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Old 10th December 2011, 02:56   #1
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Exclamation Gave my headlights a second life!

I have been having issues with my headlights on my Baleno for over a year now. It all started over a year ago when I was replacing a fused headlamp bulb on the right side. I had not put the rubber seal or boot back properly and it dropped off, while the other side was getting dull with use. This now started allowing the dust to enter in and the reflectors started getting weaker and weaker. I tried all kinda bulbs but none gave me a good view of the road, also not to forget that I have tints on the windscreen which already hampers my view. My car was also looking bad as the headlights were faded.

On many of my recent vists to JC road, I always passed by the this shop where this guy gives the lights a new lease of life. He is the only guy on JC road, who opens the lens of the lights, cleans them and buffs them. The only thing that was holding me back was removing the lights and taking them to him. Two weeks back I went to him again and he said that he could arrange for a mechanic to remove them for me, provided I pay for the labour which I agreed to as he was only charging me 100 bucks! However I told him that I will come the following weekend as I was busy.

Got some time this Sunday that went by, and went to him at 12:45. The mech removed the headlamps in about 20 minutes, and here is where the actual process begins.

He first removes the screws from the headlamps and the bulbs. The he heats the sealed area on the light with a kerosene splinter, this is done to melt the silicon gum that hold the head lamp and the lens. Once opened he wipes the reflector with a waste cloth no water is applied on the reflector for obvious reasons. While the owner is doing this his, workers are cleaning the lens with a scrub pad like the one used at home for vessals (read scotch brite type ) and the local steel wool and some soap. This actually scratches the glass all the more. I was zapped but the owner said that i will all get cleaned off as the lens will be buffed. After the cleaning the buffing is done and all the haziness is removed and the silicon is heated again and the lens is put back in place which gets sealed again once cooled. The pic below will give a better explanation.

I still haven't figured how you write a line or two below or after a pic to explain the pic, any help in this regards is welcomed!

For the time being, the first pic is of the headlight before the work started. 2 & 3 is of the lens being cleaned, 4 & 5 pics are after the cleaning. All the other pics are of the final product. I must say the visibility has improved by more than 75% and trust me thats huge in my case. 1 big mistake I made here is I did not take the pic of the driver side headlamp as that would have given you all a perfect idea of what you can expect. Oh, and the last pic if u look at the top u can see a few small blisters, these are something that this guy was referring to as air crack I guess. He said that this will not go, though not visible in the day, they can be easily noticed at night when lights are ON! Lastly, since he was anyways opening the headlamp, I did one small keeda, and asked him to remove the orange lens, as I always wanted to have white bulbs for the indicators. Something different!!
oops, I forgot the million $$ "kitna liya question." - Well, he charged me 1500 for the buffing, 100 fitting and 70 for the rubber boot. I felt it was worth the money considering a SGP headlight costs around 5k for a single unit. I think I can use them for atleast 12-15 months minimum!!

PS: I will be going to him this Sunday again as my brother wants to get his Santro done too. For the Santro he said that he has the lens available, claims its the original Lumax product. Said it will be 850 with labour, so lets see!
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Last edited by Addy : 10th December 2011 at 03:01.
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Old 10th December 2011, 03:54   #2
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Default Re: Gave my headlights a second life!

work looks good but charges are steep ; yes,it makes good sense only if one were to compare the job to the cost of an equivalent SGP.

The quote for Santro @850 seems reasonable

I saw a guy here who did both the L and R Corolla headlights for 1.5k.
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Old 10th December 2011, 03:56   #3
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Default Re: Gave my headlights a second life!

Last pick looks completely different from the first one. Looks almost like new !
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Old 10th December 2011, 04:51   #4
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Default Re: Gave my headlights a second life!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Addy View Post
I still haven't figured how you write a line or two below or after a pic to explain the pic, any help in this regards is welcomed!
Addy, check this thread out:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/announ...tml#post976063 (Uploading photographs directly to Team-BHP)

Cheers!
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Old 10th December 2011, 05:22   #5
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Default Re: Gave my headlights a second life!

Excellent, this sure looks like a real cheap to get some life out of aging head lamps. i am thinking of getting this done in my Baleno as well. Are the lights bright now?

1500 is nothing compared to what one would pay for the replacement of the complete thing.
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Old 10th December 2011, 08:43   #6
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Default Re: Gave my headlights a second life!

The same job done at kurla cst road mumbai cost not more than rs 300 per headlight for any car plus rs 100 for opening and refitting the headlights.
I feel the charges are steep but guess thats what happens in the absense of competition.
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Old 10th December 2011, 08:44   #7
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Default Re: Gave my headlights a second life!

