Author Topic: 72 Challenger rear lens restoration  (Read 467 times)

Offline Swarth7921

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72 Challenger rear lens restoration
« on: February 13, 2018 - 03:39:11 pm »
Ive been trying to find new rear lenses for my 72 Challenger but cant find them anywhere. I have the originals but they are sun faded pretty bad. Is there a way to restore them? Or does anyone know who sells new lenses?




Offline 70chall440

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Re: 72 Challenger rear lens restoration
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2018 - 03:58:14 pm »
They can be restored to a point; its best if you have a spare one to practice on. Keep in mind that all of the work should be on the outside as the inside should be good. You can try polishing them using a headlight restoration kit from any parts store/walmart. Read the label to make sure the product is for plastic lenses. Then you want want to try first to polish the lens and see what results you get. If they are bad, you might have to sand them with some 2000 or even 3000 sand paper (wet). Id try the 3000 first and then polish them and see how they look. If you are not happy, go to 2000 and do it again. You are trying to remove the top layer of oxidation and then polishing it smooth again. This is best done with a machine but I realize it might be difficult to get one in there; look at some of the Dremel products.

Classic Industries does have LED tail lamps for 72-74 challenger at $189 a set.
Current Mopar
70 Challenger RT 440-6, 73 Cuda (under const)
05 Durango, 99 Dakota, 01 Ram 4x4, 14 2500 4X4, 10 PCP Challenger RT, 01 Viper GTS ACR, 52 B3B w/330 Desoto Hemi, 70 Hemi RR, 61 Jeep FC170
Past Mopars
9 x Challengers. AAR Cuda, 4 RR, 2 GTX, 4 Chargers, etc... (too many to list)

Offline 67vertman

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Re: 72 Challenger rear lens restoration
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2018 - 05:19:33 pm »
I stole this off the Internet many years ago.  I used it on a couple of sets of tail lights for my old VWs.  It works really well. Sorry I didn't copy over the photographs.  :sadwavey:

Refurbishing Your Tail Lights
________________________________________
I don't believe there are any of us who have not been plagued with faded or crazed (small hairline cracks) tail light lenses. This project has the benefit of being relatively easy (2 wrenches out of 5 if you have some basic equipment). It adds a beautiful luster to the finished product, has UV Protection , and refurbishes your 30-40 year old, impossible to get, and ridiculously expensive lenses. Furthermore, following this method will give years of beauty to your lenses.

What you will need
Air Compressor
Paint gun, detail gun, or airbrush
Automotive grade urethane clearcoat, activator, reducer, and fisheye reducer
800-1000 grit sandpaper
Safety  equipment for painting

Step 1
Remove the tail lights or headlights. This step is not 100%necessary. However, if you decide to paint with the lenses still on the car, understand that not all surfaces of the lenses will be refurbished. Also, you'll need to make sure that you mask the car very well or you WILL get overspray on your ride.

In the photos below you will see that I am refurbishing tail lights off an early model  Opel that we customized into my sons car. These lenses were badly faded and crazed. Crazing occurs when the lens has been exposed to the sun, and over time they dry out and get small fractures in them.
 

 

Step 2
Thoroughly clean the lenses with a non greasy or waxy cleaner (dont use furniture polish, oil soap, etc)
 

Step 3
Using 800 to 1000 grit sandpaper, sand the exterior  (and if possible or necessary, the interior) of the lens. Most tail lights have a series of facets on the inside making sanding next to impossible. Once you have sanded to a satin finish, take a clean, lint free cloth, put a small amount of paint reducer or paint prep on the rag and thoroughly wipe down all surfaces on the lens. Use a tack rag to remove any lint or dust from the surface.
 


Step 4
Following the paint directions, mix enough of the clear coat paint, activator, and reducer to complete the project, then add a few drops of the fisheye eliminator to eliminate any wax or fingerprints you missed.

If your lenses are badly faded you can visit your local body shop  and ask the painter to tint some (not all) of your clear coat paint (before mixing) to approximate the color of the lenses.
 

If your lenses are crazed, start with the inside. Paint a relatively heavy coat of paint on the inside of the lens. Place the lens face down on a clean surface to allow the paint to penetrate any cracks and crevices in the interior of the lens. Wait until the lens is flash dry (15-20 min) and paint another lighter glossy coat. When this coat has flash dried, hang the lens from a wire hanger and paint the exterior of the lens. If the lens is crazed, paint a relatively heavy coat on the outside first (not heavy enough to run) and follow up with another coat as you did on the interior. Allow to dry thoroughly and reassemble. If you do happen to get a run in the clear, allow it to dry thoroughly, wet sand the run out, and repaint.

Note: If you are using a tinted clear on the lens, add an additional plain clear over the tinted coat.
 

If your lenses are severely crazed as mine were you may not remove all of the crazing, but it will be drastically reduced. As with every painted surface on your vehicle, the lenses will need to be waxed on occasion and if you have painted your headlight lenses make sure you get the bugs off in a timely manner just as you would your front bumper to keep the acid in the bugs from eating through your paint.



Ron - Born and raised in Southern California

I got the 1970 Cuda, but still need the hot blonde to ride shotgun!

First car -1969 Road Runner 383 4sp

Current ride - 1970 Barracuda 440-6 4 sp Dana 60  (4:10)

Offline 70chall440

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Re: 72 Challenger rear lens restoration
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2018 - 05:36:28 pm »
Very detailed, I used the technique I laid out and it worked well but the one you listed looks better.
Current Mopar
70 Challenger RT 440-6, 73 Cuda (under const)
05 Durango, 99 Dakota, 01 Ram 4x4, 14 2500 4X4, 10 PCP Challenger RT, 01 Viper GTS ACR, 52 B3B w/330 Desoto Hemi, 70 Hemi RR, 61 Jeep FC170
Past Mopars
9 x Challengers. AAR Cuda, 4 RR, 2 GTX, 4 Chargers, etc... (too many to list)

Offline Swarth7921

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Re: 72 Challenger rear lens restoration
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2018 - 06:38:27 pm »
Great info! Thank you both

Offline brotow

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Re: 72 Challenger rear lens restoration
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2018 - 12:45:56 pm »
I have a set from a 74, very nice shape, but one lens is damaged. I could you some pictures, if interested.
70 Chall. vert.(in process) - 73 Amx -74 Javelin- 87 Wrangler-02 Sebring conv.

Offline Swarth7921

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Re: 72 Challenger rear lens restoration
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2018 - 09:19:21 pm »
Yes very interested. Thank you

Offline Topcat

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Re: 72 Challenger rear lens restoration
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2018 - 10:19:37 pm »
I thought I'd throw this out there since were talking tail light lenses...

I once owned a 76' Scout IH.

The tail lenses were faded.

I went to D & J Hobby in Campbell, CA.

Bought some translucent red paint.

Using a touch up gun, I sprayed the inside area Red again.
Came out looking new again.
Mike, Fremont, CA.


Offline brotow

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Re: 72 Challenger rear lens restoration
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2018 - 09:51:45 am »
Yes very interested. Thank you
      Email sent
70 Chall. vert.(in process) - 73 Amx -74 Javelin- 87 Wrangler-02 Sebring conv.