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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As I said I would do, here's a quick write up, DIY, on how to paint your headlight housings, with ease. :)

A few things first; Don't attempt this if you're afraid you're going to break something, or mess up. Although, if you mess up, you can always remove the paint and give it another go! Also, I am NOT responsible for any damage you cause to yourself, others, or your head lights/tail lights.

Now, on to the fun! :)

Est. Completion Time: 1 1/2 days

Difficulty: Intermediate - Hard

What you need:

  • Various ratchets/screwdrivers
  • Flathead screw driver
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Door panel tool
  • Duplicolor Engine Paint "Heat Tested"
  • Adhesion Promoter
  • Time
  • Patience
Optional:

  • Wet Sandpaper (1200-2000g)
  • Clear-coat
  • Painters Tape
  • Gloves
Procedure:

1. Gather everything you need for this project before you start. This makes it so that you aren't running around while you're in the middle of something important.



2. Remove your bumper to access your headlights. If you are unfamiliar with how to do so, an easy tutorial can be found here: http://forum.mazda6club.com/electri...l-hid-headlights-foglights-relay-harness.html

3. Remove your headlights by first unplugging all of the electrical wires located in the engine bay directly behind the headlight. Again, a tutorial on how to remove the headlights can be found here: http://forum.mazda6club.com/electri...l-hid-headlights-foglights-relay-harness.html

4. After you get your headlight out, you're going to want to remove the bulbs, as well as the wires, depending on how anal you are. I personally removed everything as I was nervous about something going wrong. It's personal preference.

4a. If you choose to remove the wires, you need to unclip them from the headlight, and unplug them from each other. The wire that connects to your low beam/HID can be pulled through the housing. There is a small rubber grommet located by the turn signal bulb hole. Pull on the wires carefully and the grommet should pop out. Then you need to push the grommet back through the hole, as that's the only way the wire can be pulled out. Put your hand in the low beam hole and gently pull the wire out.

4b. There is a plug on the light housing itself that is clipped on by a blue clip. If you look at it, you just squeeze the bottom, or push the tabs in and pull through; and you then need to remove the blue clip from the end of the low beam wire so that you can pull it through the housing. To do this, stick a small flat head in the little hold closest to the red and black wires and get under it and push it up, while pushing/pulling on the blue clip.




4c. It should look like this if it's done correctly.




5. Now that the headlight is removed and all of the wires are removed as well, we can start the fun part! Before you get all excited and bake your lights, you must first remove the 5 screws holding the light together.






6. Now we can get to baking! Sadly, we aren't talking about brownies. :( First, make sure your light will fit in your oven then go ahead and preheat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. You can make it a little bit more, or less hot, depending. I didn't need it that hot, as my sealant was already soft. After your oven is preheated, put your light in there (one at a time) for 8-15 minutes, again, depending.






7. After your headlight is done, remove it from the oven. CAUTION: IT WILL BE HOT! Begin to pry along the edge of the housing with a flat head screwdriver. I recommend using a door panel removal tool as it's less dangerous and you're less likely to break the light or stab yourself violently.




7a. Along the edges of the plastic, there are 5 tabs that need to be released before pulling the light apart, or they will snap. Just get under them with a small flat head and pop them up. Easy peasy.




7b. You may need to re-bake the light 1 or more times. The way I see it, it's better to bake it more times to get it off easier than to bake it once and rush taking it off and end up cracking something. (spoiler)

8. After breaking the sealant all around the edge of the light, you should be able to pull it apart. I started pulling from the corner closest to the projector and it came off pretty easily that way.

8a. WARNING!: Pull VERY gently on the light, or...




9. Congratulations! The hard part is over with! From here on, it's a breeze, and the outcome depends on your level of patience. Anywho, after you get the light apart, the part you're going to paint is inside of the cover. It's held in by 3 screws. The blinker cover is held in by 2 screws. Remove this and put it somewhere safe. Also, don't touch anywhere inside the actually head light. I put mine in my closet covered in saran wrap, just to be safe. This is also when I put on gloves, to avoid leaving oil/fingerprints everywhere.






10. Gently remove the chrome innards of the light cover. I didn't realize until after I painted the first one, that it's 2 pieces. The projector housing is one piece, as well as the rest of the cover. So that helped the second time around. There is a tab on the back of the cover that holds the projector housing in place. Easy!




11. This part can run in a few different directions. A lot of people wet sand the chrome away. Some people don't do anything. Deep down, I didn't think wetsanding was necessary. So, with that being said, I went about it by just wetting a cloth with rubbing alcohol, and I cleaned the entire cover, and let it dry, then did it again. My conscious felt good, I didn't feel like I was doing anything wrong, so I went with it.




12. When ever you feel you're done with the last part, however you went about doing it, you can begin this step. Which, again, can be gone about a few different ways. You can prime it, you can do nothing, or you can promote. I decided Duplicolor Adhesive promoter was the best route. Whether you're using primer, or promoter, go over the cover 2-3 times waiting about 3 minutes between each coat. Don't put it on to thick or it will run.




