What am I doing wrong? Headlight polishing - Page 2 - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums



Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #26  
Old 09-11-2019, 07:48 AM
Fifty150hs Fifty150hs is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Menlo Park, CA
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 700
Mein Auto: SF Bay Area
I went the polishing route and after I had them buffed out, I sprayed them with this stuff: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

That was several years ago and they still look great. No fog. Nice and shiny.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #27  
Old 09-11-2019, 07:51 AM
mustkill mustkill is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 29
Mein Auto:
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdl View Post
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.
Seems you did it slightly more than several years ago, because seems you did not try 3M Scotchguard Pro, 3M is even way better than you say, very elastic, perfectly stretch, and huge improvement - it is self-healing, for cuts, small scuffs just need just apply some heat, usually from heat gun, and it is self-healed.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 09-11-2019, 08:43 AM
rdl rdl is online now
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Ontario, Canada
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,103
Mein Auto: 530i 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by mustkill View Post
Seems you did it slightly more than several years ago, because seems you did not try 3M Scotchguard Pro, 3M is even way better than you say, very elastic, perfectly stretch, and huge improvement - it is self-healing, for cuts, small scuffs just need just apply some heat, usually from heat gun, and it is self-healed.
Well, it depends on how many "several" is. In my case 7 years ago. The 3M film was still good up to 2 years ago when my reflectors failed and & I had to cut the lenses off for repair (later style headlights with permanently bonded lenses)

You do though make a good point. I used a pre-cut 3M film set & I don't know which particular 3M product it was, if it's still available or has been superseded. OTOH, I'd still rely on 3M. To the best of my knowledge it's one of the companies that hasn't cheapened it's products and debased the brand in the search for better profit margins. I would have bought 3M again, but couldn't find it conveniently when I needed it in somewhat of a hurry.

The LaminX that has been on for 2 years is still in good condition. I've no complaints. And either is better than no protective film.
__________________
Regards
RDL
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #29  
Old 09-11-2019, 09:56 AM
mustkill mustkill is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 29
Mein Auto:
Quote:

Well, it depends on how many "several" is. In my case 7 year ago. The 3M film was still good up to 2 years ago when my reflectors failed and & I had to cut the lenses off for repair (later style headlights with permanently bonded lenses)

You do though make a good point. I used a pre-cut 3M film set & I don't know which particular 3M product it was, if it's still available or has been superseded. OTOH, I'd still rely on 3M. To the best of my knowledge it's one of the companies that hasn't cheapened it's products and debased the brand in the search for better profit margins. I would have bought 3M again, but couldn't find it conveniently when I needed it in somewhat of a hurry.

The LaminX that has been on for 2 years is still in good condition. I've no complaints. And either is better than no protective film.
You right, 3M all the time improves their products. Nowdays it is hard to find patterns for older cars to cut, so buying pre-cut for older cars is a challenge. But you can buy a piece, apply a piece to HL, and cut by hand leftovers.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 09-11-2019, 10:48 AM
makarowski makarowski is offline
Registered User
Location: Carlsbad, CA
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: E93
I just fixed my daughter's hazy headlights with the Sylvania kit I picked up on amazon ... what really made the headlight shine (I followed the instructions with wet/hand sanding/etc) was the final step of putting on a nice even coat of their UV Clear coat (mineral based, not water). I was surprised how nice they came out...two thumbs up for that kit. Its only been 6 months, but still look crystal clear.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00429NKWK
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 09-11-2019, 11:59 AM
jack casey jack casey is offline
Registered User
Location: nanuet, ny
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 12
Mein Auto: 2003 x5
What am I doing wrong? Headlight polishing

This is easy, you may thank me later. I worked the following process on my '03 X5, an '07 Lexus es350 and an '09 Honda Pilot.
Do NOT use a polishing pad on a drill....you will heat-up the plastic lens and ruin it. You MUST USE an orbital sander/polisher with a polishing pad (not a waxing pad). You needn't use my Festool, which is pricy, any name-brand with adjustable speeds, will do. Operate at the lowest speed, mine is 2000 rpm.

A good auto supply will stock Transtar Tri-Cut II, about $28 per quart. My bottle is 12-15 years old. Body shops use to smooth out a paint job, it also removes swirls you see on black cars when owners use a polish rather than wax.

Tape off surrounding parts as there can be some splatter from the polishing pad. Dab some Tri-Cut on the pad, check for the lowest speed and begin polishing back and forth or up and down according to the headlite shape. Keep the pad moving and keep applying T-C and stop every minute or so to be sure the pad is not heating up...warm is OK. You can spend 30 minutes or so on each lite. You'll see improving results as you keep refreshing the T-C.

When done, apply a coat of wax to the lens and refresh the was often.

