Friday, January 31, 2020

LS460 Headlight, Fog light and Grill Restoration.

The headlights and fog lights on the car were not bad by any means but it definitely did show signs of age a little bit of yellowing etc but nothing that couldn't be fixed. The fog lights I think took the most beating because of how low it is and prone to pitting etc by rocks and other debris from the road.

Sanded them all down starting at 1000 grit and worked my way down according to how much of the damage could be fixed and then worked my way up. On the headlights I ended up going to 800 grit and then moving up to 1000, 1200, 1600, 2000, 3000 and then polishing it. The headlight on the left was my first one and did all the steps to see the results before I did the other one. The fog lights I ended up having to go from 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1600, 2000 and then 3000. I used sanding disks on a DA and by hand only in areas where the DA couldn't be maneuvered to so it went by fairly quickly. 

After all the sanding, all the housings were taped up and prepped for some 2K PPG clear. Headlights and fog lights cleared and looking fresh. 

Untaped everything and carefully two hours after it was cleared and then I let it cure completely for 24 hours and then back on the car it went.

Since everything was getting cleared I went ahead and sanded down the front Lexus emblem as well to get rid of the pitting and fading it had. Had to be careful to not take too much off because the radar cruise sits behind this emblem and is calibrated for it. I also wanted to give the emblem a little smoked effect so mixed a couple of drops of black to the clear and it was cleared. 

I want to smoke the grill out now too but the chrome plating of sorts on the grill isn't too susceptible to clear sticking on it so I figured I would try some headlight tinting film to achieve the same outcome. Ordered some Luxe tint film and went about trying to put my vision together. 

Started by dismantling the inner grill from the chrome surround, then cleaning everything and degreasing the chrome surround with IPA. Also the inner grill was cleaned and I spayed it down with 303 just to condition the plastic. 

With the chrome surround all prepped and dry started off wrapping it. Patience and a little bit of  time and planning can help a long ways here. The film was warmed up with a heat gun and tucked behind to reduce the chance of edges lifting . Overall I think the wrap came out pretty nicely. 

Reassembled everything and it looked good in my opinion.

Put it back on the car.

So once it was on the car I don't know if I like it as much. The grill kinda blends in with the paint but it stands out too the shade is a little darker than what I was imagining and I'm not sure if I'm completely happy with it. I had ordered the Luxe film in gloss mid smoke and I think it makes it too dark to where it doesn't really give it that mid black chrome look that I wanted like I got from the emblem. I think at a future date I might order some of the gloss mild smoke film and try that to see if I like that better. Leaving it on for now to see how the elements affect the film staying on etc and see if there are any peeling or any other issues.

                                                                                                                              - AJ Abraham

LS460 Automatic Parking Brake Fix

The LS460's automatic parking brake was not working since I bought the car. On inspection before I bought it I saw that there was some past water accumulation in the trunk and saw the residue on the parking brake ECU. When I hooked up my computer to the car and did a scan it showed no communication to the Parking Brake ECU. On opening up the ECU I could see corrosion etc which definitely showed signs of water damage. So worst case scenario I thought I needed a new ECU which can be found online for under $200 so ordered one after I bought the car. When the new ECU came in I swapped it out and did a reset memory and linear valve offset calibration on the ABS/VSC/TRC module and cleared the DTC. No error message on the dash yet but it takes a bit for everything to register at times. Next day I was driving and the same error message started coming up intermittently which was weird. I noticed that the colder it got the longer the error message would stay on and then it would go away for awhile. The parking braes would work though, if I switched the parking brakes on it would actuate and engage and when I switch it off I could hear it disengage. I went ahead and took the trunk apart again to look at the parking brake module again, the module looked fine but when I inspected the plug it showed signs of corrosion. 

I took pictures for reference and then depinned the wires from the plug which revealed the problem. One of the plugs had a lot of corrosion and was barely making a connection. Once depinned the end pretty much fell off because it was that corroded.

This kinda made sense to why temperature would affect the connectivity. Took some measurements on what pin to order to get this connected back up again, also went ahead and measured the power and ground plug as well just in case it needed it, for future reference.

Ordered the right pins, cleaned up the plug and sprayed all the connectors down with electronic contact cleaner a thin coating of dielectric grease and put everything back together. 

It's been a couple of weeks since this was done and no more error messages. 

                                                                                                                              - AJ Abraham

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Key Fob Wrap

Wanted to personalize the key fob a little and I had a bunch of 3M samples of different finish and texture etc. Took longer than I thought it would but basically disassembled the key fob cleaned it and then degreased it with IPA. Used some 3M adhesive promoter around the edges to help the edges stick better and then armed with a heat gun, squeegees, plastic wedges, time and patience was able to wrap it. I picked a finish that simulated a leather finish and in Brown to go with my wood trim.

I was pretty happy with it so I decided to wrap the remote for my SC430 as well. Had a walnut finish close to the color of the wood trim in the SC so went with that.

Pretty happy with how both turned out. Guess time will tell how it will hold up.

                                                                                                                              - AJ Abraham

Monday, January 6, 2020

SC430 headlight mods.

A lot of projects have been on the back burner due to life but I think this one takes the cake for me. I was going through my garage and I came across my 06 and up headlights that I had bought back in 2015! 

They were used so needed some TLC so I started on refurbishing the headlights. There seemed to be a little oxidization on the outside of the lens and a little on the inside too right in front of the projector. Probably why I put it on the back burner, it was more work than I wanted to take on at the time. I tried to find a replacement lens but failed to find one. In order to fix this my thought process was I actually needed to take the lens apart and sand the oxidization off and clear the inside and outside of the lens. Since the lense had to come off anyway I figured it would be a good time to customize the inside and change the fresnel lens to a clear lens too. I didn't want anything crazy, just a clean looking headlight. So in the oven it went and got the lenses seperated.

Above picture shows the oxidization of the lens on the inside. This was only on the passenger side headlight but I went ahead and did both lenses.

Sanding and clearing the inside of the headlights with 2k clear brought these back to life. I didn't want to do the outside yet because I wanted to finish the rest of the headlight and put it all back together and then do the outside.

Got my TSX clear lenses in so installed that as well.

With that situated I debated on what else to do to the internals. I already knew I wanted to get rid of the chrome in the bezel because it was too bright for the car IMO. I found a shade of grey with good flop in it, not too dark and not too light that I thought would look good and had it painted.

I wanted to add a little more detail into the headlights and I noticed the ridges on the bezel in front of the high beams and wanted to accentuate those. Also wanted to try a DRL strip that I could possibly use.

Measurement of the ridge on the bezel.

Tried a LED strip on the bezel just to get a visual.

Scrapped the LED strip idea because I thought it would stand out too much in the headlight.

I had some reflective vinyl from another project and thought I could use that in those ridges. Used the measurements of the ridges to draw up strip to get cut on the vinyl cutter.

Tried a couple of different ideas and this is what I ended up liking. Notice the black in the ridges and around the low beam portion with the logo on it. 

This is the same headlight with light shining on it.

Was pretty happy with the subtlety of it so went ahead and resealed the headlight. When resealing headlights I didn't want to take the chance of just using the old butyl. I got a roll of the Morimoto butyl and used it to reseal the headlights. Off to the body shop again, sanded and cleared the outside of the lenses with 2k clear. 

The final product.

Now I just need to figure out what I want to do with my front bumper and then put these on!

                                                                                                                              - AJ Abraham