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Restoration of headlights and tailights - how to with pics

BeardBros

Seasoned Member
Joined
May 8, 2017
Messages
147
Location
Central Illinois
So since a set of headlights and tail lights will run you about $10K now I figured I would restore my original ones with lots a sun damage on my 2004 XLR with 87K miles on it. The tops of the headlights and tail lights have all kinds of heavy hazing and pitting along with the usual wear from 86K miles and 13 years of sun. So here is what I did to restore mine.

You will need a squirt bottle with water, 2000 grit sandpaper, 2 inch masking tape, a towel to wipe off the water, a buffer with a wool pad and a soft foam pad, a buffing compound and a polish.

First I taped off all the lights so I do not scratch the paint with the sandpaper.

IMethjfgG_4863.jpg

Here you can see the damage to the lights.

IMG_48hjghjghj65.jpg

Then I wet sanded the lights with 2000 grit sandpaper, stopping and wiping the light off periodically to make sure all the damage was sanded out. Don't want to sand off more material than you have to.

IMG_4fghfgh856.jpg

The taillights seem to be a softer material than the headlights so they sand out pretty fast. Once all of them were sanded out I sprayed them off with water and wiped them and let them dry.

Then I proceeded to buff them at about 1000rpm with the wool pad and the buffing compound to get rid of all the sanding scratches, use plenty of compound because you don't want to melt the lenses. Next I sprayed them down to clean off all the buffing compound and make sure all the scratches were gone, they look pretty nice except they have swirl marks in them from the wool pad. So next I switched to the soft foam pad and a slower speed with the polishing paste and now they look great!

IyjukoMG_4869.jpg


I plan to use Blue Magic headlight lens sealer on them along with waxing them frequently to try and keep them in good shape.

6YHT8_AS01.jpeg

Only took about 2 hours and now I have an almost new set except for the melted turn signal lenses inside the headlights. I will figure out how to fix that next.
 
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James Landi

Seasoned Member
Joined
May 21, 2017
Messages
141
Location
Camden, Maine, and Melbourne, Fl.
My XLR/V(s)
2007 (red) with wire grrile
So since a set of headlights and tail lights will run you about $10K now I figured I would restore my original ones with lots a sun damage on my 2004 XLR with 87K miles on it. The tops of the headlights and tail lights have all kinds of heavy hazing and pitting along with the usual wear from 86K miles and 13 years of sun. So here is what I did to restore mine.

You will need a squirt bottle with water, 2000 grit sandpaper, 2 inch masking tape, a towel to wipe off the water, a buffer with a wool pad and a soft foam pad, a buffing compound and a polish.

First I taped off all the lights.

View attachment 7207

Here you can see the damage to the lights.

View attachment 7206

Then I wet sanded the lights with 2000 grit sandpaper, stopping and wiping the light off periodically to make sure all the damage was sanded out. Don't want to sand off more material than you have to.

View attachment 7205

The taillights seem to be a softer material than the headlights so they sand out pretty fast. Once all of them were sanded out I sprayed them off with water and wiped them and let them dry.


THank you for the instructive post. I have used several "kits" on my Jaguar... much of the "haze" removal is accomplished with buffing compound... then there are applications of auto wax treatments that help to restore luster and maintain and protect the lens for a few weeks' time. Keep us posted on the maintenance phase of your effort, and thank you again, James
 

XLRATING

Seasoned Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2011
Messages
1,844
Location
Virginia
My XLR/V(s)
2006 Infrared XLR (Beauty); 2008 GT500 (Beast); 2007 Black XLR-V (Victor)
You really know your way with a buffer. Fantastic job!
 

mickeytee

Seasoned Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2017
Messages
1,022
Location
North Atlanta
THank you for the instructive post. I have used several "kits" on my Jaguar... much of the "haze" removal is accomplished with buffing compound... then there are applications of auto wax treatments that help to restore luster and maintain and protect the lens for a few weeks' time. Keep us posted on the maintenance phase of your effort, and thank you again, James

where is that photo of the now clear headlights? scratches in taillights are easy to repair as the color is infused in the soft plastic material. The poly on the headlight covers cracks inside the material. Sanding and buffing may remove a light haze on top but will not remove the checking that is in the middle of the material. Like I have said before .I have removed the covers and buffed and sanded both sides until finding out that their is no saving them. You can spary a little clear on them to help keep moisture out of them but they are toast.
 

BeardBros

Seasoned Member
Joined
May 8, 2017
Messages
147
Location
Central Illinois
where is that photo of the now clear headlights? scratches in taillights are easy to repair as the color is infused in the soft plastic material. The poly on the headlight covers cracks inside the material. Sanding and buffing may remove a light haze on top but will not remove the checking that is in the middle of the material. Like I have said before .I have removed the covers and buffed and sanded both sides until finding out that their is no saving them. You can spary a little clear on them to help keep moisture out of them but they are toast.

Mickeytee - The pic of the now clear lens is in the first post at the bottom. It worked good on my headlights because I do not have the cracks that go all the way through the lens. I was able to sand 95% of the damage out. They are not perfect but look way better.

On a side note mickeytee, how is your progress going with the replacement lenses for the headlights? Do you know he guy "Bion" on the cadillacowners.com xlr forum? He says he has new lenses also. I have some contacts in the auto and lighting industry that may be able to help produce some complete headlights and tail lights.
 
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RDwilkerson

Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2022
Messages
15
Location
Laveen AZ
My XLR/V(s)
2005 base
I know anwsering another old post; I have spent hours on my lenses and still look like mierda putting in nicely. would really like to know if anyone have found someone to make replacement lenses yet! These cars are very unique everything is discontinued and no one is working on after market?
 

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