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Old 10/23/2005, 08:03 PM   #1
somethingspecial's Avatar

Joined: Aug 05
Posts: 1,782

My Garage
Taillight restoration

:)Ladies and gentlemen, I have read many threads on dark tail lights. As many of you have read, I am going concorse on my 390-4 speed car, and I just completed the tail light restoration.
As discussed before, the tail lights become dark and non-reflective over the years as the chrome finish turns to black. I thought about sending the tail light castings out to be rechromed, but at what cost?
I have seen some discussion about tin foil as a quick fix, as I did years ago, but NOT now. I debated on the spray on chrome finish but thought this was cheesey.
Well, I was WRONG!!!!! I recently aquired a set of lights from a 65 T-bird as a spare set. One light was "Black", and the other was near mint chrome. I stripped the lights, removed the sockets, and wireing loom, cleaned the inside of the tail light bodies, and used "Rust-Oleum" bright coat, metallic finish Chrome, #7718. I painted the "Dark" body with the Rust-Oleum, and compared the two, the Rust-Oleum one was brighter than the original, and was very close in reflecticve properties.
For those who are concerned, the Resto went as follows:
The sockets tap out fairly easy, I used a small plastic hammer to gently tap the sockets out of the tail light body. Using 0000 steel wool, I cleaned any corrosion out of the tail light body, then wiped clean with a rag and Laquer thinner. Let dry and than apply several coats of Rust-oleum Chrome #7718. apply several thin coats as to prevent runs. Let dry between coats. Remember to allow at least 24 hours for full cure of the final coat before handling, and reassmebly.
The sockets can be cleaned using a 12 gauge Shotgun Cleaning brush. It fits good and will do a great job. I than used a good electical contact cleaning spray to clean any gunk out of the sockets and connectors. I used compressed air to blow any gunk out of the sockets and connectors. If you don't have access to an air compressor, You can use the canned air such as used on cameras.
Gently re-insert the sockets and install the new light bulbs. Don't forget to use Di-Electric grease on the bulbs.
I hope this helps you folks with a good restoration job. Good luck and keep the SPECIAL looking bright.
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