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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Caliber Blacking Out Headlights Step-By-Step

Before you do this, you should know that once you break the seal on your headlights they’ll never be the same again. What I can tell you is the more attention to detail and care you put into it, the better end result you will get.
Alright for those of you who don’t wanna pay $400 for those weird eBay lights, here it goes for a clean OEM-like look. IMO these look a lot classier than other options and they don’t cost a fortune, just some time and elbow grease.

Notes:
– I’d say about 4-5 hours of actual work, but you give them the weekend because of all the paint, primer and sealing that needs to go on with it.
– When you take bolts, screws and clips off the car, be sure you don’t lose any. What I did was get some styrofoam party cups and put them in there. Don’t mix them up either and mark down how many from each part of the car you get.

Here we go…

1) Open your hood (I know it doesn’t need to be there, but see picture.) Should take 1 second :p




2) Remove the splash shield that covers the battery. Should take 5 min
It has 5 bolts at the top (1st picture) and 6 screws that connect it to the top of the grill (2nd picture). It also has a couple twist-type locks, everything is clearly visible looking down at it. Once all the bolts are off, be very ginger with it and just pull it towards the windshield. Theres a square cut-out which may catch the latch for the hood, watch out for that.
This is a picture of 1 of the 5 bolts on top, they run along the length of the shield.

This is a picture of 1 of the 6 screws, they run along the length as well.




3) Now your going to need to remove the bolts in the wheel wells. Should take 10-25 min
There’s a total of 3 on each side, 2 of which are visible and very easy to unscrew. Turn the wheel away from the side your working on to give yourself more room (see picture). The 3rd bolt is at the top (picture), it holds the top of the bumper to the bottom of the fender. Your going to have to peel the splash shield out to get to it. This one requires a lot of patience.
This is a picture of the bolts that are visible, just turn your wheel to easily unscrew the bolt.

This is the picture of the bolt that’s hidden, see step 5 on how to access.

Theres a slightly easier way to do this, do what step 5 says and then peel back the splash shield. This will give you a lot of slack and make it easier… When you peel, pry a flat head wrapped in cloth (so it doesn’t scratch the edges) in-between the fender and the splash guard at the bottom and run it up (picture)



4) Now you need to have access under the car. Should take 5 minutes
What I did the first time I did it was park the front of the car over my retaining wall (picture), however it can be done by just lying on the ground, it’s just harder to see the bolts this way.

There are 3 bolts, 2 are pretty close together and the 3rd one is near the middle as well. There about a foot from the front of the bumper. These are what secure the bumper on tight. These are kind hard to show but I’m doing the best I can (see below pictures). Don’t get up quite yet, you still need to do some work under the car.
In these pictures I purposely pictured the lip of the bumper give you an idea of where the bolts are





5) You need to undo 4 clips Should take 5 minutes

While your down there, just move by one of the wheels and you see some clips that are there to fix the bottom of the splash guard in the wheel well to the bottom of the bumper (that’s why I mentioned this earlier. If you undo this, the bottom is free and it’s easy to pull it back and get your hand in there to under the top screw). These clips took a while for me to get at first, but I figured it out and this step shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes to do all four (see pictures). While your down there, disconnect your foglights if you have them. Theres nothing to it, just twist and pull.
This pic shows where the clips are in relation to the lip

This pic shows how to undo the clip without damage. Just put your flat head into the slot for it and pry it out and then pull when theres enough of the pin to grab



Now the bumpers completely loose and not connected to the Caliber at all. Be very careful and pull it back towards yourself, you may need to give it a couple yanks but if you’ve done all of the above steps there is nothing holding it anymore.

Continued...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
6) Taking the lights off Should take upto 30 min

Now that the bumpers off, you’ve got access to the headlights. Theres only 3 bolts holding each light in place, and they are the same size as the bolts that were under the car (see pictures). It’s up to you whether you want to disconnect the front turn signal bulb and headlight bulb from the housing before you get the headlights out of place or after. I did it before just to be safe and not to snap the wires or anything. Once you’ve got all the bolts out and the bulbs out, your gonna notice the lights are still in there and they really don’t’ want to move. That’s because there’s another clip, it’s basically a metal knob that’s too big for the plastic hole it’s in so you really have to pull it hard. It’s gonna sound like something breaks when it finally comes out, but nothing will. Congratulations, your car now has no bumper and headlights… Time to move onto the kitchen…
In this pic, you can see 2 of the 3 bolts holding the fixture in place. Their at the top and bottom left and bottom right corners.

