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Gleammachine

Cloudy inner tail light (Touring)

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Hi, just purchased an E39 Touring and really pleased with the car, although it will be a bit of an ongoing project.

One thing that is niggling me is the rear inner tail light lenses, they appear to have crazed over and no amount of polishing is going to restore them, is this a common problem?

cloudylights001.jpg

Had a search through the internet and can't seem to find any replacements without buying a set of 4, if anyone has any ideas where to locate some, it would be greatly appreciated.

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Yes, you're right. I thought it was just mine when I got the car, but it does seem to be common. Haven't tried yey but I expect they will respond to polishing with Brasso or similar.

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I had the same thing on mine - much worse than yours look there, almost like the top surface had 'shattered'

I removed them (3 10mm nuts each side, behind tailgate trim panel/toolkit) and tried all sorts fine polishing compunds, including G3 on a mop and nothing would touch it. In the end I though "in for a penny" and went at them with household medium grit sandpaper. When this starting cutting through the white stuff, I was onto something, so here's was my plan of attack:

Remove lights from car

Take brave pill and deep breath

Sand with normal Medium grit sandpaper (scary - but bear with it!) until an even, cloudy finish is achieved

Sand again with normal fine grit sandpaper (mine all came from Wilkinson's if it helps!) until the same consistent cloudy finish is achieved

Dry sand again (MUST be in small circular motion at this stage) with 800 wet and dry

Wet sand with 1200 W&D - plenty of water (circular motion again!) and you should see the plastic start to come clear...

Then 2 cuts with T-Cut or similar and finish off with normal car polish.

Sounds heavy going (and it was I suppose) but not too bad - took me about 3 hours all in and I was well pleased with the result:

post-36507-0-19387700-1324503631_thumb.j

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My inner rear lights are in the same state...for a while I thought they'd been sprayed with lacquer!

Will have to try sanding them back, not unlike the procedure to remove stone chips from the head lamp covers

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Thanks guys, only got the car on monday and didn't notice the rear lenses till last night, did look like overspray at first but the rest of the panels are clean, wierd.

I am a car detailer by trade, so not adverse to a little wet n dry and polishing.

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If it takes this amount of effort to get them shiny again, it makes you wonder why it happened in the first place. Are they made by the same manufacturer as the outer lights? If so, why don't they go dull as well? all a bit weird if you ask me. :?

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Well I spent a couple of hours trying to flatten them down with various grades of wet and dry and machine polished them, whilst they are a lot smoother the appearance hasn't really improved, they are still cloudy.

Time to source a replacement set I think.

Edited by Gleammachine

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Trying to source some decent condition replacements is proving to be near on impossible, anyone know where the best place to purchase a replacement set of inner lamps at a reasonable price, don't really want to replace the whole lot?

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Mine has done 158k and are still ok.

However my headlight lens are getting a bit hazy so I have some xerapol (think thats it) on order.

I will let you know how I get on.

You should try e bay for replacement other wise.

I got an outside unit but had to make do with earlier lens style (mine is same as yours) for £40 as mine was damaged (nudged a skip while reversing)

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My pre facelift e39 inners were fine but thinking about it my e46's inners are a bit like that but not as bad. I'll have to take a closer look tomorrow.

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2002 ones here started to look a little hazy last summer; a rub back with 600 > 1000 > 1500 then a machine polish with g3/plasticX and they came-up like new. If you're going to replace anyway then try going a bit mental on them? Mine looked like plain old oxidisation.

Cheers

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That's what I'm seeing...good for a couple of months after polishing.

Was thinking about using some sort of lacquer on them, but what is there that will not totally dissolve the plastic?

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Try a little patch test to see what happens. It might actually work better if the lacquer "fuses" into the plastic.

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I have got the cloudy look all over my 530d touring tailgate inner lights as well.

 

The annoying thing is that the outer lights are crystal clear! Has anyone found a decent replacement set on the web?

 

Finding replacements from a scrap car that don't have the same problem is proving an endless search.

 

If I am honest, Lildonuts wetndry sand paper solution looks good, but it scares the organic matter out of me to actually take an abrasive to an already clouded glass...

 

Perhaps I should be brave... :unsure: .....

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Although this is for headlights, have a look at this video clip showing the 3M restoration kit in action, might alleviate some of your fears about wet'n'dry.

http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Car/Care/DIY_Projects/Maintenance/Restoring_a_Headlight/

There are other kits available eg from Meguiars, or just do a trawl on Youtube for some DIY approaches.

I did my headlights last year, and yes, it is an arse-clinching moment when you start with 500-grit!!

However, I'm not sure that this works on the tail lights.......they may be made of a different material?

S

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I had a go at doing mine despite the rain outside . Ive used 600 grit dry then wet 800 , 1200,1500 and 2000. After that 2200 DA polish and 3800 final finish . I know its raining and its hard to tell the difference but believe me , right side tailgate light light came out as new . In the pic left side not done yet .

 

 

IMAG0607.jpg

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