harder then normal lights list

Discuss all aspects of headlight restoration, including marketing, technical, and business advice.
Old Blue 66
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Re: harder then normal lights list

Post by Old Blue 66 » April 10th, 2013, 10:46 pm

Did a 2003 325i today. Wasnt bad at all. 500 did the job to start.
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Re: harder then normal lights list

Post by candyman » October 14th, 2013, 4:22 am

I worked on a set of headlights for a dealer Thursday. This vehicle is a Dodge Caravan. They had driven it to New York , with drivers, to pick up some used cars at an auction. The headlights were yellow and hard to see the road in the rain. One of the drivers got a piece of sand paper and sanded the lens'. He then sprayed it with polyulthane. All of this in the rain. The lenses were a total blur by the time they got back to the dealership. I used 1 (180 disc) to get the polyulthane off. I used 1 (500) 1 (800) 1 (1500) and finished with a 3000 polishing pad. I applied the 4.1 Infiniti. 50 minutes total. The lights looked amost brand new. It had the WOW look. I've done the same with black painted lenses. However that took more time (2 hrs) and several 180 & 320 pads to get to the surface. People are buying store kits and are very disapointed in the results. DK has the best product, thus far that I have tried. The methods they suggest works. I've done this so many times, I alternate the process depending on the vehicle and the task at hand. I may start with the 320, go to the 600, 1000 or 1200, 1500 then the 3000 polishing pad. The next set, I may use 320, 500, 800, 1200, 1500 and the 3000 polishing pad. They all turn out basicly the same. Its rare that its doesnt. Pads are money and time. Knowing what you are doing and experience is an advantage when doing headlights. For the beginner, stick to DKs method and use the Infiniti 4.1 as directed. The reason I posted this is because several of the other Forum members, and I sometime will post things that we do. This could be confusing for some of you, that are new to HLRs. Have a great week. Candyman
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Re: harder then normal lights list

Post by glassmedic209 » March 25th, 2014, 12:17 am

hardest set i have done were a 996 porsche, they are a real pain to mask off correctly!

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Re: harder then normal lights list

Post by Brent Deines » April 19th, 2014, 4:48 pm

candyman wrote:Thursday must have been headligt day. First up a 2006 impala. Nightmare from hell. I used 13, 180 pads and 3, 320 pads to get that coating off and smooth. The end result , like new two hours later. I had the the dealer and the buyer watching the transistion. My second vehicle was a Honda Civic. One lens had been replace from a Junk yard. The lens was deep yellow and brown with cracks in several places. I could not get the entire yellow stain out. I used prep spray between pads, hoping that it would lighten it up more. I started to wipe the lens with clorox water to see if that would help. The temp was about 96 dgs and about 40% humidity. I used the Develup Chem instead of the 4.1 infinity on both vehicles. So I now know that some stains will not come out completely. The lens went from no clarity to about 80%. This was for a dealer. There must be an easier way to do these Impalas other than razor blade method and multiple pads. Has anyone used anything lower than a 180 pad. I have another Impala to do next week that looks as bad as the one I did on Thursday. I have one pack of 180's left. I've got to order more today. It takes a week to get supplies from Or. Have a good weekend.
Hey Candyman, I finally got a chance to do a 2004 Impala yesterday and it was by far the most difficult headlight restoration I have done to date. I thought you and others were exaggerating about how had the factory coating is but I now know you were spot on with this one!

Not having had one in our shop before we tried a number of things to see what worked best. One of our technicians started with an 80 grit and the other started with a 180 grit, both using the Griot's random orbital tool. Using 2 80 grit discs got the coating off reasonably quickly but after seeing the other technician go through several 180 discs and only getting the coating off 1/2 the other lens I had to give it a try myself. I tried with the 180 first but found the lens was getting too hot and the progress was way too slow. I switched to an 80 grit and was able to remove the remainder of the coating reasonably fast without overheating the lens.

From there on it was pretty straight forward but I have to admit for awhile I didn't think I was going to be able to bring my side back to life. In fact, had I not seen the excellent results the other technician, my daughter, got after starting with an 80 grit I would have been tempted to throw in the towel. I don't know if any of you work with your kids but I was not about to let her think she was better headlight restoration technician than me without a fight. In the end she finished in 1/2 the time with about the same results so although I will never tell her this, I have to admit she is better than me. It will be our little secret!

Things I learned:

I will always have some 80 grit discs on hand for those crazy hard lenses. The 80 grit discs we have are 3 1/8" instead of 3" but they work just fine for this purpose and I was glad we had them.

Too much heat will turn the lens white and that white is difficult to get out. Using a slower speed, a heavier grit, and constantly moving around the lens will keep the lens from getting over heated. I knew this before but this was a good reminder!

If using an 80 grit disc to remove the coating it is very important to take your time with the 180 and 320 discs to get a nice smooth finish before moving to lower grits. I wish I would have had a 120 grit go go between the 80 and 180 grits. I think that would have sped up the process a bit.

I would have to charge $200 if I were to do this car again and for that I could replace both headlights for the customer with brand new ones and make about the same amount of profit. Given that choice most customers will opt for the new headlights. I'm glad we had the opportunity to restore these lenses but in this case replacement makes more sense. We typically check the cost of new lenses before we do a headlight restoration job and tell the customer if we feel it would be more cost effective to replace them. Usually it is not, but some headlights are actually very inexpensive and we have to be honest with your customers.

