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Old 06-19-2011, 05:27 PM   #1
STiled_04
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Default Restoring Peanut Headlight lens (the cost effective way!)

I did a quick search and did not find a thread specifically dedicated to restoring the plastic on the peanut style headlights, so I thought i would post my first diy. If there is a thread about this already feel free to delete.
This is not a package that you buy, it is just a few simple items. Fix your light(s) the cost effective way , instead of paying a grip for the kits that do the same thing...or less .

What you need:
  1. 3M 1000 grit wet/dry sand paper
  2. 3M 2000 grit wet/dry sand paper
  3. 3M rubbing compound
  4. Meguires Plastic X
  5. 3M auto motive masking tape (green)
  6. terry cloth
  7. microfiber cloth
  8. water bottle
  9. liquid soap
Total cost...less than $30



NOTE: Bare in mind my lights don't look too bad from the start, simply because i did this about a year ago just forgot to take pics.

So you ask, why am i doing again? Does this process not hold up?
Well aside from me being a meticulous bastard, the only reason is because I want to remove some of the pitting that has built up from road debris (car sits low). The process does last a long time, and I did not add any clear coat after...simply polished.

Process
1. Mix about 1 fluid ounce of liquid soap with large water bottle. This helps keep the surface smooth when sanding. Always keep the surface wet!

2. Tape off light.



3. Sand light with 1000 grit for a more aggressive removal (if pits are large or fading is quite serious). I use left to

right movement with fingers facing top and bottom of headlight. This helps prevent uneven sanding. Don't press firmly! Be patient and use light moderate pressure.

4. Rinse light

5. Repeat step three with 2000 grit.

6. Remove tape, rinse and dry light. If sanded correctly, it will have a even faded appearance.





7. With terry cloth, apply generous amounts of the rubbing compound to the cloth. Rub into headlight with decent pressure in small circular motions. Try to treat headlight evenly.

8. Lastly apply small amounts of Plastic X to microfiber cloth and rub into light again in small circular motion.

9. Buff with dry side of microfiber cloth and whala your done.

Finished pics:





Here is the right side all done.

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Last edited by STiled_04; 06-19-2011 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 06-19-2011, 05:32 PM   #2
OUScooby
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Looks good. Are you going to put any kind of UV protector over them to stop them fading again? If so what do you plan on using? I've heard of people applying everything from 3M Clear Bra to UV deck finish , but I can never seem to find any info about how any of that holds up over the long term.
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Old 06-19-2011, 05:43 PM   #3
STiled_04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OUScooby View Post
Looks good. Are you going to put any kind of UV protector over them to stop them fading again? If so what do you plan on using? I've heard of people applying everything from 3M Clear Bra to UV deck finish , but I can never seem to find any info about how any of that holds up over the long term.
I live in the desert which sees more intense sun light than most states, and I have not used any clear protectant. Now not saying you couldn't, a clear vinyl covering might be a good option? It just a bit tricky getting them to lay snug over the undulating surface of the peanut lights.

I always give 'em a once over with Plastic X when detailing the car tho. Not sure that is necessary, just habit really.
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Old 06-20-2011, 01:06 AM   #4
zsunsun
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From the looks of the second picture, I think you could have tackled it with just compound as I can't see any fogging or scratchmarks.

But anyways, a job well done
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:25 AM   #5
STiled_04
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True there was no fogging, i mentioned that, but there were many pits and scratches. They were hard to pick up with the camera. I did try just compound but its just not abrasive enough.
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:31 AM   #6
STiled_04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OUScooby View Post
Looks good. Are you going to put any kind of UV protector over them to stop them fading again? If so what do you plan on using? I've heard of people applying everything from 3M Clear Bra to UV deck finish , but I can never seem to find any info about how any of that holds up over the long term.

Here is what i used for my fogs: Headlight Armor
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:39 AM   #7
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nice job. you lenses didn't look bad in the first place though.
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:31 PM   #8
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Doing mine tonight but with the meguiars rubbing compound.
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:56 PM   #9
WrxBogdan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bishop View Post
nice job. you lenses didn't look bad in the first place though.
yea, they looked new in the first place.
Why did you try restoring them?
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:26 PM   #10
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I have a lens that is just not clear. Iv taken care if all the puts and nicks in it. I use the 3m rotary packaged but it's still not super clear like that. I can still see swirly light scratches on it. I polished it for like 10 minutes and also used plastX. Still doesn't look anywhere close to my brand new headlight on the otherside. Any ideas?
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:36 AM   #11
STiled_04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WrxBogdan

