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  #1  
Old 03-15-2003, 10:32 PM
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can you clean the headlights/reflector from within?

Hi everybody,

I noticed a light film on the inside of the headlights. According to the CD, the reflector and the front glas should be separable. Did anybody ever take these apart for cleaning? Do you need to take the unit out first? Or should I try a "giant Q-tip" and go through the opening for the bulb? Its a '87 420 SEL (W126)

Thanks for your help.

Reinhard Kreutzer
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  #2  
Old 03-16-2003, 01:39 AM
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You can only split the lens from the body if they are euro lights. DOT lights have asolid glass unit, that you could clean through the bulb hole if you had a big enough Q-tip. But if they aren't euros you aren't going to get the inside very clean.

Another arguement for euro lights.
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  #3  
Old 03-16-2003, 09:26 AM
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Thanks Mike,

I start with a Q-tip that I'll make out of a wooden stir, some foam to give the tip some body and cotton. See how it works with Windex.

Regards

Reinhard Kreutzer
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  #4  
Old 03-16-2003, 09:59 AM
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You might want to be careful with windex or any other cleaners around the 'silvering' of the reflector, and clear out any cleaning vapors - the reflector coatings can be real fragile if they aren't of the chrome plated variety, and can be easily scratched or have the surfacxes react with cleaning solutions. I would be inclined to start off cleaning with distilled water (damp, not wet) and see how well that worked out before moving up to something more harsh. Just a thought.
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Old 03-16-2003, 11:12 AM
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Old 03-16-2003, 11:14 AM
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  #7  
Old 03-16-2003, 12:23 PM
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Thanks JCE,

I made the Q-tip (see attached) and used a glass cleaner only moistening it a bit. The foam inside and the cloth held the liquid quite well without releasing a single drop. The driver side glass was really dirty. I went in a second time with only dry cloth to wipe off any moisture.

It sparkles now, except for the very edges. The tip should be about 10 inches, if longer, the back will interfere with the ABS plumbing behind the driver side lamp.

Now I only need to check the alignment.
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  #8  
Old 03-16-2003, 12:31 PM
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"You can only split the lens from the body if they are euro lights. DOT lights have asolid glass unit, that you could clean through the bulb hole if you had a big enough Q-tip."

Our '91 190E has DOT lights, and they have only a glass lens - the reflector/housing is plastic. However, they are bonded together with what I assume is some sort of RTV silicone. I considered using an exacto knife to separate them, but didn't know if anyone has done this? Since I couldn't afford to have the vehicle inoperable long enough for the new sealant to dry, I did not attempt it. There appear to be alignment interlocks so reassembly would not be difficult, though.

Instead, with the assemblies off the car, I washed them by sloshing non-spotting warm dishwasher solution inside, then rinsing and drying in the SoCal sun (and a hair dryer). I noted while doing this that the sealant wasn't intact - some water dripped out. Maybe this is how the dust gets in, since the bulb holder is sealed.

I have not investigated higher-wattage bulbs for this unit since the reflector is plastic.

Steve
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