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Old 03-09-2012, 01:04 PM
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Exclamation How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


After you read this, please see post #17

OK, I'll share, as I always do, the method I used, very successfully to not only remove water condensate, but to remove the grungy haze from the inside of the headlight housing.

Please bite your tongues until you try it. Alaxfire will attest to the efficacy of this.

You will need one liter of at least Laboratory grade Methanol. 99.8% or better. I used Electronics grade 99.8%. When this evaporates, it leaves nothing behind. This is very important.

DO NOT use any other solvents. I know methanol works and is safe for this use. If you pour acetone or Trichloroethane or paint thinner because "that's all I had" in there-it's your fault and your problem.

I recently polished a couple of pretty shot headlights and couldn't get the sparkling clarity I was expecting. I went through the 500P/800P/1500P/Trizact 3000P cascade 3 times and was getting pretty cross. Curious, I put a long Q-Tip in a hemostat and swabbed a spot on the inside of the lens. It smeared the gook in there. I've read about the intrepids that used a pair of magnets and a scrap of MF towel to clean in there with some success.

I poured in ~ 1/4 pint of the super-dry methanol through the eyebrow lamp hole and swished it around for 2 minutes. Poured it out and then dried it with a heat gun, lens UP.
I repeated this 3 times. The results were surprising: What I would have sworn was poor polishing on the outside turned out to be an even coat of contaminated condensate on the inside. Each iteration of this "rinse and repeat" step increases the ratio of gook to solvent.

Now, as to where this is headed. When I mentioned "...contaminated condensate..." earlier, I meant exactly that. The headlamp housings "breathe" as they heat up and cool down. When they "inhale" (as they cool) they suck in air, water vapor and whatever crap is in the air at that time. Smog, oil mist from the engine bay, beer farts, whatever. All of this crap condenses on the interior surfaces in an even coat and will remain there, building up, forever.

This procedure cleans them very well.

A lesser purity grade will cause water spotting on the inside. Yes, that .2% is water. And it will spot. DO NOT USE Isopropyl alcohol of any grade/purity. The semiconductor industry uses methanol for a very good reason-no residue after evaporation.

Using this method and the cap kit ( P/N 5174786AA) cited in this thread:

A lot of Water droplets visible inside headlight lens

should result in a long-term solution to this problem. It worked for me and G.

Don't worry about crazing in the short time the methanol will be in contact with the polycarbonate (Lexan) lenses. It is a recommended solvent for short (< 180 HOURS) periods of time:

http://www.theplasticshop.co.uk/plas...sing_guide.pdf

Info on different grades of Methanol:

Methanol - Solvent by Type | Sigma-Aldrich

(Page 25) (Also please note that this is a General Electric bulletin for Lexan. They should know.)

I hope this helps.

YMMV


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Last edited by maxcichon; 06-17-2013 at 09:56 PM. Reason: Researched Methanol grades. I used 99.8% (Electronic grade)
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Old 03-09-2012, 02:17 PM
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Default Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


are you gonna remove yours and clean them when you get back from San Francisco, or have you already done it ?

I need some of that happy juice for mine ......



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Old 03-09-2012, 03:01 PM
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Default Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


Quote:
Originally Posted by alaxfire
are you gonna remove yours and clean them when you get back from San Francisco, or have you already done it ?

I need some of that happy juice for mine ......
Mine are already....HEY! That's a dirty trick. Mine are impeccable, and you know it!

Bring your own bottle-just make sure it's clean and I'll top you off, buddy. Call me next week?

George, would you attest to how well this works? No one else has seen the results but you and I.


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Old 03-09-2012, 03:41 PM
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Default Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


Where can one find methanol?


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Old 03-09-2012, 04:30 PM
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Default Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


A chemical or laboratory supply company. Yellow pages. It is not any kind of controlled substance, but it ain't cheap.

My point is: it will cost you $45 for a gallon OR MORE. But don't go cheap here. The purity is very important.


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Old 03-09-2012, 06:21 PM
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Default Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


Quote:
Originally Posted by maxcichon
A chemical or laboratory supply company. Yellow pages. It is not any kind of controlled substance, but it ain't cheap.

My point is: it will cost you $45 for a gallon OR MORE. But don't go cheap here. The purity is very important.
I know where there is tons and tons of the stuff, free for the taking. Of course it a fair way to travel.
'In 2006, astronomers using the MERLIN array of radio telescopes at Jodrell Bank Observatory discovered a large cloud of methanol in space, 288 billion miles across.' From Wiki.
The stuff you never needed to know and learnt on this forum, amazing.

This stuff is poison, makes you blind and then kills you, do not drink any of it.




Last edited by onehundred80; 03-09-2012 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 03-09-2012, 06:34 PM
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Default Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


Quote:
Originally Posted by lildaddym
Where can one find methanol?
Just beware how you ask for it. I don't want to hear about someone here getting arrested! Don't go in and ask "where can I buy some meth?"


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Old 03-09-2012, 07:19 PM
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Default Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


C'mon guys-I really had hoped this would be taken in the spirit (!) it was intended: seriously.


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Old 03-10-2012, 09:43 AM
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Default Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


Quote:
Originally Posted by maxcichon
Mine are already....HEY! That's a dirty trick. Mine are impeccable, and you know it!

