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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am refurbishing my head light units, and have been looking for Rest-oleum clear coat. Advanced Auto did not have it and when i went to Loews, they said to use Crystal Clear Enamel. Spent hours sanding these units so I don't want to use the wrong stuff. Is the clear enamel the same thing as clear coat?
 

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Be careful what you use. I recently polished mine and used the Rustoleum 2X Clear Coat on my first attempt. It cracked as soon as it started to dry and ruined the finish.

On the second go, I used a Krylon clear enamel, and while the cracking was reduced, it still wasn't perfect.

I think you might be better off shopping online for a clear coat suited for headlights. It appears that the standard spray paints sold in most department stores just don't adhere well to headlights.
 

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I am refurbishing my head light units, and have been looking for Rest-oleum clear coat. Advanced Auto did not have it and when i went to Loews, they said to use Crystal Clear Enamel. Spent hours sanding these units so I don't want to use the wrong stuff. Is the clear enamel the same thing as clear coat?
Apparently it is Creek - or it's very similar.

I searched for it on Amazon and this looks like what you would want to use on your headlights;

https://www.amazon.com/Rust-Oleum-Automotive-257884-11-Ounce-Enamel/dp/B006ZLPX3W/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1512285315&sr=8-4&keywords=Rustoleum+Clear+Coat
 

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I have never spray painted headlights before but I have restored several sets from various vehicles though. The headlights and fog lights on my Commander were dark yellow when I bought it. I just used polishing compound on them as I bought new projector headlights for it for down the road.

To completely removed nicks and rock chips, they would have to have been sanded first. I did that on other vehicles and the finish comes out flawless. You need to use wet sandpaper starting at 800 grit the working up to 1500 grit for the final finish. The headlights then look hazy until you polish them. They can be polished by hand but a buffing wheel on a bench grinder is the better way to go. You just need to be careful as too much pressure can melt the plastic.

To clean the yellow and light scratches from the Jeep, I just used a mother's powerball attached to a high speed drill and ran through Meguiar's polishing compounds from step 1 to 9. You can see the blue reflection from my PIAA Extreme White bulbs in the headlights and fog lights.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I was unable to remove the oxidation using any of my tried and true methods. I have replaced both lights with assemblies that I purchased from a member of this board. I decided I would see is I could restore the old ones following instructions on u tube. I started with 600 wet paper and removed the old clear coat I then sanded with 2000 wet paper to smooth them out. I am now ready to coat. I can't find the automotive Rust-Oleum locally. I have their regular crystal clear enamel but not sure it what I want. I looked at what Blue found on Amazon, but it i as an add on order. I have looked at Advanced Auto and Pep Boys . I will try NAPA this week. Do not want to have to redo them. Flex yours look very good.
 

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Since you already have the lights out of the Jeep. Just finish in 1000 Grit. Then take him to any body shop and have them spray clear coat on it. That would be your best result. They shouldn't charge you too much money, to spray clear on headlights, that you've brought to them. But you can pay what you're comfortable with.This is a simple method and I do it all the time.
 

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I have never spray painted headlights before but I have restored several sets from various vehicles though. The headlights and fog lights on my Commander were dark yellow when I bought it. I just used polishing compound on them as I bought new projector headlights for it for down the road.

To completely removed nicks and rock chips, they would have to have been sanded first. I did that on other vehicles and the finish comes out flawless. You need to use wet sandpaper starting at 800 grit the working up to 1500 grit for the final finish. The headlights then look hazy until you polish them. They can be polished by hand but a buffing wheel on a bench grinder is the better way to go. You just need to be careful as too much pressure can melt the plastic.

To clean the yellow and light scratches from the Jeep, I just used a mother's powerball attached to a high speed drill and ran through Meguiar's polishing compounds from step 1 to 9. You can see the blue reflection from my PIAA Extreme White bulbs in the headlights and fog lights.
^ this...

and this:

Simplest and cheapest!
 

