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Old 05-28-2013, 07:00 PM   #1
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3M Headlite Restoration Kit is very impressive!

Just finished using the 3M Headlite Restoration Kit on our yellow, hazy headlites.
I'm so impressed at the results! They now look 99% brand new. I took before/after pictures but they really don't do justice to the results so I'm not posting them. The job took a couple of hours.

There is an article in the March 2010 issue of Motorhome Magazine explaining how the 3M kit is used. The kit should not be used on lenses newer than 5 yrs old. The kit was $33 at our local auto parts store and worth every bit. It was a little short on enough tape for the coverage I wanted so I used some blue tape I already had to finish off the taping. A drill capable of 1200-2000 Rpm's is needed. In between each grade of sanding I used a heavy towel and some elbow grease to really clean the lens before the next step. Thank you 3M for a great product which lives up to it's advertising!
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:46 PM   #2
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Do you know (or do the instruction say) if it'll work on badly scratched lenses? i've tried a couple different kits purchased from AutoZone w/no luck on 12 year old car headlight lenses. At this point, I'm up to try anything short of replacing them.

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Old 05-28-2013, 09:11 PM   #3
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I don't know. This is the only time I've used it. It does say that it may not remove all imperfections. I would imagine it would depend on how deep the scratches are.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:12 AM   #4
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3M Headlite Restoration Kit

I'm glad to hear the 3M kit gave good results. My old Honda headlights were yellowed and dull. I used the Turtle Wax brand restoration kit and it resulted in clear, bright lens. Four months later they were dull and almost opaque! I then researched Consumer Reports and discovered the Turtle Wax brand was rated to last just about that long. The number 1 rated restoration kit at that time was Simonize. I used that brand and almost 2 years later my headlight lens are still clear and bright. I do not recall if the 3M product was rated at that time by Consumer Reports.
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:17 AM   #5
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There was an article in the April 2012 issue of RV Life about restoring headlites and they also used the 3M kit because it was one of the higher rated kits by Consumer Reports. I'm sure that at some point the lenses will have to be done again. This was only a correction of the result of a problem, not a cure of the cause. Time will tell. But it was worth it and I'll do it again when the time comes.
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Old 05-29-2013, 12:05 PM   #6
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I recently tried the Mother's restoration kit since I've had good results with other Mother's products. While it did help some, I was not impressed enough with the results. So, ordered a new headlight assembly from Amazon. I saw the 3M kit at my local O'Reilly's but had already purchased the Mother's kit.
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Old 05-29-2013, 02:17 PM   #7
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Most of what I've read on what causes the discoloration of the acrylic headlight lens is the sun, i.e. UV? Is this correct?

The reason I'm wondering is that both our motorhome and our car which are both now over seven years old are not showing any sign of haziness ...both are crystal clear and we spend more than half the time in the southwest desert sun.

Could it be that, as we recently mentioned on another recent thread, I quickly go over both vehicles with 303 every month or every time I wash them?

Or, was the hazy lenses just something that happened on vehicles built before 2005 or so?

I keep waiting for my headlight lenses to haze up as I keep seeing that it is quite a problem both on motorhomes and cars but so far so good.

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Old 06-03-2013, 11:43 AM   #8
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We have 76k miles on the RV so it has seen a lot of sun. We store it indoors when not in use. So for us it's hard to say. I have a feeling it's the plastic itself.

We also have the red, now white, 3rd brake lite lens. We used what was left over from the 3M to see if it would do anything. It barely did, and it would take a lot of sanding to get it down to clear red. Then it would probably go white again. Again, bad plastic.
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:35 PM   #9
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I have found that acetone appplied with a stiff wire brush actually helped a bunch. Not to where the lights were 'crystal clear', however. Considering that I was working on a 1990 Ford truck, maybe that's as good as it gets on a 23 yr old vehicle. As soon as time allows, I shall put the wire cup brush to work on them and see what develops. One never knows what surprises are in store!
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Old 06-03-2013, 11:32 PM   #10
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Are you talking about glass or plastic lenses on your 1990 truck?
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:04 PM   #11
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I used either Mothers or Melguiers (Sp?) last week on the headlight lenses on my RV and was amazed at the result. The lenses went from yellow to clear. I have no idea how long the treatment will last but instant results were great. The kit included a 200 or 300 grit and a 1000 grit pads to rub out the scratches and then a cleaner paste and a protective paste. Not hard to do or time consuming. It was worth the effort.
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Old 06-05-2013, 07:43 PM   #12
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The 3M kit had three grades of discs. The finest one was like a dense pad that was used with water. That was followed by a foam disc with polish and then a protective coat applied with a microfiber cloth.

