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Restoring The Refletivity To My Tail Lights


RAS-2002
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Here's a picture of my newly chrome-painted reflector. The before-after difference is quite pronounced. Unfortunately, I don't have a 'before' picture, just the 'after' pic. I first used Krylon Metallic Silver, but wasn't too happy with its shininess. It was more of a satin finish. Then I tried Dupli-Color Universal Chrome, and was very pleased with the results; it's much more reflective now.  I doubt I'd use it on bumper or grille chrome, though. It's not THAT shiny...

Best,

Bob .

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I forgot to mention that I only used alcohol to clean them first, nothing stronger than that. Then a couple of light coats of chrome paint, rather than one heavy coat. And remember to remove the bulbs and mask the holes before you paint!  Also, remove the clear 'lens' on the housing before you paint. It supplies lighting to the trunk area.

Best,

Bob

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I had to wiggle a bulb back to life yesterday and thought "I ought to paint my taillights silver..."

Bob's posting inspired me today. As you can see the silver was getting a little thin.

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It might sound silly, but I am thinking of painting the amber portion of the reflector gold and using a yellow bulb.

Time to have BLUNT send some new seals....

Truly an incredible difference in brightness! You may have saved my life Bob. Thank you. Tom

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Thank you for the inspiration, Bob! I refreshed the rear light housings yesterday. It just took me a couple of hours. First, I used a wire brush and then followed up with an all-purpose cleaner with bleach. Second, one coat of black primer. Third, two coats of Rust-Oleum chrome metallic finsh. I already had all the materials. Mike had a great tip using the wine corks to plug up the light bulb sockets. Thanks Mike! I did notice that i had to bend the tabs in just a bit for better contact with the light bulbs. I turned out great with brighter running and brake lights. 

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Does anyone else think that these early cars had deliberately dullish, bulb reflecting surfaces?  On the E9 and E3, I can see that the only true reflective surface is that of the reverse bulbs.  I think all other "reflective" surfaces were not mirror finish, or even close, from the factory.  The notion of blindingly bright, as most are today, rear-facing lights was not the norm in the 60's and 70's, at least for BMW's.

 

I've found reflective "mylar" tape to be the shiniest surface treatment I could apply at home.  None of the "chrome" paints I tried were even close.

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