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Unread 09-21-2013, 12:43 PM   #1
jbaldry
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Why can't I polish my headlights correctly?!

Having some trouble here, and it's really starting to piss me off. I have spent hours sanding my headlights from 600 to 1000 to 2000 to 3000 then compound, polish, then micro polish. And don't get me wrong they are certainly shiny! But when you put a light through it you can see scratches! Which frankly I didn't even have before. All I had was minor hazing and some rock chips. What am I missing here? Should I just go buy a headlight kit where you attach sanding pads to a drill? I'm retrofitting my headlights (I'll post that soon) and I want to my lens or covers to look brand new.
Thanks for the help, Jake

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Unread 09-21-2013, 01:52 PM   #2
Olese
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If you're going all the way down to 2 & 3000 grit, you're rubbing compound might be too aggressive, what are you using for compound, polish, and micro polish? Machine or hand? Mine had a light hazing as well and I used 3m 39002 compound by hand and it did a great job.
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Unread 09-21-2013, 02:15 PM   #3
jbaldry
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olese View Post
If you're going all the way down to 2 & 3000 grit, you're rubbing compound might be too aggressive, what are you using for compound, polish, and micro polish? Machine or hand? Mine had a light hazing as well and I used 3m 39002 compound by hand and it did a great job.
I'm using Chemical Guys V34 V36 then 38 and I did it first by machine Orbital then I switched to hand because it didn't seem aggressive enough. It was as if my scratched were STILL from the 600 grit
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Unread 09-21-2013, 02:22 PM   #4
Knightrider9827
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I used 1500, 2500, 4000 then 5000 grit. Then meguiars plastic cleaner. Still have scratches, but didn't sand that long with the finer grit.
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Unread 09-21-2013, 02:51 PM   #5
Olese
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbaldry View Post
I'm using Chemical Guys V34 V36 then 38 and I did it first by machine Orbital then I switched to hand because it didn't seem aggressive enough. It was as if my scratched were STILL from the 600 grit
Well, I don't want to sound like I'm stating the obvious but keep in mind that you have to get ALL of the 2000 grit scratches out with the 3000 and ALL of the 1000 scratches out with the 2000 and ALL of the 600 grit scratches out with the 1000. If you don't get the 600 grit scratches out with the 1000, it would take forever to get them out with the 2000 or the 3000.

If they were only lightly hazed, the 600 might have been too aggressive to begin with but will still sand out with enough work.
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Unread 09-21-2013, 05:31 PM   #6
WJChris
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also, just to be sure, make sure you are using at least water when sanding, best to add a drop or two of car wash soap.

I use a power ball with plastic X on a drill after 600, 1500 and polished like the day they were new.
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Unread 09-21-2013, 05:39 PM   #7
StormChaserTim
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Starting with 600?!?!?

Start at 1500, then 2000, then 3000.

I use mag wheel polish to polish back out, works like a CHAMP.

In your case, I'd go over them again with 1500, 2000, and 3000, and make sure you are wetsanding. Keep everything as wet as possible. That will keep the surface cool, and lessen the risk of heat-blistering.

Tim
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Unread 09-21-2013, 08:43 PM   #8
jbaldry
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Alright looks like I'm going to have to grab some 800 to take out the 600 then 1000, 1200, maybe 1500 if I can find it, 2000, 3000, then polish
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Unread 09-21-2013, 08:44 PM   #9
jbaldry
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Starting with 600?!?!?

Start at 1500, then 2000, then 3000.

I use mag wheel polish to polish back out, works like a CHAMP.

In your case, I'd go over them again with 1500, 2000, and 3000, and make sure you are wetsanding. Keep everything as wet as possible. That will keep the surface cool, and lessen the risk of heat-blistering.

Tim
What do you use to apply the mag wheel polish?
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Unread 09-21-2013, 09:19 PM   #10
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What does everyone do after they spend the time polishing; to keep the lenses shiny and new? Clear coat? Some 3M clear bra product? Weekly waxing? I spent a lot of time polishing my headlight lenses, and within about 3 months they looked nearly as bad as before the polishing. Colorado is pretty brutal on plastic parts.
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Unread 09-22-2013, 09:13 AM   #11
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I used Sylvania's headlight kit.. came with the sand paper, rubbing compound, and then a polymer liquid which you put on at the end that fills all the scratches and adds back the UV protectant layer you sanded off, to prevent rehazing.

Colorado is no worse than AZ trust me on that... b/t the intense sun and sand blasting wind... My last windshield looked like confetti from all the sand etching.
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Unread 09-22-2013, 09:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coloradowjowner View Post
What does everyone do after they spend the time polishing; to keep the lenses shiny and new? Clear coat? Some 3M clear bra product? Weekly waxing? I spent a lot of time polishing my headlight lenses, and within about 3 months they looked nearly as bad as before the polishing. Colorado is pretty brutal on plastic parts.
^^This. You can even find kits with the film custom-cut to fit your lens. It applies like window tint. Used it on mine after polishing the lenses, and they look perfectly clear many months later. On other vehicles, I have had years of good results with the pre-cut vinyl film. I think I have been buying my kits from autoanything,com.
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Unread 09-22-2013, 12:44 PM   #13
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Ok main problem: I have polished and everything and still have scratches. Do I go back and sand again but with more steps (like 800 and 1500) or do I find something that supposedly fills the scratches (like mag wheel polish)? Also has anyone else besides that one guy tried mag wheel polish, and would it work for my problem?
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Unread 09-22-2013, 02:00 PM   #14
StormChaserTim
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Originally Posted by jbaldry View Post
What do you use to apply the mag wheel polish?
I keep fresh applicator pads around. If you don't have any, a folded, damp washcloth works fine.

Tim
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Unread 09-22-2013, 02:11 PM   #15
StormChaserTim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbaldry View Post
Ok main problem: I have polished and everything and still have scratches. Do I go back and sand again but with more steps (like 800 and 1500) or do I find something that supposedly fills the scratches (like mag wheel polish)? Also has anyone else besides that one guy tried mag wheel polish, and would it work for my problem?
Hang on a second. The idea here is to cut the outer layer of the plastic, removing the haze, then progressively sanding to remove the scratches. It's exactly the same as paintwork. Mag wheel polish won't fill anything in. What it is, is a super fine abrasive. Fact is, toothpaste would (theoretically) work. The reason you still have scratches is because they weren't fully sanded out by the next finer grit.

Think of it another way:
Coarse (600 grit)
Medium (1000 grit)
Medium Fine (1500 grit)
Fine (2000 grit)
Super Fine (3000 grit)
Ultra Fine (Mag Wheel Polish)

Tim
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