Headlight Bezel Color Mod
The before and after comparision.
To do this mod on your car, follow the directions below:
Removing your Headlight
If you can�t figure out how to remove your headlight unit from your car, this modification is probably not one you should attempt.
Taking Apart the Headlight
Remove your headlight units from your car. After they are removed, you have to open the headlight unit. This is done by heating it in an oven on a cookie sheet for about 10-15 minutes at 250 degree Fahrenheit or until the glue loosens. It may be a longer or shorter time to soften the glue with different headlamp units. Keep an eye on it so you don�t melt the housing.
(Warning: Make sure your wife knows your using her oven...or make sure she will be away from the house long enough for you to get the mod finished before she gets home.)
Remove any attachments like your bulb or wire harness first, which may not be able to withstand the heat. Be careful when removing the unit from the oven, it will be hot! I used a pair of mechanics gloves so I could grip the housing and not get burned. Be very careful when separating the units because the glue will stick to anything it can get a hold of. Think of hot melted cheese on a slice of pizza when you pull it apart. Use a knife or a flat-head screwdriver to pry the headlight apart. Everything will be soft, so be gentle yet firm. It will also be difficult to remove the glue from whatever you use.
Once you've pried it open, you can use your hands to do the rest of the job. Don't touch the inside of the clear lens, or when you put it back together the finger prints will show and you won't be able to clean them without taking them apart again. That won't look good!
Remember, pull a little and then trim a little, and repeat this step. Take your time and do it SLOWLY. You have about 20 - 30 minutes before the glue hardens. That�s plenty of time to get it done.
As you trim, the glue will retract, and you can reuse the glue later when putting the headlight unit back together.
My Headlight Unit
My headlight was divided into 4 components, a reflector strip, a reflective housing chrome insert, light gray plastic housing, and a clear front cover. Several screws hold the internal pieces together. Be sure and take note of how it is held together, so you can reassemble it when you are done.
Prepping for Paint
Once the headlight unit was taken apart, it was time to start sanding. The chrome paint on my units were bubbled and looked awful, so I had to make sure that I sanded off all the peeling/loose paint, so the new paint would stick. If your�s are in good shape, all you will need to do is sand it enough to give the new paint something to grab onto. I used 400 Grit sandpaper and it worked great.
But first you need to mask off the area of the reflective chrome that you want to keep, to reflect the turn signal, using easy release masking tape. (That is the purple tape in the photos. Get it anywhere paint products are sold.)
After you have completely sanded the unit to your satisfaction, it is time to get the tack cloth and get all of the dust particles off the unit. If you skip this step, the dust around the taped areas will come loose when spraying the paint, and mess up the final look of your paint job. (You can get a tack cloth at AutoZone for $2.00.)
Spraying the Paint
Make sure that the area you are spraying in is well ventilated and nothing is around to get overspray on. The paint I used was Dupli-colors Semi-Gloss Black Spray paint, from AutoZone. You can use any color you choose. Make sure you follow the directions on the can, make sure to shakeup the can to completely mix the paint, then spray 2 light coats about 8 to 10 inches from the unit, and then one medium wet coat and let it dry for about an hour before handling it. Make sure you spray the entire project for complete coverage.
After the one-hour dry time, the paint should be dry enough to handle and remove the easy release masking tape. After removing the tape use a small amount of Windex on a lint-free cloth to clean any adhesive residue on the reflective chrome, making certain not to touch the fresh paint.
Putting the Headlight back together
Now, you�re ready to reassemble the headlight unit. Put the unit back together in the opposite order of the disassembly. On my headlight unit, the reflector strip is held in place with one screw. The reflective chrome insert had 2 screws that held it in place on the clear lens. Then all that gets placed back onto the light gray plastic housing. Then using the same glue, just reheat them in the oven until the glue softens again.
The easiest way I have found to get a solid seal, is to put the unit back together as much as you can while it is cool. Lining up the tabs, and getting it as close to the final alignment as possible, and then putting it in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes. This will soften up the glue like before and you won�t have the problem of getting glue all over everything as you try to align the parts.
Remember to apply pressure all the way around the headlight unit and get the tabs into the slots to get an air-tight seal, and keep the units from fogging up when it rains.
Let the headlight unit cool all the way off before reinstalling it on the car, to avoid bending the mounting points while they are soft. Re-install the headlight units on the car.
Enjoy the new look!
The before and after comparision.
I take no responsibility for any damages to your car or parts, home, oven, yourself or others involved due to missing information, errors or omission of details. If you try this mod it is at your own risk. You assume all responsibilities for your actions and safety.
Page 1: Pics of my stock Civic
Page 2: Progress Page
Page 3: Future Mods Page
Page 4: Pics of Old Rides
Page 5: Headlight Bezel Color Mod