Audi headlight reconditioning by wetsanding and Rotary (pics inside!! 56K warning)
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Thread: Audi headlight reconditioning by wetsanding and Rotary (pics inside!! 56K warning)

          
  1. #1
    topspin Detailer27's Avatar
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    Audi headlight reconditioning by wetsanding and Rotary (pics inside!! 56K warning)

    *Disclaimer: Headlight UV protection may be ruined as a result of sanding/wetsanding. Improper use of the materials involved can result in permanent damage to the headlight. Please use caution and attempt this process at your own risk.

    *Only use sanding/wetsanding as a last resort if there is no other option for the headlight. Always start out with the least aggressive method which would be polishing by hand or even by maching without wetsanding.
    *Best strategy is to get a junk headlight and pratice on that, then duplicate the process on your own headlight. I used my brother Focus lights as practice.

    Well, I've got another little write up. I reconditioned my headlight today and thought I'd share the process.

    Products used:
    3M wet/dry sandpaper,
    350 grit(dry)
    800 grit
    1200 grit
    1500 grit
    2500 grit
    CE Rotary polisher w/wool polishing pad
    Plast X
    5 gallon bucket
    spray bottle with water and 10% detail spray
    3M sponge pad
    Painters tape
    microfiber towels

    Process:
    Pics of the headlight before I started. Alot of rock chips, scratches, and alittle
    oxidation.






    I put sheets of 800, 1200, 1500, and 2500 and let them soak in warm water for thirty
    minutes.


    I used painters tape to mask off areas of the fender and bumper that touch the headlight.
    Definitely don't want to accidentally sratch the paint.


    Then I cleaned the headlight really well and wiped it dry with a microfiber towel.


    I wrapped 800 grit(dry) around the sponge pad and started sanding the headlight side to side
    in uniform strokes.



    800 grit wasn't cutting deep enough to get rid of the rock chips so I stepped up to 350
    grit(dry). The 350 worked well and took off a good amount of plastic to expose fresh plastic
    below. Saved alot of time, 800 would have taken too long.


    Next I used 800 dry, 800 wet, 1200 wet, 1500 wet, and 2500 wet. This is the healight after
    the last stage of 2500. All the wetsanding is done and the headlight is dry ready for
    polishing.


    Now time for polishing with Plast X.


    I then setup the rotary with a wool polishing pad and set the speed at 1200 for the first
    pass. I started polishing small sections at a time using moderate pressure


    Here's a picture just after one pass with the rotary. Already looking great after one pass.


    Then I did three more passes with the speed set to 1800.

    Here the finished headlight pictures. I was extremely happy with how it turned out. Looks
    like new.








    Thanks for looking. If you have any questions feel free to ask.
    Last edited by Detailer27; Jan 5th, 2008 at 12:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered Nappers Nappers's Avatar
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    Re: Audi headlight reconditioning by wetsanding and Rotary (pics inside!! 56K warning

    THAT is an awesome job. It's always good to go the extra mile to do the little things to make our cars shine. And....Meguiars for making great products for us to work with.

    Good Show
    Philippians 2:14 - Do all things without grumbling or questioning,

  3. #3
    aka: 23jam J. A. Michaels's Avatar
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    Re: Audi headlight reconditioning by wetsanding and Rotary (pics inside!! 56K warning

    Wow what a dramatic differance. The headlight looks better then new. Great write up and use of pics. Wayto go. That is some real good work there. Impressive.
    quality creates its own demand

  4. #4
    Registered Member msuperbauer's Avatar
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    Re: Audi headlight reconditioning by wetsanding and Rotary (pics inside!! 56K warning

    Nice work! It's the things like that that really separate "true" detailer's (I think) Lastly, Why is your buffer all wrapped in painters tape?

  5. #5
    aka 2hotford Tim Lingor's Avatar
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    Re: Audi headlight reconditioning by wetsanding and Rotary (pics inside!! 56K warning

    Looks great!

    One question, are you not concerned about the UV coating, that prevents yellowing, that you have now sanded off?

    We at MOL suggest that people use their own judgement when it comes to sanding their headlights as we do not recommend this action unless their is no other alternative. If the lights are in bad enough shape that warrants this action and the alternative is buying new ones at a huge expense, then this may be a good option as you have nothing to lose. But beware, many lights have a UV coating on them. Once removed, you may have to commit to a regiment of continual cleaning in order to prevent yellowing due to UV deterioration.

