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Headlight restoration - review - ADS #2 kit

Headlight restoration - review - ADS #2 kit

 
  #1  
Old 04-04-2008, 12:07 PM
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Headlight restoration - review - ADS #2 kit

I know there have been other threads on this topic, but I'm getting ready to try it and will make this a complete review.

Background: My stepdaughter has a 99 Dodge Caravan with some really nasty headlights. Last year, I tried one of the cheap O'Reilly kits with very poor results. I was over at the quick lube joint last week getting my oil changed and shooting the breeze with the owner. He told me they were experimenting with headlight restoration. The kit they use involves progressive wetsanding, then clearcoating the covers. He showed me a Dodge truck they were working on, and I was not impressed. My stepdaughter had her van in the body shop last week for some body work and they quoted her 50 bucks a headlight, apparently they use the same process as the guys at the quick lube joint. I decided to order the ADS kit and see what it could do.

I hope to do the job sometime this weekend or next week. The kit is in, links to pics of the kit contents below. I will not be posting the pics inline for 2 reasons - they are full 7mp resolution, and I don't feel like screwing with the half broken galleries here, links are to my personal website which does not allow hotlinking. More posts and pics to follow as the job progresses.

http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0080.JPG
http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0081.JPG
http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0082.JPG
http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0083.JPG
http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0084.JPG
http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0087.JPG
 
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Old 04-04-2008, 12:45 PM
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I noticed you Blacked out your address on the invoice picture but on this picture you can pretty much make out the address. You might want to delete it.
 

Last edited by ThumperMX113; 04-04-2008 at 02:24 PM.
  #3  
Old 04-04-2008, 01:35 PM
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Thank you, sir! Fixed.
 
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Old 04-04-2008, 02:25 PM
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No problem, just looking out. I'll be looking forward to your review of well or how well it doesn't work.
 
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Old 04-06-2008, 09:49 PM
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Okay, folks - I did the job today.

Before pics:

http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0093.JPG
http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0094.JPG
http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0095.JPG

I did them last year with that junk O'Reilly's kit - and they didn't look any better than that right afterwards except the passenger side didn't have moisture in it then.

Pics, after wetsanding:

http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0096.JPG
http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0097.JPG
http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0098.JPG

Pics, after #85 on a wool pad:

http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0099.JPG
http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0100.JPG
http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0101.JPG

Pics, after PlastX on a foam pad:

http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0102.JPG
http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0103.JPG
http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0104.JPG

Pics, with the lights on:

http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0105.JPG
http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0106.JPG

You can still see crazing and scratches with the lights on - I don't think there's anything that will fix those. Next step is to figure out a way to get that moisture out of the passenger side, suggestions welcomed. Yeah, I know, new lights is the best answer.

Overall, I am VERY impressed with these materials and this technique. Rick has a winner here. This job looks a lot better than the sand and clear job the local body shop charges $50 a light for.
 
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Old 04-06-2008, 09:58 PM
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Headlights look great! That kit sure does sound like a winner!

As for the condensation (these are from a Mustang parts site, but I don't see why it wouldn't work):
http://www.americanmuscle.com/headli...on-remedy.html
http://www.americanmuscle.com/mustan...ing-video.html
 
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Old 04-06-2008, 10:10 PM
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Great work!
 
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Old 04-06-2008, 10:19 PM
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wow.... they look 100 times better!


my dad's 01 dodge intrepid has headlights that are almost as bad. fortunately for him there is no moisture in them... they're just faded and yellowed like the van's headlights.

i'm going to have to show him these pics... i may be doing this process soon since it looks like it worked out well.

nice job!
 
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Old 04-06-2008, 10:26 PM
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great looking job. I did the same exact thing this weekend on my gf's headlights.
 
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Old 04-06-2008, 10:37 PM
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A few tips - the sandpaper does the heavy work. Don't spare the elbow grease here, keep wetting and sanding till they feel perfectly smooth, and be sure to use the block. After sanding, washing, and drying, they should be uniformly cloudy. Work the #85 till it is almost completely dry, wipe off, and repeat till you don't see any cloudiness any more. The PlastX is like a LSP - if it's not shiny before you use it, it won't do much correction.

By the way, I used a 18 volt Milwaukee drill on slow speed.
 

Last edited by glc; 04-06-2008 at 10:39 PM.
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:29 AM
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Actually, I have always found PlastX to be fairly effective in cloudy-lense cleanup. Of course, when they're in that kind of shape, you have to resort to a more aggressive cleaning action (2000 grit/#85 Diamond Cut).

When I worked on that silver Mustang, the #84 that I used got it to the point that it was 'close' but, not perfect. The PlastX really put the icing on the cake, removed the light 'cutting marks' that the wool pad had left behind and put on a killer finished look and removed those pesky wool cutting marks (kind of a miromar'd look). It does have diminishing abrasives as well as some 'protective' qualities (although, I prefer Plexus for protection on lenses).

PlastX definitely has some cut but, it's not a product to effectively deal with the level of plastic oxidation that you had on your lenses...

My point, it'll help on some but, when they're as far gone as what they were on the van (and on the Mustang that some have seen), one must resort to more 'aggressive' measures.

Again, great job!

-RP-
 
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Old 04-07-2008, 11:23 AM
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Roush, thanks for those links. If I'm going to go through the trouble to remove the assembly to dry it out like that, I might as well replace it - I checked Rock Auto, and a new one is just over $100 shipped. The van has other issues where $100 is more urgently needed though. It's 9 years old with 140k on the clock and fast becoming a beater. We put a reman tranny in it last fall but it needs a front passenger side power window motor and regulator, the interior is getting pretty bad from going through 4 kids, etc. I'm kinda looking for a way to try to dry it out without pulling it. I'm thinking maybe tie a dessicant bag to a string and stuffing it through the bulb hole and leaving it in for a day or something like that. If I had an air compressor I'd try to blow it out that way through the bulb hole. We tried a hair dryer yesterday, but we didn't have a good way to direct the hot air into the hole.
 
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Old 04-07-2008, 11:46 AM
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Those turned out great! Was the vehicle wrecked at one time? I noticed that the Dodge emblem is not in the middle of the hood.

http://bbscomp.com/george/100_0102.JPG
 
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:02 PM
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I noticed that too, and can't figure it out - I'll have to ask her if she knows why. They bought it brand new in 99 and the only body damage of any significance so far is on the driver's front fender and the driver's door, that happened last month and is not repaired. It did get a new engine several years back due to a hydrolock, that would be the only reason I can think of for a hood removal. I don't think the hood had to come off for the tranny rebuilds (yes, plural - the tranny in those things is a POS). It's never been in a body shop.
 
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Old 04-07-2008, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by glc
Roush, thanks for those links. If I'm going to go through the trouble to remove the assembly to dry it out like that, I might as well replace it - I checked Rock Auto, and a new one is just over $100 shipped. The van has other issues where $100 is more urgently needed though. It's 9 years old with 140k on the clock and fast becoming a beater. We put a reman tranny in it last fall but it needs a front passenger side power window motor and regulator, the interior is getting pretty bad from going through 4 kids, etc. I'm kinda looking for a way to try to dry it out without pulling it. I'm thinking maybe tie a dessicant bag to a string and stuffing it through the bulb hole and leaving it in for a day or something like that. If I had an air compressor I'd try to blow it out that way through the bulb hole. We tried a hair dryer yesterday, but we didn't have a good way to direct the hot air into the hole.
NP.
 

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