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  1. #1
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    Yes | No

    3m Headlight restoration before and after

    I was really impressed by a demonstration of the process on the 3m website, and ponied up 300 bucks on Amazon to buy the "system".

    It was remarkably foolproof and not difficult at all. Here's the before and after:









  2. #2
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    Yes | No

    For $300 they should have sent someone to do > >

    the job for you since the 3M Lens Restoration Kit sells for <$20 at any auto parts store. Maybe it included an air drill and a compressor..?? I've used the 3M restoration kit and it does work miracles. $300??


    Filehorse
    Knoxville, TN
    BMWCCA #407627

    2002 525i Steptronic Sport/Premium | Build Date: 05/02
    81,000 Ultimate Driving miles
    Xenons
    Style 81s | Bridgestone Potenza RE960 AS
    Titanium Gray | Gray Leather
    35% LLumar ATR LLumaStar tint
    Valentine 1 | Hardwired
    Steering wheel position memory w/Alzheimers
    "Lifetime" ATF replaced at 40,000; Switched to Valvoline MaxLife @ the 80,000 mile service
    "LIfetime" Final Drive gear oil replaced at 81,000; Redline 75W-90 GL-5
    StopTech SportStop slotted rotors w/Axxis Deluxe Advanced pads
    StopTech SS Braided Brake Lines

    2001 E46 325i (Jet Black) Forced Retirement 6/28/09

    2001 E46 325i (Orient Blue) Forced Retirement 10/09

    1989 E30 325i (Alpine White) Retired

  3. #3
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    Yes | No

    U beat me 2 it Filehorse, $300-hope he got the DA






    "Drive It Like You Stole It, A Sickness for Quickness"
    The Bottle Rocket "King of Spray" 2 Stage Nitrous Oxide
    Dare to be different and stand out among the crowd of me-to-cars!
    No guts, no glory! Tire smoke, not traction control!
    Zionsville all aluminum radiator to replace the 3 leak prone Nissens Radiators!

    NOS Progressive 2 Stage Controller with port injection
    Snow's Performance Methanol/Water Injection
    Dinan downloads, VAC Under Drive Pulleys
    Dinan Carbon Fiber CAI
    Dinan Front Strut Bar
    Electric Cooling Fan w/PWM controller
    NGK Iridium Plugs
    DDE Enhanced Angel Eyes, Smoked Lenses
    Koni FSD's/H&R Springs, BAV Brass Caliper Bushings
    Eisenmann Race Exhaust (from H8-Rain's car)
    ///M5 3.15 LSD
    ///M5 Sway Bars, Front & Rear
    Energy Suspension Polyurethane Sway Bar Bushings
    ///M5 Gauge Cluster Rings ///M5 Lip Spoiler
    ///M5 Mirrors and Switches
    Leather Z weighted shift knob (thanks H8-Rain)
    Rogue “Octane” Short Shift kit w/WSR
    Rogue Tranny Mounts
    StopTech Brake Lines Front & Rear
    Axxis Deluxe Plus pads Front & Rear
    Staggered M Parallel 66, Xenons
    Modified CDV, UGDO
    Euro Storage Tray (thanks Zombywolf)
    Redline in Diff and Tranny
    Passport 8500 X50, Escort ZR3 Laser Jammer
    G-Tech/Competition Pro Data Logger
    Auto Enginuity OBD-II Scan Tool
    25% Tint, X-Pel, LoJack
    PIAA Driving Lights
    35W Xenon backup bulbs
    BMW CCA Member Boston Chapter

  4. #4
    doctorgonzo
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    Yes | No

    3m advises...

    ...that this process will pretty much remove any UV protecting coating a headlight might have been blessed with originally, and warns that absent this UV protecting coating, that the "base" polycarbonate will oxidize much more quickly than the lens did when it was new. I've heard of guys who will get a body shop to spray clear urethane over a restored headlight, as urethane-based paints are known to be very UV resistant. Food for thought.

  5. #5
    haze again. $300 overkill. Eurodavid
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    Yes | No

    in less than a yr, your bimmer lenses will blur &


  6. #6
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    Re: in less than a yr, your bimmer lenses will blur &

    That's akin to saying, "Well I'm just going to take another dump tomorrow, so there's really no sense in wiping today." I'm wiping today.

