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E60 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series (E60 chassis) was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E60 is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 09-07-2013, 07:13 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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DIY Headlight restoration (Great results!)

Will post more details and a DIY later.. but here's the money shots!

Before:



After:




Last edited by schpenxel; 09-08-2013 at 07:43 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-07-2013, 08:00 PM
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mpower997 mpower997 is offline
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Looks great, I look forward to the DIY as my lenses are super tired.
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  #3  
Old 09-07-2013, 08:09 PM
boost7 boost7 is offline
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wow, what product did you use? amazing before and after
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  #4  
Old 09-07-2013, 11:47 PM
bimmerfan52 bimmerfan52 is offline
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Looks fantastic!

Anxious to hear your formula.
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  #5  
Old 09-08-2013, 03:04 AM
Mike Swing Mike Swing is offline
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Whoa!
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  #6  
Old 09-08-2013, 07:03 AM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boost7 View Post
wow, what product did you use? amazing before and after
No commercial kit was used.. Just sand paper and paint
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Originally Posted by bimmerfan52 View Post
Looks fantastic!

Anxious to hear your formula.
Thanks. It is pretty simple. Putting together a bunch of pictures for a DIY
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Whoa!
I'll take that as a compliment
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  #7  
Old 09-08-2013, 07:36 AM
skj69nyc skj69nyc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schpenxel View Post
No commercial kit was used.. Just sand paper and paint

Thanks. It is pretty simple. Putting together a bunch of pictures for a DIY

I'll take that as a compliment
Looks Great !!! Please list all material used. I need to keep this in my to do list.
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  #8  
Old 09-08-2013, 06:42 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Here we go..

First, you do not need one of those "kits". Go buy a pack of 200 grit, 600 grit and ~1000 grit sand paper. The last two should be wet/dry

Basically the idea is to sand off all the old clear coat and any scratches, and yellow plastic, then put a new coat of clear coat on them.

Start by taping up the car to protect it--keep an eye on the tape. I had to add more a few times as I was wearing through it



Here's sanding with 200 grit--see how nasty and yellow the dust is? That's why your headlight isn't clear!


Close up


Yes, they should look like this at this point. See how they're starting to turn white? That is good



Another angle


Close up--notice dust is turning white. That means you're through the yellow gunk


Some yellow and white dust


Close up--little scratches like this need to be gone before going to 600 grit. If you can really catch it with your fingernail, worse than the scratches the sand paper is leaving, then you haven't sanded enough most likely


Most of these are fine


Don't be scared!

Last edited by schpenxel; 09-08-2013 at 06:48 PM.
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  #9  
Old 09-08-2013, 06:49 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Once all the major gunk is gone, switch to 600 grit. Get a squirt bottle, put some dish washing soap + water in it. Use it to keep the head light and sandpaper wet. Keep cleaning the white gunk off the sand paper every little bit

Should look something like this:


Ew


Getting a little more clear..


Other side


Keeep sanding


Here it is after 1000 grit + it's wet


Here is after 1000 grit but dry.. this is enough sanding









That's enough sanding! Ignore the guides that say go to 1500, 2000, 3000, buffer, etc. etc. You don't need to do all that.

Last edited by schpenxel; 09-08-2013 at 06:52 PM.
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  #10  
Old 09-08-2013, 06:53 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Paint time! You need an automotive grade exterior clear coat (will have UV protection in it)

This is right before paint--mask off the back of the light, computers, etc. I hit this with 1200 grit one last time


Both


Here's what they really look like


About to be painted (actually this may be right after first coat, I can't tell in the picture)


One more, pretty sure this has paint on it (actually, the bottom section of plastic is still clear, so maybe it doesn't. Regardless, you get the idea)

Last edited by schpenxel; 09-08-2013 at 07:15 PM.
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  #11  
Old 09-08-2013, 06:57 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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This is right after clear coat was put on---looks really white, but will go clear once it starts to dry



Another angle


Starting to clear out a little


More


There we go


In the oven (you don't need this $100K oven, lol, but it will take a lot longer to dry without one)


In the oven, condensation is another issue and was there before this


Out of the oven--water is a little better



ta-da!


BAM

Last edited by schpenxel; 09-08-2013 at 07:01 PM.
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  #12  
Old 09-08-2013, 07:01 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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And finally, here they are!