13. After you have your 2-3 coats of your choosing, done, it's time to move on to what we've been waiting for! The paint itself! I went with Duplicolor Matte Black Engine Enamel. Whatever brand and color you go with, it MUST be heat tested. To begin, start out with 2 light coats, making sure not to spray to heavy, or it will run; and trust me, this stuff RUNS. Apply 2 or 3 light coats, then follow up with a medium coat to finish.

TIP: Apply the paint no longer than 10 minutes after you get done applying the primer/adhesive promoter.




14. After you're done painting your covers, put them somewhere safe to dry. I put mine in my basement because it's empty, animal-less, and a good temperature.




 
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
15. After your awesome work has dried, it's time to put it all back together! Start by replacing the 3 screws in the cover and making sure it's in there good.

16. Now this part is tricky, but can easily be achieved. **OPTIONAL** Buy some black rubber sealant to be extra sure your cover is secured and sealed to your headlight. I went with black rubber silicone adhesive sealant.

TIP: This stuff makes a HUGE mess. It busted open on me and I wasn't wearing gloves. So make SURE you where gloves and go slow or it won't be pretty. Getting it off of your hands is no fun. It hurts..




15a. Line the edge of the light with sealant and then set your plastic headlight cover over it and try as best as you can to fit it into place. Note, it will not fit perfectly because the OEM sealant is hardened.




16. Now, you know the drill! Preheat to your previous temperature and re-bake your light for the previous amount of time.




17. After removing your headlight from the over, push on the cover and try to move it into place. Use the tabs as guides for where it needs to be pushed; but after you get it to where it needs to be, you can go ahead and put the 5 screws back in to also help hold it in place.

18. This part is pretty important, or at least it seemed like it was to me. Go around the open/exposed edges of the light with a little bit more sealant.




18a. Spread it around evenly with your finger, making sure there aren't any huge gaps showing. Little holes are all right, unless you're anal or worried. Make sure you get the top corner, as that's were most leaks will occur. (rain, mositure, etc.)







19. Set your finished project someone where to dry overnight!




20. Now get outside and put it all back together and be amazed and proud of yourself and the way it looks! Congratulations! :)

















Thanks for reading guys! If I forgot anything, let me know, or if you have any questions, shoot! I'll be adding some more pictures tomorrow when I put them back in, and I'll do some before and afters! Let me know what ya think! More pictures will be coming soon!

-Kevin







Extra:

1e. You can't work on your car without one of these for proper insipration!




2e. Make sure you cover the ground under where you'll be painting. I underestimated the spray range... My parents are gonna be maddddd!




3e. A quick shot of the girl without the front end.

 

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paint thinner can dmg the stone, aacetone will evaporate and not mare it...pour it over each area and let is soak for about 25 secs thengive a light scrub with an old brush or toothbrush,, then just wipe it up with paper towels.
 

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Awesome write-up man, Can't wait to see pictures of the finished project. May want to consider a write-up on putting it all back together :-D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Haha thanks! I was actually thinking about that one! Because I'm going to buy some more sealant and I'll show everyone how to put it all back together, nice and safely. =]

-Kevin
 

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Just ordered my switchbacks so this will be a project for next weekend [= Might as well toss those in while I've got the bumper off
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I was thinking about getting some halos as a matter of fact. What's your opinion?
 

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Idk, i like halos i just dont think theyd look good in the gen2 because of the way the headlights are set up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I was iffy on them. I probably won't. I'm putting my lights back together today! I'll post pics afterwards. :)
 

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awesome man, can't wait. My switchbacks are on the way, ordered them yesterday evening, should be here wednesday at the latest so either one evening after work or next weekend i'll be doing this myself. Can't wait, going to take step-by-step pictures also, probably going to sand the internals just to be sure that the paint sticks well.
 

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Decided that I'm going to use 3m Butyl Sealer to put them back together once I've got them apart. Going to pick some up from the windshield guys we deal with at work. They'll probably give it to me for free since I'll only need like 4 feet or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey everyone! The write up is completed! I'll be posting some pictures tomorrow during the day to show you guys how it came out! It looks amazing. To be honest, the projector makes it look like a spider.

Thanks!
-Kevin
 

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Man that looks awesome! Definately should have been an option to have blacked out headlights from the factory since it looks like it fits with the car so well. Great write-up too!
 
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these came out awesome. i doubt i will attempt tho. great job!
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks guys! I've already gotten a handful of compliments from my friends and coworkers. :) I'm about to post another picture of it in the sun.
 

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inspiration to do mine. however i think my lights are little different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It's still the same process basically! If you're feeling inspired, go for it! :) It's really easier than it looks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
EDIT: I just added a few more pics of the car in the day time. Let me know what you think!

Thanks!
-Kevin
 
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