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The fading/yellowing/crackling of the original headlights is caused by failing of the original UV protection layer.

Sanding and polishing the headlights is a way to make them look good again, but without replacing the UV protective layer, it will come back again.

Clear coat is one option, no need for a particular make. Any bodyshop supplier should be able to supply you with some, or as mentioned, take them to a bodyshop and let them clear coat the lights. Clear coat will probably fail again after a few years.

There are special light coating solutions out there. Not tried them.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hopefully the the ones I replaced have a good five years left in them, maybe more. I have considered the body shop route, just don't know a good one around where I live. Talked to Rust-Oleum today and they said that the crystal clear clear coat would work. Oh and Badjuju that u tube you referenced is the one I followed.
 

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If you purchased aftermarket headlights. The clear coat on them will not last five years. I can promise you that,if it sits out in the sun. The only thing that destroys headlights is the sun. Even then, they still may leak if there aftermarket.
If you take your old headlights to any body shop. It can even be a crappy shop. As long as they use catalyzed clear on them,you're going to be good. You'd have to be stone cold broke to put anything from a spray can on your car.
Don't do it ?
 

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Not true. I have purchased spray bombs from auto body shops that last for many years when the surface is properly prepped. The key is to make sure that you remove any contaminants that impede adhesion. There are major automotive paint suppliers that are now selling two stage clear coatings in a spray can. It is just expensive as a single can costs $30- $50.
 

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That's exactly what I just said. Catalyzed clear coat. You're calling it two stage. It's actually two component. Two stage is a base coat and a clear coat.
Yes you can buy it and in a can. No doubt about that. But in some parts of the country. You're not allowed to just walk in and buy automotive paint. Got to have certifications first. But for the spray can that is catalyzed, you can buy it off the internet.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The units I but in are OEM supposedly with little life in the sun, the lenses look good. I did have fabricate the mounts as it looks as if they just ripped out the driver's side. Passenger side perfect. Live and learn.
 

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Yes you are right. I was in a hurry and typed two stage instead of two component. That is weird about not being able to buy the paint. Here in my city, Edmonton, I just go into a local auto body supplier and purchase what ever I want. My brother and I have no certification but we have been painting our own body parts for years. We painted the hood and front bumper on this mustang in the back yard at the end of September a few years back.
 

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Yes you are right. I was in a hurry and typed two stage instead of two component. That is weird about not being able to buy the paint. Here in my city, Edmonton, I just go into a local auto body supplier and purchase what ever I want. My brother and I have no certification but we have been painting our own body parts for years. We painted the hood and front bumper on this mustang in the back yard at the end of September a few years back.
That came out nice.
 

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Yes, we did it out doors. We got lucky and an early cold spell killed all the insects so nothing to worry about falling into the paint. We did the front and rear bumpers on our 2000 Mustang last spring but we did them in a tent. I purchased a Sata Primer gun and digital spray gun a few years ago and we have an 80 gallon compressor with the appropriate filters for painting.
 

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Yes, we did it out doors. We got lucky and an early cold spell killed all the insects so nothing to worry about falling into the paint. We did the front and rear bumpers on our 2000 Mustang last spring but we did them in a tent. I purchased a Sata Primer gun and digital spray gun a few years ago and we have an 80 gallon compressor with the appropriate filters for painting.
Looks like it was a good investment, that Mustang came out sharp.
 

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I am refurbishing my head light units, and have been looking for Rest-oleum clear coat. Advanced Auto did not have it and when i went to Loews, they said to use Crystal Clear Enamel. Spent hours sanding these units so I don't want to use the wrong stuff. Is the clear enamel the same thing as clear coat?
It probably cracked because you polished them then tried to clear coat, you have to sand them or scuff them for the paint to adhere. The clear coat will fill in the crevices and make it appear they weren't sanded, but that was likely your cause.
 
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