V6 (1994-2004) Mustangs Technical discussions on the 3.8L and 3.9L V6 torque monsters

Headlight Help - Moisture and Haze Removal

Old 01-09-2007, 12:05 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 3,557
Default Headlight Help - Moisture and Haze Removal

This step by step tech article was provided by v6stang07.
Thank you Tyler!

Aftermarket/Stock headlight moisture emoval

Many aftermarket lights and some stock headlights have a problem with moisture build up due to heavy hummidity and direct water exposure.
If u have bought a new set of headlights and did not seal them before installing them on ur car I would suggest doint this, i u are planning on buying new lights, plz seal them before even thinking about installing them, u wont regret it.

If u are trying to repair some lights that already have moisture in them, remove all bulbs completely and set in a dry airy place, in the sun or over a fan then proceed to cleaning. make sure to replace the bulbs after they have dried out to avoid trash getting into the housing.
If ur lights arent new clean them well with a mild soap and water and finish up with rubbing alchohol.
After they are cleaned well, mask off the housing leaving about a 1/2" gap of visible contact directly over the seam where the two pieces of the housing are held together.
Use some outdoor silicone II in the tube to seal them.
Squeeze onto/into the seam and smooth with ur finger, u could use a tool but i just assume to use gods
If u get silicone on the lens on anywhere u dont want it wipe it off immediatly with the rubbing alchohol. use multiple clean rags to avoid leaving an unsightly residue
Seal the top, remove tape before it dries so u dont peal the silicone, after it is cured to touch, about 30-45 min depending on temp and humidity, repeat on the bottom of the housing.
Now a weird and strange tip for u, silicone dries in a humid climate. To minimize drying time, still will take about 12 hours, set the lights above a pan of water in a warm and humid area. I chose to set mine about 3" above a tuperware container filled with water and placed that on top of the hot water heater.
Another precaution to take is checking the blinker o-ring for a proper seal. Lots of times they will be loose on aftermarket lights, find some rubber stock, u can find this at most hobby shops and some home improvement stores and make a new ring to add to the existing one. stack them together to make a tight and secure seal.

Hazy Build-up on Outside of Lens

What you need: [ul][*]"Wet or Dry" sandpaper; 300, 650, 1200, and 2000grits. (most packs come with 4-6 sheets of sandpaper, which should be more than enough for both headlights.)
Cost - about $4 per pack.[*]Rubber sanding block. I picked up one from Home Depot (I'm sure any hardware store will have them) that has flaps with nails you use to clamp the sandpaper to the block with. Do not get a hard block, you need to be able to contour to the shape of the lense.
Cost - about $4[*]A sharp blade to cut the sandpaper into strips.[*]Mequires PlastX plastic cleaner and polisher.[/ul] [ul][*]If you don't already have one, a hand held buffer will cut down on polishing time heavily (you don't NEED one, but be ready to buff an inch and a half spot for at least 15 minutes). I'd recomend at least 6", and at maximum 10". You'll need polishing bonnets to go with the polisher; get the ones that look like a thin towel, not the thick wool looking ones. It's better to buy more bonnets than you think you'll need than to run out. It helps that they're relatively inexpensive.
Cost - Polisher, $20-$40 depending on where you go. I used a powerball and it worked very well, still nothing is really better than good ole elbow grease and a nice microfiber rag[*]Polishing cloth.[*]Water. Probibly your shop sink or garden hose will suffice, having acess to a constant stream of water makes a big difference in the end. I also recommend soaking the sandpaper while you're attaching it to the rubber block. [/ul]

Now that you have everything you need you want to do something like this:

1. Detach the headlight housing from the car, turn signal, and headlight bulb. This is very easy to do: [ul][*]Pop your hood.[*]Find the two pins that hold each headlight to the car, they're located behind the headlamp, pull straight up to remove them. You'll need these when you're done.[*]Pull the headlight straight forward (not to the side or another angle) away from the engine and it will jerk out, so don't be afraid to use a little force.[*]Behind the turn signal you'll see a wire that clips on both the top and bottom of the clip. Be very carefull with the ammount of force you put on the clips because they do break easily.[*]The headlight bulb has a sleeve that rotates to loosen and slides back. then pull the bulb away from the headlight housing with a little bit of force and it should pop out. Be careful not to break the bulb removing it, it's a pain getting all the shards of glass out of the housing. [/ul]
2. Clean the headlamps with some mild soap and warm water.

3. Cut the sandpaper to fit the sanding block. It's easiest to lay the sandpaper down like you're reading a letter, place the block at the top sideways, and cut. Completely submerge the block with the sandpaper attached in some warm water for about a minute and start sanding.

4. Sand the entire lamp where it is effected, you could do the entire lamp,which is what i suggestfor even distribution.While sanding, be liberal with the water. Sand the entire lamp untill you get a cloudy liquid over the affected area, then rense and repeat two or three times then change in a fresh strip of paper with the same grit. For the best results, do at least two passes with each grit using a new piece of sandpaper after every pass, working your way up gradually to the finer grits. Ex: 300, 300, 650, 650, 1200, 1200, 2000, 2000If your headlight looks worse that it was when you started, don't worry. It's going to look cloudy, but evenly cloudy if you did your job right. It will look horrible at this point literally but the plastx will take care of all ur worries.

5. Now comes the fun part, buffing. This is where it all comes together. I started by hand with a microfiber buffing sponge and it reall worked quite well. I used the plastX liberal and used it just like i was waxing my car. small tight circles and dont give up untill all the polish is rubbed in then buffing it off. work in about a 3" square at a time. working throughout the entire lamp. to finish it off go over the entire lamp with the plastx. Now u should have ur finished product, if there are any spots still that leave ?s just quickly resand that area lightly under a water hose with the 2000 grit paper and re-buff this area. if they look even the first time then ur buffing should come out fine.
6. After you finish buffing, take a clean polishing cloth and wipe off any excess scratch remover.

7. Reverse the order of step one. Make sure, when reattaching the headlight bulb to the housing, that you line up the notches before you push the bulb in.

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