A caution: There is an element of danger with fogged headlites....the Honda was so bad that my grandsons were not seeing far enough down the road. They do now.
Jack
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 09-12-2019, 11:33 AM
jack casey jack casey is offline
Registered User
Location: nanuet, ny
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 12
Mein Auto: 2003 x5
What am I doing wrong? Headlight polishing

With all respect, NEVER, EVER use a drill with polishing pad on the headlights. The pad will heat up and will burn the protective coating on the lenses. I'll describe a process used on three cars - '03 BMW X5, '07 Lexus es350 and an '09 Honda Pilot. The Bimmer and Lexus were garaged, the Honda always outside and in worse condition.

You need to use an orbital polisher/sander like my Festool, with adjustable speeds. I use the pricy Festool for finish woodworking, anything from Dewalt, etal will do just fine. Set for the lowest rpm, about 2000 or lower. Buy a bottle of Transtar Tri-Cut II at a good auto supply dealer and use a polishing pad (not a waxing pad) on the orbital.

Put four dabs on the polisher pad and work left/right or up/down according to the shape of your lens. Stop periodically and feel the pad, warm is good, hot is not. Keep the lens wet with Tri-Cut and be prepared to spend 30 minutes each lens. Wipe everything dry every so often and see the spots needing more attention. When you're happy lay on a coat of wax and re-apply every couple months. Why? The car came with a coating on the lens...the coating went bad and you removed the bad...so,protect your labor with a wax coating.

The Honda lites were a safety issue, really fogged over. My grandsons were not seeing far enough down the road. Now they do.
Cheers, Jack
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 09-12-2019, 12:14 PM
Jason5driver's Avatar
Jason5driver Jason5driver is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Middle of a corn field
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 4,828
Mein Auto: E39 hamster w/ pin-wheel
Quote:
Originally Posted by jack casey View Post
With all respect, NEVER, EVER use a drill with polishing pad on the headlights. The pad will heat up and will burn the protective coating on the lenses. I'll describe a process used on three cars - '03 BMW X5, '07 Lexus es350 and an '09 Honda Pilot. The Bimmer and Lexus were garaged, the Honda always outside and in worse condition.

You need to use an orbital polisher/sander like my Festool, with adjustable speeds. I use the pricy Festool for finish woodworking, anything from Dewalt, etal will do just fine. Set for the lowest rpm, about 2000 or lower. Buy a bottle of Transtar Tri-Cut II at a good auto supply dealer and use a polishing pad (not a waxing pad) on the orbital.

Put four dabs on the polisher pad and work left/right or up/down according to the shape of your lens. Stop periodically and feel the pad, warm is good, hot is not. Keep the lens wet with Tri-Cut and be prepared to spend 30 minutes each lens. Wipe everything dry every so often and see the spots needing more attention. When you're happy lay on a coat of wax and re-apply every couple months. Why? The car came with a coating on the lens...the coating went bad and you removed the bad...so,protect your labor with a wax coating.

The Honda lites were a safety issue, really fogged over. My grandsons were not seeing far enough down the road. Now they do.
Cheers, Jack
What if the lenses are severely blasted and marked from road debris ?
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 09-13-2019, 09:01 AM
jack casey jack casey is offline
Registered User
Location: nanuet, ny
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 12
Mein Auto: 2003 x5
Headlight polishing

If by severely blasted you mean pitted by stone chips then it may be time for new lenses.
But if you mean severely clouded then use my method.
Good luck, Jack
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 09-13-2019, 10:08 AM
cmybimmer's Avatar
cmybimmer cmybimmer is online now
Registered Non-OP
Location: 'llejo Califo'nya
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 14,474
Mein Auto: 5wagon
I'll have to wait until I have a couple hours of free time one of these days till I can revisit the headlight polishing.. "Free time" is sparse mostly due to my demanding children, but once I get back to these I will update you all!

Thanks for your input!
__________________
-Usama
1994 325is (2006-2010) -- 1989 325i M50 Swap (2011 - 2014) -- 2001 525iT (2018 -Current)
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 09-13-2019, 06:47 PM
Nfs021's Avatar
Nfs021 Nfs021 is offline
What Speed Limit?
Location: Portland, OR
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 1,312
Mein Auto: 2002 540i R.I.P :'(
Quote:
Originally Posted by makarowski View Post
I just fixed my daughter's hazy headlights with the Sylvania kit I picked up on amazon ... what really made the headlight shine (I followed the instructions with wet/hand sanding/etc) was the final step of putting on a nice even coat of their UV Clear coat (mineral based, not water). I was surprised how nice they came out...two thumbs up for that kit. Its only been 6 months, but still look crystal clear.



https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00429NKWK
+1 On the Sylvania kit as well. Used it on my moms 2006 Elantra lights and they look brand new! Well worth the effort.Click image for larger version

Name:	20190814_211438.jpg
Views:	9
Size:	53.7 KB
ID:	864593Click image for larger version

Name:	20190814_230019.jpg
Views:	8
Size:	62.6 KB
ID:	864595

Sent from Uranus with Love
Reply With Quote
Reply

See More Related BMW Stories


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:53 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
© 2001- VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.