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TDI 101 Got a simple/basic TDI question? Are you a newbie (new to the forums). Feel free to post your question here.

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Old August 26th, 2018, 11:03   #1
mohawk69
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Default Very effective headlight lens cleaner

This may have been mentioned before but fwiw.... Someone mentioned this elsewhere and a friend tried it and it worked just as stated. It takes all of two minutes and it's inexpensive. Find a product with the highest amount of DEET. I found deep woods off with 25% DEET. They had some with only 10% so check. Spray on and wipe off. I think if you do it when it's cool and out of the sun it'll probably work better since you can leave it sit for a few seconds. I intend to do it again when I have a little time and then I'll put on a coat of wax. Better and much easier than anything else I've seen.
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Old August 27th, 2018, 11:50   #2
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I was going to try this several years ago but after a little more research I decided the 3M kit was a better option. See link below:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AYmbBZntuY8
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Old August 30th, 2018, 19:40   #3
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It's been 4 or 5 days and all is still well. I intend to do it once or twice again and then wash and wax the lenses. I'll try not to get any on the paint but isn't every VW over two weeks old devoid of any remaining clearcoat anyway?
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Old August 30th, 2018, 19:48   #4
borntofli
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mohawk69 View Post
I'll try not to get any on the paint but isn't every VW over two weeks old devoid of any remaining clearcoat anyway?

Now that right there is funny.........
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Old August 31st, 2018, 15:15   #5
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I have 7 Vws in my family. Ranging from 2-17 years old. Most toward the upper end of that spectrum with no paint problems.
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Old August 31st, 2018, 15:18   #6
BobnOH
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One member was putting high SPF sunscreen on every month or so. Anybody try that?
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Old January 7th, 2019, 11:05   #7
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I have a 2003 wagon with 200k on it. Live in WA state so not a lot of uv problems. I used the 3M kit on the lens, easy. Not a lot of clouding, mainly in front of the headlight bulb, probably from heat.? After the process, I notice there is dirt and streaks on the interior of the lens. Great. Going to take the bulb out and determine if I can clean the interior. ANyone else notice this? Is the lens only replaceable?
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Old January 7th, 2019, 12:34   #8
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IIRC there was someone who was selling glass replacement lenses and replacing them DIY.

https://www.vxtuning.com/shop/vehicl...iv-jetta-bora/

Seems there is a thread here too about how to remove and replace them.

http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread...ght=glass+lens
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Old January 9th, 2019, 08:24   #9
andreigbs
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I've used a little baking soda and vinegar, works wonders.

Try it before you knock it

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=QWMJubLqnRw
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Old January 9th, 2019, 09:07   #10
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So you neutralize some vinegar with baking soda and rub that on the lens?

Looked better after but it wasn't clear. Just cleaner. I didn't listen to the audio so I don't know what he was claiming about the finished job.

My sister in law wanted to try it so I gave here an old '2 headlight to try. It was bad, even yellow, not just cloudy. Didn't do anything.

The outside of the lens is oxidized or broken down chemically. Only way to remove it is with abrasives.
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Old January 9th, 2019, 09:48   #11
andreigbs
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Technically the baking soda acts as the abrasive, the vinegar is used only enough to make a paste. This is then rubbed gently onto the headlight.

It requires several rounds but it worked well for me. A coat of wax and buffing will seal it one you're done.

It's practically free to try and you won't hurt anything. Each headlight takes about 30 min to do properly.
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Old January 9th, 2019, 10:39   #12
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Seems to me the baking soda reacts with the vinegar forming sodium acetate and CO2. Unreacted baking soda dissolves in the water the vinegar was diluted with in the bottle.

If you had an excess of baking soda so some didn't dissolve there would be a mild abrasive effect. But then why not just use baking soda and water and avoid the fizzy mess?

Again, the light in the video was not clear when he finished.
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Old January 9th, 2019, 10:52   #13
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Chemical reactions are as you state, no debate there. The idea is that he used just enough vinegar to make a grainy paste. You can also use water, of course, and other videos show that option.

The fizzy mess actually helps to lift the residue that you'll be removing from the lens as you rub it. Vinegar being the acetic acid it is, makes a pretty good cleaning solution albeit a bit stinky.

I was just sharing my experience that it does work, and quite well. The fact that it's basically free (since nearly everyone has these items in their pantry) is just a bonus. If one prefers to use water instead of vinegar, that is perfectly acceptable as well

The other thing I've found that works is rubbing compound, the kind used to remove light scratches and swirls from your paint. I think 3M makes some, as do other brands. It's a nice gritty paste that you patiently rub the lens with several times with a cleaning in between each session. For the record, I've used the power drill and special sanding kit option too; way more time consuming and you risk damaging the paint around the headlight if your drill control is wobbly at all. This manual method is a lot safer.
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Old January 9th, 2019, 11:17   #14
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Acetone is very quick and effective, but care is needed to keep it off paint or other plastic.
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Old January 9th, 2019, 12:35   #15
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I use Meguiars Plastic Cleaner #17 and Polish #10. I found a trick to coat the plastic lens with equal parts Mineral Spirits and urethane once cleaned and polished. Seems to help keep the lens from yellowing for about 10 months vs 6 months without the coat.
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