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 Making your headlights clear again

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GPW
Hiace Master
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Number of posts : 519
Home City : Cambridge, UK
Model and year : Model: KD-KZH100G-MRPGT
Year: 1996
Colour: 4K1
Trim: FN42

Registration date : 2016-07-16

PostSubject: Making your headlights clear again   Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:58 pm

My headlights look a bit cloudy, so I spent ages looking for a source of new ones and failed.
The fog lamps that are attached however are very clear already.

So why does the headlamp cloud up but not the foglamp?

Well, on reading further I found an interesting thing - we use headlights all the time, and switch them on and off. Especially in Japan where they often switch them off when waiting at junctions. Each time you switch 55W into the light it generates heat and pushes the warm air out, and every time you switch them off they breath in the local air, quite often air polluted by the car in front.

This means the headlight acts as a lung, and gets coated with all that mess inside. So how to clean it off? Well - further reading involves getting hold of some extremely pure (99.85% or better) methanol, and jiving them a good soak and rinse a few times with it, inside the glass bit - to wash out the contaminants.

In the UK they sell it on eBay for peanuts so this should be easy to get the odd 5 litres.

So this is what I intend to do. I'll let you know how it goes when I get around to it....

Ref: http://www.crossfireforum.org/forum/tsbs-how-articles/54984-how-clean-inside-your-headlamp-assembly.html
Note: Methanol is quite toxic, wear gloves and keep away from it.
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Clive
Hiace Master
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Number of posts : 1094
Home City : Bristol UK
Model and year : 2003 Range Rover 4.4 goes like a rocket and drinks like Oliver Reed!
Registration date : 2008-11-05

PostSubject: Re: Making your headlights clear again   Sun Jul 24, 2016 7:47 am

Never had a problem on the inside, other than condensation - hairdryer and vacuum hose cures that for 6 months or so, oh and do it while SWMBO is out!

Plenty on the outside, hard rub with toothpaste/smooth peanut butter/T-cut will solve that.
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Hiace4wd
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Number of posts : 532
Home City : Netherlands
Model and year : 1994 Toyota Hiace 4x4 DIY camper
Registration date : 2016-02-01

PostSubject: Re: Making your headlights clear again   Sun Jul 24, 2016 8:01 pm

I only know of headlights getting unclear on the outside, which can be resolved by polishing them. (which I did on my Yaris/Vitz)
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GPW
Hiace Master
Hiace Master
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Number of posts : 519
Home City : Cambridge, UK
Model and year : Model: KD-KZH100G-MRPGT
Year: 1996
Colour: 4K1
Trim: FN42

Registration date : 2016-07-16

PostSubject: Re: Making your headlights clear again   Sun Jul 24, 2016 8:14 pm

Yes, usually it's on the outside, but each usage case is different.

upload img

Mine seem to have had the usage where the methanol wash will help - look how lovely and clear the fog lamp section is. So it's not the outside, it's the inside.

Condensation is possible, but on looking at them - is not the problem.

It's exactly the same on both sides.

This would be a clear case for new headlamps, but 15 of methanol will I hope (literally) be the solution Smile.
If it doesn't work I'll be after two new or good headlamps, possible imported from Japan, or I could take them to a headlight specialist here - one or two places rebuild them here.
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GPW
Hiace Master
Hiace Master
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Number of posts : 519
Home City : Cambridge, UK
Model and year : Model: KD-KZH100G-MRPGT
Year: 1996
Colour: 4K1
Trim: FN42

Registration date : 2016-07-16

PostSubject: Re: Making your headlights clear again   Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:06 pm

So a quick update, I bought the Methanol and had a swish about in the lamp with about 500ml. The fog lamp is actually in the same chamber so that got a wash too.

The methanol came out yellow/brown.

The main reflectors are still coated with a satin/matt gunk, it's come off here and there so I can see the odd shiny bit - so I know it's not shoddy manufacture, and I tried a finger with a methanol soaked cloth through the lamp hole and there is indeed a film of gunk there.

However the methanol didn't immediately wash it all off as hoped, one issue is that the reflectors are items within the lamp assembly so most of the methanol disappears between the back the the reflector and assembly.

I'm think how to proceed, of the following possibilities

1. Send it off to a specialist
2. Make a bent cleaner rod and hope to rub it clean through the bulb hole
3) Unclip the 'glass', tease it apart and clean it properly from the front
4) Try 3 and then do 1

I can't find replacement lamps online at all, just the odd spare that look exactly the same as mine - which is a shame.
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GPW
Hiace Master
Hiace Master
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Number of posts : 519
Home City : Cambridge, UK
Model and year : Model: KD-KZH100G-MRPGT
Year: 1996
Colour: 4K1
Trim: FN42

Registration date : 2016-07-16

PostSubject: Re: Making your headlights clear again   Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:17 pm

OK, so another update in the headlight story as this is my weekend for finally fitting the new Ford Transit MK5 headlights in.

I've worked out that they just about fit and was testing the beam to see the angles I could get when it was in the place I wanted it to be. Lots of faff will be required to fit the side/indicator lamps as they clipped to the side of the old unobtainable headlamps. Aluminium brackets custom shaped, drilled and bent will be required. Simpler brackets will be also needed for the new Ford lamps.

Anyway I had the left Transit one mocked/propped up (these are new glass ones at 35 a pair) on the left, and the unmolested Toyota one on the right. They both shine onto a white garage roller door. This is the interesting bit, while the beam pattern looked quite similar the Toyota beam was yellow, but the Ford beam was white and at least 3x brighter.

Also interesting is that the bulb in the ford was taken out of the old LHS Toyota lamp so I know they are exactly the same bulbs!! Amazing difference in light output, I was quite stunned.

Still got to finish fitting them though.

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