E90Post
 


Horizon LED
 
BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Wash, Wax, Detailing and Cosmetic protection/repairs > Restoring my headlights



Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
      07-02-2012, 04:44 PM   #1
Surly73
Captain
Canada
10
Rep
724
Posts

 
Drives: 2007 E90 328i 6MT sport/prem
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Oakville, Ontario

iTrader: (0)

Restoring my headlights

My 2007 E90 has about 60k on it and was used by the PO as a daily driver including an Interstate-class commute, year round in the Toronto area. It's taken a bit of sandblasting in the front and the headlights were unprotected during this time (I don't understand why more people don't spend the <$100 on top notch protective film, but anyways...)

Plastic "polishes" will temporarily improve the appearance with glazes, but I'm looking for something more permanent. I have a PC ROB and yellow, white, grey pads available - probably adding orange and green to the collection too. I have a number of compounds with some new ones on the way. I also have jeweler's rouge and a wide selection of wet/dry sandpapers up to 2000 or 2500 grit.

They are pitted and blasted, but there's no fogging, yellowing or UV damage. I know that wet sanding would probably fix these up perfectly but I'm worried about removing UV protection as well. I plan on putting 3M film on these lights after I "fix" them and I don't want to wetsand off some protection and then have to peel the film and be forced to polish every 3 months because they start to fog or turn yellow. I'm not sure if that's a wive's tale, but I've seen some older Bimmers in my area (like e36s) which look amazingly cared for but have foggy headlights all the time - DIY gone wrong?

What's the recommendation here? Do I need to worry about fogging/yellowing if I wetsand? After I wetsand, what should I finish with? I don't believe the 3M film has any UV protection so that covered and un-covered paint ages equally, is there a "version" which has UV inhibitors available?

I've attached a couple of phone pics showing their condition.

Thanks,
Attached Images
    

Last edited by Surly73; 07-02-2012 at 04:52 PM.
Appreciate 0
      07-02-2012, 06:21 PM   #2
psnt1ol
Lieutenant
psnt1ol's Avatar
7
Rep
474
Posts

 
Drives: e90
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: san francisco

iTrader: (0)

couple coats of a good sealant will do the job. most premium sealant are highly resistant to UV and infrared radiation. Durability is measure in months and since you will have a film over them so you should be good.

IMO... I think there are way too many owners who forget about putting a coating of protection on their headlights while they are waxing or applying sealant to their cars.

i hope this helps....

Here is one. BFWD

http://www.autogeek.net/blackfire-we...d-sealant.html
__________________


What is absolute control???? Having the means and the abilities to exercise it at will but....chooses not to.
Appreciate 0
      07-02-2012, 06:47 PM   #3
GoRomeo
Colonel
GoRomeo's Avatar
26
Rep
2,363
Posts

 
Drives: 330i
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Diego CA

iTrader: (0)

Garage List
2006 330i  [2.83]
Mine were just like yours. I used the 3M headlight Restoration Kit and man this thing is amazing. I am very happy with results. I did mine about 2 months ago and still look great. Not sure about the UV protection but so far so good..

here is the link.. lowest price around too... Good luck!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/200739283038...84.m1423.l2649
Appreciate 0
      07-02-2012, 07:26 PM   #4
Surly73
Captain
Canada
10
Rep
724
Posts

 
Drives: 2007 E90 328i 6MT sport/prem
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Oakville, Ontario

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoRomeo View Post
Mine were just like yours. I used the 3M headlight Restoration Kit and man this thing is amazing. I am very happy with results. I did mine about 2 months ago and still look great. Not sure about the UV protection but so far so good..

here is the link.. lowest price around too... Good luck!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/200739283038...84.m1423.l2649
Good to know!

I should have perhaps been specific enough that I'd like to try to use products I already have, since I have quite a number, instead of duplicating compounds and sandpapers by getting a kit. I'm not ruling it out though.
Appreciate 0
      07-02-2012, 07:30 PM   #5
Detailed Image
BimmerPost Supporting Vendor
Detailed Image's Avatar
United_States
53
Rep
3,545
Posts


 
Drives: Detailed by Detailed Image
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Albany, NY

iTrader: (5)

We have several articles here (http://www.detailedimage.com/Ask-a-P...eadlight-care/) about headlight restoration with various products and techniques for different situations. A quality polish and pad can help restore many lights while a wet sanding can help those with a more severe situation. If you have any questions after reading those articles please let me know!

