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Audi S3 Headlight Lens?

Discussion in 'A3/S3 Forum (8L Chassis)' started by S3-Oski, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. S3-Oski
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    S3-Oski Member

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    Hi all, Does anybody know if its possible to take off the front headlight of an s3 and take it apart?

    As one of my headlights looks a bit tired, compared to my other one and lets the car down Imo, is it possible to clean then, it sort of has got mis coloured, where my other is crystal clean. AND Looking straight on it looks like it needs sorting.

    If not could i buy just the lens? rather than a whole unit? If so where from?

    Any help aprchiated, thanks
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  2. Imteyaz
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    Imteyaz 6th Gear

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    I know you can buy the early glass lenses (where the indicator unit and headlamp are separate) but the later plastic all-in-one units are glued together so would be more difficult to do. Either way, be careful if you do get them apart, the reflective coating inside the casing is very fragile and gets marked / scratched easily...
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  3. <tuffty/>
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    <tuffty/> Badger 5 Edition Staff Member Moderator

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    #3
  4. S3-Oski
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    S3-Oski Member

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    Hi i have a facelift so its one unit, i may try it, dont want to make it look worse though lol
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  5. S3-Oski
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    S3-Oski Member

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    Hi thanks for that, unfortunately i dont have a machine polisher, is it the outside what is making it look **** then? notinside the lens?

    Do you think if i took it down a good bodyshop they could polish it for me? If not any in Essex willing to do this for me i will pay for it? thanks
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  6. Imteyaz
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    Imteyaz 6th Gear

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    I have a similar problem S3-0ski, mines looks like it needs cleaning from the inside, the outside isn't pitted / marked that badly so if I machine polish mine up it will make the dirt show up even clearer than now!

    I'll just have to live with it until someone comes up with a better idea, I ceratinly ain't risking cleaning the inside :no:
    #6
  7. <tuffty/>
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    <tuffty/> Badger 5 Edition Staff Member Moderator

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    Couldn't tell without looking tbh... I have something similar to this...
    http://www.toolbaydirect.co.uk/cata.../Silverline-125mm-Random-Orbit-Sander/170149/

    Its a cheap random orbit sander that works well as an alternative to a proper DA polisher... This Silverline one gets taled about quite a bit on the detailing forums... Use pads and polish from Polished Bliss

    They may do if you explain what you want to do... its more a detailing thing than a body shop thing tbh...

    <tuffty/>
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  8. S3-Oski
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    S3-Oski Member

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    Its well annoying though mate, beacuse im so aware of it, it bugs me, would we have to buy a whole new healight then? to replace it?
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  9. mike_plymouth
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    mike_plymouth Member

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    Opening the lense is very easy, if you remove the whole headlight unit and then place in the open on a medium heat for about 5- 10 mins the glue that holds the lense on will b easy soft enough to remove the lense fromt he main housing, same process to refit, heat and press.
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  10. S3-Oski
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    S3-Oski Member

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    Thanks, do you know if i can buy a new lens? for it then, i can fit it
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  11. Imteyaz
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    Imteyaz 6th Gear

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    For facelift style lamps the lenses are not available separately, pre-facelift A3's do have them listed as 8L0 941 A/B/C dependent on vehicle type, ETKA doesn't seem to list the same option for the S3 gas discharge headlamps though..... strange.
    #11
  12. golf
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    golf ***** rent boy

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    If you're going to the trouble of taking out the projector, replace it with one from an S2000 or another car so you can actually see where you're going at night!
    #12
  13. AviatorRichards3
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    AviatorRichards3 Member

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    Hi guys, I know its a few years to late but I thought ide add my story as it may help someone down the line.

    Ive got an 2002 S3 8L and strangely when I bought it, one headlamp looked brand new, and the other had the cloudy/rough deterioration to it.

    So today I decided to clear it up, and I followed this link: 3 Ways to Repair Oxidized Cloudy Headlights with a Headlight Cleaner

    Now to get to what this thread is really about, I decided to clean the inside as well, and so I removed with great difficulty, the front plastic protector lens/case.

    It is glues on using a sort of foam sealant which was a pain in the neck, but i finally managed to get it off. Now what i wasnt told is how delicate the chrome finish is on the inside of the lamp unit and on that little bit of plastic trim that comes off inside the lamp.

