Headlight reflector restoration questions

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Headlight reflector restoration questions

Postby Mr Ree » Thu Sep 01, 2016 5:21 pm

Hi TS'ers,
I have unfortunately been failed for a WOF on my SXV10 Camry wagon, due to the passenger headlight apparently having an irregular beam pattern, so it needs to be replaced.

Unfortunately TNZ no longer offer the headlights new, so I have trawled through trade me, and been around all the wreckers in Wellington to try and find a second hand one that is in good enough condition, but havent had any luck. A couple of places said they can source one from another wrecker for upwards of $120+freight, but they cant/wont guarantee it will be good enough, nor will they refund if its not.

Obviously this leaves me in a bit of a bind.

The only other option I could think of was to remove the headlight, pop it in the oven to split the casing/lens, and try to re-chrome the reflector, although Im not too confident of that working, given I wouldnt have access to the same reflective paint that Toyota would have used when they were manufactured.

Has anybody here tried to restore their headlight reflectors, and if so, how did you get on?

Thank you. Any and all advice appreciated :)
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Re: Headlight reflector restoration questions

Postby GDII » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:26 pm

I've never tried it before but I have tried to glue the lens back onto a new age VW Beetle and found the silver paint in the lens was very very delicate. If you touched it, it would lift off the plastic liner almost like it wasn't dry. Not a Japanese car though.

Do you know what the actual problem is with the light housing causing the beam to not be correct?
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Re: Headlight reflector restoration questions

Postby Mr Ree » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:58 pm

I have looked closely at it and from the front, it appears to have extremely tiny rust spots around the middle of the backing reflector, but I am unsure of if there is any deterioration inside the front reflector. I will pull it out tomorrow to see if I can ascertain what else, if anything, is wrong with it, and decide from there what to do.

Im just being extremely optimistic that somebody is going to reply saying "Yeah sure, its simple to repair, and here is the paint code you need" haahaha

Cheers for your reply :)
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Re: Headlight reflector restoration questions

Postby whynot » Thu Sep 01, 2016 10:36 pm

I have my doubts it will be a painted reflector, more likely chrome plated steel. You might be able to clean it up enough with a metal polish like brasso or autosol and provided you can keep the moisture out of the light it could last a number of years. If that doesnt work then my first stop would be an electro plater and that should cost less than the second hand lights you were considering.
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Re: Headlight reflector restoration questions

Postby Mr Ree » Fri Sep 02, 2016 11:39 am

I concur with your comments about the chrome plated metal. The painting option was only a stab in the dark based on having discussed it with a wrecker who said he had successfully restored a few of them that had the same problem (but he couldnt recall the paint he used)

I have spent a lot of time reading lots of threads about re-silvering the reflectors etc, but will have to find someone local who offers that service.

I managed to find a second hand light last night, that the seller has described as looking perfect inside, so fingers crossed that will be ok and pass the WOF. Otherwise, ill have to look at the other alternative.

Thanks for your input :)
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Re: Headlight reflector restoration questions

Postby GDII » Fri Sep 02, 2016 12:33 pm

If you aren't able to get a good one here there are 2 at Parts World in Palmerston North.
One problem with lights is the housings are never cheap due to the fact that they always get crash damage so they tend to be a sort after part from wreckers. At least that's what I understand.
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Re: Headlight reflector restoration questions

Postby Mr Ree » Fri Sep 02, 2016 3:48 pm

Thank you for the heads up about the ones in P.Nth. I will follow up on them if the one that I bought last night ends up being a fail.

Yes, you're right regarding the high prices for lights...a large percentage of cars would get crashed into something front on, so its likely half the cars at wreckers dont even have a front end to sell off.

Fingers crossed :)
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Re: Headlight reflector restoration questions

Postby rollaholic » Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:22 am

are you sure its the reflector and not the bulb?
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Re: Headlight reflector restoration questions

Postby Mr Ree » Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:42 pm

Yes, when I was failed, the first thing I did was remove the bulb from the headlight to check it wasnt the culprit.

The second hand unit I bought passed the WOF recheck luckily though :)

The headlight I bought seems to have a far less shiny reflector than my original one. Im guessing Toyota might have used a newer material in the 97 model, as all of the earlier models I have looked at all appear to be the same dull silver colour, rather than shiny chrome.

Alll is well, that ends well.

Thanks for everyones contributions and advice :)
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