What am I doing wrong? Headlight polishing - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums



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  #1  
Old 09-07-2019, 06:54 PM
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cmybimmer cmybimmer is offline
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What am I doing wrong? Headlight polishing

Hello guys, need your help as to why my headlights are not shining like they're supposed to. I bought some euro headlights (540 clear headlights) from the junkyard not too long ago with the intention of sanding/polishing them and throwing them on my wagon as I love the look of the clear corners with darker color cars.

Anyway, i finally had the time to tackle this and I used the Mothers headlight restoration kit, followed every step and even thought i might of overkilled it (While paying attention not to oversand).. But it still looks crappy, hazy, and has those weird uneven spots.

Steps as follows (using a milwaukee m12 drill):

- Clean headlight of any dirt
- Place 800 grit sand disk on drill and spray liberal amount of water on headlight while drilling. Spray away any residue that piles up. Wipe headlight and feel for any rough spots
- Place 1500 grit sand disk on drill and do the same as previous step
- Place 3000 grit sand disk and DRY sand until even smoothness. Wipe clean with a dry microfiber.
- Apply Mothers headlight polish with buffer ball. After coating everything, go over with a clean dry microfiber.

Not very happy with the outcome at all, and not sure what to do to make it more clear.


Pictures are showing a comparison with the polished headlight, and the untouched headlight. They pictures doesn't make it look that bad, but it really is hazy and my current headlights are much clearer and even they could use a polish.

Any ideas?
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  #2  
Old 09-07-2019, 10:06 PM
Santaclaus4 Santaclaus4 is offline
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I did the exact same thing with the exact same kit only a few hours ago and got the same results. I wanted to see how good it would work so I gave it a try.
Using the drill motor is just about the worst way to restore the headlights.
I've done plenty of micro mesh of aircraft windows over the years and this kit is not the best.
The best results are using your hand with a soft (foam) block to support the sand paper and plenty of water.
You and I both need to start over with perhaps a 320 or 400 grit wet/dry sand paper.
Go only in straight directions, left to right or up and down only.
With each finer grade of sand paper, change the direction of polish. If you were going from left to right with 400 grit, then go up and down with 800 grit.
I promise it'll work much better even though it might sound scary.
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  #3  
Old 09-07-2019, 10:14 PM
Cirrusnine Cirrusnine is online now
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I've had good results with using Mother's Metal Polish on an orange foam pad with a rotary polisher. You need to hold the headlight firmly in between your legs, lens up, and be somewhat aggressive with the polishing - results are great, just be sure to place it on a thick blanket so you don't break the rear of the light assembly. complete the polishing with a good car wax.
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Old 09-08-2019, 01:05 AM
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Ive always used drills to polish

keep it wet, (*i dont know why the headlights are out thats going to make it harder)

keep it wet.. applied force, spin fast, dont over heat If you dry out youll leave swirl marks
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Old 09-08-2019, 05:32 AM
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I gave up and bought new housings...
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Old 09-08-2019, 05:42 AM
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Doug Huffman Doug Huffman is offline
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Headlight cover assemblies are polycarbonate plastic. Polycarbonate covers have a scratch and UV resistant coating.

Surprisingly, UV blockers and absorbers for plastics are the same families of chemicals as sunscreen for skin.

Polycarbonate itself scratches easily and yellows with UV exposure. The clouding is the failure of the hard protective coating. Abrading it smooth is abrading away the protective coating and exposing the soft base polycarbonate material.

Polishing headlight covers is a fools errand that only benefits the salesman. Polish headlight covers just before you sell and say nothing. For a keeper, replace the assembly.

Ahhh, about using power polishers; polycarbonate glass-transition temperature is about 150C, so the friction of power polishing more likely exceeds Tg than slow hand polishing. Glass transition temperature is the softening / embrittling temperature of a polymer.
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Last edited by Doug Huffman; 09-08-2019 at 05:57 AM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:28 AM
Santaclaus4 Santaclaus4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Huffman View Post
Headlight cover assemblies are polycarbonate plastic. Polycarbonate covers have a scratch and UV resistant coating.

Surprisingly, UV blockers and absorbers for plastics are the same families of chemicals as sunscreen for skin.

Polycarbonate itself scratches easily and yellows with UV exposure. The clouding is the failure of the hard protective coating. Abrading it smooth is abrading away the protective coating and exposing the soft base polycarbonate material.

