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  • Hella Headlight Restoration

    Since I am going to store my car away for the cold Montana winter, I figured that I would tackle some projects. The first one will be with my headlights.

    I have the Hella Smileys on my car currently, but the reflectors seem to be fading away. I have some questions.

    1. What is the reflective material made of and where can I get it or send them off to to get them re-done? I figured that I can get them apart and put them back together. I found some videos on You Tube

    2. Lets say that I want Smoked Hellas. The cost is way up there, so maybe I will try smoking them myself. I found an interesting video from Japan on YouTube, but I am confused on a few things. Are the Smoked Hellas really painted black? I thought that the glass lenses themselves were smoked thru some chemical process. If the plastic components are painted black, what kind of black paint it is? Glossy, flat? Something special? Where can I get this paint? Also, the high beams have some sort of cross inside of them. Why is this? What is it made of? Does anyone have a template so that I can make this? I also noticed on this video that the guy painted the tip of the light bulb black. Why is this done?

    I have a lot of questions, but I figured that this would be a fun project. Once I do this, I will post pictures.

    Next, I will attempt a re-dye of my leather seats. I purchased the kit from Leatherique.

    Thanks
    Sash
    sigpic
    Sash K
    '88 BMW M3
    '72 BMW 3.0CS
    '04 330Xi 6-spd
    '90 Ford F-150 4WD

  • #2
    Here is a link to do the smoked headlights. http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/show...ghlight=smoked

    I followed the same technique and this is how they came out






    I will be helping someone do a set soon, so if you have any questions just let me know.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by chutrain View Post
      Here is a link to do the smoked headlights. http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/show...ghlight=smoked

      I followed the same technique and this is how they came out


      I will be helping someone do a set soon, so if you have any questions just let me know.

      hey, I have a clear set, can u help me smoke them? I can bring them to sigfest

      Comment


      • #4
        Bring them. I'll see what I can do.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the great link. I figured that someone made some templates and step by step instructions.

          Is the light output just the same as the regular headlights?
          sigpic
          Sash K
          '88 BMW M3
          '72 BMW 3.0CS
          '04 330Xi 6-spd
          '90 Ford F-150 4WD

          Comment


          • #6
            Exactly the same light output. Your not messing with the projector on the low beams. You can essentially paint everything black as long as you leave the lense and projector. Also, what I did was paint the inside sides of the lense where the ridges are, making it look even darker. The high beams rely on the two crosshair flaps giving the optical illusion. The only thing that you may want to paint would be the little cover that sits right above the bulb. The more attention to detail and planning ahead will make your headlights look great. Also, make sure you put several coats on the outside rings as mine have started to show rock chips from the thin layers.

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            • #7
              What do you mean by "Also, what I did was paint the inside sides of the lense where the ridges are, making it look even darker." Where is this exactly?

              Also, what gauge metal did you use for the crosshairs? I assume that you used silicone where the tabs for the crosshairs went thru the headlight housing.

              Wow, this procedure does not seem too bad. I am pretty excited about trying this out.
              sigpic
              Sash K
              '88 BMW M3
              '72 BMW 3.0CS
              '04 330Xi 6-spd
              '90 Ford F-150 4WD

              Comment


              • #8
                Once you take off the lenses, you will notice the ridges on the inside sides. Like the ridges on a quarter. I believe the instructions tell you to try and use a black adhesive to put back the lenses. I didn't have black adhesive at the time, so I cut out a cardboard template that fit inside the lense and painted the ridges on the inside. If you still have know clue what I'm talking about, I can try and get a picture to show what I mean.

                In terms of the crosshairs, I used black RTV silcone. Just bend the little flaps on the back and apply a good coating over the flaps and holes.

                I can't remember what gauge metal I used, but I got it at Home Depot. It was on a rack with the 12x12inch sheets. Like I said before, use what you feel like. Don't use anything too flimsy because you don't want the metal flexing when you are working on it. Obviously your end result would suck. A thinner gauge would be easier to work with, and the thicker is slightly hard to work with, but I feel they come out better.

                The main thing here is patience, especially taking off the glass lenses. I got impatient with one of my high beams and ended up cracking the glass. At the time, I couldn't track down a glass replacement lense, so I ended up ordering a set of acrylics which have lasted so far without any yellowing or cracks.

                If you got more questions, let me know.

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                • #9
                  One last question, and then I am going to do this. Did you paint the reflector for the high beam or just the crosshairs. The instructions that you linked me to seemed like the guy never painted the reflector. My guess is that you did, but I want to be sure.

                  How did you cut the metal? Did you have someone laser cut it? Were you able to use tin snips?

                  Thanks for your help. This looks like fun!
                  Sash
                  sigpic
                  Sash K
                  '88 BMW M3
                  '72 BMW 3.0CS
                  '04 330Xi 6-spd
                  '90 Ford F-150 4WD

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Is this strictly a cosmetic mod? Is there any functional improvement in light performance?
                    1988 BMW e30 M3
                    1985 Audi Ur Turbo quattro
                    1981 Audi Ur Turbo quattro
                    1971 Porsche 911 2.5L R Gruppe

                    Blog: In The Garage

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CurtEgerer View Post
                      Is this strictly a cosmetic mod? Is there any functional improvement in light performance?
                      Strictly cosmetic.
                      Because anything worth doing is worth doing fanatically!
                      Born date 01/88
                      Ryan

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                      • #12
                        DO NOT PAINT THE HIGH BEAM REFLECTOR!!!
                        The high beam will still rely on the reflector. It's different with the low beam because it relies on the projector. You only need to paint the crosshair flaps.

                        To cut the metal, I took an angle grinder to it to cut them roughly out. Next, I went in with a Dremel and cutoff disc and slowly worked it to my liking. Once done, just paint the crosshairs.

                        This is mostly cosmetic and the high beam is more of an optical illusion.

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