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2015 4 Runner SR5
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Discussion Starter #121 (Edited)
Attacking the headlights again as I don't want to drop a ton of money on them. Used my DA for the final steps. Started with 800 grit by hand, then moved to 1,000 and then 3,000 on the DA - 3" discs. Finished with PlastiX compound using a medium waffle cut pad, then again with a fine polish flat pad.

Before:

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My night time light output was dangerous, so I avoided driving this at night best I could. The passenger was the worst. I screwed up and went to a 220 grit by hand, which scored it badly. I ordered a pack of assorted discs that run 400 - 5,000 which comes in around Wednesday. I will hit the passenger side again because:

After:

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Really scratched up. Needs to get hit patiently with 400 then advance: 600, 800, 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 then PlastiX polish. Will take my tine, because it should come out like the driver side:

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That one just went 800, 1,000, 3,000 then polish. Not in the direct sunlight so it would have some imperfections, but good enough for now. MUCH better anyway.

A Turtle Wax kit I had came with a protectant wipe that cures in 24 hours, supposed to be a UV block kind of thing. I am waiting until I polish the hell out of that passenger assembly before I hit it with the 2K Clear Coat on both. Next weekend project.

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2009 Camry SE I4 MGM
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1,646 Posts
Your head lights are coming along great. The Spray Maxx 2K Clear with the hardener is the best spray can clear that you can get. Looking forward to your final results

Glenn
 

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2015 4 Runner SR5
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Discussion Starter #124
Your head lights are coming along great. The Spray Maxx 2K Clear with the hardener is the best spray can clear that you can get. Looking forward to your final results

Glenn
Thanks. I ordered some LED bulbs to see if they make a difference as well. Everything comes in Wed - the sand discs and the bulbs. I'll spend Friday (my off day) sanding down that passenger assembly and installing the LED bulbs. Hopefully with both the light output will be better. The passenger assembly gets moisture in it, even from just spraying with the water bottle, so going to remove it and run some caulk around it.
 

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Discussion Starter #126
Holy Crap, what a difference:

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These are just the low beam (H11). Guess which one is the LED and which one is the most expensive halogen bulb... Hopefully these will last. Only about $28 per pair and plug and play. No fan on the bulb, just a larger heat sink. Friday I will install the high beam bulbs. I think I will be able to see the road at night again. Woo hoo.

Also got all my 3" sanding discs in - ranges from 320 to 10,000. I will hit the passenger side assembly with 600 and work my way up, see if I can buff out those deeper scratches. Once done I will clear coat them.
 

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2015 4 Runner SR5
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Discussion Starter #127
Worked the passenger assembly again today. Started with 600 to grind down some of the harsher scratches I did with the 320. I worked it for a bit on 600, then for a bit on 800 and moved up:

600
800
1,200
2,000
3,000
5,000
7,000
10,000

Kept it lubed up with distilled water, and between grits hit it with purple power to help clean the crap coming off. Was super hazy of course in the 600 and 800 passes. After the 10k it looks close to where it will look when I hit it with the PlastiX polisher.

Closeup to show the deep scratches are gone:

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The quality of the seal on these is CRAP. Lots of moisture gets in this one especially, leaving those spots inside the housing. A closeup of one area that gets it bad:

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That's all inside the housing. I took the assembly out and ran the heat gun into the bulb holes (lower heat setting) for a bit to dry it up some. I then cleaned the edges up and put a silicone caulk around the seams. They are so bad it is clear why it leaks like that. I am going to buy some butyl and bake these open, clean them up, and put the new butyl on them. That will cure the problem. Hopefully the caulk I put will do for the short term.

Assembly back in, no plastic polish yet - I do that tomorrow as the temp has dropped a bit with the sun going down:

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The polish will take up some haze, but the crud left inside from all the water intrusion will remain until I bake it open and slosh some distilled water in it. I suppose I can remove the bulbs, take it out again, and pour and shake water then alcohol and hope for the best...maybe.
 

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2015 4 Runner SR5
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Discussion Starter #128
Oh, and as expected DRL is no good with the LEDs. Flickers bad. Just won't use DRL (not something I tend to do anyway).
 

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08 Toyota Camry 2AZ-FE R9K Tuned
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AUTO/DRL will flicker with LED's. Solution is just not to use them. All you gotta do know is get the fog lights.
 

