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Old 08-22-2018, 09:48 PM   #1
Ricketts
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Default Headlight Sanding/Acetone Trick

Hey folks, has anyone tried this device before? Its a small stainless steel coffee cup with a heating element built in. You add acetone to the cup and when it heats up, it steams the acetone. I was dubious at first, but found one dirt cheap on aliexpress for around 9 bucks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wppa59yZjgQ

Process is: wet sand headlights with 600, then 1500 grit. Clean with water. Dry with a towel. Then apply the acetone steam (in a well ventilated area of course) and it melts/seals the surface of the plastic headlight. I am impressed, but the jury's out until I see how long it lasts. It makes snese though, the surface of the headlight is surface melted/sealed so it should last longer than a standard sand/polish.

It is much quicker than continuing to polish the headlights using standard headlight polish methods, so even if it doesn't last it is easy to repeat. The whole process took me 1/2 hour. If I do it again I will start with 400 grit as my headlights have some serious pitting that was not removed with the 600. You might be able to see in the pictures. It's definitely worth a try if you can get the cup cheap. The pictures really don't do it justice, the headlights are the shiniest part of my car, lol
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Old 08-22-2018, 10:26 PM   #2
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Default Re: Headlight Sanding/Acetone Trick

I would love to try this, keep us updated please!
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Old 08-22-2018, 11:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Headlight Sanding/Acetone Trick

Try this next time. Took me five minutes or less for each side. I did a post on it. Still lookin good.

https://youtu.be/z2ZRKPshPVM
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Old 08-22-2018, 11:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Headlight Sanding/Acetone Trick

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1996SW2 View Post
Try this next time. Took me five minutes or less for each side. I did a post on it. Still lookin good.

https://youtu.be/z2ZRKPshPVM
Yep - basically the same thing, but your way is probably quicker. I remember watching that video before and wondering how smooth the acetone made the surface with the wipe. I am curious how long this acetone trick will last. I think it might seal the surface better...we'll see. I was going to clearcoat the end result, but it might be harder to re-do the process in the future if there are still large portions of clearcoat still attached to the headlight.

It was a fun experiment for sure. Cool to watch the headlight surface become clear almost by magic
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Old 08-26-2018, 01:21 PM   #5
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Happy Re: Headlight Sanding/Acetone Trick

I use acetone vapor polishing on 3D printed ABS parts all the time.
It can make them positively glossy and even wet-looking.
But to be perfectly honest I had not thought of doing it to headlights.
Very interesting.

I have used "wheel clear coat" paint on headlights after 2000 grit wet sanding and it has generally held up quite well.
https://www.autozone.com/paint-and-b...int/465716_0_0

The next time I have to clean up some headlights I will try your method for sure.
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Old 08-26-2018, 01:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: Headlight Sanding/Acetone Trick

Interesting.
I did use spray clearcoat on my wife's L200 (sold) headlights. after a while, it cracked and yellowed and peeled. Probably the mind-numbing humidity down here didn't help either. Or user error, I am the worst rattle can painter.

My 21-year old S headlights are doing fine. I kept it garaged much of its summers.
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Old 08-26-2018, 02:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: Headlight Sanding/Acetone Trick

I did the trick, it worked well, and my visibility has improved greatly.
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Old 08-30-2018, 07:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: Headlight Sanding/Acetone Trick

I had done this previously, but watched this video.
The guy warns not to swipe acetone a second time....with good reason.
I had one light wiped and it was crystal clear, on the other headlight, I thought I'd missed a spot and redabbed it with a fresh acetone wipe...huge mistake!
It got super cloudy, and i dabbed again and it looked like it was sclerosis of the finish. Could not get it clear again until I used one of those power drill sanding discs and had to literally sand it all off and redo. Fortunately it finally came clear.
Lesson learned, don't go back over it a second time.
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Old 08-30-2018, 10:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: Headlight Sanding/Acetone Trick

Am I the only one who thinks heating acetone is a really, really bad idea?? Flash-point of 0°F ??
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Old 08-30-2018, 10:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: Headlight Sanding/Acetone Trick

Getting it to flash is not that difficult but low temperature heating to produce a vapor stream is not that dangerous as long as it is done in a well ventilated area without a source of ignition. There should also be no wind or fans as the vapor has to reach the lens in a more or less even fog.

Not a process for the inexperienced though.
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:59 PM   #11
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Default Re: Headlight Sanding/Acetone Trick

I had to replace a headlight bulb in my wife’s pacifica today. The lenses were cloudy so I figured I would try polishing the lenses. After some online research I went to the local AutoZone and the counter guy steered me toward trying what he does. So an $8.99 bottle of Meguiar’s PlastX plastic polish (made for polycarbonate lenses) and a $4.99 trio of terry shop towels later I had a pretty good result. I used elbow grease instead of a drill with a polishing head (like the Autozone guy uses). Knowing that there’s no protective coating I chose to cover them with some ‘work’s on any automotive surface style liquid ‘wax’ substitute That’s been in my garage for at least a decade. First I did the Pacifica and then the SW2.

https://www.meguiars.com/automotive/...0-10-oz-liquid

A0797B2B-7E6F-4E83-A5A6-900246BFAE0F.jpg

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Old 01-28-2019, 08:36 AM   #12
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Default Re: Headlight Sanding/Acetone Trick

Seconds on Meguiars...

I haven't found it in years - but I bought a BMW R90t that had a windshield that was yellowed and nearly opaque.

I spent less than 30 minutes on it, and it looked great.
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