    Finally, please do not double post.

    Again, your lights look great and we appreciate your write-up. But we must also make sure that people understand the risks involved.

    Thanks
    Tim

  6. #6
    Registered Member yalerd's Avatar
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    Re: Audi headlight reconditioning by wetsanding and Rotary (pics inside!! 56K warning

    Very nice job. Impressive

  7. #7
    Registered Member Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Audi headlight reconditioning by wetsanding and Rotary (pics inside!! 56K warning

    Quote Originally Posted by 2hotford View Post

    Again, your lights look great and we appreciate your write-up. But we must also make sure that people understand the risks involved.

    Thanks
    Tim
    Nice write-up.

    Just to add to what Tim wrote, because these threads have the potential to exist on this forum for years and even decades and this means hundreds of thousands of people will read it, we have to make sure that anyone reading this and then thinking about duplicating your results by following your how-to instructions needs to be aware of any risks involved and when it comes to sometimes very expensive headlights, "IF" the headlights being worked on do in fact have a protective coating on them, then wet-sanding will remove this coating.

    And while the polishing step will restore clarity, the question becomes how long will they remain clear without the coating? Perhaps just as long with it, no ones ever documented long term results through testing.

    That said, anyone reading this thread and contemplating following the procedures, please click the link below and read another headlight restoration how-to article and the disclaimers written by the author of the article and myself as the clearly, (no pun intended), lay out the risks and benefits.

    How To: PlastX Headlight Restoration (Step by w/ Pics)

    And here's what we posted which mirrors Tim's comments on this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Phillips View Post

    We would like to add one thing for all the hundreds of thousands of people that will read this into the future and that is this,

    Some headlights have coatings on them and when you sand or buff on the lens you will remove some or all of this coating. There is no way to replace this coating once you have removed it and without the coating it is possible that even if you restore clarity to the plastic underneath this coating, (the lens), the results may not last as long as you might hope or expect. The reason for this is because it could be the type of plastic they used under the coating isn't very resistant to UV rays and that was the purpose of the coating.

    If your headlight lenses are so cloudy or yellowed that the light coming out of them isn't bright enough for safe driving at night then you really don't have anything to lose but to try to fix them, just keep in mind that the fix may not be permanent and you may now have to maintain the plastic more often with a product like PlastX than you would have if the coating were not removed.

    Don't blame us as we don't make headlight lenses, blame the auto manufactures for this problem.

    Again, nice write-up with pictures and clear headlight lenses equals safe night driving.

    Mike Phillips
    Office: 800-869-3011 x206
    Mike.Phillips@Autogeek.net
    "Find something you like and use it often"

  8. #8
    SLV Auto Detailing cnfowler's Avatar
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    Re: Audi headlight reconditioning by wetsanding and Rotary (pics inside!! 56K warning

    Headlights look unbelievable. If you will, please keep us posted on how long they stay looking good. I've heard of some people doing this only to have them look just as bad or worse within a few weeks. Hope they stay looking beautiful for you. Great job!!
    A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

  9. #9
    topspin Detailer27's Avatar
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    Re: Audi headlight reconditioning by wetsanding and Rotary (pics inside!! 56K warning

    Thanks for the nice comments guys.

    2hotford and mike, thanks for looking out. The last thing I want is for someone to ruin there headlights by attempting this. I have added alittle disclaimer to the top of the original post.

    To answer the UV question. I have seen great results with other guys wetsanding their Audi headlights and they have lasted years without a problem. Plus I am putting "cut to fit" Lamin X sheets that protect from rock chips and have UV protection.

    Also thanks to whoever gave the rep power.
    Last edited by Detailer27; Jan 5th, 2008 at 12:02 PM.

  10. #10
    Carbon-Black-Detailing CarbonBlack's Avatar
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    Re: Audi headlight reconditioning by wetsanding and Rotary (pics inside!! 56K warning

    Quote Originally Posted by J. A. Michaels View Post
    Wow what a dramatic differance. The headlight looks better then new.
    I agree! before I knew of meguiars, I never thought there was any way to make paint/headlights/interior look better than new

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