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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. :thumbup:
 

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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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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 ***8230; I like getting some heat going .. then add more polish .. mine are clear as new .. done every 3 years .. cheers ..!!
 

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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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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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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.
 

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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.
 

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Well, it depends on how many "several" is. <img src="http://s1.bimmerfest.com/forums/images/smilies/mile3453453.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smilie" class="inlineimg" /> 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.
 

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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
 

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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
 

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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
 

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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 ?
 

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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
 

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Discussion Starter #35
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!
 

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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. 20190814_211438.jpg 20190814_230019.jpg

Sent from Uranus with Love
 

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Well.. A small update lol

I decided to polish my wifes e39s headlights because it was impairing vision at night. This time i decided to sand by hand and then use the drill with the rubbing compound only.

I kinda started too course by starting with 250 grit, it made a couple scratches but nothing terrible. Turned out way better than expected!

Hand sanded (wet) with the following order: 250, 500, 1000, 1200, 3000 sanding disc, and then used the drill for the rubbing compound.

These headlights are now clearer than my wagons headlights! Im glad I finally got around to this!
 

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Looks great! But I'd still recommend you get them clear coated or add a clear film to them. Polishing can be excellent, but eventually it'll wear off and they'll have to be polished again later on.

Sent from Uranus with Love
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Yeah, I was thinking about film or even clear coating them.. But I figured polishing them over again won't be the end of the world, especially with the power tools. It makes the process quicker and easier.
 

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I'll add fuel to the fire, only because I've refinished MANY lights.

I used to use wet sanding (by hand) 600-800-1000-1500-2000-2500 (3M strips) alternating directions.

Guess I broke the rule, I used a drill w/ compound pad (Oriely's!) and hand finish polish (Mothers lens polish) . I haven't experience the pad getting too hot, usually the compound tells you way before hand (M105)

This is the same as to ANY body work. Your final result is determined by your detail to prep.

Listen to me here.. You NEEEEED a clear bra, not a coating, not "I'll wax it every week", you. need. a. clear bra! The UV coating is removed by sanding and no amount of waxing is gonna fix that (Even optilens). Clear bras will make your work last forever. (Auto grade clear coat also applicable, but the bra offers impact resistance)
 

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