Polishing headlight covers is a fools errand that only benefits the salesman. Polish headlight covers just before you sell and say nothing. For a keeper, replace the assembly.

Ahhh, about using power polishers; polycarbonate glass-transition temperature is about 150C, so the friction of power polishing more likely exceeds Tg than slow hand polishing. Glass transition temperature is the softening / embrittling temperature of a polymer.
I was unable to find a Vulcan to English dictionary but as near as I can tell, you are in agreement that rotary power tools on your headlight is a bad idea.
Also, at least in my case, any UV protectant was long gone before I sanded the surface smooth. I suspect the same for the OP.
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:04 AM
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bmw blue bmw blue is online now
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If you want good results from your headlight lens restoration project follow this procedure below, this is what I did. I also employed in conjunction with the procedure below the 3M restore kit with a Dewalt electric drill as I had some deep gouges on the drivers side lens and it was as bad as any lens cover I have seen. I alternated with the drill sanding and wet sanding by hand. My case was different and more difficult than the normal wet sanding by hand only, I had a 6-8 inch swipe/gouge in the cover that took some extra effort to eliminate.
The 3M pad and scotch brite gives good results in the wet sanding process. Having a Porter Cable 7424XP is a real plus as I have that as well for the final polishing.

https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=302677

Rubbing some PlasticX a couple times a year on the lenses keeps them fresh.
Laminex sheets afterwards would be the best way to go. Mine turned out great and they have held up for 6 years plus.
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Last edited by bmw blue; 09-08-2019 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 11:03 AM
jp5touring jp5touring is offline
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More sanding, that little kit isn't enough to do the job right. Might want to start with 600 and go everything again. A good bit of polish compound, then a wax,clear coat or Xpel to protect.
BMW Blue has a good link on whats needed
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Old 09-08-2019, 11:17 AM
primem primem is offline
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the detailer at my shop does it with a rotory polisher, foam or wool pad, polishing compound and then a wax to seal it. Its good for about a year. replacing the assembly is not an option for me....more than what the vehicle is worth.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:37 PM
[email protected] myles4gone@aol. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jp5touring View Post
More sanding, that little kit isn't enough to do the job right. Might want to start with 600 and go everything again. A good bit of polish compound, then a wax,clear coat or Xpel to protect.
BMW Blue has a good link on whats needed
Try a product called E2 Lens Re-new. Go to e2lensrenew.com, they have a YouTube video about how to use the product. I would suggest after you get the lens clear, spray it with Rustoleum 2X gloss clear. You can get it from Walmart. That way you won't have to redo this whole process
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:00 AM
Mr.Yuck Mr.Yuck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmybimmer View Post
Hello guys, need your help as to why my headlights are not shining like they're supposed to. I bought some euro headlights (540 clear headlights) from the junkyard not too long ago with the intention of sanding/polishing them and throwing them on my wagon as I love the look of the clear corners with darker color cars.

Anyway, i finally had the time to tackle this and I used the Mothers headlight restoration kit, followed every step and even thought i might of overkilled it (While paying attention not to oversand).. But it still looks crappy, hazy, and has those weird uneven spots.

Steps as follows (using a milwaukee m12 drill):

- Clean headlight of any dirt
- Place 800 grit sand disk on drill and spray liberal amount of water on headlight while drilling. Spray away any residue that piles up. Wipe headlight and feel for any rough spots
- Place 1500 grit sand disk on drill and do the same as previous step
- Place 3000 grit sand disk and DRY sand until even smoothness. Wipe clean with a dry microfiber.
- Apply Mothers headlight polish with buffer ball. After coating everything, go over with a clean dry microfiber.

Not very happy with the outcome at all, and not sure what to do to make it more clear.


Pictures are showing a comparison with the polished headlight, and the untouched headlight. They pictures doesn't make it look that bad, but it really is hazy and my current headlights are much clearer and even they could use a polish.

