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Old 08-14-2004, 10:39 PM   #1
ACCORDianate
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EXT: Blackout headlights + install

How I did my blackout headlights and installation

Allow me to preface this by stating that you may notice similarities with this thread and others, such as the DIY Custom Black Housing Headlights thread and the DIY Bumper Removal : How To thread . I used them as guidelines for this project.

First off I purchased a pair of OEM 92-93 CB headlights with brackets off of eBay for $30.

After removing the brackets, clips that hold the glass to the reflector, and bulbs that came with it, I preheated the oven to 225 degrees. Placing the headlight on a cookie sheet with a few sheets of wet newspaper on it, I baked the headlight for 12 minutes. This got the heavy-duty industrial adhesive that keeps the glass sealed against the reflector nice and soft. Using a large flathead screwdriver, the two pieces came apart fairly easily. Having a towel between the screwdriver and the headlight helps to keep the headlight from being chipped.
Once apart, use a razor knife to cut away any stray strings of gray industrial adhesive.

Now comes the torturous task of masking the reflectors. Be sure to use a good quality masking tape, as using a cheap brand may leave glue on the chrome, or may even pull the chrome off the plastic. Take your time and do it right, or the end result will be poor.

Having masked the reflector with the tape, PlastiKote flat black fast dry engine enamel was used. If the edges of the masking tape were not pressed down firmly, the spray will get underneath and will make the project look very amateur. Several people, I have read, have done many thin coats of paint. With the PlatiKote fast dry paint I did one thin coat, one heavier coat after 5 minutes, and another coat same as the second 5 minutes after that. Allowing the paint to dry overnight will prevent any of the paint peeling up when the masking tape is removed.

Once the tape is removed, I reassembled the headlights. A 1/4" bead of clear silicon sealant was put around where the headlight glass meets the plastic reflector. I used the clips keep the two parts together as the silicon gel cured. 24 hours later, the lights were ready for installation.

One before, and one after:


Following the instruction in the Bumper Removal thread, I took off the grille, corner lights and bumper lights. The two bolts in the engine compartment come out easily with a 12mm combination wrench, and the 4 behind the bumper cover are easily accessable thru where the bumper lights were. A 12" ratchet extension allows easy access to the 2 bolts on either side of the bumper. There's supposed to be 2 clips underneath on the air dam that need to come out. Mine had fallen out so it was not necessary to remove them. Once you have those 6 bolts and two clips out, the bumper cover pulls straight out. Use two hands, as its large and unweildy.

Your results should look like this: (the white wire hanging down is for the bumper-mounted driving lights)


After getting the bumper off, put it somewhere soft, such as on grass:


Five bolts each attach the headlight mounting bracket to the car. Remove these 5 bolts and the headlight comes off easily. After disconnecting the headlight bulb wires, I set the headlights aside and attached the wires to the other set of lights that I had already blacked out. After putting the 5 bolts in each headlight it looks like this:


At this point, the horn and lower stock airbox plumbing is easily accessable. If you are going to put in airhorns or take out the airbox for weight reduction, now would be a good time to do so. I did neither.

Reinstallation of the bumper is just the oppposite of removal. Be sure to allow the grooves on the sides of the inside of the bumper to go over the tabs in the body of the car so that the bumper sides are not loose. If you get it together and realize that you did not do this step, then get your ratchet back out, as the bumper has to be basically take off again to realign the tabs and gooves for proper fitment. I made this mistake and added 5 minutes to the overall time spent on the project.

After tightening the bolts down thru the bumper lens hole and in the engine compartment, it was time for reinstallation of all the small stuff such as bumper and corner lights, and the grille.

It should look like this:


Anywhere along the lines after you have the blacked out headlights on, you can test them to see if you have good bulbs. In the car I currently have Philips Cool Blue 9006 low beams and aftermarket plazma blue 9005 high beams

End result (minus corner lights that are being partially blacked out):


When its dark I checked the headlight aim, and the blackout treatment got rid of a lot of stray light and reduced light pollution.
The headlights were already aimed well, so no adjustment was necessary. Visibility is just as well as OEM and am pleased with the results.

Removing the bumper was easy. Don't let anyone fool you- its easy. I had it off very quickly.

The worst part was masking the reflectors. It sucks and its time consuming. If done right the results will be worth the hassle.
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Last edited by ACCORDianate; 09-21-2004 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 08-15-2004, 07:42 PM   #2
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nice write up Accordinate. I wish I could do my blackhousing, but my bumper is rivited on so I am afraid to remove it. I already have the lights sittin here, just need to mask and shoot them. Damn bodykit
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Old 08-17-2004, 05:54 PM   #3
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the lighting still looks pretty good, going to have to try it, nice diy
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Old 08-17-2004, 07:11 PM   #4
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Nice job
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Old 09-21-2004, 09:18 AM   #5
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Update 1: The very similar/duplicate thread in the Appearance section under Lighting is now gone. Please refer here for headlight blackout procedure or installation questions.

Update 2: After driving thru rains for several weeks now and having a lawn sprinkler hit the front of the car 3 out of 7 nights there are no leakage issues with the headlights nor any fogging problems. The clear silicone sealant works great.

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1985 Volvo 245 manualk [IPD lowering springs, IPD sway bars, OEM Virgo wheels, 1977 quad round headlights, 1978 grill]
2008 Ford Escape XLT [bone stock]
2015 Toyota Prius Three with solar roof [rear diffuser, Vision Cross wheels... cheaper than steelies!]

