View Full Version : Zen, and the Art of headlight Polishing

09/17/2018, 07:17 PM
First, I'll try not to be to long winded. I spent 13 years in England complements of the U.S. tax payers while serving in the U.S. Air Force. I just want to take a moment and say thank you, I sure enjoyed myself, or should I say Ta Mate. Being a gear head like most here, was able to work with some brit’s that were into vintage motor racing. I learned the meaning of recycling and repairing parts, since most of these motor cars were long out of production. Which brings me to the subject of 'Zen and the Art of Headlight Polishing, or how I saved myself 300 bucks one weekend.

My VX was delivered damaged. The car carrier managed to rub the hell out of the front end. The right headlight was gouged, the only word that fits

http://www.vehicross.info/gallery/data/500/thumbs/IMG1.JPG (http://www.vehicross.info/gallery/data/500/IMG1.JPG)

(Not measured, but easily .100 deep in places)

Now, I could spend 300 bucks for a new one and contribute to the dwindling supply of these units, (after all, only 4100 were imported, don’t know how many spares were produced by Isuzu) or I could try and repair it since it was a mess anyway.

So, first step after removing from the car was to sand it, yes, sand it with 400 grit wet&dry, followed by 1200 wet & dry.

http://www.vehicross.info/gallery/data/500/thumbs/IMG3.JPG (http://www.vehicross.info/gallery/data/500/IMG3.JPG)
http://www.vehicross.info/gallery/data/500/thumbs/IMG4.JPG (http://www.vehicross.info/gallery/data/500/IMG4.JPG)

There is still a bit of a gouge left, but didn’t want to remove any more material.

I then used a 6 inch Buffing String Wheel, item #13029 that I attached to my bench grinder and Buffing Compound – Plastic, item # 11924 that I bought from Eastwood Co. http://www.eastwoodco.com/index.jsp great supplier of ‘Unique Automotive Tools and Supplies’. (Just be careful not to burn the headlight.) Then hand polished with One Grand Plastic Polish, Product ID 10217 that I bought from http://www.carcareonline.com/ , a great place for car care products and how to tips.

http://www.vehicross.info/gallery/data/500/thumbs/IMG5.JPG (http://www.vehicross.info/gallery/data/500/IMG5.JPG)

If you look just above the L in Stanley, you will see the blemish that was left.

Total time not including the removal was about 3 hours and 6 oz. of some of Kentucky’s finest. I also took care of the top of the light where the previous owner I'm sure used a car wash instead of hand wash it.

http://www.vehicross.info/gallery/data/500/thumbs/IMG2.JPG (http://www.vehicross.info/gallery/data/500/IMG2.JPG)

http://www.vehicross.info/gallery/data/500/thumbs/IMG_6.JPG (http://www.vehicross.info/gallery/data/500/IMG_6.JPG)

Now, this can be done on the vehicle with them installed. But, if you have done the ‘Flashing Front Corner Marker Light Mod’ By Scott in the How To articles, you will know how easy the front cladding is to remove. After that, two connectors and 3 mounting bolts. (Take note of any shims (washers) that are used for aiming) Besides, lot easier to sit in a chair with a cold one close by and let the world pass by as you perform this labor of love. Just rememeber to keep the paper good and wet. If your dealing with just some minor scratches, forego the 400 grit and go straight to 1200 or 1500 grit. Might have to go to a auto paint store to find this grit.

Am going to do this one more time with 1500 then 2000 grit wet and dry paper along with the plastic buffing and hand polishing then cover them with 15mil of Lexan plastic. (Same as the paint protection stuff (8 Mil) that is being marketed, just thicker) Would use pre-cut if it was available as I have on other vehicles, but it has never been produced for our V-X’s. A local shop who is going to tint the glass will cut to fit from sheet stock. Of course the hump won’t be covered, but it is strong. The sales pitch on this stuff is that they fired a 1oz stone at a 120mph at a headlight that was covered in it and the headlight was not damaged. WORKS FOR ME!

So, the moral of this article is, we drive a rare beast and parts will become rarer. Lets help preserve what we have. So 20 years down the road parts will still be available.

P.S. If you have already replaced yours cause they were looking bad and you still have the old ones laying around, send them to me, I will spend the time to refurbish so when they are needed, they will be available.