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Cleaning up a plastic headlight is not a problem. The problem is that in doing so you remove the UV protection from the headlight. Now it will just turn yellow and get brittle.
 

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Resist said:
Cleaning up a plastic headlight is not a problem. The problem is that in doing so you remove the UV protection from the headlight. Now it will just turn yellow and get brittle.
i could be wrong here, i'm no expert at all.. but one would tend to believe that the bulbs themselves are what is coated??

edit
ehh.. nevermind. the UV protection is to protect the clear "pod" plastic. not sure what i was thinking but i can't delete the post :roll:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Probably, but in this case that coating was gone anyways.
 

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If someone could find a way to restore the UV coating on the headlight (other than slapping on some sunblock), we could save a ton of money. The headlights aren't cheap to replace.
 

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Resist said:
If someone could find a way to restore the UV coating on the headlight (other than slapping on some sunblock), we could save a ton of money. The headlights aren't cheap to replace.
haha!
funny you say that.. i did a quick google just out of curiousity. the challenge would be finding an affordable "pro-sumer" solution for a minimal application of a rather expensive spray coating.. my hunch is that you're probably going to almost spend just as much (or at least half) on the materials to coat the pods as you would to replace them.

rick, surely you didn't think people were going to actually try to take your list one step further did you? :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Actually I'm still debating whether or not to try and put some clear over them now.
 

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UV gone on mine

I'm quite sure the UV is gone on my headlight pods as well as being scratched badly by some bozo with aparent sandpaper or steel wool or some such that should have never touched paint nor plastic. Strangely, the paint around the pods is perfect, nary a scratch.

Rick, that looks like an outstanding job on getting your transparency back. The wet sanding idea, wouldn't have tried it myself, glad you did for all of us. :)

As for a clear coat, I think we'd have to determine what the actual material of the pods is, then find a suitable coating that won't yellow or cloud up. I can't think of any clear-coat body paint product off hand that would not put the plastic's clarity at risk. Possible experimental idea, if you could find a broken pod in a junkyard (since it should be cheap ) and try some clear products on sections of that. The stuff that instantly screwed it up would be the first crossed off the list! Leaving the test pod out in the weather, I guess we'd have to wait months for the later results.

But on the other hand, that polish job will last quite a while, I'll bet.
 

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Please keep us informed as to how long the plastic lasts without a UV protection on it. I have seen numerous plastic encased headlights around my town that are so yellowed out, I'm sure they are also very brittle too. Without a UV coating on your headlights I'm sure they won't last but one summer. But lets hope for the best.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well unfortunately we'll never know with these. The car in the pictures is not my Insight I've had (you can see the red one's front in the background). This one I acquired a little while back and it's now for sale, so it won't be around long enough to find out. But now that I've had good success with these ones the ones on the red one have some hazing going on which the polish alone is not solving so I'm probalby going to hit it with just the 3000 and see what I can do. I doubt I'll go through the coating though.

I know there's all sorts of different plastics, but I'm thinking why can't I just go buy a piece of clear acrylic at Home Depot and spray it with a can of clear and put it outside and see how it does as an experiment.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Interesting articles. Ok so lexan is a polycarbonate, I'll try and remember to pick up a sheet of it next time I'm at Home Depot. Automotive clear coat does contain UV protection in it. It goes to the upper portions of the clear when it dries so that's why you can only remove at max a half a mil (half of one one thousandth of an inch) of clear coat with wet sanding or buffing without risking clear coat failure 6 months down the road.
 

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I wonder if something like this would work for a coating. I have no idea how long it would last, but it claims to be intended for plastic. They also have cleaner and finisher products. I haven't tried this manufacturer or retailer, this retailer was just picked at random from a Google search and there are many more.

http://www.autogeek.net/plastik-surface-sealant.html
 

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headlight lens

How about checking the use of "Aircraft canopy cleaner or polisher"?
 

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[/quote]Actually I'm still debating whether or not to try and put some clear over them now.
Hey Rick,
You could always try a Dodge Caravan headlight lens with the clear coat to experiment with. They are the worst for yellowing, and there are millions around. I cleaned up a pair from a friend of mine in a similar manner, but didn't use the sanding first, just some paint polish and a buffer and they came out almost as good. That was about 7 months ago and they haven't yellowed back much, if any.
robert
 

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I used to be big into pro level R/C car racing, and the bodies of these cars are made of lexan, you had to buy special "lexan" paint to use to paint them or else standard stuff wouldn't stick and end up flaking off (especially considering the vibration that these little cars experience!). I don't know off hand if any of the clear coats from this kind of paint offered any UV protection (prob not, the bodies for these cars would only last about a year if you were lucky), but it might be something to consider looking into.
 
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