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  #1  
Old 06-24-2006, 09:02 AM
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Cleaning Headlight Lens Doors 450SL/SLC

Anyone have success removing the aluminum backs from the headlight lens doors on a 107, to clean the inside of the lenses? The aluminum backs are held on by flanges which appear to be the plastic from lenses which have been heated and bent over. On a spare headlight door, I cut off the flanges with a rotozip with a cutting wheel. Not perfect, and I had to chip off some excess material, which resulted in bigger pieces breaking off. I also tried a glass cutting diamond wheel, small woodworking chisel etc. with similar poor results.

After removing the aluminum backs, I'm thinking of re-attaching the backs the same way - bending the plastic over the back of the doors. I'm also thinking of sealing the backs closed with clear silicon caulk to avoid dirt getting inside. The disadvantage is that if I ever have to take them apart again, they will be equally hard to remove/replace.

Comments? Better solutions?
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  #2  
Old 06-25-2006, 01:30 AM
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Replacement doors arent too expensive.. I personally would just replace them with new ones.
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  #3  
Old 06-25-2006, 10:30 AM
88Black560SL
 
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I melted mine off with a soldering iron. And the used the soldering iron to re-install them. Once they were off, I put them in the dishwasher (Wife out of town). They came out great.

Attached are some before and after shots
Attached Thumbnails
Cleaning Headlight Lens Doors 450SL/SLC-headlightdoorsbefore.jpg   Cleaning Headlight Lens Doors 450SL/SLC-headlightdoorsafter.jpg  
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  #4  
Old 06-25-2006, 10:32 AM
88Black560SL
 
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I forgot to mension on my other car I had to replace one because it was broken. The aftermarket one I got from Fastlane appeared to be every bit as good as the original Bosch at 1/2 the price.

John Roncallo
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  #5  
Old 06-26-2006, 07:19 AM
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Good suggestions, John. Did you seal the lens to the aluminum plates (with caulk or something), or leave them the way they came? I don't want to do the job twice.

I cleaned the plates with metal polish but couldn't get get them as shiny as I wanted. I'm thinking of spraying with an aluminum paint.
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  #6  
Old 06-26-2006, 08:54 PM
88Black560SL
 
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I dident seal them. I thought about it but I remembered how the headlights on my Taurus were leaking and filling up with water, consequently burning out bulbs. All attempts to seal my Taurus lights failed so in the end I just drilled 3 drain holes at the bottom of each light to let water out and never hads a problem since.

For my plates. If I recal mine were a galvinized steel, they were not shiny and I did not make any attempt to clean them any more than wiping them off. I doubt polishing the plates would have made any difference in appearance of the assembly but I could be wrong.

If you can polish only one side and assemble them on the bench loose and see if you can tell the difference and post your findings.

John Roncallo

Last edited by Roncallo; 06-26-2006 at 08:59 PM.
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  #7  
Old 06-26-2006, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al76slc
Anyone have success removing the aluminum backs from the headlight lens doors on a 107, to clean the inside of the lenses? The aluminum backs are held on by flanges which appear to be the plastic from lenses which have been heated and bent over. On a spare headlight door, I cut off the flanges with a rotozip with a cutting wheel. Not perfect, and I had to chip off some excess material, which resulted in bigger pieces breaking off. I also tried a glass cutting diamond wheel, small woodworking chisel etc. with similar poor results.

After removing the aluminum backs, I'm thinking of re-attaching the backs the same way - bending the plastic over the back of the doors. I'm also thinking of sealing the backs closed with clear silicon caulk to avoid dirt getting inside. The disadvantage is that if I ever have to take them apart again, they will be equally hard to remove/replace.

Comments? Better solutions?
I did this; the reflectors are heat-staked. First, obviously, clean them thoroughly, that dust really gets baked and caked inside, use a bristle brush. I removed the reflectors with a Dremel, and replaced them by remelting the plastic with a cheap soldering iron(I was extremely careful not to remove very much plastic at all). PLASTX works wonders on the front.

I think the reflectors are galvanized, not aluminum (?). I polished the reflectors and sold the set (bought new ones); if I were to do it again I'd resurface them with HVAC aluminum tape (harbor freight), then sand and polished the reflectors (carefully, I know they are thin/delicate) and then seal the backs closed with RTV. The tape actually works extremely well, expecially if it it is sanded with 400 grit, and then buffed with a finger, rubbing compound, and a fine polishing towel. I did this on reflector bowls for my spare set of Euro's with shockingly good results (see post). PM me, I bought more aluminum tape than I will use before I lose the rolls. OTOH, this might actually wind up being TOO reflective, in which case just leave the tape as-is with no sanding/polishing. You can't really see wrinkles through the front anyway.

People may wonder "why do this?". Well, it's somehow more satisfying to restore something to like new than it is to just buy parts; also, now I have more money to spend on things that I can't restore. It is, however, a time vs money equation.

Right now, I'm working on the body side moulding (I got a new set, but I couldn't bear to throw out the old ones). I have a technique that got the rubber to esentially new condition as compared to my new set.
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Last edited by Strife; 06-26-2006 at 11:10 PM.
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  #8  
Old 06-29-2006, 07:01 AM
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Strife

I was actually asking about the metal plates in back of the lens doors. Is that what you sealed in with the RTV? Mine were a little dull, but I polished them, and then was thinking of spraying.

On the reflectors in back of the headlights, mine were rusted. I cleaned them but otherwise left them alone. Since the headlight has an opaque reflective surface in the inside back, I didn't think I needed to try to do anything with the headlight reflectors. Maybe I should rethink that. I have a roll of HVAC reflective tape.

I like John's idea of putting the lenses in the dishwasher. There are some areas (lower corners) that I couldn't get a brush into.

Of course, once I have beautiful lenses, that still doesn't deal with the rust that's eating the car.....
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