Before I crack out the actual painting of the headlights, here are some photos of a series 1 AE95 Grille I painted in up to go with the lights. I had paint sitting around and decided to use it up. It was primed, given 3 good coats of gloss black and then another 3 generous coats of clear.
It came up really nicely considering the temperature in the garage and also, my painting prowess isn’t anything to get excited about!
Now, Onto the headlights.
This was one of the coolest things you could do back in the early 2000’s. I still think that it’s pretty cool now and is far nicer than the shitty factory finish.
The best thing you can do here is use something that is NOT going to have the ability to smash the glass lense ( or plastic if you’re working on something newish ). I own one of those plastic tool trim removal sets that I reckon were the most expensive pieces of plastic in the universe, but do a great job of not ruining trims and clips etc…
First thing is first though, You’ll need to remove the lower trim, bonnet stay clip ( only one your passenger side headlight ) and the two lense retaining clips on each assembly.
To remove the lense, wait until you have the house to yourself, and preheat her up to about 160c and let the lamps bake for around 6-8 minutes. Now be careful when pulling the little guys out – they will be hotter than a first date.
Once on the workbench, use one of your little plastic trim tools to pry the corner of the lense until it lifts slightly. At this point, if you have enough heat in the fitting, the lense will literally fall forward in slow motion away from the assembly. If she doesn’t just come out, stick it back in the oven for a few minutes and have another crack at the title.
Once you have both of the lenses removed, mask the reflective part of the assembly, as well as your outer area, especially where the silicone sits – you need this to be in the condition it was to start with!
From here it’s up to you, I gave the lamps a quick prime, and then proceeded to coat them in some gloss black paint that was sitting around… Wait for them to dry and remove all of that tape you just swore at, getting it stuck to your hands and chest as you do so.
At this stage, I cleaned up the lense and put it aside. Using a heat gun, give the silcone some love, but not too much – you’ll melt him!
Whilst hot, grab the corresponding lense and get him into the groove, hold it tight for a couple of minutes and whilst doing so, fit the retainer clips back onto the lenses so that you get a good seal. Otherwise you’ll have leaky lights, and let’s face it, nobody wants leaky lights!
Once this is sorted, let the lights sit and ensure they have sealed properly before installing them.
The end result is really impressive. Especially with the black grille!
Here is a video I made of this graceful process!
Cheers! I’ll be making some more cool stuff soon.