Are your headlight lenses getting cloudy?

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Daniel J. Stern wrote:


Hardened toughened glass, and in a STANDARD FORM FACTOR (or three) so that every car made can use one of maybe 3-4 standard lamp designs, all of which work well and can be kept in stock on parts store shelves. Instead of a custom lamp design for every different car model, some of which work OK and some of which barely work at all, and NONE of which are sitting on the shelf down at Joes Parts Shack when you need them.
;-p
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On Fri, 2 Sep 2005, Rick wrote:

I agree with you.

Nope, it affects all makes with plastic lenses. Some sooner, and some later, but it does affect all of them. Volvo got bitten so badly by plastic lenses (made by a very reputable lighting company, yet) in their '86-'93 240 and '89-'94 740/940 cars that they went back to glass and are only just now beginning to use plastic again. LOTS of Japanese cars with five or six years on 'em and cloudy lenses, even up here in non-desert Toronto. Plenty of GMs, though GM does seem to use a higher grade of lens material that doesn't go yellow quite as quickly.
DS
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Fortunately my '95 Concord's headlight lenses are still quite clear. The car is garaged most of the time and we don't get much sun for half of the days. Perhaps this is saving it?
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That should help it. I found with our old Aerostar years ago that polishing the lights with Turtle wax every time I waxed it kept them crystal clear while other one's faded. Cheap simple maintenance.
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Interesting. I wash the car with a Turtle Wax wash and wax concentrate, which certainly gets on the lenses. Perhaps that is also helping keep the lenses clear.
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And to top it off the Aerostar Lenses are GLASS! wow Glass lenses stayed clear what a revelation.
-
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Lets complete the thought. The Sebring are not glass ???
--
I work for the ILEC ...." stuff happens! "



< snipped-for-privacy@hartless.com> wrote in message
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They are plastic with an optical coating.
After years, the wind with it's little grains of sand 'sandblast' the optical coating and the lenses start to fade and turn yellow.
There isn't really much to do except install new headlights.

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Like any finish lens cover require preventive maintenance . If cleaned and protect by a polymer polish on occasion and they will not cloud over.
mike hunt

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Hachiroku wrote:

There are two other options (see (1) and (2) below). The cloudiness is a surface issue - not thru-the-material.
For (1) or (2), it would be best to remove the assys. from the vehicle.
(1) You can sand the surface with ever finer grades of wet-or-dry, ending with 2000 grit, and then polish with any one of a number of polishes - Mequiar's Plastix being one that works well. But you do have to periodically repeat the polishing. (Note: When the sanding is finished, the surface will look uniformly dull - never fear - the polish fills in the microscopic sanding scratches to make it look brand new. While not necessary, if you polish it long enough, you will smooth it down to a water clear surface, but polish will still be needed periodically to protect it from deteriorating again without the clear coat that originally came on it.)
- or -
(2) Sand it down as in (1) above, and then (after insuring that no chemical residues remain from sanding and/or polishing) clear coat the surface with regular clear coat - many people have found this a very satisfactory solution. Just like the polish in (1) fills in the dull finish (after sanding) to make it appear water clear again, so will the clear coat.
Also, whether replacing with new assys. or clear-coating, these might be a worthwhile investment: http://www.autosportcatalog.com/index.cfm?fa=p&pid32 Worst-case, you might have to replace one set of those over the remaining life of the vehicle - much cheaper than new headlamp assys.
Bill Putney (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with the letter 'x')
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Bill Putney wrote:

Hi Bill...
Just to add to your sanding process for what it's worth...
Autoglass people have a product they use... a pink liquid, used to polish windshields, that easily polishes plastic to a brand new gleam.
Wish I remembered (if I ever knew) what it's called. How I came across it was years and years ago one of the kids went up north in a 79 pontiac wagon. Coming back it rained, the passenger wiper somehow ripped, and time they got back there was an awful gouge in the glass... neighbor was then in the autoglass business, and gave me a coke bottles worth of this stuff.
BTW, lots of elbow grease removed every last trace of the gouge, but by the time it was gone the glass was optically changed. In this case didn't matter, lower strip on passenger side, but if any others try it be careful :)
Take care.
Ken
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Ken Weitzel wrote:

