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Lighting Forum
Angel Eyes, DDEs, lighted rings, Clear Turn Signals, LEDs, Xenon, HID, or Bi-Xenon. If it lights up and you want to discuss it, post here!

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Old 03-06-2013, 10:08 AM   #21
SHOoff11
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The buffing kits take the protective film off of the plastic and after a few mints they will look worse than before. That's my personal experience. I'm planning on ordering new lenses this week.
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:14 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by caryalon View Post
It will happen to new lenses eventually, also.


OP, check if you have Bosch or ZKW headlights - the lenses are different, and ZKW replacements are significantly more expensive.

My headlights were really badly frosted. I used the Meguiars kit that includes LaminX. The kit worked great, and the headlights are still clear and look new after 6 months. Reapplying the LaminX is recommended periodically.
This is wrong. The lenses are the same and interchangeable. Khoalty only sells one, and this is the reason why.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:09 AM   #23
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All you guys with pre-facelift lights should qualify your advice. I wish I had it as easy as you.
Cannot replace lens on the newer lights without baking them off. Not sure you can even buy new lenses for these.
So some have to buff out and protect to avoid lenses hazing over quickly again.

http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...08&hg=63&fg=05
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:10 AM   #24
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They shape is the same but there is indeed SOME difference with the ZKW vs AL/Bosch. They part number on realoem is different and I have no idea why. Maybe the material is tougher due to the higher intensity of the ZKW lights? Idk
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:23 AM   #25
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All you guys with pre-facelift lights should qualify your advice. I wish I had it as easy as you.
Cannot replace lens on the newer lights without baking them off. Not sure you can even buy new lenses for these.
So some have to buff out and protect to avoid lenses hazing over quickly again.

http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...08&hg=63&fg=05
Every vehicle i've owned has not had interchangeable headlight lenses. E46 felt like a luxury to pop them off and have them looking brand new again.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:24 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Stinger9 View Post
All you guys with pre-facelift lights should qualify your advice. I wish I had it as easy as you.
Cannot replace lens on the newer lights without baking them off. Not sure you can even buy new lenses for these.
So some have to buff out and protect to avoid lenses hazing over quickly again.

http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...08&hg=63&fg=05
buy some crappy ebay lights and just use that lens IF it's good enough
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:27 AM   #27
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There are different lenses for cars with halogen lights and cars with Xenon. The Xenon lenses are more expensive...go figure. They likely have a coating on them due to the xenons.

As others have said, you can polish and make them look brand new. But you polish off the UV blocking layer on the plastic, so they will haze over in a few months at most. You can use a UV blocking headlight spray or a wax with UV blocking properties (most modern waxes work fine). But if you get lazy, they'll haze over again and require a little bit of buffing.

FWIW, i've used the 3M kit. It's nearly $30, but works very very well and the components last long enough to do a number of sets of headlights. It's nice to have their little buffing pad (goes into your drill) as well, for touchups if you decide to go that route. It's worth the money IMO if you want a restoration kit.

The long term solution is new lenses and lamin-x. Not cheap. But like any new lenses, it will wake up the front end completely. This is on my to-do list for the spring.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:35 AM   #28
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They shape is the same but there is indeed SOME difference with the ZKW vs AL/Bosch. They part number on realoem is different and I have no idea why. Maybe the material is tougher due to the higher intensity of the ZKW lights? Idk
They are interchangeable. That's all. Nothing further. Buy the ones khoalty sells. The ZKW lenses are no different except they may possibly be polarized.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:52 AM   #29
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Well the way I see it, I really don't have anything to lose by trying to buff it out. The cloudiness is minimal, and I don't think there is any pitting. I'll try it, and see how it goes. If it clouds over again, I'll buy new lenses later down the line.

Might as well try a cheap alternative if I'm looking at replacing them anyways.

If RealOEM says the lenses are different, then the lenses are different. 'Nuff said. I trust that BMW wouldn't charge an extra $30 for something that is just labeled differently, but doesn't actually have a difference.

Thanks for the posts, all.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:59 AM   #30
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Well the way I see it, I really don't have anything to lose by trying to buff it out. The cloudiness is minimal, and I don't think there is any pitting. I'll try it, and see how it goes. If it clouds over again, I'll buy new lenses later down the line.