Any ideas?
snake oil, NONE of those products works for anything. They tend to clean up for a few weeks, then they looks worse. Just bite the bullet and by an aftermarket set on ebay.
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  #13  
Old 09-09-2019, 10:33 AM
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cmybimmer cmybimmer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santaclaus4 View Post
I did the exact same thing with the exact same kit only a few hours ago and got the same results. I wanted to see how good it would work so I gave it a try.
Using the drill motor is just about the worst way to restore the headlights.
I've done plenty of micro mesh of aircraft windows over the years and this kit is not the best.
The best results are using your hand with a soft (foam) block to support the sand paper and plenty of water.
You and I both need to start over with perhaps a 320 or 400 grit wet/dry sand paper.
Go only in straight directions, left to right or up and down only.
With each finer grade of sand paper, change the direction of polish. If you were going from left to right with 400 grit, then go up and down with 800 grit.
I promise it'll work much better even though it might sound scary.
Yeah I was trying to avoid the whole hand sanding process as its not the bizness. But might have to suck it up and do it by hand. Sighh
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirrusnine View Post
I've had good results with using Mother's Metal Polish on an orange foam pad with a rotary polisher. You need to hold the headlight firmly in between your legs, lens up, and be somewhat aggressive with the polishing - results are great, just be sure to place it on a thick blanket so you don't break the rear of the light assembly. complete the polishing with a good car wax.
I think I'll also try another polishing compound, that might do the trick as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burning2nd View Post
keep it wet, (*i dont know why the headlights are out thats going to make it harder)
I still have my stocks on my car. I didn't want to take off my current ones just to polish. And I'm glad I didn't because my stock headlights look better than what these turned out to be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw blue View Post
If you want good results from your headlight lens restoration project follow this procedure below, this is what I did. I also employed in conjunction with the procedure below the 3M restore kit with a Dewalt electric drill as I had some deep gouges on the drivers side lens and it was as bad as any lens cover I have seen. I alternated with the drill sanding and wet sanding by hand. My case was different and more difficult than the normal wet sanding by hand only, I had a 6-8 inch swipe/gouge in the cover that took some extra effort to eliminate.
The 3M pad and scotch brite gives good results in the wet sanding process. Having a Porter Cable 7424XP is a real plus as I have that as well for the final polishing.

https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=302677

Rubbing some PlasticX a couple times a year on the lenses keeps them fresh.
Laminex sheets afterwards would be the best way to go. Mine turned out great and they have held up for 6 years plus.
I'll look through that thread, thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by jp5touring View Post
More sanding, that little kit isn't enough to do the job right. Might want to start with 600 and go everything again. A good bit of polish compound, then a wax,clear coat or Xpel to protect.
BMW Blue has a good link on whats needed
Yeah I was thinking to myself that 800 was too smooth of a grit for the amount of scratches and pits in these headlights. Might bring it down to 500.
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Try a product called E2 Lens Re-new. Go to e2lensrenew.com, they have a YouTube video about how to use the product. I would suggest after you get the lens clear, spray it with Rustoleum 2X gloss clear. You can get it from Walmart. That way you won't have to redo this whole process
Will check it out, thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Yuck View Post
snake oil, NONE of those products works for anything. They tend to clean up for a few weeks, then they looks worse. Just bite the bullet and by an aftermarket set on ebay.
Again, I already have a clean set of headlights on my car right now. It's not hazy, could just use a small polish. I just wanted to revive these since I got them for cheap. Not looking too cheap anymore since I just keep buying polishing kits/materials
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  #14  
Old 09-10-2019, 04:13 PM
Glaird Glaird is offline
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If I were going to save these, or any pre-polished (abused) plastic headlamps, use Plexiglas Cleaner. I use to be able to find it in auto stores. It quite literally dissolves the top layer of plastic right off the cover. Then buff clear with terry cloth, just like car wax. If the lenses have been badly 'polished' (meaning scratched over or hazed over) use the cleaner a second time to take another layer off.
Then seal with car wax, or better yet, polymer sealer. Wax the headlights every time you wax the car from then out.

I have used this technique on multiple cars. One application was enough each time. Waxing preserved the almost factory clear finish for the life of the car. BTW, it also works on plastic convertible windows. Beware the window will be dangerously thin and not stand up to impacts from stones or other objects.
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Old 09-10-2019, 04:35 PM
m4dd4d m4dd4d is offline
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Headlight Cleaning issues

Hi there.

I've had issues cleaning up the lights on my y2000 540i. The first time was a big let down as I used clear coat to finish the job, and hadn't paid enough attention to the drying conditions and it shrank, leaving scales all over the finished product. So had to do the whole job again. It did, finally, come up great, and the lights almost look brand new.

Here's what I did (by the way, all of this is by hand, no sanding "blocks", no power tools - that lets a lot of people down, unless you have really pro kit - you know, super expensive stuff - don't bother. You can get awesome results by just putting the right amount of time into DIY).

I removed my headlights from the car - its much easier to do the job, and you don't have to worry about sediment being blasted through the engine bay afterwards when going for a drive. Its a few bolts and electrical connectors, so no big deal.