Last edited by schpenxel; 09-08-2013 at 07:02 PM.
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  #13  
Old 09-08-2013, 07:09 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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And last bit of info--depending on how much dirt ends up in the clear coat, you may have to wet sand that with 2000 or 3000 grit until it's smooth, then buff out those spots. I had one spot that was pretty bad that I did that to today, but that was from a mess up. We took it them of the oven and somehow got one dirty before putting it back in, and the paint was still sticky enough for it to mess it up.

Overall, not that bad, and amazing results IMO
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  #14  
Old 09-08-2013, 07:40 PM
skj69nyc skj69nyc is offline
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GREAT JOB, I VOTE STICKY with 4 gold stars
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  #15  
Old 09-08-2013, 07:45 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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I vote for sticky as well
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  #16  
Old 09-09-2013, 11:48 PM
okii okii is offline
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Looks great. How is the clear coat applied? Brush, spray, foam brush?

Any particular brand of clear coat?
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  #17  
Old 09-10-2013, 08:17 AM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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HVLP paint gun was used to paint them. The paint used was an exterior clear coat that BMW uses but it's from a German manufacturer so it's not a name most people could get. I'd recommend going to a local auto paint store and getting any decent exterior clear coat. Sherwin Williams and PPG are probably the most common. Maybe DuPont as well

Hope that helps.
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  #18  
Old 09-30-2013, 03:05 PM
lib lib is offline
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Wow, amazing.. Awesome post!

I feel a bit silly now having lived since 2006 with white paint transfer that ended up on my headlight the scene day I had my car!

Edit: I misjudged the turning radius while parking.. The white paint was from the parking structure..
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Last edited by lib; 09-30-2013 at 03:07 PM. Reason: Explained
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  #19  
Old 09-30-2013, 03:09 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Thanks! That should be fixable for sure
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  #20  
Old 09-30-2013, 07:38 PM
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Great post with awesome looking results. I did mine (again) a couple months ago using the Sylvania kit with much better results than the first time with a cheapo kit.

A small tip that might save you some time and some tape - Rather than taping off the hood above the headlight, you might consider just popping the hood and lifting it up a little bit.
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  #21  
Old 10-01-2013, 05:31 AM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Thanks, yeah I realized that little waste of time about halfway through, lol

Gotta do them on the ol backup car next, 2004 accord. It should make a huge difference on it as they're pretty rough
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  #22  
Old 10-01-2013, 08:50 PM
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BickUW89 BickUW89 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schpenxel View Post
Thanks, yeah I realized that little waste of time about halfway through, lol

Gotta do them on the ol backup car next, 2004 accord. It should make a huge difference on it as they're pretty rough
Schpenxel , you've got a big 'ol pair of brass ones!! You've been taking on some big projects and getting great results. Consider me a fan.

My LCI 550i has ~75k miles on her, and I want/need her to last another 2.5 years or so. You seem to have the magic touch with these cars.

Great job, brother.
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Last edited by BickUW89; 10-01-2013 at 08:51 PM.
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  #23  
Old 10-01-2013, 08:53 PM
schpenxel schpenxel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BickUW89 View Post
Schoenberg, you've got a big 'ol pair of brass ones!! You've been taking on some big projects and getting great results. Consider me a fan.

My LCI 550i has ~75k miles on her, and I want/need her to last another 2.5 years or so. You seem to have the magic touch with these cars.

Great job, brother.
Thanks! I hope to have helped some people on here at least save some money if nothing else.. underneath a little bit of tech, the basics are the same as most other cars

The magic touch seems to have run out tonight though, found a cracked cylinder. Have a used long block on the way out of a 745i, so it looks like there will be a "how to R&R an engine" thread in a few weeks
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  #24  
Old 10-01-2013, 09:56 PM
bimmerfan52 bimmerfan52 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schpenxel View Post
Thanks! I hope to have helped some people on here at least save some money if nothing else.. underneath a little bit of tech, the basics are the same as most other cars

The magic touch seems to have run out tonight though, found a cracked cylinder. Have a used long block on the way out of a 745i, so it looks like there will be a "how to R&R an engine" thread in a few weeks
Sorry to see that man.
Looks like you will have to endure the the DD a little longer.

Do you think the crack was the result of attempting to clean the secondary air injection system or was it just coincidence?

At least you were lucky that you discovered it close to home and not on a long trip. Depending upon the severity of the crack and where the piston happens to stop on that cylinder, the pressurized cooling system can actually fill the cylinder with coolant, with hydrolock being the nasty surprise on the next start up.

Good luck with it man. I know you will do a quality job and provide plenty of photos and documentation for the rest of us to savor!
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  #25  
Old 10-01-2013, 10:06 PM
javablack javablack is offline
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looks great!!!
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