yea, they looked new in the first place.
Why did you try restoring them?
Lol I know they were not bad at all to start, but there was a lot of pitting and scratches from road debris. You can't see in pics, my cam doesnt handle macro shots very well. Really wish I had pics of them when I restored them the first time. Anyway, the lenses were very rough to the touch...but now they are silky smooth lol, and hella clear
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:45 AM   #12
STiled_04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rymaggi
I have a lens that is just not clear. Iv taken care if all the puts and nicks in it. I use the 3m rotary packaged but it's still not super clear like that. I can still see swirly light scratches on it. I polished it for like 10 minutes and also used plastX. Still doesn't look anywhere close to my brand new headlight on the otherside. Any ideas?
You really need to be careful with drill attachments. They spin at high rates of speed and can cause heat spots, plus they may polish unevenly. I find you have much more control when doing it by hand. The same can be said about polishing paint, electric buffer vs clay bar.

Did you use the 3M rubbing compound before the plastic x? If you did and there are still many swirl marks, the compound is just no aggressive enough. I suggest you, ditch the rotary package and try this method. I have cleared, gti, 350z, and two sets of STi lights and it's yet to fail me.
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:22 AM   #13
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Okay well what should I exacty do I have P500, P800, and a 3000 foam pad that is supposed to he used with water at the end then the polish pad. Then I have the compound they gave me to put on the polish pad and plastX. What should I do with my hand
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:37 AM   #14
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way to much effort there. I got the exact same results as you did with scratch x and a foam polishing pad then finished off with a UV protector.

I dont see why you went to all that effort, your headlights didn't even look bad in the original picture. Mine were actually starting to get hazed over when I did this.
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Old 06-22-2011, 02:39 PM   #15
STiled_04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rymaggi
Okay well what should I exacty do I have P500, P800, and a 3000 foam pad that is supposed to he used with water at the end then the polish pad. Then I have the compound they gave me to put on the polish pad and plastX. What should I do with my hand
Lol, sorry funny question. Im not that familiar with the 3M kit, but if those numbers equate to grit types, 500 and 800 are way to aggressive. If you follow the steps above you should be fine. And use SOAPY water, provides a much better lubricated surface than water alone.

IMO, I would ditch the kit, and buy the stuff i mentioned, your only out about $30 and hour of your time.
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Old 06-22-2011, 02:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drifter2be
way to much effort there. I got the exact same results as you did with scratch x and a foam polishing pad then finished off with a UV protector.

I dont see why you went to all that effort, your headlights didn't even look bad in the original picture. Mine were actually starting to get hazed over when I did this.
To each their own and it really is not that much effort.
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Old 06-22-2011, 05:19 PM   #17
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Ive had venture shield on my lights and they still look clear as new. 4 years later.

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Old 06-22-2011, 10:11 PM   #18
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Im planing to use the Turtle one..will that work?
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Old 06-23-2011, 12:48 AM   #19
STiled_04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramsyst
Im planing to use the Turtle one..will that work?
Turtle one? Is that a kit or protectant?
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Old 06-23-2011, 02:30 AM   #20
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Wetsand down to 1000 grit or even 2000 if you want to-dont buff unless you want to. Mix clear gloss Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane 50/50 with mineral spirits and carefully apply with a foam brush or a clean rag and end up with:
Before

After

And a set of OEM bugeyes I retro'd-no before pics but they had some minor wear and tear:


The urethane has a UV protectant in it which should last quite a bit longer than just sanding, polishing and (frequent) waxing.
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Old 06-23-2011, 02:59 PM   #21
STiled_04
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Nice ^^ those look good.
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Old 06-23-2011, 04:25 PM   #22
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So should I spend like ten minutes hitting it with the wet 3000 foam pad then use the compound they gave me with the polish pad then pastX it ?
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Old 06-24-2011, 01:49 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rymaggi
So should I spend like ten minutes hitting it with the wet 3000 foam pad then use the compound they gave me with the polish pad then pastX it ?
You could try that, after all you already have the kit. What rubbing compound is included in the kit?
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Old 06-24-2011, 02:07 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STiled_04

You could try that, after all you already have the kit. What rubbing compound is included in the kit?
It doesn't really have a name I'm pretty sure it just says rubbing compound
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Old 06-24-2011, 02:19 AM   #25
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Well you have so try it out...if no improvement I would go with the 3M compound. You should post a pic of the lights. If the scratches are deep from the aggressive sanding before, you will need to start over. Compound will not be enough. Don't go lower than 1000 grit.
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