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Unread 07-11-2009   #1 (permalink)
nighttrain471 is offline Rookie


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Question 2003 Mustang-Removing clearcoat from plastic headlights.

Ok, apparently whoever owned my car b4 me decided to touch up the shine on the paint job by spraying a coat(s?) of clear over the existing factory paint job. Wich, actually worked pretty good for the most part. Except however, - it appears they did not tape or mask off the car very well. And did not clean the paint as good as they should have b4 spraying the clear, which is evident from the annoying little permanant water spots in a few places that lay just below the clearcoat, laughing at my shammy cloth, taunting it with their apparent immortality.

Anyway, the top notch body man seems to have also treated my nice 03 factory smoked headlights to the same treatment, so they are cloudy from streaks of water or something underneath the clear. Is there anything I can put on the lights to remove the layer of clear, but at the same time not destroy the plastic housing? And I could then clean the housing.Plastic cleaner obviously didnt work well, b/c the cleaner is up against clear coat, not my headlight housings. I would love to buy some of the cool after market headlights and be done with it, but I have other pressing needs at this time, such as getting up the money to do a decent repaint. Oh and gas, this thing always seems to be needing more gas, can anybody tell me why? It can't be my driving style, the faster you go the easier the gas moves through the motor which = better mileage right?

Right now I have avs headlight covers on them, which looks awesome during the day, but have to come off at night, or I wind up driving around in the dark with the equivalant candlepower of those old cars that had oil lanterns mounted on the front of the car.
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Unread 07-11-2009   #2 (permalink)
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Good question, I can't see anything strong enough to remove the clear coat without destroying the plastic.
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Unread 07-12-2009   #3 (permalink)
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yeah, thats what Im afraid of, Im sure I'll have to break down and get new ones when I have the cash.Which I'd love to do, get a nice set of dark smoked aftermarkets, it's just Im a family man with way more important priorities, I cant even justify owning it to begin with.

Btw, I dont mean to make my car sound like total piece, I love it, I got it at a great price, and owe nothing on it, it truly belongs to me, and the paint problems are not noticeable five feet away, but I am a perfectionist about it, you all know how it is.It's almost enough to keep me up at nite thinking of ways to make it look better. If I get a nice repaint on it I'd really love it. It runs great.
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Unread 07-12-2009   #4 (permalink)
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wetsand and polish
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Unread 07-14-2009   #5 (permalink)
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what grit would be best? I have to admit, I would be afraid I would screw them up worse than they are now.
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Unread 07-14-2009   #6 (permalink)
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not sure
probably something like 2000 and higher
meguires has a kit (headlight restoration) not shure the grit they use
pretty much wetsands it and then you polish the plastic up
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Unread 07-16-2009   #7 (permalink)
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ok thanks, I saw a headlight restoration kit at o'riely's the other day, but I had just figured it was nothing more than polish, but it came in a box so it might be similair to the mequiars kit you speak of.

Also I have decided either way I am going to get some lite smoke tint to go on the headlights and foglights. I belive the tint will help mask the small spots that are messed up in my headlights, and not be nearly as dark at night, anybody with experience with the light tint film I would be glad to hear your input.
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Unread 07-17-2009   #8 (permalink)
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auto parts stores sell headlight restoration kits with discs of different grit in them as well as polish in the kit. get the kit, remove the headlights from the car, mask off the rubber gaskets and spend an evening doing it. take your time and follow the instructions. i just did it to mine which were badly hazed and they came out great. use a variable speed drill with the sanding/polishing discs to maximize effort. i believe the one i used was meguiars. the different grits should be enough to get rid of the clear coar overspray
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Unread 07-19-2009   #9 (permalink)
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You could always take them to a paint shop and have them tinted. They do it by spaying the headlights with a 9:1 clear/black paint mix. Mine look awesome, and I always get people looking to find where the covers are attached, LOL.
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