Bring your own bottle-just make sure it's clean and I'll top you off, buddy. Call me next week?

George, would you attest to how well this works? No one else has seen the results but you and I.
I can indeed attest to the results, clarity on the remaining passenger side assembly I have that Max restored is like factory-new.



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2005 Inferno Red Crystal Pearl Coat FlopTop #59078
NW single CAI, catch can, Magnecors, 74mm TB, EC retune 6/28/2014, custom wheel caps, Alpine HU, homemade cup holder, black crinkle valve covers, auto dim mirror, LEDs in dome, side markers, tag , 25 watt eyebrow LEDs, UltraGauge, Garmin GPS, custom shift ****, sticky key fix, speaker caps, RCM horn mod, alarm beeper, LeBra, Morimoto low beams, one touch top, WindRestricter, grommet on DS wiper, OBX Racing catback.
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Old 03-10-2012, 11:58 AM
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Default Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


Great write-up...


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Old 10-05-2012, 07:47 AM
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Default Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


MODS-can we make this a sticky?


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Old 10-05-2012, 08:01 AM
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Default Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


Quote:
Originally Posted by maxcichon View Post
MODS-can we make this a sticky?
Good idea Max


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Old 11-17-2012, 04:35 PM
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Talking Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


posted in wrong place.


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Last edited by waldig; 11-17-2012 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:09 PM
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Default Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


Interesting post. You can actually find 99% methanol at all walmarts and auto parts stores. It's called HEET and used for fuel drying in winter weather. The manufacturer attests through their MSDS, Material Safety Data Sheet, that it is 99% methanol and 1% proprietary chemical. Stuff is cheap too.

Kmart, Sears and Target sell a simialar product called splash which only has methanol as its listed ingredient.

Last edited by Wes__Hutchinson; 06-17-2013 at 07:20 PM. Reason: Horn Swoped Bungo Pony
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:40 PM
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Default Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


Just wish there was some way to use a small brush inside there, but I can't think of anything small and flexible enough to help...


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Old 06-17-2013, 08:02 PM
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Default Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wes__Hutchinson View Post
Interesting post. You can actually find 99% methanol at all walmarts and auto parts stores. It's called HEET and used for fuel drying in winter weather. The manufacturer attests through their MSDS, Material Safety Data Sheet, that it is 99% methanol and 1% proprietary chemical. Stuff is cheap too.

Kmart, Sears and Target sell a simialar product called splash which only has methanol as its listed ingredient.
Max says you need 99.8% minimum purity so 99% does not meet the standard.



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Old 06-17-2013, 09:42 PM
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Default Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wes__Hutchinson View Post
Interesting post. You can actually find 99% methanol at all walmarts and auto parts stores. It's called HEET and used for fuel drying in winter weather. The manufacturer attests through their MSDS, Material Safety Data Sheet, that it is 99% methanol and 1% proprietary chemical. Stuff is cheap too.

Kmart, Sears and Target sell a simialar product called splash which only has methanol as its listed ingredient.
If that 1% is some form of HC oil, it will leave a nasty film. The point of the ultra high purity is when it evaporates, it leaves no residue or film behind.

I've been thinking, though. If you buy say 95% in a new bottle, I would presume the balance would be deionized water. Should work, and if it left any residue, it will still be an improvement over a cloudy, misty mess to start.

Right?


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Old 06-17-2013, 11:10 PM
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Default Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


I suppose someone could spend the two bucks on a bottle and test it on a scrap piece of lexan. You can also buy methanol in bulk at places that sell racing fuel. I don't know how pure that is but it runs about $4 a gallon. I'm thinking that methanol is extremely hygroscopic and as soon as it hits ambient atmosphere your 99.8% diminishes rapidly. I'm no chemist so someoneplease step up and let me know if I'm wrong about that.

Found this on Amazon.com 99.85% slightly less than a liter for 10 bucks.
99+% Methanol, 950 ml Bottle with Child Safety Cap: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific 99+% Methanol, 950 ml Bottle with Child Safety Cap: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

Last edited by Wes__Hutchinson; 06-17-2013 at 11:24 PM. Reason: Wyoming date night on my methanol powered bike :-)
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:20 AM
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Default Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wes__Hutchinson View Post
I suppose someone could spend the two bucks on a bottle and test it on a scrap piece of lexan. You can also buy methanol in bulk at places that sell racing fuel. I don't know how pure that is but it runs about $4 a gallon. I'm thinking that methanol is extremely hygroscopic and as soon as it hits ambient atmosphere your 99.8% diminishes rapidly. I'm no chemist so someoneplease step up and let me know if I'm wrong about that.

Found this on Amazon.com 99.85% slightly less than a liter for 10 bucks.
99+% Methanol, 950 ml Bottle with Child Safety Cap: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific
Sir, I think you may be on to something. Yes, methanol (all alco-base solvents) are hygroscopic and will absorb water vapor from the air as soon as it is exposed. Keep the cap on when not in use.

The $14/liter from Amazon (delivered) looks like a good choice. If it starts at 99%+ it should be a winner!


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Old 06-21-2013, 01:10 AM
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Default Re: How-to: Clean the inside of your headlamp Assembly


Just an update...I used some methanol I was able to get a $4 a gallon...check the 'What did you do to your Crossfire.." thread to see the results!


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Old 06-21-2013, 01:10 AM
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