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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > Regional Forums > Canada > 3M Headlight restoration - Before and After



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      11-21-2012, 11:13 PM   #1
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3M Headlight restoration - Before and After (Final Version!)

Just finished restoring one of my headlights using the 3M restoration kit at Canadian tire. My main goal was getting rid of the hideous road rash that is the result of the many 407 km's my car sees. Followed the instructions, with a little more time spent on the p500 grit trying get rid of all the road marks. See the results for yourself.

I plan on wrapping this with 3M venture guard ultimate to protect it from the sun and future rocks. So far I am pretty happy with the results, it is not perfect though in the light you can still see micro swirls.

Anyone else try this with better results and care to share some tips?!?

Edit:
Brought my lights to Kevin (Picus on E90) at GTA in Detail to hit them with a proper random orbital and some professional grade polishing compound. Then had his buddy Marco wrap them 3M Venture Shield Ultra followed up with a sealant of Opti-Coat 2.0 to seal the film.

I gotta say the lights turned out great!! (bottom two pics) There were a few left over rock marks but the micro swirls that I couldn't get out with my 3M kit are all but gone thanks to Kevini. The lights look brand new and should be able to handle the 407 now that it is properly protected!
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Last edited by Volasko; 12-02-2012 at 10:31 PM.
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      11-22-2012, 12:55 AM   #2
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use a DA polisher to get those micro swirls out
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      11-22-2012, 01:22 AM   #3
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I've done this a couple times on other cars. I don't use any kits though, I just wetsand my way up to a super fine grit and then use compound/polish to shine it up.

The most important part is protecting it from UV after you're done though, the first time I tried it without any UV protection I had some yellowing come on pretty quick.
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      11-22-2012, 01:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. G View Post
I've done this a couple times on other cars. I don't use any kits though, I just wetsand my way up to a super fine grit and then use compound/polish to shine it up.

The most important part is protecting it from UV after you're done though, the first time I tried it without any UV protection I had some yellowing come on pretty quick.
I want to try this, but how do you protect it from UV rays?
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      11-22-2012, 08:20 AM   #5
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i just did the Mother's headlight kit . . . .

i think it made my headlights look foggy. I really did not love the outcome. I think I should sand it longer with 2000?
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      11-22-2012, 09:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amini77 View Post
I want to try this, but how do you protect it from UV rays?
protect it with a couple coats of a good sealant. i did this on my moms car and protected it with jetseal 109 from chemical guys
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      11-22-2012, 09:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demontwinz View Post
i just did the Mother's headlight kit . . . .

i think it made my headlights look foggy. I really did not love the outcome. I think I should sand it longer with 2000?
spend more time with the 2000 or even go up to a finer grit. but most importantly you need to polish the lights with a compound.
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      11-22-2012, 02:28 PM   #8
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nice results there!
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      11-22-2012, 04:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. G View Post
I've done this a couple times on other cars. I don't use any kits though, I just wetsand my way up to a super fine grit and then use compound/polish to shine it up.

The most important part is protecting it from UV after you're done though, the first time I tried it without any UV protection I had some yellowing come on pretty quick.
What type of UV protection did you use? I definitely sanded the factory coating off when refinishing and I am getting concerned I may have screwed my lights for good.
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      11-22-2012, 05:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhishriv View Post
protect it with a couple coats of a good sealant. i did this on my moms car and protected it with jetseal 109 from chemical guys
Alright thanks
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      11-22-2012, 08:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhishriv View Post
protect it with a couple coats of a good sealant. i did this on my moms car and protected it with jetseal 109 from chemical guys
Quote:
Originally Posted by Volasko View Post
What type of UV protection did you use? I definitely sanded the factory coating off when refinishing and I am getting concerned I may have screwed my lights for good.
The only permanent protection from UV will be to apply clear-film that's normally used for clearbra's and/or headlight films. My 2001 Civic's headlights are notorious for yellowing, and while I could easily polish it out (I used Duragloss's plastic polish), it would return to yellow in 3 months or so (even if I applied Collinite 845 which is 4+ months durable).

