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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's a new one to look out for (at least, I didn't find it in the search). I went to aim my driving lights last night. Here was my approach:
  • Started car and turned on the high beams to activate the driving lights
  • Covered the headlights with old bath towels to isolate the driving lights
  • Pulled the car up to a wall and marked the height of the driving lights on the wall
  • Pushed the car back ~40 feet
  • Adjusted the driving lights to the marks on the wall
  • Tightened the driving lights
  • Removed the towels

The whole process took about 15 minutes, 20 minutes tops. When I removed the towels, each headlight had a melted spot on the plastic lens about the size of quarter directly in front of the low beam. Of course, being a 2007, the headlights are sealed units. The entire unit on each side has to be replaced ($655/each at my local shop). I'm still both surprised and pi$$ed. I mean, 20 minutes isn't that long. I didn't cover them with tin foil to reflect the light. They were regular old cotton bath towels and the car was in the fresh night air. :mad: Anyway, thought I'd warn anyone who has an Elise/Exige that's MY'07 or newer.

At least my driving lights are now aimed and tightened. :wallbang:

-Brad
 

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So wait....you mean the beam melted the towel to the outside of the lens? :shrug:

So all damage is on outside correct?
 

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You may be able to polish that out since the lenses are plastic, not glass...
 

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So wait....you mean the beam melted the towel to the outside of the lens? :shrug:

So all damage is on outside correct?
I'm pretty sure he means the lenses themselves are melted. It is a fairly common occurance these days with the plastic lenses on headlight assemblies and most manufacturers warn against covering them due to the heat build up from the hot bulbs. Usually you can get away with it for a few minutes, but this time there was a melt down. The best way to "cover" a headlight these days is to place a standing barrier in front of the headlight to block the light (a piece of tall cardboard leaning against the nose of the car usually works well). Sorry to hear about your ruined headlights, but thanks for posting so others won't end up damaging their headlight housings the same way. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm pretty sure he means the lenses themselves are melted.

<snip>

The best way to "cover" a headlight these days is to place a standing barrier in front of the headlight to block the light (a piece of tall cardboard leaning against the nose of the car usually works well).
Yeah. That's what I meant. The towel didn't melt. The lenses themselves melted. I don't think it will buff out either. It's not superficial. It actually distorted and bubbled the plastic lens (see photos).

Funny you mention using a free standing barrier. That's how I've usually aimed headlights on other cars. Someone suggested the towel to me and I thought it was a good idea. Quick, easy, no risk of scratching/marking the car. Well, it was quick and easy anyway.

-Brad
 

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Glad I read this. I could see me doing that. thank you for sharing
 

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:eek: Sorry to see you've damaged the lenses, thanks for the heads-up. I've used the towel method before, but not on my Lotus. I certainly won't be doing that anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No worries. It sucks that I messed up the lights, but I wouldn't wish that on someone else. I know I can think of a better way to spend $1000 than replacing otherwise perfectly good headlights. I assume that would be true for others. The only upside to this is that the lights still do their job, so the car is still on the road. I'm sure there's some disruption to the light pattern, but not significantly enough that I could point it out.

-Brad
 

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Since you seem to be planning on replacing the headlight assemblies. stick the assembly in an oven to warm it up ( guy's installing halos do this) then pull the clear lens off the back portion.

You should be able to wet sand the inside and outside of the lense then buff it out.

use 400wet paper; then 600; 1000; 1500; 2000 paper. Farcella or similar rubbing compound made for auto bodies and a real buffer with whool pad then switch to a lighter polish with a foam pad on the buffer.
or possibly take the lenses to a body shop that can restore headlight lenses.

Then find out what the guys on other forums (or this forum) use to glue the headlights back together after installing ccfl halos.

Save you at least $700.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Interesting idea. I may have to give it a shot. I've said it before about other things and you're referring to it. The lights are ruined. I can't ruin them more.

-Brad
 
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