Last edited by ACCORDianate; 09-21-2004 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 09-21-2004, 01:01 PM   #6
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how long did it take you from start to finish w/ no break

estimation is fine, thanks

Looks real good
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Old 09-21-2004, 05:34 PM   #7
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Which part? The headlight disassembly/masking/painting/drying or the actual disassembly/installation/reassembly of the front end?
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1985 Volvo 245 manualk [IPD lowering springs, IPD sway bars, OEM Virgo wheels, 1977 quad round headlights, 1978 grill]
2008 Ford Escape XLT [bone stock]
2015 Toyota Prius Three with solar roof [rear diffuser, Vision Cross wheels... cheaper than steelies!]
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Old 09-21-2004, 07:59 PM   #8
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the total time from starting to finish, starting w/ taking off the bumper and ending w/ the bumper back on, thanks
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Old 09-21-2004, 08:17 PM   #9
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I'll let you do the math and total it up. All times approximate or rounded to nearest 10 minute increment.

Bumper lights and corner lights removal- 10 mins
Bumper removal- 20 mins
Headlight removal- 10 mins
Seperating headlights from brackets- 10 mins
Preheating oven and cookie sheet prep 10 mins
Time in oven- 10 mins x2
Seperating headlight lens from chrome reflector- 10 mins x2
Cleaning reflectors and inside of lenses- 10 mins x2
Masking reflectors- 30 mins x2
Spraying reflectors, several coats a few mins apart- 15 mins x2
Paint drying time- 12 hours to be safe
Resealing lenses to reflectors- 10 mins x2
Sealant drying time- 12 hours to be safe
Reattaching headlights to brackets- 10 mins
Reattaching headlights to vehicle- 10 mins
Reattaching bumper, bumper lights and corner lights- 15 mins

That's for first timers. Last week my buddy and I took the bumper back off to replace the horns (freeway blasters at about 125db). It took all of about 4 minutes for removal. It seems intimidating the first time you do it, but after that and you know what you're doing, its easy.
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1985 Volvo 245 manualk [IPD lowering springs, IPD sway bars, OEM Virgo wheels, 1977 quad round headlights, 1978 grill]
2008 Ford Escape XLT [bone stock]
2015 Toyota Prius Three with solar roof [rear diffuser, Vision Cross wheels... cheaper than steelies!]
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Old 09-21-2004, 08:25 PM   #10
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thanks for the breakdown, just wanted to see what i was getting into and how long i wouldnt have headlights, thanks
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Old 09-23-2004, 12:46 AM   #11
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hmmm sounds like a LOT of work for something like that... i think ill just but some black projecters.... but great wright up
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Old 09-23-2004, 03:59 PM   #12
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good job and good write up..


taking everything apart is easy as fuck.. theres what like 2 12mm bolts and 2 srews holding teh from bumper on?.. like 3-4 10mm bolts and 2 srews holding the headlight(each) ... the hardest thing i would think is getting teh headlight itself apart without breaking it
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Old 09-23-2004, 09:19 PM   #13
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i just dont think it looks all that great for all that work
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Old 09-23-2004, 09:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by RollingStock
... the hardest thing i would think is getting teh headlight itself apart without breaking it
True enough. Be sure to use a towel when seperating the two so that you don't inadvertantly chip the glass lens.
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1985 Volvo 245 manualk [IPD lowering springs, IPD sway bars, OEM Virgo wheels, 1977 quad round headlights, 1978 grill]
2008 Ford Escape XLT [bone stock]
2015 Toyota Prius Three with solar roof [rear diffuser, Vision Cross wheels... cheaper than steelies!]
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Old 10-10-2004, 08:48 AM   #15
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Re: EXT: Blackout headlights + install

Quote:
Originally posted by ACCORDianate
How I did my blackout headlights and installation

Now comes the torturous task of masking the reflectors. Be sure to use a good quality masking tape, as using a cheap brand may leave glue on the chrome, or may even pull the chrome off the plastic. Take your time and do it right, or the end result will be poor.

Question - exactly what areas of the reflectors did you paint? Was it just the bottoms and the tops (i.e. the four largest flat sections), or did you also black out the vertical sections too (the larger section that divide the housing into low beam and high beam, and the little skinny parts at either end of the lights?

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Old 10-23-2004, 07:15 PM   #16
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have you had any problems w/ leaking??
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Old 11-03-2004, 05:23 PM   #17
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Do you think it'd be feasible to use a heat gun to soften the sealant. I really don't want to put this in my oven, especially since its a gas oven.
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Old 11-03-2004, 06:06 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by NutBucket
Do you think it'd be feasible to use a heat gun to soften the sealant. I really don't want to put this in my oven, especially since its a gas oven.
Yes, you could use a heat gun. But I'd just go to buddy's house who has an electric oven.

By the way, when you pull the lens off, be careful not to let the adhesive goo get on the reflective lens surfaces. It's not that easy to clean off if you do, and you'll probably end up putting little microscratches in the reflector surface as you clean it.
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Old 11-03-2004, 06:13 PM   #19
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Rats, everyone around here has gas ovens (and I doubt anyone would let me throw a headlight in the oven either
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Old 11-06-2004, 07:38 PM   #20
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you cant use gas ovens?
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