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Restoring headlights off the car #5278633 11/27/19 07:57 AM
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atikovi Offline OP
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Since it only takes 15 seconds each to remove these headlights vs. 15+ minutes of fiddly taping and masking them on the car and fitting towels over the engine, I'm doing them off the car with a 3M kit. Any suggestions how to secure them while doing the work? Holding with one hand is too awkward and getting someone else to hold them isn't an option.

Re: Restoring headlights off the car [Re: atikovi] #5278639 11/27/19 08:04 AM
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HangFire Offline
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They are awkward things, aren't they?

The only thing I can think of is something like the packaging new ones come in. A cardboard box. Inside is another tight-fitting cardboard box of about half height, and that has a headlight-shaped hole in the top. Put a blanket in the bottom.


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Re: Restoring headlights off the car [Re: atikovi] #5278645 11/27/19 08:11 AM
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atikovi Offline OP
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Yes awkward. Maybe I'll try some bungee cords on the back attachment points.

Re: Restoring headlights off the car [Re: atikovi] #5278658 11/27/19 08:22 AM
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grampi Offline
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Maybe it's easier to leave them in place on the vehicle and tape them off?

Re: Restoring headlights off the car [Re: atikovi] #5278706 11/27/19 09:26 AM
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Snagglefoot Offline
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Perhaps a bunch of cloth towels in a large box, or a bed of styrofoam “ peanuts” left over from shipping.


If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: Restoring headlights off the car [Re: atikovi] #5278711 11/27/19 09:32 AM
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Fawteen Offline
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It shouldn't be all that hard to rig up a little jig to support them. Lots of possibilities if you spend a minute or two thinking about it. Heck, with all those empty boxes you have around you should just be able to cut up a couple of those and rig something up.


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Re: Restoring headlights off the car [Re: atikovi] #5278730 11/27/19 09:49 AM
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Chris Meutsch Offline
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A friend holding them down tight against a workbench?


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Re: Restoring headlights off the car [Re: atikovi] #5278758 11/27/19 10:25 AM
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Wolf359 Offline
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If you have them off, have you considered new headlight covers? What car is it? Even on my Mercedes, the headlight covers can be bought for around $50 on eBay or Aliexpress. You just stick them in the oven the soften the glue holding them on. Then they're brand new. Of course if you're going to flip the car, then it doesn't matter as much.

Re: Restoring headlights off the car [Re: atikovi] #5278761 11/27/19 10:28 AM
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atikovi Offline OP
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Just rigged this up.

[Linked Image from fototime.com]

Re: Restoring headlights off the car [Re: grampi] #5278769 11/27/19 10:37 AM
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PimTac Offline
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Originally Posted by grampi
Maybe it's easier to leave them in place on the vehicle and tape them off?




This would be the simplest and easiest way to do it. Why complicate matters?


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Re: Restoring headlights off the car [Re: PimTac] #5278780 11/27/19 10:58 AM
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atikovi Offline OP
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Originally Posted by PimTac
Originally Posted by grampi
Maybe it's easier to leave them in place on the vehicle and tape them off?




This would be the simplest and easiest way to do it. Why complicate matters?


Well, I'll repeat what I said in the first post, it only takes 15 seconds each to remove these headlights vs. 15+ minutes of fiddly taping and masking them on the car and fitting towels over the engine,

Re: Restoring headlights off the car [Re: atikovi] #5278787 11/27/19 11:07 AM
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atikovi Offline OP
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Sanded with the 500 and 800 discs followed by 1000 and 3000 foam pads. Looks hazy but that gives the clearcoat a better bite. Usually you would use polishing compound next as a final step but that would make it too smooth for the clearcoat to adhere well.

[Linked Image from fototime.com]

Re: Restoring headlights off the car [Re: atikovi] #5278803 11/27/19 11:31 AM
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Dave9 Offline
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^ Okay, maybe you have an unusual car, but the majority take a lot longer to remove, reinstall, and re-aim, than the 2 minutes it takes to tape them off and throw a piece of cardboard or a tarp over the engine bay.

How long did it take to post this topic and devise a way to hold them down? Why do you even need to hold them down? They don't wiggle around much while you're polishing. They even seem to like it, like petting a dog. grin2

Be careful, if you go at them very aggressively with a power tool they can end up with a hazy surface from heat, then you'll have to start over to remove that. Otherwise, you could have just put on an old pair of pants and held them in your lap.

Re: Restoring headlights off the car [Re: atikovi] #5278804 11/27/19 11:34 AM
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PimTac Offline
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Fifteen minutes is an eternity.


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Re: Restoring headlights off the car [Re: atikovi] #5278811 11/27/19 11:46 AM
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Snagglefoot Offline
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Originally Posted by atikovi
Sanded with the 500 and 800 discs followed by 1000 and 3000 foam pads. Looks hazy but that gives the clearcoat a better bite. Usually you would use polishing compound next as a final step but that would make it too smooth for the clearcoat to adhere well.

[Linked Image from fototime.com]


Thanks for sharing. You’re choice but I would vote for the polishing compound, such as this.

F6661FEF-A5A8-46CA-A58B-7353DABA7FD7.jpeg

If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
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