Dropped the ball, over sanded the headlights

Bscfrank914

Original poster
Member
Aug 10, 2012
151
First time trying to restore my headlights, and I used a kit made by 3m recommended by my local car quest to restore my headlights. Unfortunately I think I over sanded the headlights to my 9-7x. I do not know what to do. know buying a new set of head light assembly's is pretty pricey. I need help!
 

million-miles

Member
Jan 10, 2012
189
I did headlight restoration as a side business for a year.

I always did wet sanding

400 grit
800 or 1000 grit
2000 grit
and then used Meguires headlight polish in the white bottle.

They would some out nice and clear.
 

NewfieEnvoy

Member
Jan 25, 2012
525
Why do you think you over sanded? Unless you sanded a hole through them or melted/discolored because of heat buildup I'm sure their repairable. Do you have a picture? Try to get one fairly close so we can see what you mean by over sanded. As the other poster said with a lot of sanding and polishing they'll look great.
 

Bscfrank914

Original poster
Member
Aug 10, 2012
151
NewfieEnvoy said:
Why do you think you over sanded? Unless you sanded a hole through them or melted/discolored because of heat buildup I'm sure their repairable. Do you have a picture? Try to get one fairly close so we can see what you mean by over sanded. As the other poster said with a lot of sanding and polishing they'll look great.

I'll grab some pics tomorrow. I feel I over sanded it because I can still see the "scratches" from sanding in the headlights. They are still hazy after applying that full packet of compound to the head lights.
 

Bscfrank914

Original poster
Member
Aug 10, 2012
151
million-miles said:
I did headlight restoration as a side business for a year.

I always did wet sanding

400 grit
800 or 1000 grit
2000 grit
and then used Meguires headlight polish in the white bottle.

They would some out nice and clear.

When you mean wet sand, you mean to apply water while sanding down the headlight correct?
 

NewfieEnvoy

Member
Jan 25, 2012
525
What grit did you use to sand before compound? Most likely you have to start over sanding (with the grit you started with the first time) and slowly work your way up in grit. In short, 2000 grit will not remove 400 grit sanding scratches. You have to move up in small steps until you reach 2000 and then switch to your compound.
 

Blckshdw

Moderator
Nov 20, 2011
10,694
Tampa Bay Area, FL
I'm pretty sure he used this kit. I bought this a while back to try, and was also a bit disappointed in the results. However, I was trying to do mine with them off the truck, so it was harder to get leverage on them.

[EBAY]271105906062[/EBAY]
 

Bscfrank914

Original poster
Member
Aug 10, 2012
151
NewfieEnvoy said:
What grit did you use to sand before compound? Most likely you have to start over sanding (with the grit you started with the first time) and slowly work your way up in grit. In short, 2000 grit will not remove 400 grit sanding scratches. You have to move up in small steps until you reach 2000 and then switch to your compound.

Blckshdw is 100 percent right. Thats exactly the kit I used. I found using the sand paper on the drill was kind of difficult, being it was my first time refinishing my head lights. I will try to use sheets of sand paper when I go back to re-do them.

- - - Updated - - -

Blckshdw said:
I'm pretty sure he used this kit. I bought this a while back to try, and was also a bit disappointed in the results. However, I was trying to do mine with them off the truck, so it was harder to get leverage on them.

[EBAY]271105906062[/EBAY]

Yup thats the kit!
 

Blckshdw

Moderator
Nov 20, 2011
10,694
Tampa Bay Area, FL
I felt like the initial grit wasn't course enough, I think it's an 800 grit to start, so depending on how bad your lights are, you wear out the sanding discs before you've gotten to where you're supposed to be. :hissyfit: I did look online, and you can buy discs of other grits to use with it. So I'll remember that for next time.
 

TexazReece

Member
Dec 4, 2011
1,341
I'm pretty sure they are salvageable. Just would have to sand back over them and reapply a better product. Post some pics of them.
 

Hypnotoad

Member
Dec 5, 2011
1,584
Bscfrank914 said:
Blckshdw is 100 percent right. Thats exactly the kit I used. I found using the sand paper on the drill was kind of difficult, being it was my first time refinishing my head lights. I will try to use sheets of sand paper when I go back to re-do them.

- - - Updated - - -



Yup thats the kit!

Did you use the foam pad behind the sandpaper? A buddy of mine totally f&*$d up his headlight from not using the foam. He was able to fix them by starting over though.
 

Bscfrank914

Original poster
Member
Aug 10, 2012
151
Hypnotoad said:
Did you use the foam pad behind the sandpaper? A buddy of mine totally f&*$d up his headlight from not using the foam. He was able to fix them by starting over though.

Nope. First thing I did was clean the lights with a little bit of soap and water. I then sanded it down, then went to the foam pad.

- - - Updated - - -

TexazReece said:
I'm pretty sure they are salvageable. Just would have to sand back over them and reapply a better product. Post some pics of them.

Will do, I'll post some pics up tomorrow.
 

million-miles

Member
Jan 10, 2012
189
Bscfrank914 said:
When you mean wet sand, you mean to apply water while sanding down the headlight correct?

yes have a spray bottle of water and keep the sandpaper and lens wet.