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Re: harder then normal lights list

Post by candyman » April 20th, 2014, 9:21 pm

Good morning Brent. I do use a slower speed when I am using 180. I didnt realize you had 80. Other than the Impala, I've discovered some of the Mercedes have a hard lens. I've done several varieties of big rigs during the past year and found those lenses were easy to retore. I did use a little more of the UV 4.1 infiniti on a few of the larger lenses. I got the same results on the rigs as I do on the sedans and pickup trucks. As a matter of fact, the rigs were easier than the Mercedes duel headlights , lexus and Dodge trucks. Have a great week. Candynman.
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Re: harder then normal lights list

Post by glassdoctor » May 16th, 2014, 10:40 pm

glassdoctor wrote:I did a 2004 Impala today that was as bad as it gets. Coating was like sanding diamonds.
I've done HLR for about 20 years so there aren't many I haven't done at least once. Always speaking from first hand experience unless otherwise noted.

BTW, did a 2006 XC70 today. They belong on the list.

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Re: harder then normal lights list

Post by Old Blue 66 » June 6th, 2014, 6:19 am

Hey Candyman, I finally got a chance to do a 2004 Impala yesterday and it was by far the most difficult headlight restoration I have done to date. I thought you and others were exaggerating about how had the factory coating is but I now know you were spot on with this one!

Not having had one in our shop before we tried a number of things to see what worked best. One of our technicians started with an 80 grit and the other started with a 180 grit, both using the Griot's random orbital tool. Using 2 80 grit discs got the coating off reasonably quickly but after seeing the other technician go through several 180 discs and only getting the coating off 1/2 the other lens I had to give it a try myself. I tried with the 180 first but found the lens was getting too hot and the progress was way too slow. I switched to an 80 grit and was able to remove the remainder of the coating reasonably fast without overheating the lens.

From there on it was pretty straight forward but I have to admit for awhile I didn't think I was going to be able to bring my side back to life. In fact, had I not seen the excellent results the other technician, my daughter, got after starting with an 80 grit I would have been tempted to throw in the towel. I don't know if any of you work with your kids but I was not about to let her think she was better headlight restoration technician than me without a fight. In the end she finished in 1/2 the time with about the same results so although I will never tell her this, I have to admit she is better than me. It will be our little secret!

Things I learned:

I will always have some 80 grit discs on hand for those crazy hard lenses. The 80 grit discs we have are 3 1/8" instead of 3" but they work just fine for this purpose and I was glad we had them.

Too much heat will turn the lens white and that white is difficult to get out. Using a slower speed, a heavier grit, and constantly moving around the lens will keep the lens from getting over heated. I knew this before but this was a good reminder!

If using an 80 grit disc to remove the coating it is very important to take your time with the 180 and 320 discs to get a nice smooth finish before moving to lower grits. I wish I would have had a 120 grit go go between the 80 and 180 grits. I think that would have sped up the process a bit.

I would have to charge $200 if I were to do this car again and for that I could replace both headlights for the customer with brand new ones and make about the same amount of profit. Given that choice most customers will opt for the new headlights. I'm glad we had the opportunity to restore these lenses but in this case replacement makes more sense. We typically check the cost of new lenses before we do a headlight restoration job and tell the customer if we feel it would be more cost effective to replace them. Usually it is not, but some headlights are actually very inexpensive and we have to be honest with your customers.[/quote]

I can beat that. 2006 Corvette. 180 wouldn't even get the OEM clear off. I spent two hours on ONE SINGLE headlight. When I finally got it stripped, I told the customer I wasnt going to do the other headlight. He agreed in fear of how the one I was working on was going to turn out.
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Re: harder then normal lights list

Post by candyman » June 6th, 2014, 11:38 am

Good afternoon Old Blue 66! Using the slower speed gives you less heat and better control. Normally between 3 & 4 speed setting. I tried to order some 80 grit the other day from DK and they didn't have it. I am going to the maker of that disc or the distributer here in NC to order some. Most of the time a few 180's will work on majority of vehicles. Then there are the exceptions that need the 80 . I keep a minimum of 30 , 180's in my kit at all times. I have had to use as many as 4 per lens, then move on to the 320. Got to watch those off springs or they might do a better job. Have a great weekend
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Re: harder then normal lights list

Post by Brent Deines » June 6th, 2014, 6:21 pm

Candyman,

Sorry you were told we do not have any 80 grit discs. We actually do have them in stock, they just are not in our regular product line as we quite frankly thought they were too aggressive until recently. Now I would not be without them for that occasional nasty Impala or similarly difficult to sand headlight.

They are 3 1/8" discs instead of 3" so we include matched interface pad with every 5 discs and they will work perfectly well with your Griots, Metabo, Makita, or any other 3" sander. The part number is Z990112 and they sell for $3.33 for the pad and 5 discs.

Since we gave you some misinformation I will send you a pack for free on Monday.

I'm also sending a copy of this message to my office staff so everyone will know we have this product in stock.

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Re: harder then normal lights list

Post by candyman » June 8th, 2014, 9:56 pm

Thanks Brent. I just got an order a few weeks ago of pads except 80.s I even mention your post about it. Thank you and have a great week.
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