I had film applied maybe 2 years ago, and while the application wasn't perfect around the raised lettering, the headlight is still 100% clear. Once you wetsand, you're saying bye-bye to the factory coating, but $20 in film will get you back to square one.
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      11-22-2012, 09:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWWW View Post
The only permanent protection from UV will be to apply clear-film that's normally used for clearbra's and/or headlight films. My 2001 Civic's headlights are notorious for yellowing, and while I could easily polish it out (I used Duragloss's plastic polish), it would return to yellow in 3 months or so (even if I applied Collinite 845 which is 4+ months durable).

I had film applied maybe 2 years ago, and while the application wasn't perfect around the raised lettering, the headlight is still 100% clear. Once you wetsand, you're saying bye-bye to the factory coating, but $20 in film will get you back to square one.
This is what I wanted to hear.......
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      11-22-2012, 09:25 PM   #13
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In case anyone is interested this guy is basically doing the exact same thing I am and has the same concerns. LOTS of good information in this thread:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=713244

I think I am going to get some sort of UV coating to use after I wet sand with a 2000 grit paper, to give it something to stick too. Then wrap them in a protective vinyl wrap.
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      11-23-2012, 10:55 PM   #14
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If I were you, I would order some good 3M clear-bra vinyl (search eBay, great place to get vinyl if you know where to look!), repolish the headlights once it arrives, clay-bar the headlights (just to make sure there's no contaminants on them) and apply the vinyl.
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      11-24-2012, 02:23 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rollinstone157 View Post
If I were you, I would order some good 3M clear-bra vinyl (search eBay, great place to get vinyl if you know where to look!), repolish the headlights once it arrives, clay-bar the headlights (just to make sure there's no contaminants on them) and apply the vinyl.
Exactly, the question is if I need to apply a new UV coat before the wrap.... Would the wrap stick poorly if the headlights are buffed with a sealant ?!?
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      11-24-2012, 02:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volasko View Post
Exactly, the question is if I need to apply a new UV coat before the wrap.... Would the wrap stick poorly if the headlights are buffed with a sealant ?!?
I would not apply a UV coating prior to applying the vinyl. For vinyl to stick properly, you want the cleanest surface possible--so you wouldn't want to buff on a UV sealant.

If you're really concerned about UV, you can sand-->polish (to remove any ghosting/hazing/what have you)-->clay bar-->vinyl-->polish (to give the vinyl a smoother finish)-->UV sealant. But that would definitely be excessive. The vinyl has UV protecting properties to it already. But I would polish the vinyl to get rid of some of the orange peel effect. I would use only a very light polishing compound on it.
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      11-24-2012, 02:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhishriv View Post
protect it with a couple coats of a good sealant. i did this on my moms car and protected it with jetseal 109 from chemical guys
Jetseal won't last too long on there unfortunately so you'll need to constantly re-apply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWWW View Post
The only permanent protection from UV will be to apply clear-film that's normally used for clearbra's and/or headlight films. My 2001 Civic's headlights are notorious for yellowing, and while I could easily polish it out (I used Duragloss's plastic polish), it would return to yellow in 3 months or so (even if I applied Collinite 845 which is 4+ months durable).

I had film applied maybe 2 years ago, and while the application wasn't perfect around the raised lettering, the headlight is still 100% clear. Once you wetsand, you're saying bye-bye to the factory coating, but $20 in film will get you back to square one.
Great suggestion right here! A protective film with UV protection is the easiest way to go. Aside from this you could use automotive grade 2 part clear with UV protection, but you have to be careful in the selection and application. A lot of people use regular aerosol clear and have issues with a milky appearance or distorted light output. A urethane clear is a much better answer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Volasko View Post
Exactly, the question is if I need to apply a new UV coat before the wrap.... Would the wrap stick poorly if the headlights are buffed with a sealant ?!?
Don't bother with a sealant if you will wrap them with film, if you are going to apply clear just scuff the surface a bit to give it some tooth for adhesion.
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      11-25-2012, 05:29 PM   #18
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check out this thread if you have a few days to spare:

http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/...-2-0-a-23.html

I also read about this on there.

http://www.deltakits.com/products/4/847
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      12-02-2012, 10:30 PM   #19
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