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Old 02-27-2016, 11:27 PM   #1
EngelMacher
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Member#: 440135
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: California
Vehicle:
2015 WRX
Dark Grey Metallic

Default 2015+ STI/Limited painted headlight damage repair [melted from the sun]

So I have a 2015 Limited WRX and decided to install some Morimoto switchback C-lights into them.

While I had them open, I decided to black out the little bit of chrome left in them, as well as some other mods.

After about a week or so, I notice a little spot near the projector lens where the paint started to bubble.

The damage was in the same spot, but just mirrored on the other headlight.



I initially thought it was my low beams getting too hot somehow and bubbling up the paint [I used Krylon Satin Black Plastic Fusion].

I turned on my low beams and inspected the light. Nope, couldn't find where any of the light was being focuses on the projector bezel.

I later found out that when the sun hits them from about a 45 degree angle, the sun light passes through the projector lens and the lens acts as a rather strong magnifying glass, focusing the light into a tiny dot, about 6mm across in diameter and actually melts the paint AND the plastic underneath it.

I have decided to put an end to this permanently.

Close up of damage:


Closer up of damage:


I tried a few experiments to see what paint would do the trick.
I sprayed some of my original Krylon paint on one side of a scrap plastic tray I had. I also sprayed some Rustoleum 2,000 degree matte black engine paint on the other side and took a magnifying glass to each side. Both paint types had the plastic underneath melt in a matter of seconds.



The high temp paint alone wasn't going to cut it. Even though the paint hold up to a high temp, the paint doesn't insulate the heat, and the plastic under it still melts, deforms and pulls the paint apart.

So, I sprayed some of the high temp paint on a scrap piece of aluminum and rigged up my magnifying glass to focus the sun directly on it for about 20-30 minutes straight. No damage!

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Old 02-27-2016, 11:27 PM   #2
EngelMacher
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Member#: 440135
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: California
Vehicle:
2015 WRX
Dark Grey Metallic

Default

First I sanded down the damaged part where the plastic and paint started to bubble so it sat flush with the surrounding area.

I then took a sheet of printer paper and rolled it into a semi-circle and traced where the front edge of the bezel was.



Then I used that paper and taped it to a .02 thick sheet of aluminum and roughly cut it out.



Bent the cut piece of aluminum into a semi circle and test fit it into the bezel.



Looked good enough for me, so I mixed up some JB Weld and applied liberally. After the JB Weld cured, I sanded down the excess JB Weld to help blend the seems and sanded off the old paint as well.



Painted it all with high temp matte black paint and reassembled the headlight. Came out pretty good, in my opinion.

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Old 02-28-2016, 05:53 PM   #3
evotion
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Chapter/Region: SCIC
Location: Los Angeles
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CWP

Default

Very nice write up. Any concern of still melting the plastic underneath due to the intense spot of heat + the thinness of the aluminum?
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Old 02-28-2016, 11:52 PM   #4
EngelMacher
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Dark Grey Metallic

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Quote:
Originally Posted by evotion View Post
Very nice write up. Any concern of still melting the plastic underneath due to the intense spot of heat + the thinness of the aluminum?
I will find out for sure tomorrow/this week. My work just moved to a new building with zero shade in the parking lot and it's been pretty sunny.

But I don't think I will really have any issues with it. The aluminum should spread the heat out like a heatsink so it isn't concentrated on one spot. There is also a good layer of JB Weld between the aluminum sheet and the plastic.
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Old 07-11-2016, 02:04 PM   #5
notorious9i6
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good write up

-John Nguyen
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