Same idea here except the bolts are on the top right, bottom right and bottom left corners.

Here’s a picture of the car without headlights or the bumper




7) Breaking the seal in the headlights Should take 30-40 min

Preheat your oven at 250 degrees (you can go higher or lower, it’s up to you.) and put your headlights onto a baking tray (see picture). Let them sit in the oven and check on them every 10 minutes, when you feel the sealent is warm and melted enough (you don’t want it running, just slightly gooey) take a flat head to it and pry the glass shield of the light and actual housing apart, you may need a buddy to help you with this, these headlights are pretty big. It could be a struggle, but just be careful and you’ll be okay. Put it back in the oven if you got a quarter or half done and it hardened up again… Be sure to use oven mitts, I can send over the lobster ones I used for $5 :p
In the oven




8) Making, Sanding & Priming 1-3 hours not counting the time it takes the primer to dry.
Once you get them apart, you’ll be able to just pull out the housing that needs to be painted. At this point you should take the reflectors off so that you can reach into the dishes with ease. Their a bit tricky to get out but just use a flat head to pull the tab up and pull it out. You don’t have to decide yet but you should start thinking about if you want to keep them in there or not. See below picture to see them with reflectors, or just stick them in yours once you’ve painted and see for yourself.
With reflectors


In the below picture it’s already masked, the masking took a while. I chose to leave the chrome rings on the edges and the big > shape by the turn signal dish just for aesthetic appeal. It’s up to you what you want to paint. Be sure that you mask the actual dishes though. Once you’ve masked, go over the unmasked areas with some 160-ish grit sand paper to get rid of the chrome and grey paint. I then used a finer sand paper 300 grit I believe to make sure no scratches from the 160 grit sandpaper would show. I then layed them out on newspaper and covered them with a scratch filler primer, this concealed any scratches I might’ve missed with the sandpaper. See the pictures below for the primed housing.
Masked housing, it takes time and patience to mask it, believe me.







9) Painting 20 minutes not counting the time it takes for the paint to dry
Once I was satisfied with the priming job I did, I painted. I used "Honda
black" paint. The reason I picked "Honda black" was because it looked the flatest out of all the paints I saw in the automotive section at Canadian Tires. I guess if you want a glossy finish, you can go with dodge black or some other stuff. I wanted as smooth look so I chose something that wouldn’t stand out and it turned out to be a perfect match for the car, looks very classy. See pictures below for painted housing.
This is the only pic I have of this process, my cousin helped me paint.




10) Sealing the lights back together 40-60 minutes.
Before you put the assembly back together, be sure to clean off the inside of the glass cover , you might of gotten fingerprints on it… That could be annoying later. Put the painted housing back in the light (where it was when you took it apart) and when your satisfied with the way it’s sitting (hopefully the way it was before you got in there) push the assembly together and put it back on the pan and back into the preheated oven. Give it about 10-20 minutes so the sealant melts and bonds again and now add your own sealant overtop. I used a standard gasket sealant over top of what was already there and once that cured I used a silicone window sealant over that to ensure no water would get in. Moisture = bad, I had to do this twice because I didn’t’ seal properly the first time, take your time with sealing.



11) Putting the lights back on the car 10 minutes
I noticed that when I put my lights back in the car they didn’t fit as perfectly as they did before. This is because the contour changed when they were melted and we were pulling them apart or pushing them together. I thought the gaps looked ugly so I went to Canadian Tire and bought some door seals (see picture) and they did the job perfectly. It looks smooth as… whatevers really smooth. It looks like proffesional job. Now you just have to assembly everything you took apart. Read the first couple steps if you need some help or send me a PM.
Here’s a picture of the seals I used to fill in the gap and give it a clean look


It takes guts to do this and I hope you do end up doing it because it looks excellent, I’ve gotten a lot of compliments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hope your car’s turn out as good as mine did. Here’s some more pics of what mine turned out like :).








