As requested here is my version of repainting OEM headlights and giving them a clean up.
Although this focuses specifically on 7th gen celica, my research came from seeing how other people did it, as the method is basically the same for any car.
Equipment Required for Repaint and polish up
Oven big enough for 1 headlight which gets to 100C/220F
A tool to get under the lens, i used a crappy butter knife.
Phillips head screwdriver
Heatproof silicon sealant
Heat proof glove
* I read that many people used all sorts of paint. Some people run stock bulbs, others run HID. I plan on HID, so i picked a 500C Engine Enamel paint. Same stuff you paint your engine with. Many other guides dont mention specifically what type of paint but i find this will be important point to mention as you could buy low temp paint and potentially melt it and cause problems. Bulbs get hot and you need materials to stand the heat.
Also for polishing the headlights i only used polish, but read on for more details
1. Remove your headlights. 3 Bolts, 1 at top, 1 near front bar, 1 behind front bar. I managed to remove my headlights without taking the front bar off. Just undid the 4 bolts that hold the front bar in the engine bay.
2. With the headlights removed its time to open them up. If you are using the oven ensure you preheat it to 100c/220f. I used a heatgun as my oven is too small. If you use own, lay the headlight on something heatproof/ baking paper/towel etc. Laying it on a hot rack will melt the plastic.
If you use a heatgun, be patient take your time, heat the glue slowly and work carefully. If you rush and break stuff it can get very expensive.
3. With the lens out, place the black housing in a safe place to ensure your lights and internal bits dont get broken or dirty.
4. Remove the 2 screws that hold the clear cover from the lens. The clear cover is what we will paint. The lens is what we polish.
5. Starting with the clear cover. I used presol to remove any residue it could have from factory. Give it a wipe down, let it dry.
6. Choose if you want to have the headlight looking dark, or give it a dark tint. If you want total dark, paint the top side (side that sits directly under the lens. If you want a tint. Do the under side. As its clear it shines through.
7. Give it light dusted coats. Ensure your painting area is mostly dust free and you wont get oversprey on anything. It dries very quickly, esp on a hot sunny day. Allow 10minutes between dustings
8. I didnt feel my headlights where so cloudy they needed sanding or a harsh abrasive. I used Meguiars Ultimate Compound. I saw others using it, and had some on the shelf and its really amazing stuff. Get 2 clean rags. Then just buff
the stuff on. I did inside and outside to ensure a good finish.
9. Once the plastic shell is painted time to reassemble. Reheat oven to remelt the glue otherwise, place the lens unit into the housing and begin to heat it all up to get the glue to reset. Press it in and work it in so its firm and back in place.
10. Once its all set, run silicon sealant around the edging to ensure a water tight seal is created.
This paint and test stick
Unpolished, Stock Compared to Polished and Blackened
Edited by Thirteen13, 31 August 2012 - 04:56 PM.