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  #1  
Old 06-24-2023, 10:34 PM
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Replacing headlight covers

Ordered a pair of new covers off the bay of E for pre-LCI.

Was at a pull-yer-parts yard today and attempted to remove the headlight cover from a 2001 E53 with xenons, same as what I have, because hey free test flight. Holy cats those things are glued in tight... could not get it off. Removed all visible screws too. Checked the Bentley book later and it doesn't cover replacing the cover, just the whole assembly.

Anyone done this successfully?

Assuming I get the old cloudy ones off, what should I used to re-seal the whole thing?

(snagged a door lock actuator which was the only part I really need but no idea if it's any good or not... yard has a 30-day guarantee).
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  #2  
Old 06-25-2023, 05:27 AM
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headlight covers

Pre Sept 2003 e53 headlights were assembled with a heat softening glue, post Sept 2003 the glue did not soften with heat.
On the headlight casing is a clock(about 1cm diameter) which points to the build date.
So you probably have a post Sept 2003 headlamp shell.

I always look /buy 2001 shells, just to be on the safe side.

Lez
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Old 06-25-2023, 12:14 PM
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Hmm... this one unit had been sitting in direct sun all day and was pretty warm already. Heat gun needed?
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Old 06-25-2023, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salty B. View Post
Hmm... this one unit had been sitting in direct sun all day and was pretty warm already. Heat gun needed?
Oven...
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  #5  
Old 06-25-2023, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by wpoll View Post
Oven...
But I don't want my dinner tasting of old melted plastic

Found a youtoob on the topic, though I disagree with his use of RTV to re-seal the cover. I've ordered butyl rope and a cheap heat gun.
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Old 06-28-2023, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salty B. View Post
But I don't want my dinner tasting of old melted plastic

Found a youtoob on the topic, though I disagree with his use of RTV to re-seal the cover. I've ordered butyl rope and a cheap heat gun.
+1 I also just used a heat gun on my e70 when installing the butyl. I even messed up and didn't have the internal plastic aligned and had to pull it back apart again after sealing it with butyl and the heat gun worked well for that too.

The factory RTV is a disaster and heat really doesn't help that much. It has to be cut off and then you can pull it out bit by bit. Heat might help a little but it won't stay hot enough to pull all of the pieces anyway so a heat gun is best there too...

Note that on the e70 it is easy to cut through the lens and into internal plastic light guides so be careful when cutting away the lens. I even nicked the angel eye a bit on mine but fortunately that is really just a light tube on the e70 and not an LED or bulb so it didn't really matter (but it was still not great to cut into it slightly)

Getting the headlights out of the e70 through the fenders is actually more work than doing the lens swap its self.

I also added a laminx film over mine given that I don't trust the UV coating on the cheap lenses. I didn't do a perfect job installing that and had to pierce it in a couple of places with a needle to get bubbles out but it is still much better than yellowed lenses... I think I could do a better job on a second attempt.

-Rich
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Old 06-28-2023, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by rbryantaz View Post
I also added a laminx film over mine given that I don't trust the UV coating on the cheap lenses. I didn't do a perfect job installing that and had to pierce it in a couple of places with a needle to get bubbles out but it is still much better than yellowed lenses... I think I could do a better job on a second attempt.

-Rich
Thx, I'd never heard of this product. Worth considering given the difficulty of replacing these covers (post-LCI sounds like a supreme pain in the ass; pre-LCI is four screws, pull the connector, lift it out, heat it up).

Re RTV, I hate that shit and refuse to use it on anything unless there's absolutely no alternative. Whoever installed the cheap "granite" countertops in my apartment kitchen smeared that crap everywhere when he attempted to fill the gaps.
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Old 07-31-2023, 09:14 PM
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Welp, gave it another go tonight with a borrowed Dremel and cutting wheel, but all that did was melt the plastic at 15K rpm and stall at lower speeds. I give up, gonna buy one off the bay of E.

Tried posting a want ad here and had multiple scammers attack, so I won't be doing that again.
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  #9  
Old 08-01-2023, 07:40 AM
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I just restored my crusty, yellowed headlights on my '05 X5 with the 3M Ultra headlight restoration kit and damn they look good as new. The final step is to apply two coats of the included 3M clear coat. I think that will last a year or so before needing a reapplication.

Took me about 90 minutes for both headlights.

Based on a tip here, I am also considering buying pre-cut E53 headlight films from XPEL or Lamin-X for $60 to put on after restoration to preserve them even longer.
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Old 08-01-2023, 10:45 AM
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3m headlight restoration kits work

Quote:
Originally Posted by Effduration View Post
I just restored my crusty, yellowed headlights on my '05 X5 with the 3M Ultra headlight restoration kit and damn they look good as new. The final step is to apply two coats of the included 3M clear coat. I think that will last a year or so before needing a reapplication.

Took me about 90 minutes for both headlights.

Based on a tip here, I am also considering buying pre-cut E53 headlight films from XPEL or Lamin-X for $60 to put on after restoration to preserve them even longer.
When I got my '01 X5 in May '21, the headlights were completely opaque (almost impenetrable), so I bought the 3M Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit with Quick Clear Coat, 39175 from Amazon, for $23. I guess it took me about the same 90 or so minutes, maybe more, but they turned out pretty good.

It's been two years since they were cleared, and they look as good as they did then, despite being under the Texas sun (always high UV, it seems), never garaged or covered. When they start fogging over again, I think I'll use the 3M Quick and Easy Headlight Restoration Kit, Removes Light Yellowing in 15-Minutes, 39193, for $8 on Amazon. I previously used the same kit on my '09 HHR Panel, which only had the beginnings of hi-opacity.

The only other time I used (tried using) a headlight resto kit was on my '04 2500HD and the '98 GMC; I used Turtle Wax kits on both, an I thought they made each set of lights even more cloudy, so I bought cheap Chinese headlight sets for both from Amazon, for about $55-60 a set (with new bulbs already installed). It's a shame that BMW aftermarket sets are 4-5 ?x the price.

Are the pre-cut E53 headlight films made of the same material as "paint protection film"? I like the durability of PPF. If so, I might consider using a set after my next headlight resto session.
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