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Raoul Duke
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Let's use this information and add/subtract from it as necessary.

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Note: Always check your local laws regarding tinted/smoked headlights or taillights. Perform these modifications at your own risk.

VHT Niteshades:
This is a transparent black spray paint used on taillights and other lenses. It can often be purchased from Summit Racing, Jegs, or eBay.
When using Niteshades, it's often a good idea to remove the light from the vehicle and set it up properly to avoid runs. For example, you can remove the "taillight bar" from a Cougar and lay it flat for optimum results. It is absolutely imperative that you clean the surface well before applying the paint. You will not be using a primer (for obvious reasons), so the surface must be perfectly clean to lessen the chance of "fish eyes" and other paint flaws. I've always used rubbing alcohol and a toothbrush to get wax out of the raised lettering. You may have success using Prep-All or a similar preparation product.
With VHT Niteshades, 2-3 coats will give you a smoked effect and 4+ coats will give you the blacked-out effect. I've always been satisfied with 2-3 coats, but it's entirely up to you. Be aware that you will have progressively decreased light output for each additional coat. Don't overdo it. Also, Niteshades has a propensity to be removed via polishing compounds and waxes. After several waxes of the car, I've noticed that the taillights are slowly returning to their normal state. The polishing and buffing will remove a small amount of the paint each time you do it. (I wax just about everything).

This is how two coats will appear:


How two coats look with darker ambient light:




Painted Headlights & Corners:

Write-up:
http://members.tccoa.com/thndrn1/howto/index.html

This is a fairly basic modification. It involves painting the surfaces of your headlights that don't reflect light forward and corner lights to achieve a smoked effect. In short, you can paint the bottoms and sides inside the housing, but not the faceted rear section. Many modern vehicles, such as the Grand Cherokee, have this exact setup for the same reason. I used high-temp satin black paint for mine and they've held up very well for nearly two years. This process involves disassembling the lights, painting the non-reflective areas, then sealing them back up.
The headlights are simple to take apart and reassemble, with just four clips and some basic adhesive. Some will suggest you put them in the oven for a few minutes to soften the adhesive, but I've had excellent results by just soaking the lights in very hot water for about 20 minutes. Now, the corners were a total nightmare. I spent almost two hours per corner during the project. Most of the time invested was using the Dremel and cut-off wheels to cut through the housings. There is no way to pry them apart to break a seal, as the plastic will just fracture. They must be cleanly cut all the way around and sealed back up at that joint. I used a lot of clear silicone sealant.
For those who have been frustrated by this project, it is possible to do it properly and enjoy condensation-free lights for several years. My lights are a perfect example. You must be patient and use caution when cutting the corner lights.

This is how the lights will appear after the painting process:






For those who want to use Niteshades on their headlights to get the smoked effect, you may run into problems. Niteshades is very prone to paint defects due to the fact that you can't use a primer. Most of the small flaws (fish eyes, orange peel, runs) aren't very noticeable in taillights due to their color and reflective qualities. However, headlights and corner lights will show nearly every flaw. It's best to use the painting method for a clean and reliable way to customize them. You may also purchase aftermarket covers, usually made by GTS, but they are fast-becoming difficult to find. They pop up on eBay every now and then.
 

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Just ordered me sum from SummitRacing.com, should get it around Weds. It cost w/shipping around $23. I thnk thats a little pricey for a can of "paint" but what are you guna do. Anyway ill post pics of before/after when im finished.
 

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$10.95.... haha sorry, ...late...
 

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bought the night shade from the site i listed above, comes through legit. havent tested it out yet though :)
 

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Could you use something like paint thinner to soften the adhesive, specifically the corners? I don't own anything that would make that cut and would rather not slice up my future new corners.

Also, could you use nite shade on the inside of the corner lens ONLY behind the reflector deal, to darken that down?
 

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Raoul Duke
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Discussion Starter #9
From what I recall, there is no thick adhesive on the corners that can be compromised with a solvent. I would imagine it's a very thin glue that practically welds the plastic seam and it might be extremely difficult to get any solvent in there to break the bond. As far as I could tell, a small cutting wheel (Dremel) was the only way to separate the lens from the housing.
In fact, I didn't cut directly at the joint in certain spots. You'll understand when you look at one up close.

You may be able to use Niteshades on the inside of the housing, but be aware that it shows all flaws. If you don't have a perfectly clean surface on that chrome coating, every defect will be obvious. I would suggest you avoid Niteshades for any of the front lights.
 

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i agree and i recall reading about people wanting to darken there headlights or corners that way and being shut down with a bunch of "bad idea"'s apparently it severely decreases the brightness of your lights, which makes sense because the chrome helps to reflect the light... but hey nothing beats doing it yourself and possibly failing and learning then by just reading about it... haha

also if your wondering why some people paint the inside of the headlight, they usually have HID headlights which always them to do it because the HIDs are actual projectors instead of just a bulb
 

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if your going to try it, do not paint the chrome, instead paint the outer perimeter of the front of the headlight, the plastic. first off you can remove it way easier if you mess it up, second it will give you a little different yet cool look, i think, may not be what your looking for though... ill try and find pictures of what i mean..


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see how he just painted around the perimeter so the light can still project out.. but regardless itll dim it still or atleast cut down on the width range of his headlights
 

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I'm not wanting to tint the whole lens, just right behind what is normally the amber corner. Just the prism reflector type portion. So I don't think it'd show flaws, not anymore than tail lights at least. Maybe I'll just do it on the outside.
 

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if your going to try it, do not paint the chrome, instead paint the outer perimeter of the front of the headlight, the plastic. first off you can remove it way easier if you mess it up
Painting the chrome on the inside of the housing won't effect light output as long as you don't paint the "diamond" portion. I did a side by side test when I did it to mine, there was no little difference.

second it will give you a little different yet cool look
or ricey/****ty.
 

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if your going to try it, do not paint the chrome, instead paint the outer perimeter of the front of the headlight, the plastic. first off you can remove it way easier if you mess it up, second it will give you a little different yet cool look, i think, may not be what your looking for though... ill try and find pictures of what i mean..


Photobucket" media="(max-width: 640px)"> Photobucket" media="(max-width: 960px)"> Photobucket" media="(max-width: 1920px)">



see how he just painted around the perimeter so the light can still project out.. but regardless itll dim it still or atleast cut down on the width range of his headlights
That looks :zpuke: . I do not want to do that.
 

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How are the lenses glued on before the process starts (from the factory)? What would be a good option to removing the lens on the corners without a cutting wheel/Dremel. I don't own one and don't think anyone I know does.
 

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There isn't any other way, the lens is recessed into the housing with very strong glue between it. Even if you could find a chemical that would soften the glue without destroying the lens and housing in the process, the tight fit of the recessed area won't allow much solvent to make it to the glue.

FWIW I used a hack saw blade to carve out the housing on my first one, takes forever, but works.
 

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more if you wanted to see...

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Photobucket" media="(max-width: 640px)"> Photobucket" media="(max-width: 960px)"> Photobucket" media="(max-width: 1920px)">


doesnt look like he even did the side corners.... something you might consider. way easier to skip the corners and just do the fronts, looks good i think
 

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lol didnt see your other posts haha ya the prix i agree looks dumb haha but that guys bird i think it looks alright. and i was being optimistic to his ideas XR.

but thanks for the info on the chrome. i did not know that. i was told other wise i believe on here i thought but idk.
 
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