  7. #7
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    Yes | No

    Try 303 Aerospace Protectant (nt)

    Ken



    '97 540/6
    Jet Black
    50% Tint
    Shadowline Trim
    M5 Rear Sway
    M5 Rear Trunk Spoiler
    M5 Gunmetal Staggered Wheels
    BMW Aerodynamic Front Spoiler
    e36 M3 (short) Shifter
    Supersprint Hartge Exhaust
    Magnaflow High Flow Cats
    Koni Shock/H&R Sport Spring Pkg
    Brembo Rotors w/ AXXIS Deluxe Pads
    Hella (Euro) Halogen Angel Eyes
    Clears @ 4-Corners

  8. #8
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    Yes | No

    In defense of the $300 3M HRS

    I venture to say that even with the pope sprinkling holy water on the car as you attack it with your drill and attached rotary sponge, that the "after" picture would look a hell of a lot like the "before" picture. Focus on my results: pretty "miraculous" I'd say.

  9. #9
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    Yes | No

    So did it come with the DA sander?






    "Drive It Like You Stole It, A Sickness for Quickness"
    The Bottle Rocket "King of Spray" 2 Stage Nitrous Oxide
    Dare to be different and stand out among the crowd of me-to-cars!
    No guts, no glory! Tire smoke, not traction control!
    Zionsville all aluminum radiator to replace the 3 leak prone Nissens Radiators!

    NOS Progressive 2 Stage Controller with port injection
    Snow's Performance Methanol/Water Injection
    Dinan downloads, VAC Under Drive Pulleys
    Dinan Carbon Fiber CAI
    Dinan Front Strut Bar
    Electric Cooling Fan w/PWM controller
    NGK Iridium Plugs
    DDE Enhanced Angel Eyes, Smoked Lenses
    Koni FSD's/H&R Springs, BAV Brass Caliper Bushings
    Eisenmann Race Exhaust (from H8-Rain's car)
    ///M5 3.15 LSD
    ///M5 Sway Bars, Front & Rear
    Energy Suspension Polyurethane Sway Bar Bushings
    ///M5 Gauge Cluster Rings ///M5 Lip Spoiler
    ///M5 Mirrors and Switches
    Leather Z weighted shift knob (thanks H8-Rain)
    Rogue “Octane” Short Shift kit w/WSR
    Rogue Tranny Mounts
    StopTech Brake Lines Front & Rear
    Axxis Deluxe Plus pads Front & Rear
    Staggered M Parallel 66, Xenons
    Modified CDV, UGDO
    Euro Storage Tray (thanks Zombywolf)
    Redline in Diff and Tranny
    Passport 8500 X50, Escort ZR3 Laser Jammer
    G-Tech/Competition Pro Data Logger
    Auto Enginuity OBD-II Scan Tool
    25% Tint, X-Pel, LoJack
    PIAA Driving Lights
    35W Xenon backup bulbs
    BMW CCA Member Boston Chapter

  10. #10
    doctorgonzo
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    Yes | No

    Re: So did it come with the DA sander?

    Indeed. Comes with a bunch of goodies:

    Ssanding Tool--Chicago Pneumatic CP7200S Mini D/A sander

    Polishing Tool--Chicago Pneumatic CP7201P Mini Polisher

    1 Bottle - Plastic Polish 39010

    1 Bottle - Plastic Cleaner 39017

    2x 3 inch Backup Pad 05259

    1 Box - 3 inch 600 Grit Disc 00711

    1 Box - 3 inch 800 Grit Disc 00710

    1 Box - 3 inch Trizact 1000 02068

    1 Box - 3 inch Trizact 3000 02077

    2 Pads - Soft Interface Pad 05271, 2 Adapters - 5/16 inch.

    2 Pads - 3M Perfect-It™ Foam Polishing Pad, 3" 05726

    2 Pads - 3M™ Perfect-It Foam Buffing Pad, 3" 05759

    Installation tools for each of the air tools

    1 Tool Bag

    I admit, it was a relatively big expense, but damn, it's a really neat thing to have handy. And it's fun too. After I did my first headlight, I couldn't take my eyes off of the now nearly-flawless lens. My '99 with non-Celis Xenons is getting the treatment this weekend. I'll post pics!

  11. #11
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    Yes | No

    You got 2 air tools....nice!






    "Drive It Like You Stole It, A Sickness for Quickness"
    The Bottle Rocket "King of Spray" 2 Stage Nitrous Oxide
    Dare to be different and stand out among the crowd of me-to-cars!
    No guts, no glory! Tire smoke, not traction control!
    Zionsville all aluminum radiator to replace the 3 leak prone Nissens Radiators!

