headlight scratches


soroush

Ford Gt Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Aug 8, 2007
5,014
Reading the thread about replacing the toggle switches was exactly what I need to light the fire under my bum to get some work done on the car and do a little write up myself.

so for the longest time I had some really nasty scratches on the headlight of my blue car and I finally decided to do some thing about it. however as I started my project the blue car was upset at me for not paying any attention to her for quite sometime and she definitely let me know by not starting at all. battery charged all lights came on and everything electrical seemed ok, after a little investigation and some talking to her I was able to finally convince her to cooperate (wiggled the solenoid connectors on the starter) and she fired right up as if to tell me don't neglect me again :)

I should say this was my first attempt at trying to sand, compound and polish the scratches on any car and I figured hey what better way to start learning than on a 5K dollar set of headlights...

you can see the really deep scratches in the middle and upper left part of the light


so I started with 600 grit sand paper on my DA polisher and sanded everything down and then worked my way all the say up to 2000. then compound and finally polish , sounds easier when you write it down but it did take me about three hours, but I think it was time well spent.
 

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soroush

Ford Gt Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Aug 8, 2007
5,014
all done full detail next is clear bra practice in anticipation of the the new GT :)

I even had some time to tidy up the garage shelves
 

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2112

Blue/white 06'
Mark II Lifetime
Beautiful job! Just like getting that cast inlay margin to transition to enamel perfectly!

Thanks for sharing it step by step. I love these threads.

PS was there ever a solution for the temporary fogging inside the enclosure?
 

soroush

Ford Gt Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Aug 8, 2007
5,014
Beautiful job! Just like getting that cast inlay margin to transition to enamel perfectly!




Thanks for sharing it step by step. I love these threads.
PS was there ever a solution for the temporary fogging inside the enclosure?
semi-coarse disk moving in the direction from gold to enamel will burnish and get that job done well :)


you are welcome, the fog you see is actually the area that was still sanded and not fully polished even though I sanded the whole thing I sanded and concentrated on the areas with the scratches most, so throughout the process, the "foggy" areas were the areas that were polished and brought to a shine last.
 

NorthwoodGT

GT Owner
Jun 12, 2009
1,061
Michigan
the material on the head lamp lenses is pretty tough. we've done the same thing with some used units that looked like they had been drug around the floor with the lens side down. amazing how you can take a wheel and clean them up beautifully. we've done the same thing with some scratched up tail lamps and also sprayed a high gloss clear poly over them when we done. someone else turned us on to that years ago. nice work!!!
 

2112

Blue/white 06'
Mark II Lifetime
semi-coarse disk moving in the direction from gold to enamel will burnish and get that job done well :)


you are welcome, the fog you see is actually the area that was still sanded and not fully polished even though I sanded the whole thing I sanded and concentrated on the areas with the scratches most, so throughout the process, the "foggy" areas were the areas that were polished and brought to a shine last.
No, I wasn't clear, you did a great job, mine fog up on the inside, especially on rainy days. It dries out after a day or two in the garage.
 

soroush

Ford Gt Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Aug 8, 2007
5,014
the material on the head lamp lenses is pretty tough. we've done the same thing with some used units that looked like they had been drug around the floor with the lens side down. amazing how you can take a wheel and clean them up beautifully. we've done the same thing with some scratched up tail lamps and also sprayed a high gloss clear poly over them when we done. someone else turned us on to that years ago. nice work!!!
I was thinking about spraying a clear on the surface but wasn't sure about the process, can you tell me what you guys used? Im going to bust out my air brush and start practicing my paint touch up technique, I'm sure I can use it to spray the clear on the headlights.... it either that or cover them with clear bra, or both.
 

NorthwoodGT

GT Owner
Jun 12, 2009
1,061
Michigan
If I'm not mistakes my painter just used a PPG clear from a base coat/clear coat process. was nothing unusual or unique.
 

soroush

Ford Gt Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Aug 8, 2007
5,014
No, I wasn't clear, you did a great job, mine fog up on the inside, especially on rainy days. It dries out after a day or two in the garage.

ah, I see, although I have taken out the headlights before I can't remember if they are a completely sealed unit or not.. naturally if they are not you will most likely get moisture build up if the conditions are right then evaporate, and if they are sealed perhaps the seal is going bad, Im sure the lenses are glued on and if one wanted could possibly remove them with a lot of patience and a heat gun clean the inside and reseal although I can't imagine that being a fun job. I Had to do that on the ultima a while back! certainly not looking forward to do that on the GT
 

soroush

Ford Gt Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Aug 8, 2007
5,014
If I'm not mistakes my painter just used a PPG clear from a base coat/clear coat process. was nothing unusual or unique.


thanks for the info, I have some here I may try it out.....
 

Sinovac

GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Jul 18, 2006
5,465
Largo, Florida
Looks great. Your garage is scary organized. No wire hangers ever?
 

MNJason

GT Owner
May 14, 2010
2,005
Twin Cities
Nice work!
 

Specracer

GT Owner
Mark IV Lifetime
Nov 28, 2005
5,887
MA
NICE cobra!!!!!
 

PL510*Jeff

Well-known member
Mark IV Lifetime
Le Mans 2010 Supporter
Nov 3, 2005
4,591
Renton, Washington
Well done. Looking brand new again.
 

Simon

GT Owner
Feb 19, 2013
828
Houston
Soroush,

I have Xpel on my headlights...something to consider
 

PeteK

GT Owner
Apr 18, 2014
1,191
Great Falls, VA
Many headlights (and other clear plastic bits, like faceshields on helmets) have a scratch-resistant and UV-resistant coating on them.

Do the GT headlights? If so, then you almost certainly want to put some kind of coating back on them after polishing.
 
Xpel make a heavy duty protective kit for GT headlights - the plastic is .030" thick. much heavier than clear bra.
 

soroush

Ford Gt Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Aug 8, 2007
5,014
Looks great. Your garage is scary organized. No wire hangers ever?
haha yes OCD is in full effect.

Nice work!
thanks I was a bit nervous but turned out alright.

NICE cobra!!!!!
thanks Andy somehow I think you know all about that car :)

Xpel make a heavy duty protective kit for GT headlights - the plastic is .030" thick. much heavier than clear bra.
Soroush,

I have Xpel on my headlights...something to consider
yes that is something I have been thinking about Im just calling around to see who has the best prices.. its amazing how expensive "film" has become...
 

MTV8

GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Jul 24, 2010
899
Houston Texas
Nice job. I agree on using film. I had the headlights on my daily driver refinished and it was recommended that film be applied right away before any sun exposure. They have held up great since.