Make sure you have sandpaper that is made for wet sanding.
 

gmcman

Member
Dec 12, 2011
4,656
What Newfie said....I think you just need to start over, they should look worse before they get better.

When you sand them with the lower grit try not to leave deep single scratches and work in circles and get a nice, cloudy haze that looks like you completely destroyed them.

Then work up in grit to the 2000 and possibly 3000 and when you hit it with the polish it will clear up.
 

Bscfrank914

Original poster
Member
Aug 10, 2012
151
gmcman said:
What Newfie said....I think you just need to start over, they should look worse before they get better.

When you sand them with the lower grit try not to leave deep single scratches and work in circles and get a nice, cloudy haze that looks like you completely destroyed them.

Then work up in grit to the 2000 and possibly 3000 and when you hit it with the polish it will clear up.

When I start off with the lower grit, do I go in a up and down motion? Or is everything in a circular motion?
 

cjceg1985

Member
Dec 8, 2011
73
I've used this kit on several cars it always worked well for me. Don't go like sooper fast u want the sanding lines to be uniform not really so u can see the difference in from top to bottom. I found going in a left to right upper to lower worked the best or right to left lower to upper, however you wanna look at it lol.
 

ZOOMDWEEBEE

Member
Apr 4, 2012
78
I used this exact 3m kit.. there is a link posted in the packet to a youtube video on the proper way to use there product..
[video=youtube;_t1RBw0IGXA]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_t1RBw0IGXA[/video] ... i used it on my mothers dodge caravan and if i rember right the first 2 steps require 0 watter.. just sand evenly untill you get a white coat over the entire headlight and work it in circle motion .. when you feel you have the entire headlight to what you feel is smoth then procede to the second grit sandpaper and do it the same as before.. you should notice that the scratches from the heavy grit will smoth out.. you will see alot of white powder .. this is expected.. after you get the light's really smoth whipe them down good with a terry cloth and then spray with watter from a spray bottle.. use the 3rd set of papper and you will start to see a slury type of mixture.. this is also normal.. as you start to get a build up whipe them off with a micro fiber towel and wet again and sand some more.. you should see a big difference from when you started to when you finish with the wet sanding.. the final step is to put on a rubbing compound.. this is a polish only.. if you dont have all the scratches out before this step you did it wrong.. but watch the link i put up it should help:thumbsup:
 

MacMan

Member
Mar 3, 2012
194
Bscfrank914 said:
When you mean wet sand, you mean to apply water while sanding down the headlight correct?

Yes. Must use the Wet/Dry waterproof sandpaper. One suggestion is to fill a small bucket w/ water and add a squirt of dish detergent to the water and mix......makes the sandpaper glide over the surface much easier.
 

NinjuhhNutz

Member
Oct 15, 2012
720
MacMan said:
Yes. Must use the Wet/Dry waterproof sandpaper. One suggestion is to fill a small bucket w/ water and add a squirt of dish detergent to the water and mix......makes the sandpaper glide over the surface much easier.

^agreed, I use J&J baby shampoo though :biggrin:

just be sure to get it alllllllllllllll off of anywhere it may have splattered on the paint or chrome etc. I have seen it do unpleasant things if left to dry in the sun :mad:
 

million-miles

Member
Jan 10, 2012
189
Bscfrank914 said:
When you mean wet sand, you mean to apply water while sanding down the headlight correct?

yes I alwaysed used the wet sand paper you get in pacs and would cut them down to 3 inch wide strips by the width of the paper sold. And always always always hand sanded them. To many things can get messed up with the drill kit. Plus the paper in your hand will form to the curves of the lens a lot better. Then i used a buffer for the compound
 

Jkust

Member
Dec 4, 2011
946
I hope you can fix it. The 9-7 headlight assemblies are astronomicaly expensive even used.
 

Bscfrank914

Original poster
Member
Aug 10, 2012
151
Jkust said:
I hope you can fix it. The 9-7 headlight assemblies are astronomicaly expensive even used.

Thanks man. Sorry for the late response, I've been swamped with finals in school. Ill take a pic once I am free. They are stupid extensive for absolutely no reason. There is absolutely no aftermarket option for them either. Go figure.
 

Jkust

Member
Dec 4, 2011
946
Bscfrank914 said:
Thanks man. Sorry for the late response, I've been swamped with finals in school. Ill take a pic once I am free. They are stupid extensive for absolutely no reason. There is absolutely no aftermarket option for them either. Go figure.

The one thing I've had to replace on the 9-7 besides the rear brakes was the HID bulbs. When I shopped on Ebay for them I saw several of the 9-7 housings for sale and a guy had a brand new one oem the whole shebang with the ballasts for 50$ as a buy it now. I can't believe I didn't buy it as a spare. The upside of the 9-7 though is that you don't have to pull the grill or anything off to replace the bulbs since the housing just slides right out. That's a huge, gigantic improvement over the others. Of course the oem HID bulbs were over the top expensive as well.
 

Forum Statistics

Threads
23,397
Posts
638,827
Members
18,611
Latest member
DirtEater73

Members Online

No members online now.