    NOS Progressive 2 Stage Controller with port injection
    Snow's Performance Methanol/Water Injection
    Dinan downloads, VAC Under Drive Pulleys
    Dinan Carbon Fiber CAI
    Dinan Front Strut Bar
    Electric Cooling Fan w/PWM controller
    NGK Iridium Plugs
    DDE Enhanced Angel Eyes, Smoked Lenses
    Koni FSD's/H&R Springs, BAV Brass Caliper Bushings
    Eisenmann Race Exhaust (from H8-Rain's car)
    ///M5 3.15 LSD
    ///M5 Sway Bars, Front & Rear
    Energy Suspension Polyurethane Sway Bar Bushings
    ///M5 Gauge Cluster Rings ///M5 Lip Spoiler
    ///M5 Mirrors and Switches
    Leather Z weighted shift knob (thanks H8-Rain)
    Rogue “Octane” Short Shift kit w/WSR
    Rogue Tranny Mounts
    StopTech Brake Lines Front & Rear
    Axxis Deluxe Plus pads Front & Rear
    Staggered M Parallel 66, Xenons
    Modified CDV, UGDO
    Euro Storage Tray (thanks Zombywolf)
    Redline in Diff and Tranny
    Passport 8500 X50, Escort ZR3 Laser Jammer
    G-Tech/Competition Pro Data Logger
    Auto Enginuity OBD-II Scan Tool
    25% Tint, X-Pel, LoJack
    PIAA Driving Lights
    35W Xenon backup bulbs
    BMW CCA Member Boston Chapter

  12. #12
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    Yes | No

    You bought the commercial shop kit. > >

    That's the one intended for shops performing this as a service. The kit from your local Auto Zone actually contains the same abrasive papers and polish but it's only enough materials for a 1-time use. However, I've used one and the results were the same as yours. My son had an old '95 Taurus that I tried it on and the results were amazing. It's like cataract surgery - all that cloudiness just goes away.

    With your system, you can go into business.


    Filehorse
    Knoxville, TN
    BMWCCA #407627

    2002 525i Steptronic Sport/Premium | Build Date: 05/02
    81,000 Ultimate Driving miles
    Xenons
    Style 81s | Bridgestone Potenza RE960 AS
    Titanium Gray | Gray Leather
    35% LLumar ATR LLumaStar tint
    Valentine 1 | Hardwired
    Steering wheel position memory w/Alzheimers
    "Lifetime" ATF replaced at 40,000; Switched to Valvoline MaxLife @ the 80,000 mile service
    "LIfetime" Final Drive gear oil replaced at 81,000; Redline 75W-90 GL-5
    StopTech SportStop slotted rotors w/Axxis Deluxe Advanced pads
    StopTech SS Braided Brake Lines

    2001 E46 325i (Jet Black) Forced Retirement 6/28/09

    2001 E46 325i (Orient Blue) Forced Retirement 10/09

    1989 E30 325i (Alpine White) Retired

  13. #13
    doctorgonzo
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    Yes | No

    Re: You bought the commercial shop kit. > >

    You're right, I suppose this kit was intended for a volume car lot/detail shop/body shop. I rationalized that all of the sanding discs, soft interface pads, back up pads, buffing pads, plastic compound/polish etc. added up to about 240 dollars without the air tools (and minus tax and shipping costs on some webstores). The tools are available for about 100 bucks each. Not to mention, they throw in a snazzy tool bag. If I can sell that formerly un-sellable, formerly horrid-looking, unloved headlight that I posted pics of, then there's an easy $50 bucks right there! Not to mention that if I can do a job or two for $50 bucks a pop that also would at least partially defray the cost of the kit. Time to print some really cheap business cards!


  14. #14
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    Yes | No

    One thing for sure, there's no shortage of cars >

    on the road that could "clearly" benefit from a lens polishing service. I'd be getting those business cards printed up soon.


    Filehorse
    Knoxville, TN
    BMWCCA #407627

    2002 525i Steptronic Sport/Premium | Build Date: 05/02
    81,000 Ultimate Driving miles
    Xenons
    Style 81s | Bridgestone Potenza RE960 AS
    Titanium Gray | Gray Leather
    35% LLumar ATR LLumaStar tint
    Valentine 1 | Hardwired
    Steering wheel position memory w/Alzheimers
    "Lifetime" ATF replaced at 40,000; Switched to Valvoline MaxLife @ the 80,000 mile service
    "LIfetime" Final Drive gear oil replaced at 81,000; Redline 75W-90 GL-5
    StopTech SportStop slotted rotors w/Axxis Deluxe Advanced pads
    StopTech SS Braided Brake Lines

    2001 E46 325i (Jet Black) Forced Retirement 6/28/09

    2001 E46 325i (Orient Blue) Forced Retirement 10/09

    1989 E30 325i (Alpine White) Retired

  15. #15
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    Member No: 17983 horse325es is on a distinguished road horse325es's Avatar
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    Yes | No

    I bought the cheap 3m from autozone

    it was on sale for $20 came with the wheels for a drill, pads, compound, sealer and lube sprayer (water)

    Andreas
    Queens NY
    BMWCCA# 186796
    86 325es (wrecked by careless driver)
    87 325 300k (project for life) aka 1BADETA/Christine
    00 540is 6spd 180k (daily driver)

  16. #16
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    Yes | No

    Here's what this is missing ...