Greg @ DI
Appreciate 0
      07-02-2012, 08:26 PM   #6
tofu-
Banned
43
Rep
2,858
Posts

 
Drives: 335i Jet Black/Coral Red
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: nyc

iTrader: (4)

you're going to have to look for a place that restores headlights professionally. Make sure they aren't using cheapo consumer kits like 3m or sylvania.

if they use UV lamps to cure it or it is a 2-part UV coating, they're probably legit.

expect to pay between 70-100 for one headlight.


This is all based on research I was doing for about a month. I had the same dilemma, except only one of my headlights was bad looking after a replacement due to a collision. Don't go with a temporary sealant or any of that garbage.
Appreciate 0
      07-03-2012, 12:14 AM   #7
Brentster
Banned
United_States
3
Rep
359
Posts

 
Drives: 2011 e92 (his) 2011 e90 (hers)
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, TX (Galleria)

iTrader: (2)

I found someone on Craigslist to restore my wife's pitted and hazy e46 headlights and after the kid spent an hour sanding and polishing, and using a wax to protect them, they looked brand new. I watched him do the entire process and was blown away by his thoroughness to make them look perfect. However, a few weeks later, about half of the haziness returned. It's quite strange how that happened.
Appreciate 0
      07-03-2012, 07:59 AM   #8
Surly73
Captain
Canada
10
Rep
724
Posts

 
Drives: 2007 E90 328i 6MT sport/prem
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Oakville, Ontario

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by tofu- View Post
if they use UV lamps to cure it or it is a 2-part UV coating, they're probably legit.

expect to pay between 70-100 for one headlight.
Any idea what some of these "two part" products might be or where to get them in small quantities? I'm pretty good at making things shiny and other detailing/restoration tasks. I have faith that I could wetsand and polish these things to look like new. It's that last step of UV protection that has kept me from rolling up my sleeves and getting to it.

If you say 70-100, it's probably 150-200 in Canada. That's assuming I can even find a place that does it properly within an hour's drive so add time and fuel to that.

If I could get a kit of the "right stuff" for even $50 I still come out ahead.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Brentster View Post
I found someone on Craigslist to restore my wife's pitted and hazy e46 headlights and after the kid spent an hour sanding and polishing, and using a wax to protect them, they looked brand new. I watched him do the entire process and was blown away by his thoroughness to make them look perfect. However, a few weeks later, about half of the haziness returned. It's quite strange how that happened.
Yeah... That's exactly what I don't want to happen

I suppose something key to find out is whether the lights are now experiencing UV damage/breakdown, or whether glazes where used during the restoration and it's just washing out and showing marking still left in the plastic. Does this E46 get a lot of sun?
Appreciate 0
      07-03-2012, 08:43 AM   #9
abhishriv
Major
25
Rep
1,289
Posts

 
Drives: 2007 335i Coupe (Space grey)
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Toronto

iTrader: (0)

i did a headlight restoration on my moms nissan altima about a month ago, the protective clear coat on the lights was pitting and hazing in areas so i used the turtle wax headlight restoration kit. it takes some elbow grease to get all the sanding done properly but i followed it up with some polishing with the PC. they provide a sealant but i just ended up doing about 4 coats of the chemical guys jetseal. they came out perfect. only a month passed by but they still look brand new.
Appreciate 0
      07-12-2012, 12:33 AM   #10
D804
New Member
0
Rep
14
Posts

 
Drives: White 2008 328i
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: United States

iTrader: (0)

you can pick up a 3m kit for about $20.
Appreciate 0
      07-12-2012, 12:58 PM   #11
Surly73
Captain
Canada
10
Rep
724
Posts

 
Drives: 2007 E90 328i 6MT sport/prem
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Oakville, Ontario

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by D804 View Post
you can pick up a 3m kit for about $20.
Well, sure, but I haven't seen anything really indicating that a durable UV resistant coating is replaced when these kits are used.

I might rather wet sand etc... with all of the stuff I already have if I could find a real, legit UV coating I could reapply at the conclusion.
Appreciate 0
      07-12-2012, 01:19 PM   #12
GoRomeo
Colonel
GoRomeo's Avatar
26
Rep
2,363
Posts

 
Drives: 330i
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Diego CA

iTrader: (0)

Garage List
2006 330i  [2.83]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Surly73 View Post
Well, sure, but I haven't seen anything really indicating that a durable UV resistant coating is replaced when these kits are used.