Appropriate Technology.

Normally an electric oven is used to heat up the headlamp unit to soften the seals before it is pried apart. Here he has used a 'kerosene splinter' - did'nt understand what that is - Blowtorch, stove or a lit kerosene dipped rag? But still it is a low cost option. Important thing is doing it without making a kebab of the headlamp.

Moral of the story: Find a need and fulfill it (while making a profit or killing of it).

Last edited by basky : 10th December 2011 at 08:46.
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Old 10th December 2011, 09:14   #8
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Default Re: Gave my headlights a second life!

Hi Addy,
Kudos to you for finding a guy for doing this job man. My baleno too has a same problem, on both sides, cause of aging I guess. I too wanted to get it done but wasn't sure about the quality of job, so was waiting. Could you please pm me the details. If you are going tomorrow would like to tag along with you.
Cheers,
Rashith
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Old 10th December 2011, 11:15   #9
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Default Re: Gave my headlights a second life!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Addy View Post
...JC road, I always passed by the this shop where this guy gives the lights a new lease of life. He is the only guy on JC road, who opens the lens of the lights, cleans them and buffs them.
Could you please create a thread here with this guy's contact info and a link to this thread? It would help folks who are looking for similar work to be done on their own cars.
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Old 10th December 2011, 12:41   #10
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Default Re: Gave my headlights a second life!

Rather crude and very expensive though. The same can be done for much lesser. Also you can clean the exterior of the lens yourself instead of opening the unit. The interior of the unit only gets dirty if the seal is not proper, else it should remain clean for several years.

To do a DIY job, you need to use a rubbing compound and rub the lens surface. Use motomax 2k rubbing compound on the lens. If you're doing it by hand, plan for around 15 minutes buffing with rubbing compound per lens. The exterior defects should be removed with this process. Then comes the part of polishing it. Use a plastic polish like Meguiars PlastX to further refine the surface. You should get a brilliant shine. If you don't have PlastX or are having difficulty procuring it, then use a sealant over the lens after the first step. This should protect the lens from UV fading and dirt.
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Old 10th December 2011, 13:08   #11
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Default Re: Gave my headlights a second life!

Great thread, thanks for putting it up.

Just a couple of things I would like to add..

1) The glue in the headlights must not be silicone, since silicone cannot be melted and then reused. The glue must have been some sort of plastic based adhesive (like the ones used in glue guns)

2) The correct instrument to use to heat the headlight is a hot air gun, with a thin nozzle. If used properly, it will not cause any damage to the headlight.

3) Although now clean, remember the headlight no longer has a factory seal. If the seal lets air in, moisture and dust will kill the reflectors. For anybody else who is attempting this, I have a recommendation. Buy a Silicone RTV Sealant Tube. 100 gm tube should be enough and will cost you about Rs. 110 or so.

After refitting, just take silicone sealant on your finger and rub the stuff into the joint/meeting line of the two surfaces.

Silicone sealant cures in place to form a water/air/temperature proof silicone rubber gasket. If it has to be removed in the future, a blade will easily cut through the same. It is easily available in Transparent/White/Black colours.
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Old 10th December 2011, 14:29   #12
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Default Re: Gave my headlights a second life!

Here's another thread on the same subject : Get the sparkle back
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Old 10th December 2011, 14:32   #13
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Default Re: Gave my headlights a second life!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Addy View Post
I felt it was worth the money considering a SGP headlight costs around 5k for a single unit. I think I can use them for atleast 12-15 months minimum!!
It's 10K+ per head light not 5K.
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Old 10th December 2011, 14:39   #14
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Default Re: Gave my headlights a second life!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbhiJ View Post
The glue in the headlights must not be silicone, since silicone cannot be melted and then reused.
Mostly Butyl rubber is used -available from 3M but expensive. Silicones have a higher melting point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbhiJ View Post
The glue must have been some sort of plastic based adhesive (like the ones used in glue guns)
Many thermoplastics used in got melt glue guns though not normally used as OEM products for headlamps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbhiJ View Post
The correct instrument to use to heat the headlight is a hot air gun, with a thin nozzle.
Even better to heat it up in an oven for uniform heating. The lens will come apart only if the glue is softened uniformly over the entire bonded area . Better to use a hot air gun for local area reheating.
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Old 11th December 2011, 00:49   #15
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Default Re: Gave my headlights a second life!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vigsom View Post
work looks good but charges are steep ; yes,it makes good sense only if one were to compare the job to the cost of an equivalent SGP.

