Headlights...I cant see diddly squat at night

ISPKI

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As the title says, the headlights in my slug - Earl Simpson Sr. are spanked. I was driving home with a load of ash last night and realized it was the first time I had driven the thing at night and I didnt like it one bit.

That being said. What is everyone's opinions on headlights? Any recommendations on a brand? Bonus thumbs up for pictures.
 

gandalf

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I had much the same problem. It was to the point where I was considering hiring Diogenes, with his lantern, to walk down the road in front of me. I would have been able to see better. I finally got a set of new headlights on Amazon. I have no recollection of the brand. I'm pretty sure it was one I've never heard of. Now I can at least see the road ahead of me if I don't drive too fast. They're certainly better than what they replaced. My real problem is aiming them now.
 

Reggie f250

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This is my before and after. Bought them from rock auto.
 

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IDIBRONCO

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It was to the point where I was considering hiring Diogenes, with his lantern, to walk down the road in front of me. I would have been able to see better.
:rotflmao
Back in about 2007, I rode in a 93 Taurus with some people at night. The headlights must have been the originals because, from the back seat, I honestly didn't think that the headlights were even on. The pitiful glow that was reflecting back off of the road signs looked pretty close to the color and intensity of just the park lights. I thought about buying a couple of candles to tie on the front of the car for the ride back home. I was pretty nervous and sure was glad that I was sitting in the back seat.
A tip that I've seen on here is to have a clear coat painted over the headlights with plastic lenses in order to keep them from turning yellow.
 

bilbo

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:rotflmao
Back in about 2007, I rode in a 93 Taurus with some people at night. The headlights must have been the originals because, from the back seat, I honestly didn't think that the headlights were even on. The pitiful glow that was reflecting back off of the road signs looked pretty close to the color and intensity of just the park lights. I thought about buying a couple of candles to tie on the front of the car for the ride back home. I was pretty nervous and sure was glad that I was sitting in the back seat.
A tip that I've seen on here is to have a clear coat painted over the headlights with plastic lenses in order to keep them from turning yellow.
I had a 2003 Taurus and those were the most awful headlights I’ve ever had. I had to do the polish a couple of times a year just to be able to see anything. I remember the high beams were worse than the lows. Snowstorms were real fun.
 

YJMike92

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TYC is a good brand. they are the only lights I will use personally and for my customers.
 

Fixnstuff

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>snip
A tip that I've seen on here is to have a clear coat painted over the headlights with plastic lenses in order to keep them from turning yellow.
I did this on my 1998 Dodge Dakota based on a youtube video by a guy in the N.E. USA who does restoration and detail work exclusively on very expensive exotic cars. He said in the video that this is the proper way to restore plastic headlight lenses and I have no doubts about that.
Plastic headlight lenses are acrylic plastic and they are coated with automotive clear coat paint from the factory to provide a hard scratch resistant UV resistant coating to prevent UV degradation, oxidation and yellowing of the plastic (which occurs on the surface of the plastic). So, First you have to use sand paper to sand the old yellowed and scratched clear coat off of the acrylic lenses. WET SAND with water and 'wet sandpaper' down to a fine grit sandpaper. It does not need to be extra fine, just the typical 'fine' grade. You can start with a medium grit to cut through the old coating and oxidized layers a little bit faster, then finish with the fine sandpaper. DO NOT USE A POWERED SANDER, at least not on headlights with curved and rounded surfaces because a powered sander will cut too deep and leave ugly machine sanding marks that won't match the contours of the lens. A disk sander will leave semi-circual sratches and it's very difficult to control the depth of the cut on these plastic lenses when using a power sander.
WET SAND BY HAND and you can use a sanding block on a flat lens. Any mistakes you might have made by using a powered sander will cover up very well when the paint goes on and will be very difficult to detect even on close inspection.

AFTER SANDING THERE IS NO NEED TO BUFF OR POLISH THE LENSES. That is a LOT of extra work and expense which is not necessary.

At that point (after sanding) the lenses will be totally fogged from the sanding. Then wipe them clean with a damp cloth and allow to dry. Mask them off and then just 2 or three very light coats of clear coat paint AND LIKE MAGIC they will become CRYSTAL CLEAR like brand new headlight lenses. The clear coat paint will protect the lenses from scratching, UV degradation and oxidation for a very long time. That's the way they came from the factory.
NOTE: It's probably a better idea to MASK OFF the headlight lenses before wet sanding. That will protect other surfaces from collecting the run-off of water, sand paper grit and dust.
I used s spray bottle to spray water on the lenses while sanding.

That method explains the principles of restioring headlight lenses. You have to remove the old deteriorated, scratched, oxidized and yellowed layers and then you need a good hard coating to protect the lenses from future scratches, UV and oxidation. There are LOTS of products that claim to restore headlight lenses. If they are good products they will accomplish the same things I've mentioned above, and probably most important is the final UV and oxidation protection. I don't know what they would use that is hard enough to protect from the scouring and scratches from sand while you are driving on the roads but clear coat paint does.

I don't know which paint formation is the 'best' for this application and would last the longest, eg, acrylic, enamel, or urethane - I would guess the urethane,

By the way, after I did the lenses on my 98 Dodge minivan night time visibility easily doubled, or better as did the visibility distance. It was nice to be able to see very clearly at night on two lane highways, in the rain etc.
 

TNBrett

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I’ve got less than $100 in the headlights on my 92, and the output is better than the factory HIDs on my 2016 GMC
 

BrianX128

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LED's in non projector housings won't pass state inspections in most states, in PA they'd force you to put halogens in since factory lights for obs style are reflectors. They also pull people over all of the time for led/hid bulbs in reflector housings. Not sure what OP's state rules are for that, just an fyi.
 

ISPKI

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I had to look up this Diogenes fellow, seems to resonate with my lifestyle a little too closely. Maybe hes my spirit animal or some such.

My headlights are so oxidized and filthy that they look like mud is caked on them. I will give that cleaning process a shot that you mentioned Fixnstuff and see how they do afterwords. Maybe time for new bulbs as well since I have no idea how old these are. Heres a shot of my drive home with about 2 tons of ash on the back last night.

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ISPKI

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LED's in non projector housings won't pass state inspections in most states, in PA they'd force you to put halogens in since factory lights for obs style are reflectors. They also pull people over all of the time for led/hid bulbs in reflector housings. Not sure what OP's state rules are for that, just an fyi.
Excellent point. Fortunately one of the benefits about where I live is that we dont have safety inspections on our vehicles.
 

ISPKI

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I’ve got less than $100 in the headlights on my 92, and the output is better than the factory HIDs on my 2016 GMC
You are using the generic Dorman replacement housings I assume?
 
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