I might rather wet sand etc... with all of the stuff I already have if I could find a real, legit UV coating I could reapply at the conclusion.
There is a 3M kit that comes with the UV protection compound. Mine did actually. You add this at the end and comes out perfectly. I think its a little more than 20 but is worth it.
Appreciate 0
      07-12-2012, 01:31 PM   #13
Surly73
Captain
Canada
10
Rep
724
Posts

 
Drives: 2007 E90 328i 6MT sport/prem
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Oakville, Ontario

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoRomeo View Post
There is a 3M kit that comes with the UV protection compound. Mine did actually. You add this at the end and comes out perfectly. I think its a little more than 20 but is worth it.
I'll look around for that kind of thing. Some googling takes me to products like this as well:

http://www.deltakits.com/products/4/734/

Although that looks pricey, probably something I'll have a really tough time getting in Canada, and is probably about 7 times as much as I need.

Still looking. I've seen some products that require a UVA curing lamp. I bet they work great, but I don't want to have to buy the lamp for DIY.

I do still plan on getting XPel so that coating doesn't need to be super durable, it just needs to work as well as the original coating at UV resistance.
Appreciate 0
      07-12-2012, 02:10 PM   #14
BMW335icoupe
Captain
BMW335icoupe's Avatar
14
Rep
638
Posts

 
Drives: 2009 BMW 335i Xdrive Coupe
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Ohio

iTrader: (2)

You could always wet sand and polish and then put a protective film over the headlights to preserve them.
Appreciate 0
      07-15-2012, 09:05 AM   #15
tdot328Xi
Private
Canada
0
Rep
77
Posts

 
Drives: 2007 328Xi
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Brampton

iTrader: (0)

I had similar problem with my e90. based on other reviews and suggestions i used 3m restoration kit and here are the results

before...

Name:  IMG-20120714-00058.jpg
Views: 2702
Size:  111.8 KB

Name:  IMG-20120714-00055.jpg
Views: 2632
Size:  248.6 KB

Name:  IMG-20120714-00054.jpg
Views: 2638
Size:  240.3 KB

Name:  IMG-20120714-00053.jpg
Views: 2664
Size:  171.2 KB


after....
Name:  IMG-20120714-00063.jpg
Views: 2615
Size:  140.8 KB

Name:  IMG-20120714-00062.jpg
Views: 2631
Size:  164.2 KB

Name:  IMG-20120714-00060.jpg
Views: 2581
Size:  152.8 KB

Name:  IMG-20120714-00059.jpg
Views: 2584
Size:  161.7 KB
Appreciate 0
      07-15-2012, 11:07 AM   #16
bob.g
Captain
9
Rep
627
Posts

 
Drives: 2006 325xi
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: montreal

iTrader: (1)

my friend has done many and once he has them wetsanded/polished/looking new, he shoots some clearcoat, but for the most part he applies opti coat, which is supposed to be a permanent sealant, and easy to apply.
Appreciate 0
      07-16-2012, 05:19 AM   #17
TOGWT
Captain
TOGWT's Avatar
United_States
9
Rep
767
Posts

 
Drives: 630i
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach, FL / London, UK

iTrader: (0)

Alternative product: - once both lenses have been polished to restore clarity, they should be sanded with 1500 grit finishing paper, this ensures the clear coat has a ‘key’ to enable adhesion. When you spray clear coat on the sanded lenses it fills in those light scratches and makes them clear and glossy making them look brand new. Sp*****x (aerosol spray) is a 2K clear paint: two-component acrylic resins plus isocyanates hardener that contains UV protection

Product Application- shake aerosol can vigorously for two minutes before activating. To activate, take the red button from the cap and attach it to the pin on the bottom of the can. Put the top of the aerosol can on stable on a stable surface and push the red button firmly and press the pin into the can. Shake again for two minutes to ensure activator is thoroughly mixed with clear coat.

