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360 headlight rebuild

Discussion in '360/430' started by imahorse, Nov 15, 2019.

  1. imahorse

    imahorse Formula Junior

    Nov 25, 2017
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    Dustin
    #1 imahorse, Nov 15, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2019
    I had no idea how to go about this and couldn't really find an adequate write up so I thought I'd start one. As most of you know the headlights have to be baked. The trick is to get it hot enough to soften the glue, but not hot enough to damage the plastic. Before heating the lights I disassembled them completely. I highly recommend not removing the headlight level adjuster as the plastic is extremely brittle. Mine came out in a hundred pieces. I used a thin serrated steak knife to cut the adhesive in between the lense and headlight body before heating it.

    I positioned the headlight on a pan in a way that it would have something flat to sit on and I kept it centrally located in the oven so that it wouldn't be by the coil. I decided to take it easy on the heat to ease my paranoia for the first one which made splitting them more difficult. I then realized that martinis ease my paranoia much better and proceeded to make a few. The formula for the second, which worked much better, was heating it for 25 minutes at 190. I turned the heat off when it reached temperature and turned it back on a few times in between just to maintain the heat.

    After removing it from the oven I got a few flatheads of varying sizes to gently pry them open. Start small and work your way up. I started on one side of the light and worked my way around it gradually using bigger screwdrivers. Eventually I was able to use 2 screwdrivers at once, and then my hands. (This will slightly damage the outside edge of the lense, but will be covered when reinstalled) If it seems difficult, put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes. Once they are apart, cut away the adhesive.


    Note: When I got them apart there was a grey/black surface coating that tore off with the adhesive leaving a gloss black surface underneath. (I'm assuming that this is the paint although it seems silly to paint black over black.) My car was parked outside for a long time which damaged many things. I think that this could be one of them. Theoretically speaking, using a higher heat and softening the adhesive more should have prevented that.

    I'll keep this thread updated with the rebuild process. Does anybody know the company that made these lights or if there is any way to get new level adjusters? I'd rather not have to make some, but if worse comes to worse I'll see what I can do. Tonight my girlfriend comes over for dinner. Hopefully it doesn't taste like headlight Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
  2. GCalo

    GCalo F1 Veteran

    Sep 15, 2004
    6,988
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    Greg Calo
    There has been a thread or two about H/L repair.

    However, you did a good job, and it is a good refresher
     
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  3. imahorse

    imahorse Formula Junior

    Nov 25, 2017
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    Dustin
    The plastic nut on the back of the headlight that holds the level of the lights came out in a hundred pieces. The only way to get new ones is to buy new headlights which being poor and destitute is not an option for me. I was able to mill something that will work and be much more durable. Honestly it wouldn't have been very difficult to make with hand tools. I used 1 inch aluminum round stock which is roughly the size needed for the outer diameter. The inside circle diameter I made .8 inches. Each of the nubs are 120 degrees apart. I drilled and tapped a center hole and cut the groove in the part with a bandsaw. I'll seal it with silicone to make it "air tight" again once I'm ready for the final assembly.

    I removed the plastic from the screw that adjusts the level to salvage it. Hopefully I'll be able to route it back to the factory adjustment screw in the frunk, if not, not a big deal.

    I am kinda scared of dealing with the paint and am going to give them to someone that does that professionally. I've tried numerous approaches to strip the paint and am getting nowhere. Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
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  4. MCASEY

    MCASEY Rookie

    Apr 1, 2015
    33
    Sydney Australia
    If you can find Alfa Romeo GTV 916 headlights, you can recover some parts. They are the same base as the grey plastic part. They need work to adapt but can be done. The reflectors are similar. Bulb holders need re-phasing as the 360 has the headlight on an angel, not level
     
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  5. imahorse

    imahorse Formula Junior

    Nov 25, 2017
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    Dustin
    That is some great information to know, thank you!
     
  6. imahorse

    imahorse Formula Junior

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  7. RedNeck

    RedNeck F1 Veteran
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    Jul 8, 2016
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    Matt
    Lookin good! The headlights I mean....
     
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  8. imahorse

    imahorse Formula Junior

    Nov 25, 2017
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    Haha thanks man!
     
  9. 67bmer

    67bmer Formula Junior

    Oct 28, 2015
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  10. EastMemphis

    EastMemphis Formula Junior
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    May 25, 2019
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    John
    How did you clean the lenses?

    How many hours do you think you've invested in the project?
     
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  11. imahorse

    imahorse Formula Junior

    Nov 25, 2017
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    I only plan on clear coating the lenses. I used turtle wax headlight restorer to get the hazing off, not difficult, just a pain to get to. I probably have 10 hours into the project at this point, but I work very slowly. Working on the car is more of something I enjoy having a couple drinks and doing versus a chore. I'm picking up the headlights from the painter's today. I hope they look good. They better for how much he charged me.
     