    There have been many posts on this before. You can easily do this by hand with about $20 worth of material ... fine sanding paper, and plastic polishing compound. But the "haze" will return quickly (within a month or so if you drive much at all). The reason is because you have lost the U/V and hard coat that was once there (this is the point that is often lost here on this forum).

    Now the problem with re-doing the coating is that as far as I know it's not readily available. You can find vendors that do it in large quantities; I suppose that if you're willing to spend $300, then you could probably find someone to do a single pair. I posted a link to a supplier once before, can't find it now. Well I just searched again and now here's someone in NM that is doing recoating for individual consumers: http://www.hazyheadlightrepairs.com/ so maybe this coating is now easier to find to DIY?

    FYI, we do hardcoat on all of our military lenses because of the blowing sand requirement, and automobile exterior lighting suppliers do also in order to pass certain DOT lens durabaility requirements.

    Cheers!
    Robert


    '99 540i sport, 6 spd (prod 10/98)
    Click here for Mod List

    I am a BMW Car Club of America member, are you?

  17. #17
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    Yes | No

    And IMO the 3M execs selling this should be fired


    Cheers!
    Robert


    '99 540i sport, 6 spd (prod 10/98)
    Click here for Mod List

    I am a BMW Car Club of America member, are you?

  18. #18
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    Yes | No

    Functional UV coating remains largely unavailable>

    Somehow this has become a quest. I now know more about polycarbonate headlamp lenses than I ever wanted to know. What I also know is that a genuinely functional protective UV coating to be applied after the lens has been polished does not seem to be available at the retail level. There are some mop-and-glo products available but you would probably need to reapply these continuously and even that is not going to buy you any mechanical resistance to scratching and attack by road "sand." Any type of UV "coating" which would approach an OEM finish usually requires either thermal or ultraviolet curing from an ultraviolet lamp of specific wavelength and intensity. There are some suppliers to businesses who have headlamp refinishing as part of their business model but these are almost a franchise relationship and the materials are only available in quantity. The $9.95 spray can of UV Protective Coating does not exist today. Apparently, neither do the products used by the manufacturing industry - at least not in a Do It Yourself package.

    The only reliable, long-term post-polishing protection currently available seems to be the physical application of a plastic UV film such as ClearMask, XPEL or other products discussed here before.

    All that being said, with the rapid increase in refinishing of high-dollar polycarbonate headlamp lenses (especially without a functional UV/abrasion coating), it's only a matter of time until someone steps in to fill the void in the marketplace and offers a functional UV coating system at the retail level - probably located right alongside the $20 3M Lens Restoration Kit at your local auto parts store.

    Until then, caveat emptor.


    Filehorse
    Knoxville, TN
    BMWCCA #407627

    2002 525i Steptronic Sport/Premium | Build Date: 05/02
    85,000 Ultimate Driving miles
    Xenons
    Style 81s | Bridgestone Potenza RE960 AS
    Titanium Gray | Gray Leather
    35% LLumar ATR LLumaStar tint
    Valentine 1 | Hardwired
    Steering wheel position memory w/Alzheimers
    "Lifetime" ATF replaced at 40,000; Switched to Valvoline MaxLife @ the 80,000 mile service
    "LIfetime" Final Drive gear oil replaced at 81,000; Redline 75W-90 GL-5
    StopTech SportStop slotted rotors w/Axxis Deluxe Advanced pads
    StopTech SS Braided Brake Lines

    2001 E46 325i (Jet Black) Forced Retirement 6/28/09

    2001 E46 325i (Orient Blue) Forced Retirement 10/09

    1989 E30 325i (Alpine White) Retired

  19. #19
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    Yes | No

    the "hard coat" is as important if not more

    important than the UV protection. These lenses get sandblasted at highway speeds.
    Cheers!
    Robert


    '99 540i sport, 6 spd (prod 10/98)
    Click here for Mod List

    I am a BMW Car Club of America member, are you?

  20. #20
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    Yes | No

    Re: Here's what this is missing ...

    After i restored mine I used some headlight tint overlays. I'm pretty sure that's enough for UV protection.
    Here's what it looks like after 3 years and 50k miles.
    Sorry for the crappy quality, its the only decent pic i have of the headlights after i restored and tinted them.


    Andreas
    Queens NY
    BMWCCA# 186796
    86 325es (wrecked by careless driver)
    87 325 300k (project for life) aka 1BADETA/Christine
    00 540is 6spd 180k (daily driver)

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