Apply 2-3 light coats and allow 5-10 minutes between each coat. After the application of the final coat allow approximately 24 hours dry time or use an infra red (IR) drying lamp (recommended)



“Headlight Restoration” - http://www.autopia.org/forum/autopia...ml#post1506615
Appreciate 0
      07-16-2012, 08:00 AM   #18
Surly73
Captain
Canada
10
Rep
724
Posts

 
Drives: 2007 E90 328i 6MT sport/prem
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Oakville, Ontario

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW335icoupe View Post
You could always wet sand and polish and then put a protective film over the headlights to preserve them.
As I mentioned, I plan to use XPel film. In my mind that does not eliminate the need for a UV blocking layer on the light. There's conflicting information on whether the 3M film blocks UV from passing, or is merely UV stabilized to protect itself. On one hand 3M will state that the film passes UV so that when it is applied to paint the covered and uncovered paint will fade evenly. On the other, they yack about UV protection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob.g View Post
my friend has done many and once he has them wetsanded/polished/looking new, he shoots some clearcoat, but for the most part he applies opti coat, which is supposed to be a permanent sealant, and easy to apply.
Sealant, yes. UV blocker - not sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TOGWT View Post
Alternative product: - once both lenses have been polished to restore clarity, they should be sanded with 1500 grit finishing paper, this ensures the clear coat has a ‘key’ to enable adhesion. When you spray clear coat on the sanded lenses it fills in those light scratches and makes them clear and glossy making them look brand new. Sp*****x (aerosol spray) is a 2K clear paint: two-component acrylic resins plus isocyanates hardener that contains UV protection

Product Application- shake aerosol can vigorously for two minutes before activating. To activate, take the red button from the cap and attach it to the pin on the bottom of the can. Put the top of the aerosol can on stable on a stable surface and push the red button firmly and press the pin into the can. Shake again for two minutes to ensure activator is thoroughly mixed with clear coat.

Apply 2-3 light coats and allow 5-10 minutes between each coat. After the application of the final coat allow approximately 24 hours dry time or use an infra red (IR) drying lamp (recommended)



“Headlight Restoration” - http://www.autopia.org/forum/autopia...ml#post1506615

I saw that one - two parts as mentioned. I think I've selected this one for my restoration. The activation of the spray can implies it's going to work once and only once. Mixing the multiple ingredients in Infinity 4.1 seems to imply to me that it will have a shelf life between uses.

http://www.deltakits.com/products/4/847

I plan on removing the headlights and foglights from the car and working on a workbench instead of taping things off. I plan to work through several grades of sandpaper depending on what I find - I've got all kinds of stuff through 2500 IIRC. I plan to finish with Menzera SF4000 on an LC white pad and then top with Infinity 4.1. Soon after I'll get my 3M film on there once I'm sure that I'm happy with the results and everything is fully cured.
Appreciate 0
      07-16-2012, 08:15 PM   #19
holmes011
Lieutenant
6
Rep
420
Posts

 
Drives: 2008 335xi coupe
Join Date: May 2011
Location: CT

iTrader: (0)

is applying opti coat a good idea?
Appreciate 0
      07-17-2012, 12:19 AM   #20
bob.g
Captain
9
Rep
627
Posts

 
Drives: 2006 325xi
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: montreal

iTrader: (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by holmes011 View Post
is applying opti coat a good idea?
google it, you will see plenty of ppl on detailing forums that use it to protect their headlights after they've been restored. here's a thread from autogeek

http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/...eadlights.html
Appreciate 0
      07-17-2012, 03:41 AM   #21
TOGWT
Captain
TOGWT's Avatar
United_States
9
Rep
767
Posts

 
Drives: 630i
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach, FL / London, UK

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by holmes011 View Post
is applying opti coat a good idea?
In order to restore the lens back to its OEM standards a new ultra violet (UV) resistant coating must be re-applied. Use Optimum Opti-Coat™, which will provide ultra violet (UV) protection, a 2-4 (microns) film and a hardness of 9H (Pencil Hardness) when fully cross-linked and provides a semi-permanent coating.


An extract from the article “Headlight Restoration”
Appreciate 0
      07-17-2012, 08:12 AM   #22
bb103
Private First Class
2
Rep
126
Posts

 
Drives: 08 BMW 328i
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Toronto

iTrader: (0)

3M works best never had to use it on my bmw but my older cars i've used it on all of them. I was really surprised how good they came out for $20 total for 2 cars.
Appreciate 0
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

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 Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:57 PM.




e90post
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
1Addicts.com, BIMMERPOST.com, E90Post.com, F30Post.com, M3Post.com, ZPost.com, 5Post.com, 6Post.com, 7Post.com, XBimmers.com logo and trademark are properties of BIMMERPOST