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  12. imahorse

    imahorse Formula Junior

    Nov 25, 2017
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    Update - The housings came back from the painter looking good. The lenses were buffed as well before being cleared and look almost perfect. The reflector had the same haze that the lense did. You know how it goes: "While you're in there...." I used the same buffing compound that I used on the lense (which in hindsight, probably wasn't a good idea) and to my horror it ate right through the coating. I barely touched it. I considered using that chrome rustoleum, as it can't be worse quality than the OEM coating, but I want to cut as few corners as I can. Back to the painters.... He says he has something that will work. This $30 project is now over 20x that, but at least they will look good when they are done. Although I can't find one of the turn signal sockets. Unsure of if the cat decided it would make a good toy or if I left it attached to the car which is an hour away in storage... I heard there are LED turn signals with built in resistors to prevent the hyper flash issue. I want to give those a shot. Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
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  13. imahorse

    imahorse Formula Junior

    Nov 25, 2017
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    Progress has slowed due to being sick. I find it incredible how I felt too sick to be at work today but had no problem going in the unheated garage in below 10F weather to cut some of the pieces. This project has taken way longer than expected due to all of the slip ups. I just need to grind the end of the threaded piece to get the 6 mm nuts on. I used PVC pipe with 1" inner diameter and a connector (grey) with a 1" outer diameter. The notch in the grey piece is to hold the side gear in on the top white piece. It's kind of a redneck setup (Sorry Matt!) but by rebuilding each of the broken pieces I will retain stock functionality and placement for the level adjustment. The first picture is an exploded view. Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
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  14. albkid

    albkid Formula Junior

    Jul 1, 2016
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    Jim
    You are to be congratulated in undertaking a project which has been the subject of many threads over the years. FWIW, I have found that trying to make parts inevitably takes more time and money because it is a learn as you go process. I look forward to the completion of the install!
     
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  15. DCooper72

    DCooper72 Rookie

    Feb 15, 2019
    28
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    Don Cooper
    Nice write up. I am looking to do the same thing. On a side note, does anyone know where to locate replacement lenses? I have seen them listed on occasion but can’t find a supplier. I have a crack from a rock on the driver side of my challenge car
     
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  16. imahorse

    imahorse Formula Junior

    Nov 25, 2017
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    As far as I can tell, you can only buy the headlights, lenses, headlight level adjusters, sockets, etc. As one piece. I'd save a search on ebay and frequently check the classifieds here if you are searching for lenses.
     
  17. imahorse

    imahorse Formula Junior

    Nov 25, 2017
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    I finally got the headlights back from the painter. The reflector came back looking about the same as it did before I tried to clean it. I could have used that money on strippers and booze instead. Oh well. I had to modify the hex hole on the level adjuster by sanding it out to get the screw with the nuts on it to fit. I'll attach more pictures in my next post. It's finished on one headlight and works rather well. It doesn't look very far off of OEM either. I just need to do the other side, then get the lenses on. I was going to use silicone, but I'm having second thoughts as I may need to get the headlights apart again. Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
  18. JuniorGTR

    JuniorGTR Karting

    Mar 6, 2005
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    Jr
    Anyone ever find a source for just the lens?
     
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  19. imahorse

    imahorse Formula Junior

    Nov 25, 2017
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    There isn't one. If you want a certain part, you have to buy the whole headlight which is why I had to make my own level adjuster. I've seen them in the classifieds here and on ebay though.
     
  20. RedNeck

    RedNeck F1 Veteran
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    Jul 8, 2016
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    Ouch...how noticeable is the reflector? Is it something that will just happen again soon after?
     
  21. imahorse

    imahorse Formula Junior

    Nov 25, 2017
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    The reflector wasn't as reflective as I would have liked and I had assumed that the hazing that covered the rest of the headlight made it's way on the reflector. You know the saying. "While you're in there you might as well...." when I tried getting them clean, the coating rubbed right off. The coating itself was intact, but is extremely thin and delicate. My headlights sat out in the sun for years so they are a bit more weathered than most, which could be the cause. I had the reflectors professionally painted in automotive chrome paint. They came out looking roughly the same as they did before I tried cleaning them. They are reflective, but just not the mirror reflection I was pursuing.
     
  22. imahorse

    imahorse Formula Junior

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    #22 imahorse, Jan 16, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
    I wanted to touch on this piece more. It was made by removing the brittle plastic at the top of the threaded piece. I then ground down the tip so that I could get the nut I CNCed on it. I ground it down again to get all of 8mm nuts on (not 6mm like I typed above) I used jb kwik weld (kinda cheap, but it's stronger than that cheap, brittle OEM plastic) in between all of the 8mm nuts and along the top of the threaded piece. I used a deep well socket as a jig to keep them lined up while it solidified. They required a little sanding to fit in the gear, but they work. Once I finish the other side I'll be moving onto putting the lenses back on... Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
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  23. imahorse

    imahorse Formula Junior

    Nov 25, 2017
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    All cleaned and sealed. I used a thin bead of silicone. I wanted to get a thick enough bead to seal it, but thin enough to not be too difficult taking apart, should something so wrong. Second picture is what they were before. All that is left is to buy and test the led turn signals. Supposedly the ones I found have built in resistors to prevent the hyper flash issue. I think that will be about a wrap on this write up. Altogether it cost me about $750. Had I not had so many paint issues it would have been a fraction of that. Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
  24. imahorse

    imahorse Formula Junior

    Nov 25, 2017
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    Been a while since I posted on here. I believe the failing headlight level adjusters are what is allowing the hazing. While my homemade system works quite well, I want to have something that not only works like OEM, but looks oem too without paying $3k for a new headlight. In the coming months my friend and i will be testing and refining our designs and will start manufacturing them. Stay tuned. Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
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  25. Husker

    Husker F1 Veteran
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    Dec 31, 2003
    7,646
    western hemisphere
    very cool! thanks for sharing.
     

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