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2009 Camry SE I4 MGM
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Oh, and as expected DRL is no good with the LEDs. Flickers bad. Just won't use DRL (not something I tend to do anyway).
I have iJDMTOY 9005 led drl's , what you need is a pair of R4 decoders, so they do not flicker. The R4 decoders plug into your high beam/DRL harness and then to the back of your led bulb.
My Drl's and high beams work perfectly. See picture below
Glenn
 

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2015 4 Runner SR5
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Discussion Starter #131
I have iJDMTOY 9005 led drl's , what you need is a pair of R4 decoders, so they do not flicker. The R4 decoders plug into your high beam/DRL harness and then to the back of your led bulb.
My Drl's and high beams work perfectly. See picture below
Glenn
Thanks, will look into getting a set and see if they work!
 

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2009 Camry SE I4 MGM
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1,646 Posts
Thanks, will look into getting a set and see if they work!
They will work, here is a picture of my 9005 LED with the R4 decoders on. They really look nice and add to the functionality of the DRL and high beam
Glenn
IMG_20191011_114313.jpg
 

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2015 4 Runner SR5
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Discussion Starter #133
Trying my hand at clear coating today. The temperature is not working with me, as is the wind. I only had a small window of the late afternoon where the temp was around 55 so I took advantage.

Laid down a tack coat and did not like how much orange peel was there, so after it flashed I hit it with a 2,000 - 3,000 DA attack to smooth it down. Cleaned it up then laid down a heavier layer. This is my first clear coat job, and rattle can at that so I am not good at it. From a distance it looks good with this first heavier coat:

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But up close not so great:

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That run is on the inside of the housing, as are those spots on the left - I need to open it up and clean it out. On this assembly it is not too bad. But the driver side:

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Not good. I will need to hit that starting at 1,200 then work my way up to 3,000 to smooth it out, maybe go to 5k. Then I will lay another layer on it. I'll grind tonight once it flashes, but the next clear coat layer will have to be tomorrow. It stayed in the upper 40's today until around 1:00 when it warmed up. Should be OK tomorrow.
 

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2009 Camry SE I4 MGM
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You are clear coating the correct way. Wet sanding between coats going from 1200 grit to 5000 grit to remove the orange peel. Will really make your final results nice. I know the 55. degree temps don't help. 4 coats with a wet sand between coats and a wet sand and buff and polish after the final coat and your headlights will look brand new. If you do decide to bake open your headlights to clean the inside of the lenses get some butyl sealant from the retrofit source so your headlights won't fog up, I know from experience doing HID retro fits, your lights are looking great so far. Keep up the good work,
Glenn
 
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2015 4 Runner SR5
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Discussion Starter #135
I just now ordered the butyl and some spring clips - I know that crap inside that housing is going to make me nuts, especially after all this work on them. That first coat of clear I was like "awww crap". It is really hazy when you just lay down the tack layer. Even after wet sanding it I thought I screwed it up. It was that next layer that made it pop and look wet and clear. They were so oxidized this has taken some work, but I am happy with how they are coming out. Beats spending over $500 for new OEM ones. I found an aftermarket set that are blacked out for $120 so have those saved up for the rainy day scenario.
 

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Another excellent option for UV headlights protection is a mixture of 1:1 clear urethane and mineral spirit. Really popular with the car detailing communities and in my experience one application will last over a year.
 
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Discussion Starter #137
Another excellent option for UV headlights protection is a mixture of 1:1 clear urethane and mineral spirit. Really popular with the car detailing communities and in my experience one application will last over a year.
I'll have to try that, thanks. Major goof today: the driver side headlight was in the shade all day due to the position of the car. Hours after my last coat I thought it would be cured up. Passenger side was, but that one was in the sun all day. Leaned into the assembly - palm and two finger tips. Clear was still tacky and it left major prints. You could actually see my prints. DOH. I had to hit it with a 7k then 10k polish, smooth the area out, but that was hazy so had to lay another coat of clear on it. Will probably stay tacky all damn night. Going to move it in the morning to put it in the sun.
 

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Discussion Starter #138
Calling it done. Not perfect. but massively better than it was. Next step is to bake open the passenger and clean it out, replace the butyl. Maybe next weekend.

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2009 Camry SE I4 MGM
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Your headlights look great, a huge improvement. Its a lot of work to get the clear coat smooth. Nice job.
Glenn
 

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Discussion Starter #140
The headlights are working awesome. Between cleaning them up and the LEDs they are nice and bright and look great.
 
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