    So as you could imagine, I went to scrub it with a damp cloth and window cleaner, and the bloody chrome came straight off in my hand. Luckely I had started on the plastic trim piece that unscrews from the lesne, and not the headlight unit itself, as a new xenon lamp looks like over £300.

    Ive followd all the steps in the link I provided, which was wet n dry paper, polish, and a extremely good buff up with a electric buffer, and it made it much butter (i couldnt see all the diagonal lines on the lamp before and now they are there as clear as day) but its still not good enough as the drivers side one looks like new.

    I went to halford to get some chrome spray paint to redo the plastic trim piece and oh my gosh, how bad it was. Complete miss representation on the can, as it looked chrome, the guy i asked about it (who claimed he used to paint metal gates for a living) and well it came out matt (said gloss) and I know how to spray paint.

    So I am going to buy a new lens for me light and if anyone is interested in a second hand passenger side lens, let me know...

    Conclusion: it can be done and you can take the lamp to bits, its tricky, requires lots of levers and patience and you have to break the seal.
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  14. <tuffty/>
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    <tuffty/> Badger 5 Edition Staff Member Moderator

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    you have to heat up the sealing compound for it to separate cleanly... hot air gun carefully around the edge or some have placed in an oven on low heat for a short time...

    Comes away much more easily then...

    <tuffty/>
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  15. AviatorRichards3
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    AviatorRichards3 Member

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    Thank you Tuffty, thats a big help.

    Does anyone know if the actuall plastic lens of the facelift a3 is the same as the facelift s3, as first appearances would suggest the are identical, as ive decided that the only way to do it is buy a new lens, and just my luck...you cant buy just the lens, you have to buy the whole unit, and the A3 headlamp complete unit is £43 and the S3 complete headlamp unit is around £300 due to it be xenon auto levelling. So my idea is to buy the a3 lamp, take the brand new lens off and put onto my light, and then sell the brand new headlamp unit with my second hand lens, to see if anyone want it...

    would this work or are they different?
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  16. vfr800
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    vfr800 Member

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    There's a lot of thread-age on here about taking the headlights apart. Try using the search function or google.

    Some headlights use the glue which will melt when heated with a hair dryer or in the oven. Others (newer ones) use a type of silicon sealant which is impossible to seperate.

    Yes the A3 halogen headlight lenses are IDENTICAL and I have swapped good halogen lenses to my xenon housings.

    The "auto levelling" makes no difference to the cost of the headlight - both halogen and xenon use similar motors, the auto levelling guff have sensors on the suspension and a control unit buried in the car somewhere to send the signals to the motors.

    Xenon units come with a ballast and have a different reflector cone for dipped beam - for the D2S bulb.

    Sounds cheap - are these OEM units or pattern?

    Liam
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  17. mattyboy199
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    mattyboy199 Active Member

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    i attempted to dismantle a new halogen unit for a face lift A3 it was near impossible to do without damagaing it. The sealant is just too new your exsisting unit should be easy cause the sealant is years old. By the time i got it all apart i didnt want to risk damaging my xeon unit. I would look for a near used xeon unit.
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  18. vfr800
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    vfr800 Member

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    the sealant doesn't 'age' and get weaker, there are TWO types in use. One type will melt with an increase in temperature the other is a siliconised type sealant which will not melt.
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  19. mattyboy199
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    mattyboy199 Active Member

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    the type i has was silicone therefore its total hit / miss
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  20. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator

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    The "siliconised" stuff is a butyl rubber compound, and as mentioned doesnt soften with heat.

    I've dismantled a few facelift headlamps and its possible, but requires a LOT of brute force. I used a hairdryer to warm the outer plastic lip up enough that i could bend it up perpendicular to the housing, then you can get a screwdriver or similar lever between the lens and the inside of the plastic casing, and pry the plastic apart.

    Very slow going and you have to just work along inch by inch until you get it open.

    Makes a bit of a mess of the housing too, but with more heat you can mostly bend it back into shape, then use new sealant like Sikaflex or similar to stick it back together.
    #20
  21. AviatorRichards3
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    AviatorRichards3 Member

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    Okay, well im happy the plastic lens is the same, as at a glance I would have guessed they were interchangeable (the lenses). Yes I wish I had been told about using the heat gun, and it never occurred to me when I was taking the lens off. So I just tried the brute force method, sort of like what "Aragorn" has said he did, but it was very tricky as it was held together with a kind of sticky foam sealant stuff, and it kept spring the lens back into the slit. So I did mess the housing up a little but with a hair dryer it should be able to form back into a better shape.

