Cleaning out inside of lights using ammonia and distilled water

M.A.94

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Right so a bit of background as to what is going on, my friend has a VW Passat and has recently got a hold of some W8 headlights (rare + expensive) for free.

The only issue is that the xenon headlights are not giving out enough light and its been identified that the problem is that the inside of the projectors are dirty. After some google searches and looking on VW forums it seemed the solution to clean the projectors was using ammonia and distilled water. So we brought some ammonia + distilled water and felt that the little google research qualified us enough to carry out the job.

Because I've never used ammonia or haven't really came across it in the past I thought ammonia is ammonia and didn't really think of there being different strengths. Turns out I brought some industrial stuff and immediately it ripped off the reflective material from the projector (also almost had me knocked out with the strong smell, glad I was wearing gloves).

Since i need to replace that projector, I thought I might as well get a pair and not have to repeat the same process for the other side however the lights also have streaks and marks on the inside of the clear lenses. Ideally I would like to clean the inside to make them streak free without taking them apart which means the only access is through the bulb holes, it was suggested on the VW forum to again use ammonia and distilled water as this would leave a streak free finish however this time I either need to make sure I have the right strength ammonia or an alternative solution?

Before anyone suggests buying a new pair of lights, the genuine W8 headlights are apparently pretty sought after and its not really feasible for my friend to buy a new pair so its either make these ones work or live with the standard lights.
 

Simon_M

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I would have thought now is the time to stop using ammonia and maybe rethink the procedure - the VW forum has stitched you up once already.

S
 

PobodY

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I suppose the logic is that ammonia is in products like Windex and removes acidic residues from glass, but it's probably not more than ~5% solution.

Unfortunately you don't always get the most sensible advice off internet forums (although this site hasn't steered me wrong yet). - For example; I had someone tell me that the Honda forums recommend filling an engine with oil until it overflows from the cap!
 
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M.A.94

M.A.94

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For example; I had someone tell me that the Honda forums recommend filling an engine with oil until it overflows from the cap!

Lol is there something I'm missing out on in life a few people have been going on about 'mighty car mods' in youtube making videos of filling Hondas to the brim. Anyways thank you for the advice I have looked into this a little more and it seems diluting the product is the way to go. Which like you said would give it around 5% strength.
 

190

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I've used a warm solution of distilled water, alcohol and pure soap. That's a recipe used for cleaning reflector telescope mirrors which use essentially the same electro deposited reflective surface. I cleaned a 35 year old headlight and it worked a treat.

Just do an internet search for cleaning telescope mirrors for a safe solution and method.
 

PobodY

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Lol is there something I'm missing out on in life a few people have been going on about 'mighty car mods' in youtube making videos of filling Hondas to the brim.
That's probably where I got it from. - After the thread about that classic Mini for sale on here I was looking at things that make them a more exciting car... like Honda engine replacements.
 

brucemillar

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Ammonia is free. Our pee is full of the stuff.

The plating that is used in headlights literally just lies on the plastic with virtually no bonding at all. This means that any contact is likely to result in it coming off. Lint free cloths would be the safest bet. But even then I would suspect that you risk it being damaged. They were not designed to be cleaned or maintained.
 

PobodY

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If you've got ammonia in your urine, I'd see a doctor because I think you've got a problem with you liver.

Urea maybe? That can decompose to form ammonia.
 

martyz

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Those dub boys crack me up...try Chloroform...no please don't.:eek::eek:
 

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