I decided to upload the pictures after all since they are OK. This is before, and after is in the next message since I couldn't seem to get two pictures uploaded in the same message.
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Old 06-05-2013, 08:00 PM   #13
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This is after:
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:10 PM   #14
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Cheryl - I believe the 1990 truck has plastic lenses. I'm guessin' that if it were glass, it would not have oxidized so badly. On this topic - the nice young man at O'Rielly told me some time back -maybe a year- that most of the headlights are acrylic. (he had just came back from a seminar) Thus, they will oxidize again sooner or later. So spake Zoroaster . . . . ......
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:43 AM   #15
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If it happens again, which I expect it will since it already has happened once, I'll do the job again. It really was a nice visual upgrade.
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:39 PM   #16
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Here at the Honda dealer that I work at, we wet sand the headlights with 1500 grit and single wipe after cleaning with thinner. When that dries, clear coat and it's good for years.
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Old 06-13-2013, 11:00 PM   #17
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Having some experience with wood working I have used two different types of rubbing compounds. One is pumice and the other is rotten stone. I've used these to bring a piece of furniture which has been lacquered to a beautiful shine. I just bought a 1997 F-150 and tried the rotten stone on the plastic headlights and it worked great. I only did it by hand to see if it would work. Pumice is a little coarser than rotten stone but these will work with just a little water. Tooth paste will also work as a polish. I buy these two products at wood working supply houses. For probably $15-20 you can get enough to do 100 sets of lights. Years ago I could buy a small container of rotten stone in any hardware store. The problem today is finding a real hardware store. The big box stores don't carry either one. A paint supply store might.

Sagamore's suggestion of using wet/dry paper is also a workable solution. Most automotive paint supplies have the wet/dry paper in grits as fine as 2000. I like the rotten stone because you can use an air/electric buffer to speed up the job.

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Old 06-19-2013, 12:16 AM   #18
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I have glass sealed beams on my 02 Itasca, two on each side. Like on the cars of the early 80s. Love them.

My 2000 Fleetwood that I sold, had terrible lights, bulb behind plastic lens.
Bulbs were hard to screw in and there was no splash panel to keep the moisture off the back of the headlight assy. So the bulbs were always exposed to the elements.

My motorhome has splash panels. It should as it did cost more bucks to buy the Itasca.
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:34 AM   #19
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Before you spend money on a polishing kit, Google the number on the headlight assembly and see what vehicle it is from. Then go on Amazon and see if it is available. The headlights on my '99 Chieftain are from Ford Windstar and available from Amazon for $22 including the bulbs. Hardly made any sense for me to buy a polishing kit
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:05 AM   #20
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corvette3C,
Thanls for that info. It's always nice to beat the system and save some $$$$$.
Here's two other ways to beat the system. Charcoal lighter. But it by the quart and pay a lot. I have not bought it by the quart in years so I don't really know the price. Buy a gallon of mineral spirits and it is the exact same stuff. It costs around $12 a gallon now which is about $4 for a quart of charcoal lighter.
This one I really like. Coleman stove/lantern fuel. What is it?? Again I don't know what they charge for the Coleman brand of stove/lantern fuel, I think it's over $10 a gallon, but I know that unleaded gasoline is the exact same stuff. When I was a kid my Dad would send me down to the local service station to get a gallon of, "White Gas". At that time it was just regular gasoline but it was not colored red and there was no lead in it. The lead would foul the tiny orifice of the Coleman stove.
You will not blow yourself up using unleaded gas in those stoves/lanterns. I and my Father-in-law and a lot of others have used regular gasoline for years, and years with no adverse effects.

TeJay

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