Might as well try a cheap alternative if I'm looking at replacing them anyways.

If RealOEM says the lenses are different, then the lenses are different. 'Nuff said. I trust that BMW wouldn't charge an extra $30 for something that is just labeled differently, but doesn't actually have a difference.

Thanks for the posts, all.
Yeah dealerships NEVER try to get more money for no reason. Sound logic
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:04 PM   #31
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^ I just spent some time researching the lenses. No difference between AL and ZKW.
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:24 PM   #32
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^ I just spent some time researching the lenses. No difference between AL and ZKW.
Lol. Better late than never I suppose
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:31 PM   #33
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Just buy the new lenses from khoalty. Totally worth it.

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Old 03-06-2013, 01:05 PM   #34
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The long term solution is new lenses and lamin-x.
^ This. I've used Lamin-X on a number of cars.

As a side benefit, the Lamin-X also provides some protection against chipping and cracking. As long as you wax the Lamin-X every time you wax your car, it should stay crystal clear. And if it takes a beating (thereby saving your lens), you can just peel it off and put on another.

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Old 03-06-2013, 04:05 PM   #35
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I tried with brake fluid and it worked!!
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Old 03-06-2013, 04:07 PM   #36
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I tried with brake fluid and it worked!!
I really hope nobody takes you seriously.
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Old 03-07-2013, 01:41 PM   #37
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So glad I saw this thread! I was about to buy lenses from ECS for $100 each!! This is one awesome deal.
I do have the ZKW so I can report back once I have them installed and verify that they fit correctly.
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:41 PM   #38
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So my experience from Florida where the sun kills headlight lenses:
New car - headlights haze after about 6-8 years.
Option 1 - OE Replacement lenses - another 6-8 years.
Option 2 - ebay headlights - 1 year and haze.
Option 3 - Polish OE headlights - this is where it gets interesting: Plastic yellows in about 6 months, not just the surface haze, but yellow all the way through the plastic.

2 and 2 together = there is a UV protective coating on new OE headlights that must be there in order to protect the plastic.

so... option 4 - wet sand 2000, wet sand 3000, Clearcoat with UV protective polyurethane (no need to buff, clearcoat fills the haze left behind by the wet sanding) - been a year and a half and still looks new. Have done this to 3 different cars now. The better the clear coat, the longer it will last.

my $0.02
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:37 PM   #39
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Yeah dealerships NEVER try to get more money for no reason. Sound logic
RealOEM does not reflect the prices of an actual dealership; RealOEM shows the prices that BMW as a company sets. In fact, dealership prices may vary depending on location and product availability.

If BMW is (1) selling two sets of headlight covers that are EXACTLY the same, (2) claims that they are different (as is shown on RealOEM), and (3) furthermore charges different prices by the justification that the covers are in fact different, then we are looking at a case of legal misrepresentation (or on the verge of, at least). I highly doubt this is the case.

Khoalty does say this, though: "XENON/HALOGEN does not matter, our lenses are safe for both"

I don't really know who to believe, but I do trust BMW as the original manufacturer of the vehicle.

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Old 03-08-2013, 12:45 AM   #40
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Not necessarily, just think it is worth permanently solving the issue than buying a temporary solution. Besides, $72 is not a lot for what this can do to improve the appearance of your vehicle.
Why do you think this is a permenant solution? The new lenses will get sandblasted, and look like Sh!t within a few years, just like the originals.
I wet sanded mine, and polished them back to almost new condition. But you will not get those results from some kit. I had to end up using 250 grit sandpaper to remove the deepest divots. I worked my way up to 3000 grit, and then polished it with polishing compound. I have a spare set of lenses that I also restored, and after a year or so, I remove one set, and put the other ones on. Then, I have a year to polish the other set back to near perfection. They require very little work after just one year, but there is definitely damage to be repaired. This is no different than doing paint correction on your car, and once you have the right tools and practice, it is fairly easy. In fact, wet sanding and polishing my lenses gave me th confidence and the practice needed to learn to do so on my cars paint. I was able to take heavily swirled paint, and return it to almost new condition. I highly reccomend it to anyone who wants to learn to do paint correction.
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