Painting Headlights, Questions

Anything goes in the world of fiberglass and plastic



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:26 pm
First I want to thank everyone on this forum for their input. The end product turned out great! I have some notes and tips for anyone else who decides to go down this path now or in the future.

I found that this industrial purple cleaner & degreaser by ZEP worked better than anything else. Same active ingredients as purple power but way cheaper. Think I picked up this gallon jug of concentrate for $8.99 at my local hardware store.
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Next you'll need to find or buy a tote that will comfortably fit your headlight bezels or plastic chrome parts that you wish to strip. Then fill the tote with the degreaser shown above and mix with water. Fill it with enough water to cover the plastic bezels, but not enough water to fully dilute the mixture. I mixed mine 5:1, with 5 gallons of water or so. Still plenty strong and pulled the chrome off each piece in about 5-6 minutes.
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After soaking the bezels for about 5 minutes in the mixture you've made, pull the bezels out to ensure all the chrome has been removed. This process didn't take me too long. In my case I had to rotate the bezel in the container after 5 minutes as I wasn't able to submerge the entire bezel at once. These headlights from the newer superduty trucks are pretty large!
Here is what they should look like when the chrome has been fully stripped.
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I then scuffed the bezel plastic with red Scotch-Brite pads. Setup a nice table to spread out all the headlight parts for paint. Warmed up the garage to 75-78 degrees and sprayed some SEM plastic adhesion promoter. After spraying the adhesion promoter I was ready to spray my 2k epoxy primer. I just mixed up some OMNI brand primer I had laying around and shot it. You can also find paint/ primer cans with activator in the bottom at most auto paint supply stores if you don't have a gun to spray paint with. Although the final product always turns out better if you do spray with a gun, imo!
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Next came base coat. I used Deltron DC2000 basecoat here. This basecoat sprays like glass and only needs 2 medium coats. I did the two colors in two stages and masked things off with some 3/8" medium hold masking tape and some plastic. Don't use high hold tape for masking on top of basecoat or you may risk peeling when you go to remove the tape.
I was going for the iron man look here.
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Finally came clear coat. I went with DCU-3000 clearcoat, a production clear, which cures astonishingly fast. I sprayed the first coat, wet, waited about 4 minutes and then immediately sprayed a second coat, also wet. No runs or orange peel. I love this stuff. After 7-10 minutes @ 75 degrees the clear coat was dust free, after 25 minutes @ 75 degrees the clear was tack free.
Once the clear was tack free, I moved them over to the oven. I set my oven for 125 degrees and baked the parts for about 8 minutes. This nearly fully cured the clear coat. After cool down the headlights were ready to reassemble.
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Next came reassembly. Please excuse the dirty truck. It is winter after all.
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These D2S 4.0 projectors put out some serious light...

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:52 pm
Nice project. Thanks for detailing exactly what you did here. It will surely help someone that wants to do this in the future. Looks great.... :goodjob:
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