The quote for Santro @850 seems reasonable

I saw a guy here who did both the L and R Corolla headlights for 1.5k.
Yes, the job is very good considering I still retain the original reflector. There is a Thailand make with the name of Koito I guess and thats 5k for a pair. Sir, even I got both the headlights done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by antardaksh View Post
Last pick looks completely different from the first one. Looks almost like new !
Thats the reason I keep looking at my headlights when the vehicle is parked, and switch to the parking light at signals to save the reflectors. Once bitten twice shy LOL.

[quote=anekho;2605542]Addy, check this thread out:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/announ...tml#post976063 (Uploading photographs directly to Team-BHP)

Thanks! That helps.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Excellent, this sure looks like a real cheap to get some life out of aging head lamps. i am thinking of getting this done in my Baleno as well. Are the lights bright now?

1500 is nothing compared to what one would pay for the replacement of the complete thing.
Yes Mayank, they are brighter now. Exactly my reason for getting the job done, spend 1500 and use it even for a year, its worth it. And never know if I still have the car after that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sierrakamat View Post
The same job done at kurla cst road mumbai cost not more than rs 300 per headlight for any car plus rs 100 for opening and refitting the headlights.
I feel the charges are steep but guess thats what happens in the absense of competition.
You said it. This guy is the only one I have come across in Bangalore. I did not wana chance doing a DIY.

[quote=basky;2605589]Appropriate Technology.

Normally an electric oven is used to heat up the headlamp unit to soften the seals before it is pried apart. Here he has used a 'kerosene splinter' - did'nt understand what that is - Blowtorch, stove or a lit kerosene dipped rag? But still it is a low cost option. Important thing is doing it without making a kebab of the headlamp.

Technology = raise in costs, people here already find it expensive compared to mumbai. Technology would drive it even more upwards. Getting to what its called, well I guess blow torch may be the right word. I have a video which shows what he uses, not sure how to upload a video.


Quote:
Originally Posted by parashakthi View Post
Hi Addy,
Kudos to you for finding a guy for doing this job man. My baleno too has a same problem, on both sides, cause of aging I guess. I too wanted to get it done but wasn't sure about the quality of job, so was waiting. Could you please pm me the details. If you are going tomorrow would like to tag along with you.
Cheers,
Rashith
Hey Prakash, this guy is on the 3rd cross in JC road. He is in the lane where you get all the glasses (windscreens, windows etc). There you have a sweage and his shop is located above that. If you know Siraj, the stickering guy, you can find this shop opposite to his.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SAS View Post
Rather crude and very expensive though. The same can be done for much lesser. Also you can clean the exterior of the lens yourself instead of opening the unit. The interior of the unit only gets dirty if the seal is not proper, else it should remain clean for several years.

To do a DIY job, you need to use a rubbing compound and rub the lens surface. Use motomax 2k rubbing compound on the lens. If you're doing it by hand, plan for around 15 minutes buffing with rubbing compound per lens. The exterior defects should be removed with this process. Then comes the part of polishing it. Use a plastic polish like Meguiars PlastX to further refine the surface. You should get a brilliant shine. If you don't have PlastX or are having difficulty procuring it, then use a sealant over the lens after the first step. This should protect the lens from UV fading and dirt.
I did not want to do a DIY and spoil it all the more, its the start of the month and cash inflow is there so its fine. And like I mentioned, the boot fell off a year ago, so you can imagine the dust inside after driving around 10k kms. Thanks for the instructions, am sure there will be many fellow members who would give it a shot and do a DIY. Although I am sure there are many others who do not have the time, patience etc. I put it up as I found his job good and it can help others in need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbhiJ View Post
Great thread, thanks for putting it up.

Just a couple of things I would like to add..

3) Although now clean, remember the headlight no longer has a factory seal. If the seal lets air in, moisture and dust will kill the reflectors. For anybody else who is attempting this, I have a recommendation. Buy a Silicone RTV Sealant Tube. 100 gm tube should be enough and will cost you about Rs. 110 or so.

Silicone sealant cures in place to form a water/air/temperature proof silicone rubber gasket. If it has to be removed in the future, a blade will easily cut through the same. It is easily available in Transparent/White/Black colours.
Thanks, and will do the Silicone part soon,

Quote:
Originally Posted by akas_chauhan View Post
It's 10K+ per head light not 5K.
All the more satisfying the cost are 20k according to you makes me feel that every penny was worth spent on this.
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