Saturday, September 13, 2008

Adventures in Tinting - Part II

After my failed attempt with the film and seeing how rippin 6's had his professionally done to be TOTALLY BLACK i decided I needed something a little more drastic and get that same result.
Seems like the most common method was to get VHT Niteshades so i ordered 2 cans of it from a local place and 2 cans of Upol #1 clear-coat which from what I had read was a lot better than most any other and dried pretty quickly too.

Goodbye normal clear taillights!

To start with I made sure I had all the supplies I needed:

  • 10mm Socket & wrench
  • 1 'big' can of VHT Niteshades ( just used a bit of the 2nd one)
  • 1 can of Upol #1 (hey at least I got spares :) )
  • 1000 grit sandpaper
  • 1500 grit sandpaper

Obviously the first step is to get the taillights out. This process is actually very straightforward.
Simply remove the plastic section that covers the trunk lock by unscrewing the 4 hooks that are used to hold the trunk-net in place and then it lifts right up.

After that it's simply a matter of popping out the push pins that hold the trunk liner up so you can get to the lights. It may help to take out the trunk bottom liner since that tends to get in the way.

Once you see the lights there is a large white connector that disconnects by pressing the center tab.

After they lights are disconnected it's a simple matter of using the 10 mm socket to undo the 3 nuts that hold the light in place.

Ok now we get to the real work: First I used 1000 grid wet sandpaper to scuff up the surface of the light. Talk about a cringe worthy moment.. There's no going back now!

I then taped them up with some old wrapping paper to protect the rest of the housing from the paint.

Now came the part where I screwed up:

a) I did it outside (well i was 'kicked out' ;) ) and it was a little windy
b) I was trying to rush it.
c) At this point in my life I should've learned that I do NOT have any painting skills what-so-ever, even if it's spray paint ;)


So on go the first coat(s) of Niteshades. I did two real light misting to avoid runs. Really it's not that noticable if anything it almost seems like stock again minus the scratches.

Just keep adding layers when the previous ones dry (5-10 minutes) spraying from about a foot away. Niteshades is runny stuff and you don't want to spray from too close !

If you get runs wait for it to dry and then sand it down. I was rushing and sometimes the paint wasn't 100% dry.. OUCH.. big mess!

On the left you can see one with probably a good 5-6 layers on it while i had to resand the one on the right because of major drips.

Both are looking pretty dark/about the same now. REALLY if you can try to spray both exactly the same in the same pass. I was an idiot and didn't - so now one light is slightly darker than my other (you can only tell with my lights on).

After it was all dark enough (finished 1 can of niteshades) I sanded again but with 1000 and then 1500 grid. Notice the spots where I screwed up with my runs. Was too rushed to try to fix it anymore (once again. Don't be in a rush when doing this)

Then the clear coat went on - same process : 2 thin mist coats and then just piling on the layers every 5-10 minutes. Once I got about 5-6 thick layers on it was good enough and i let it dry and then sanded it with 1500 sandpaper again. Notice all the runs from not taking my time!! (yeah it looks like CRAP right now)

After putting them back into the car the process of cleaning up the mess started.
First a layer of 3m Rubbing compound, Then scratch-X and finally a couple of coats of wax.
I HIGHLY recommend a buffer for this. I did it by hand and it took forever , and the entire time I was thinking I had just gone and ruined my taillights because they wouldn't buff out.
(wouldn't you think the same seeing these? btw my car is panther black metallic - the flash just makes it look gray in certain shots)

After taking a break though (rest of the day because I was so depressed thinking for sure I had ruined my lights! haha) I really got into and buffed them out to a nice shine using a LOT of rubbing compound & scratch-X. Took a while but the result is 'acceptable'. Here's the final result (Yeah I know - i need to take some better pictures that don't look so dark or make the car look gray! )

Tail lights on:

Blinkers on:

Brakes On:

With the lights off they basically look BLACK except when the sun is right on them, then you can see some red from the actual light shining through. With the lights on, during the daytime if it's really sunny sometimes it's a bit hard to see the blinkers (because I really overdid it with the niteshades - could've stopped 2 layers sooner and still have it be the same darkness At night though (should take some pics) the lights are quite bright enough and everything shows up just fine.

I MAY one day get them professionally done instead but for now i'm quite happy with how they turned out even though i had some moments where I thought for sure they were ruined.

1 comment:

  1. From what i can see it looks pretty good. and thats saying something since i dont like the dark look. I have gun smoke darkness on my car. Good Write up man