 

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Thanks for that great DIY post Black_RT! Instructions are clear and concise and the pics put it all together. VERY well done and deservant of a "Sticky".

Medic
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Medic said:
Thanks for that great DIY post Black_RT! Instructions are clear and concise and the pics put it all together. VERY well done and deservant of a "Sticky".

Medic
thank you :D
 

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Has it affected the performance of the lights? Did you do a baseline before you change? Looks AWESOME, very detailed instructions!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OrangeRT said:
Has it affected the performance of the lights? Did you do a baseline before you change? Looks AWESOME, very detailed instructions!!!!
That's the one thing I forgot to do so I can say for sure. But to be honest, If it did affect the performance, it's got to be very miniscule. The reflective dishes for the lights are as they were before, the only things changed is the chrome edges and grey surfaces.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
cali_stang said:
so how much are you going to charge to do them? :D give me a price, ill drop ups tomorrow!!!!!!
haha, 1 set was enough for me. i posted the DIY so no one would ask me :p

ps; if anyone else decides to do this, please post your pics in here. I'd love to see what other people do because theres tons of areas where I chose not to paint and you easily can for a different look and vice versa.
 

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Im Debating doing this as well. Im actually looking into different ideas using BMW projectors and the caliber housing. Just so people know.. you can often find nice projector housings and such at bodyshops for very cheap with cracked lenses and such. We used to sell mercedes bosche headlamps by the box full for only a few bucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Fingernipp said:
Im Debating doing this as well. Im actually looking into different ideas using BMW projectors and the caliber housing. Just so people know.. you can often find nice projector housings and such at bodyshops for very cheap with cracked lenses and such. We used to sell mercedes bosche headlamps by the box full for only a few bucks.
yea that's a good idea as well. i thought about it but didn't want to spend the money on projectors. my cousin did though, he painted the housing in his nissan titan black and added porsche cayanne (sp?) projectors. http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2405469
 

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You did a great job and your pics/instructions were perfect. But I am one of the guys who already bought the "ebay" lights.Your info on removing the front bumper will help me in days to come.Thanks for the info and your lights and car look great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
WILL3XL said:
You did a great job and your pics/instructions were perfect. But I am one of the guys who already bought the "ebay" lights.Your info on removing the front bumper will help me in days to come.Thanks for the info and your lights and car look great.
Awesome, I hope your install goes smoothly. Some pics would be awesome, the ones the other guy posted on here weren't all that great.
 

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great write up on this, very detailed. you said the shape of the housing was affected from when you put it in the oven.... did you try taking a heat gun to the plastic mounting areas at all to try and get it back into position? the black door trim doesnt look bad by any means, just wondering if you tryed to reshape it at all first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Darren07RT said:
great write up on this, very detailed. you said the shape of the housing was affected from when you put it in the oven.... did you try taking a heat gun to the plastic mounting areas at all to try and get it back into position? the black door trim doesnt look bad by any means, just wondering if you tryed to reshape it at all first.
I thought about it, but didn't want to tamper with the contour of it anymore, so I took a trip to the store and the moulding was there so I guess I picked the easy-fix. Maybe if the trims come off (I don't think they will) or look bad in any way I'll exercise that option.

EDIT: Also to prevent any contour changes to the housing, heating it for longer to melt the sealant further might help. We were pretty much trying to rip these apart because we didn't have the sealant melted enough. I'm positive that contributed to it.
 

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Its in my long list of projects. I have tons of unfinished stuff im trying to get back to and finally complete. Just finished rebuilding my KTM 250sx FINALLY!. Now i gotta get my lincoln all set for paint. Then the car pc for the caliber and hopefully ill be able to do the HID projector thing.
 

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This was definetley on the to do list... I was trying to explain it to my wife, and she couldn't picture what I was talking about. When I showed her the pics of yours... she went "OOOOOOhhhhhhh, OK"

then she came back with "But I like the chrome" I will have to let you know who wins on this one.
 
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