Yeah - anytime you remove material (change the thickness) unevenly, it's going to cause optical distortion. One of my kid's car's windshields has an arc from the windshield wiper arm from one night several years ago in which the wiper blade fell off in the middle of a bad storm and they kept driving with the wipers running with it like that - it's not too noticeable, and not deep - just surface abbrassion - I'm hopting that if I ever get it polished out, it won't cause noticeable distortion.
I've concluded that some glass is *much* harder than other glass. I worked on it by hand with tooth paste and some other abbrassives - even tried wet-or-dry on it. Didn't phase it. I even got my Dremel MotoTtool out with the polishing wheel and abbrassive - still didn't have any effect! There's a shop in town that's supposed to be set up for removing windshield scratches - as soon as I get it back on the road (replacing head gasket now) I'm thinking of taking it by there and paying to have them see what they can do. Another shop in town says they don't do that any more - they just insist on replacing the windshield - which I guess is more proftiable for them, and in some ways makes sense for the customer too. I just prefer not to break the factory seal if I don't have too (plus I have learned that factory windshields are made of much harder glass than typical consumer grade windshields - and therefore much more resistant to sandblasting and other damage (and polishing out of scratches once they do occur). :)
Bill Putney (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with the letter 'x')
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On Sat, 25 Feb 2006, Bill Putney wrote:

Yep. Glass comes in all kinds of different hardnesses. And then there's hardened glass, and toughened glass, and...

Cerium Oxide slurry is the appropriate gookum.

That's why you want to insist on reputable-name-brand glass when having a windshield replaced.
DS
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< Big Snip>

If it's pink, the active ingredient is probably cerium oxide. It is used in optical work quite a bit, as it cuts and polishes faster than rouge. It's also less messy. Personally, I would make a lap with optical pitch to do the polishing, and avoid the sanding altogether.
Steve R.
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snipped-for-privacy@hartless.com wrote:

Sorry to disagree but my Aerostar(86) had plastic lenses as well as the whole bulb until I replaced them with glass ones
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~We shouldn't have to apply anything, period. I may be wrong, but I dont see ~other makes of old cars, like Toyota, with this problem, only Ford and ~Chrysler. Even GM seems to be immune. Why is that? Is it as preventable as I ~suspected? ~Rick
My '99 Taurus's headlights are like new, but my '99 Camry headlights look foggy -- and they were dim to start with. All headlights should be standard to provide everyone with reasonable lighting.
~
~ ~On Fri, 2 Sep 2005, Bill Putney wrote: ~ ~> I have a set of X-Pels - haven't put them on yet either - but they are ~> much thinner and pliable - I think an improved product over the ~> StonGard. Thinner also of course means less light blockage, both ~> initially and as they age. ~ ~Correct on all counts. Applying the XPel is a great deal more hassle than ~applying the Stongard junk, but worth the extra effort. ~
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A 1998 Chevy Metro and a 1993 Dodge Neon both have the opaque headlights... both made in Japan, as if that really has an impact on the usage of poor quality plastic lenses.
My 1992 Chrysler and 2000 Dodge with plastic lenses showed no problems.
--
Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley (Lake County) CA USA 38.8,-122.5


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On Sun, 4 Sep 2005 snipped-for-privacy@XReXXAreXy.usenet.us.com wrote:

Well...no. The Metro's lamps were made in Japan, but there's no such thing as a 1993 Dodge Neon (the Neon was introduced in 1995), and the Neon's headlamps are US-made.
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Slight slip. 1993 Dodge Colt. Piece of crap from the day it was built, headlights so yellow in 2002 that they looked like fog lights.
--
---
Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley (Lake County) CA USA 38.8,-122.5
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They used too. That is why I mentioned they had something. I was looking at the solar window tint for houses, and looked at some of the auto stuff they had there and I don't remember were the link was but it was for a computer die-cut coating for headlights after re-finishing. And a customer could not order it or buy it. It had to be installed by professionals that did window tint and some other 3M stuff. there was a search function on the 3M site to find authorized installers and there were only two in all of Arizona were I lived.
I searched 3M today also and haven't found it. Probably got rid of it.

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