Sanding - always wet sand. Use a spray bottle all the time, keep everything wet constantly, including spraying away any debris generated by the sanding.

400 Grit Wet sand - be a tad vicious.
600 Grit Wet sand - until both your arms fall off
1200 Grit Wet sand - ditto
2000 Grit Wet sand - and again. If just one arm hurts, you're not done :-P

Never dry-sand headlights!

That should take a few hours, with a coffee break or two. Don't be lazy, get into all the corners nicely - take your time.

Then in perfect painting conditions (mainly stable temperature for a few hours - if you have to wait for the right day - do it) apply a light clear coat. allow 24 hours to completely dry (more, if paranoid). Then lightly polish/wax - and done!.

This is a genuine experience, and it worked very well.
HTH

m4.

Last edited by m4dd4d; 09-10-2019 at 04:58 PM. Reason: Additional information
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Old 09-10-2019, 04:51 PM
keve34 keve34 is offline
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Headlight cleaning issues

I have used the Mothers kit with great results on a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a Volvo XC90 but I had to sand each with heavier grit first - those lenses had some really rough areas. I wet-sanded by hand (with 600 as I recall) first until all the rough areas were smooth to the touch, then wet-sanded by hand with each of the finer grades, including wet hand sanding with the 3000 to finish (I used the round hand-sanding block included in the kit). I did all of this on-the-car so I could apply good, even pressure while sanding. At each step I sanded, dried and felt the results to make sure all was evenly smooth, and repeated if necessary. Then used the buffer wheel and plastic polish in the kit. Close to like-new results, quite good compared with the original rough, foggy yellow! They have held up well for 2 years plus.

Other responders have apparently had good luck with other techniques; good luck either way!
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  #17  
Old 09-10-2019, 05:02 PM
mustkill mustkill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmybimmer View Post
Hello guys, need your help as to why my headlights are not shining like they're supposed to. I bought some euro headlights (540 clear headlights) from the junkyard not too long ago with the intention of sanding/polishing them and throwing them on my wagon as I love the look of the clear corners with darker color cars.

Anyway, i finally had the time to tackle this and I used the Mothers headlight restoration kit, followed every step and even thought i might of overkilled it (While paying attention not to oversand).. But it still looks crappy, hazy, and has those weird uneven spots.

Steps as follows (using a milwaukee m12 drill):

- Clean headlight of any dirt
- Place 800 grit sand disk on drill and spray liberal amount of water on headlight while drilling. Spray away any residue that piles up. Wipe headlight and feel for any rough spots
- Place 1500 grit sand disk on drill and do the same as previous step
- Place 3000 grit sand disk and DRY sand until even smoothness. Wipe clean with a dry microfiber.
- Apply Mothers headlight polish with buffer ball. After coating everything, go over with a clean dry microfiber.

Not very happy with the outcome at all, and not sure what to do to make it more clear.


Pictures are showing a comparison with the polished headlight, and the untouched headlight. They pictures doesn't make it look that bad, but it really is hazy and my current headlights are much clearer and even they could use a polish.

Any ideas?
Few mistakes:
1. Use kit - they good to use for "make it somehow and sell"
2. Use drill - you can't control it from oversanding.
3. Use DRY sand - make deep scratches.

Now, use 600 or 800 and WET sanding by HAND, get rid of all junk you applied to headlights. Make sure there is no bumps and humps. Then 1000 wet sand, then would bee good around 1500 wet sand.
Then buff, DO NOT USE WOOL, only foam-rubber. Once headlight is clear, apply PPF (paint protection film)-since UV protection removed you have to have to replace it by something, most available kits offering thick clearcoat, which is not good if you looking for long lasting solution.
GL.
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  #18  
Old 09-10-2019, 05:11 PM
cmybimmer's Avatar
cmybimmer cmybimmer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glaird View Post
If I were going to save these, or any pre-polished (abused) plastic headlamps, use Plexiglas Cleaner. I use to be able to find it in auto stores. It quite literally dissolves the top layer of plastic right off the cover. Then buff clear with terry cloth, just like car wax. If the lenses have been badly 'polished' (meaning scratched over or hazed over) use the cleaner a second time to take another layer off.
Then seal with car wax, or better yet, polymer sealer. Wax the headlights every time you wax the car from then out.

