MOT failure - obscure headlamp lenses

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PeetieM

MOT failure - obscure headlamp lenses

Post by PeetieM » Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:29 pm

I've looked this up before as I hate the look of them, but never been able to clear them off.
They are looking nicotine stained, but I don't think they are any worse than last year, but now I have a failure.
Before I spend a fortune on replacements, I'm going to try some of the "solutions", maybe Meguiars Plastic X, perhaps with upgraded bulbs.
Any experiences? Where can I source the Plastic - X?
I'll be at the Cardinham BBQ on saturday if any one has any ideas (or cheap replacement lenses).

Thanks, Pete.
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Re: MOT failure - obscure headlamp lenses

Post by meek.tv » Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:58 pm

theres a few posts about this on here
i think someone mentioned using nail varnish remover on them?
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Re: MOT failure - obscure headlamp lenses

Post by cheffy34 » Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:08 pm

I'VE used maguires plastic x polish cracking stuff it is but most of the staining seems to be inside and not easy to get to :wink:
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Re: MOT failure - obscure headlamp lenses

Post by cheffy34 » Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:09 pm

:oops: :oops: sorry you can buy it from most motor factors inc halfrauds
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Re: MOT failure - obscure headlamp lenses

Post by jaylee » Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:37 pm

Yeah they do tend to some times look like they have ageing sticker residue on em.
I used my partners Sally Hansen acetone free nail polish remover to remove the film off mine, came up a treat!!

It's got vitamin E too... (Just looking at the bottle).
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Re: MOT failure - obscure headlamp lenses

Post by cheffy34 » Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:58 pm

jaylee wrote:Yeah they do tend to some times look like they have ageing sticker residue on em.
I used my partners Sally Hansen acetone free nail polish remover to remove the film off mine, came up a treat!!

It's got vitamin E too... (Just looking at the bottle).


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Re: MOT failure - obscure headlamp lenses

Post by dobby » Thu Jul 17, 2008 9:55 pm

T-Cut worked ok on mine, I also upgraded the bulbs (Philips I think).
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Re: MOT failure - obscure headlamp lenses

Post by mikeonb4c » Thu Jul 17, 2008 10:18 pm

I'd be very wary of nail polish. Most of them have plastic dissolving solvent in them and your lens will immediately go opaque. T-cut sounds a much better bet. Try it out on a corner of one of them first and see what the result is. When I was restoring my alloy wheels with Solvol Autosol (a mild abrasive paste) I used a homemade buffing pad made by putting some foam pipe insulation (the kind of stuff those swimming tubes are made off, but hollow) around a circular hole cutting attachment and then with a cloth bound round it using fishing line. I spread some paste on there and got to work using a low drill speed. Speeds up the rubbing down process and takes the tedium out of it. Again, test it out on something first to make sure it is up to the job.
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Re: MOT failure - obscure headlamp lenses

Post by jaylee » Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:55 am

I tried my stuff on an inconspicuous bit first remembering that old public safety ad about motor bike helmets & solvent based paints...
& the stuff was acetone free. :P

I tried T cut first in the same spot but was worried about abrasions..??

Good tip with the foam pipe! :D
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Re: MOT failure - obscure headlamp lenses

Post by bigdaddycain » Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:02 am

I always assumed that the cloudy yellow effect on SOME bongo headlamps was down to non U.V. bulbs being used at some stage with the plastic lens?

What is the film on the outside all about?

I suggested at some stage in the past ot a fellow forum member (can't remember who now) to use mettalic t-cut on the lens... It appeared to do the job nicely.

If there is some kind of stick on film on some headlamps, i'd recommend trying some of autoglym's intensive tar remover, i have used this on various plastic lenses in the past, for various reasons,it's never done them any harm... :wink:
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Re: MOT failure - obscure headlamp lenses

Post by mikeonb4c » Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:19 am

jaylee wrote:I tried my stuff on an inconspicuous bit first remembering that old public safety ad about motor bike helmets & solvent based paints...
& the stuff was acetone free. :P

I tried T cut first in the same spot but was worried about abrasions..??

Good tip with the foam pipe! :D
That sounds spot on (no pun intended) to me jaylee. Whatever it is, you have to assume it is dodgy until tested somewhere. My suspicion is that nail varnish remover that smells of peardrops (acetone) is probably dodgy. I think abrasion marks IS a possible concern with the likes of T-Cut, but however it is done I reckon abrasion has to be used, in order to rub off the opaque layer (unless the plastic has gone opaque in depth, in which case everything is a waste of time). I'm not an expert on which paste is the finest abrasive. In theory, you should be able to start with something like fine wet and dry paper (to cut back the surface to good plastic without too much effort) and then work down through finer abrasives (T-cut, toothpaste, Windowlene/jewellers paste) in order to remove the scratching caused by the wet and dry. Make sure you use the wet and dry with plenty of water. Plastics will soften easily with friction heat and that will not make for good sanding.

It would be good if someone with more experience of sanding and cutting back was able to comment on the above, as I've never tried to scratch plastic then go on to sand out the scratches, if you get me.

PS - just read BigDaddys post. If there is a film layer (maybe that is to protect the plastic from shattering following a stone chip impact?) then that kind of softer plastic would be best removed as he advises as you can't really sand that kind of material well (though there are t-cut type products for dealing with scratched plastic and you could try them - I found they didn't make a lot of different to my window draft deflectors mind you). Once film removed, reassess the job (and hope you don't get hit by stone chips ever after!).

PPS - I've got spotlamps mounted on my FDBs and wired to be available either when lights are on, or only when main beam is on. These are a really good option for improving the night lighting. What is the MOT garage view on headlamp condition if spotlights (can you buy dipping ones?) are fitted to supplement them?
Last edited by mikeonb4c on Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: MOT failure - obscure headlamp lenses

Post by bigdaddycain » Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:22 am

I have mike...T-cut works great. Normal/regular red bottle stuff for heavier scratches, metallic t-cut for lighter abrasions... :wink:
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Re: MOT failure - obscure headlamp lenses

Post by mikeonb4c » Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:28 am

bigdaddycain wrote:I have mike...T-cut works great. Normal/regular red bottle stuff for heavier scratches, metallic t-cut for lighter abrasions... :wink:
Great advice. Ever tried making the job quicker by starting with wet and dry then getting the finish back via t-cut? Or is that going too far and best to stick with the t-cut?
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Re: MOT failure - obscure headlamp lenses

Post by bigdaddycain » Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:05 am

Well, i've never had this particular problem with my lights mike, but i have revigorated faded lamps of other varieties in the past with the various t-cuts i mentioned earlier, a spot of careful buffing bring them up like new...

Particularly so with vehicles that have experienced the harsh brushes of automatic car washes in the past, they can actually scratch the lenses of the lights, as well as the paintwork of course...

You'd be suprised at the amount of people that use "brillo pad" type cleaning products on the front of cars too (i think to remove splattered bugs in summertime).

I had this with my previous car,(not the bongo)a good t-cutting session on the headlight lenses brought them up like new, and restored the light output of the actual lamps too... :wink:
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Re: MOT failure - obscure headlamp lenses

Post by PeetieM » Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:32 pm

Thanks for the discussion, I'm using Brasso and elbow grease quite effectively.
I've done half of one and after lunch I'll be back on it whilst listening to the cricket.
I took some befores and when I've done I'll lake some afters for info.

Pete