I would love to take on a project like this but the scariest part to me is opening up and resealing the lights. I'm afraid to mess that up.
Is there a detailed DIY or video on how to do this? Or could you share more details on that part of the project?
Same here, whats the easiest way to open these lights up? What do you seal them with?
Last thing I want is moisture trapped in the light.
This is the sort of project that it is hard to consider a "DIY" like on another forum when people ask if I am going to create a DIY for my manual transmission swap and M5 drivetrain retrofit.... sure: Bentley manual, RealOEM, and Google! That is your DIY lol
I can offer some pointers from my personal experiences, take them for what they are worth. If you are serious about doing this on your own headlights then I suggest purchasing a salvage headlight off ebay to practice on, even if all the steps and laid out with the proper tools it will come down to execution on your end so it pays to practice.
That being said, here are some tips:
- BMW permaseal is nasty stuff where some permaseals have a more plastic or silicone type consistency, the BMW stuff is like a hard rubber and sticks to plastic very well and only becomes more cooperative at higher temps 240+F.
- Some E6X headlights can be pried opened and some can not. If you are successful then you will have the pleasure (sarcasm) of clearing all the permaseal from the channels so you can use butyl to reseal. This process is long and arduous and makes you think at times it may be easier just to cut the suckers open. The benefit of prying them open and clearing the channel is you can replace the permaseal with butyl and reseal the headlight in an oem fashion.
- Cutting the headlights open is more common for E6X housings. The name of the game is remove as little material as possible, any sort of cutting wheel or router type tool will remove material is it cuts and you will have a small void to fill when resealing. A chisel based cutter like a multi tool will separate the lens without removing as much material. Whichever you choose the name of the game is removing as little material as possible.
- I think Umnitza has some tutorials on opening the E6X headlights to look those up for where to cut.
- Deburr the edges if you cut with a tool that created some.
- I like to sand/rough up the lens near where it was cut to help promote sealant adhesion.
- For sealing I have used ATV silicone and also 3M Window Weld but I find that since the lens really needs some structural rigidity so before applying the sealant I like to tack weld the lens in place with some JB Kwik, I usually do 4-5 spots per housing.
- For sealing I then fill the void between the lens (created from removing material during cutting), and when that is dried, add another layer on top. I recommend doing small applications and multiple layers as opposed to dumping a huge amount of sealant on it at once. If you have too much external material on the housings the gaskets will no fit properly.
- Make sure to take the front bumper off for removal and install, it is possible to get the headlights out and in with the bumper but NOT
recommended. Take special care that the headlights are properly aligned in the brackets and are seated in an oem fashion (lining up with fender, hood, bumper etc.) If the headlights are installed crooked there can be pressure applied to the lens and the seal will be more likely to fail if unnecessary pressure is applied to to misinstallation.
- Practice, practice, practice