I have used this technique on multiple cars. One application was enough each time. Waxing preserved the almost factory clear finish for the life of the car. BTW, it also works on plastic convertible windows. Beware the window will be dangerously thin and not stand up to impacts from stones or other objects.
Thanks, will keep this in mind.. Maybe as a last minute solution
Quote:
Originally Posted by m4dd4d View Post
Hi there.

I've had issues cleaning up the lights on my y2000 540i. The first time was a big let down as I used clear coat to finish the job, and hadn't paid enough attention to the drying conditions and it shrank, leaving scales all over the finished product. So had to do the whole job again. It did, finally, come up great, and the lights almost look brand new.

Here's what I did (by the way, all of this is by hand, no sanding "blocks", no power tools - that lets a lot of people down, unless you have really pro kit - you know, super expensive stuff - don't bother. You can get awesome results by just putting the right amount of time into DIY).

I removed my headlights from the car - its much easier to do the job, and you don't have to worry about sediment being blasted through the engine bay afterwards when going for a drive. Its a few bolts and electrical connectors, so no big deal.

Sanding - always wet sand. Use a spray bottle all the time, keep everything wet constantly, including spraying away any debris generated by the sanding.

400 Grit Wet sand - be a tad vicious.
600 Grit Wet sand - until both your arms fall off
1200 Grit Wet sand - ditto
2000 Grit Wet sand - and again. If just one arm hurts, you're not done :-P

Never dry-sand headlights!

That should take a few hours, with a coffee break or two. Don't be lazy, get into all the corners nicely - take your time.

Then in perfect painting conditions (mainly stable temperature for a few hours - if you have to wait for the right day - do it) apply a light clear coat. allow 24 hours to completely dry (more, if paranoid). Then lightly polish/wax - and done!.

This is a genuine experience, and it worked very well.
HTH

m4.
Quote:
Originally Posted by keve34 View Post
I have used the Mothers kit with great results on a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a Volvo XC90 but I had to sand each with heavier grit first - those lenses had some really rough areas. I wet-sanded by hand (with 600 as I recall) first until all the rough areas were smooth to the touch, then wet-sanded by hand with each of the finer grades, including wet hand sanding with the 3000 to finish (I used the round hand-sanding block included in the kit). I did all of this on-the-car so I could apply good, even pressure while sanding. At each step I sanded, dried and felt the results to make sure all was evenly smooth, and repeated if necessary. Then used the buffer wheel and plastic polish in the kit. Close to like-new results, quite good compared with the original rough, foggy yellow! They have held up well for 2 years plus.

Other responders have apparently had good luck with other techniques; good luck either way!
Sounds like Sanding by hand is the solution here. I was really trying to be as lazy as possible with the best results, but it sounds like that is not possible.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mustkill View Post
Few mistakes:
1. Use kit - they good to use for "make it somehow and sell"
2. Use drill - you can't control it from oversanding.
3. Use DRY sand - make deep scratches.

Now, use 600 or 800 and WET sanding by HAND, get rid of all junk you applied to headlights. Make sure there is no bumps and humps. Then 1000 wet sand, then would bee good around 1500 wet sand.
Then buff, DO NOT USE WOOL, only foam-rubber. Once headlight is clear, apply PPF (paint protection film)-since UV protection removed you have to have to replace it by something, most available kits offering thick clearcoat, which is not good if you looking for long lasting solution.
GL.
Yeah, I was thinking about PPF after getting it where I want it.


Thanks guys for all your input!
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1994 325is (2006-2010) -- 1989 325i M50 Swap (2011 - 2014) -- 2001 525iT (2018 -Current)
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  #19  
Old 09-10-2019, 05:22 PM
andyharbison andyharbison is offline
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Location: Richmond, Virginia
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
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Mein Auto: 2001 325Ci E46 Coupe
I've tried all these methods, and they all work to some degree. But the one I've stuck with is the Meguires, I've used it on 6 cars so far and it's awesome. The main reason is that it includes a UV spray to seal the lens again. And hand sanding ONLY!
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Meguiar-s...BoCVY8QAvD_BwE
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  #20  
Old 09-10-2019, 06:28 PM
54HUDSON 54HUDSON is offline
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Location: ST. LOUIS, MO
 
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Mein Auto: BMW 840 CI
I tried several different products for my e39 528 with unsatisfactory results. Sold the car for other reasons. Bought e31with different headlight issues. However, my 2009 Subaru Outback (never garaged) encountered the similar hazing problems. Tried a Mothers product, unsatisfactory results. Next I tried Griot's Headlight Restoration Kit, followed the instructions precisely, including the four hour sunlight cure and totally SATISFACTORY results. The headlight work nearly as new. Griots warrants (for whatever it worth) two years. I'm now into month two condition is as if I just finished. Griots includes sanding pads. The key to me is follow the instructions, no deviations.

