fogs needing anything more aggressive than 1000 grit.
 

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hey zinc, let me ask you another question.

after finishing polishing, before clear coat, did you remove those hazy marks around the top of the headlight and the edges on the outside of the headlight near the turn signal? if not, did the clear coat cover that up? i noticed in your pic they look a little bit like mine do, but i haven't cleared and wondered if i needed to go back and re sand them to fix it.

this thread should be a sticky btw.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
hey zinc, let me ask you another question.

after finishing polishing, before clear coat, did you remove those hazy marks around the top of the headlight and the edges on the outside of the headlight near the turn signal? if not, did the clear coat cover that up? i noticed in your pic they look a little bit like mine do, but i haven't cleared and wondered if i needed to go back and re sand them to fix it.

this thread should be a sticky btw.
No, I did not. You can take that rubber fitting off if you want to, but make sure you have clear RTV to seal it back on after wards.

After the clear coat is applied (before buffing) it will look pretty orange peeled. For those of you who do not know what that is, it is when your paint, or in this case headlight, looks like that of an orange. Think about it.

The 2000 grit wetsand and the buffing remove every bit of the orange peel though.

I believe this is a sticky now man. :)
 
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