DIY - De-ambering your gen3 Coupe's headlights

aka "Tatlocking", due to Albert Tatlock being the expert on this, thanks to him for his write up.

De -ambering for the chrome look

Take off your headlights. There are three 10mm bolts holding them in, a wiring connector for the headlights, and one for the indicator bulb.

You will now need a flat screwdriver a heat gun* a Phillips screwdriver and some none setting mastic (not silicone sealant).

Place the headlight on a cloth with the glass face down, and with the heat gun* on its lowest setting warm around the edge of the light where the glass meets the black plastic, be patient and always keep the heat gun* moving. After about ten minutes the sealant should start to melt, using the flat screwdriver lift up the retaining tabs that are on the underside and side of the headlight, then stand the light on one end, grab the clear lens and black rear part and PULL! Rest and pull again it'll come apart. (If the sealant that's holding the headlight together starts to cool down, warm it back up). Eventually, the headlight will come apart. Also, a second person is useful because the sealant will stretch have them cut the stretching sealant with a pair of scissors to make the job easier and cleaner and to avoid any of the sealant going on to the internals of your lights.

There is only one small Philips screw that holds the orange corner in place, using a Phillips-head screwdriver undo the screw, the chrome reflector and orange corner will pull out together, separate the orange corner from the reflector, DO NOT TOUCH THE CHROME! Use gloves or be VERY careful not to touch the chrome. Handle this piece from underneath. Refit the chrome reflector some older Gen 3’s will not have a screw hole to hold it back in place with, if it hasn’t then a dab of clear silicone or a spot of hot glue using a glue gun on the corner of the reflector (where the three holes line up with the seating pad) will be sufficient.

Put the lights back together put a VERY THIN bead of new sealant around the groove in the black rear of the separated light and reheat the 2 pieces of the headlight with the heat gun* on it’s lowest setting, again this should take about ten minutes and remember to always keep the heat gun* moving. Take both parts to one headlight and line up the headlight, and SQUEEZE! Or press down on the back of the lights make sure the headlight is on a cloth surface to avoid scratching it, make sure that the retaining tabs are relocated correctly.

Repeat the process for the other headlight.

Refit the headlight that was first done first this gives the sealant in both lights a few minutes to cool down before handling them. Re-fitting the headlights is the reverse of removing them. Don’t forget to fit chrome indicator bulbs (inline pins) to avoid the fried egg effect.

Ceremoniously dispose of those awful orange plastic bits that have been exorcised from your Coupe.

The process should take approx 1 hour per headlight.

To colour code your headlights

Follow the process as above until the headlights are separated into 2 parts, if you are painting the lights then it’s best that you take both headlights apart before starting to apply any paint. Once the headlight is apart use a Phillips screwdriver to take out all 3 of the screws from the front part of the headlight. Take each headlight apart entirely there'll be the following parts: clear lens, bezel, rear part, orange reflector, chrome corner reflector, and two chrome cylinders. If you want to keep any of the chrome parts unpainted, avoid touching the chrome, use gloves or be very careful not to touch the chrome. Handle these pieces from the back. Take the parts you want to paint and roughen the surface gently with either a scouring pad (the type used for washing saucepan) or 600grit sandpaper. Don't press too hard just take off the finish. Wash the pieces when you're done. Make sure to get all the dust and residue off. Dry the pieces completely using your heat gun* or a hairdryer don't use a towel.

Make sure you have somewhere dry, warm, dust free and sheltered to spray the pieces, lay them out and spray each piece with 3 light even coats of primer. If you spray too much at once you may end up with runs and it’ll take another day to wait for the runs to harden before you can sand them out. Let each coat dry for 10 minutes. Leave the primer to dry off for about 30 minutes (it should be enough if you have sprayed light coats). Using your colour coat apply three light coats and make sure you cover the pieces entirely allow 10 minutes between coats, leave to dry again for at least 30 minutes. The final coat should be clear lacquer again use 3 light coats allowing each coat to dry for 10 minutes and cover the pieces entirely, let the parts dry overnight before handling them. Put the lights back together (as described in the de-ambering section). Be extra careful as you don't want to chip the paint or get fingerprints on any of the parts.

*Heat gun* 1 or 2 hairdryers can be used as an alternative however this will add quite a lot of time to the overall process but is a little less harsh if you’re not confident using a heat gun. There is also an oven method which can be used however from personal experience I would not recommend this method.

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