Keeping Subaru, Selling e31, Buying M3
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  #21  
Old 09-10-2019, 06:34 PM
blackbimer blackbimer is offline
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Location: Denver
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Mein Auto: 528 I
Sorry to read that long work with no positive result or more issues. May I suggest Sam's Club where for $40 they will do it with 5 years warranty? I took my E83, 528I and 525XI there and I am very happy. Less than 90 minutes and peace in mind, gone driving away.
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  #22  
Old 09-10-2019, 06:38 PM
Laszlo70 Laszlo70 is offline
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Location: Greenville, SC
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 16
Mein Auto: 528iT
At the end don't forget to clear coat the headlight.

Use a very good quality clear coat. Once clear coat dried, go back to wet sand with 2000 and polish and buff it. The result is a headlight that will last 3-4 years minimum .

For the very best result though, buy the European glass lens headlight.
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  #23  
Old 09-10-2019, 09:53 PM
99528I 99528I is offline
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Location: colorado
 
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Mein Auto: 1999 528i
I found pulling the headlamps was much easier to do than leaving on the car .. I have a plastic trash can they sit on perfect .. I started with 1500 .. then 2000 .. the 3000 grit .. I wrap the paper around a sponge .. a much larger surface area then my fingers .. lots and lots of water .. have a bucket on hand .. you can get all the edges .. then used the Maguires polish with the cotton buffer not the ball . I like getting some heat going .. then add more polish .. mine are clear as new .. done every 3 years .. cheers ..!!
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  #24  
Old 09-10-2019, 09:56 PM
mustkill mustkill is offline
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Mein Auto:
Pretty much wet sanding by hand it is a only way. I tried to use "special" bricks for sanding, but it is good for flat HL only, I've tried pro tool for sanding - good, but only when HL is heavily eaten by bacteria, still needed to finish by hand stepping down till 1500-2000, depending on your buffing skills. During sanding wipe it and let it dry, and look, you will see where need to be more work.
Next step is buffing, pretty much any compound will work, "special for plastic" or not special for paint working same way. What grid and rpm to start with, depending on your buffing skills. I do on medium cut and 3.5-4k rpm with foam-rubber pad. Wool pad required high skills in buffing and might simply burn plastic and you would have to sand again.
Once it is looks perfect for you, time for protective layer(s).
If HL was heavily eaten by bacteria, there is no doubt - need a use multi layers of thick clear coat with sanding in a between layers. If it was just yellowish or faded, one way is apply PPF, and forget about that. Another way is few layers of good clearcoat with sanding between layers and sanding and buffing last layer.
Which way to use, is up to you.
Anyway, good luck!
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  #25  
Old 09-11-2019, 07:34 AM
rdl rdl is offline
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Location: Ontario, Canada
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,103
Mein Auto: 530i 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmybimmer View Post
Hello guys, need your help as to why my headlights are not shining like they're supposed to. ...

Any ideas?
It's difficult for me to tell from the pictures how deep the hazing is. It does though appear close to what I experienced when restoring my headlight lens. I think two more steps would get you to something you'll be happy with.

First, polish out the lenses with a plastic cleaner/polish. I've used 3M 39017 "Plastic Cleaner" and Maguire's PlastiX. I used a clean rag folded into a pad with dollops of the cleaner. Then polished with 2 or 3 fingertips with a circular motion. This made a noticeable improvement, but still left a very slight haze visible viewing at an oblique angle with side lighting.

Final step - apply a protective film. This gives three benefits. The adhesive on the film fills the nano-scratches making the haze. It made my lenses crystal clear, eliminated even that last very slight haze. Second, the film will (or should) include UV protection. Without UV blocker the lens plastic will yellow in a few months, or weeks if you live in southern areas with intense sun. Third, the film is more resistant to road dirt blasting than the base plastic or a UV protective clear coat paint.

I've used 3M and LaminX film. 3M worked a little better for me. I found LaminX to be just enough thicker that I had trouble getting it to lie flat on a couple of the complex curves and I would up with wrinkles I couldn't flatten. But that's a quibble, the wrinkles were tiny and both brands have survived well - still clear after several years.
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