    Now this is a link to the kind of cheapo headlamp unit I can get for £43, and its not OEM, but looks to be exactly the same...could anyone advise as to whether its worth the risk buying it or is the OEM part the only one worth getting:

    AUDI A3 2000-2003 LH FRONT HEAD LAMP / LIGHT INCLUDES FOG H1/H7 | eBay

    audi a3 headlamp | eBay

    Please let me know what you think guys
    #21
  22. mattyboy199
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    mattyboy199 Active Member

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    i would suggest going oem. I once bought an aftermarket wing mirror hoping to use parts for my original & the design was completely different.
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  23. AviatorRichards3
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    AviatorRichards3 Member

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    Okay. I know it probs sounds like a really stupid question, but where can I source an OEM part such a front lens? It looks like it is exactly the same and for £40 its so enticing, but ide be so pissed if it wasnt the same.
    #23
  24. AviatorRichards3
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    AviatorRichards3 Member

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    Right, im still on the hunt for a near side left hand headlamp lens, and I just spoke to a very honest after market (but identically looking) stockist of the unit, and he said that because the xenon lights get hotter then halogen, the plastic on the two are different and xenon is made from better material that wont melt under the heat.Now could anyone tell me how accurate this info is? as im so close to just going and trying an after market one to see what happens but now im worried that I may melt it....

    Ive also found out that the original xenon headlamp complete unit is £679 from audi and the halogen is £273

    Lastly the OEM xenon units are made by eithe HELLA or VALEO, so I will try to contact them to see if anyone can help me here

    I put aftermarket HID on my A3 TDI that I had and nothing was melted...so im not sure if this is just a sales thing or not
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  25. mattyboy199
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    mattyboy199 Active Member

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    that's rubbish I had a oem halogen unit in the oven & the rear casing began to melt, the lense didn't even get soft. I gave up in the end because the lense was bonded in with silicon rather than glue.
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  26. G60DAN
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    G60DAN Member

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    You can go to some body shops they sand it back and spray UV coat on the lens it's not cheep £65+vat . I'm having it done next week and the body shop has told me it will look like new he showed me a light they rubbed down a wall with big scratches all over it and fixed one half of it and it did look like new.
    #26
  27. @udi A3
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    @udi A3 Site Sponsor Site Sponsor

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    I have my oem xenons up for sale i think, if you want to start again!
    Have family in Hertford too, might be able to deliver ;)
    #27
  28. AviatorRichards3
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    AviatorRichards3 Member

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    @mattyboy199 - okay that's good to hear then.....well what would you think about aftermarket (but identical shape) headlamp units. Do you have any experience with them? As they are £45 on eBay sent to the door....

    @g60dan - I would love to see youR finished product, after they have done it. I'm having huge difficulty uploading photos onto here otherwise IDE show you guys how different mine look. It's so bizarre. One must have been changed just before I got it as there's no way one can look brand new and the other so old. It's so bad it makes the physical light beam change colour

    @udi a3 - It would be too costly for me to start again, especially as ive got one brand new one...im getting closer and closer to just going and getting the halogen unit and swapping over the front lenses. I think it could just be a sales pitch to say it would melt...??? Thanks anyway tho :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013
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  29. AviatorRichards3
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    AviatorRichards3 Member

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    Here are some pictures of the headlamps, although in the photo, the bad one (near side) doesnt look as bad as it does i person and the good one doesnt look as good either... :/

    IMG_1344 - Copy.jpg

    IMG_1342.jpg IMG_1343 - Copy.jpg
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
    #29
  30. AviatorRichards3
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    AviatorRichards3 Member

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  31. Rob45
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    Rob45 Member

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    Just thought i would add my bit to ref cleaning cloudy lenses

    Firstly i just got a set of NON HID units which do have projectors but halogen bulbs as going to prep these for HID's as better units than mine .. I used a heat gun to remove lenes . come off a P .O. P by the way ;-)

    I used the same method as removing scrathes from paint..

    Firstly a 120 grade wet&Dry in warm soapy water , which will rough the surface up and they go even worse to a point where there white !!! then a 400 grade then 600 to 800 to 1200 ... then used megs polishing kit with drill buffer ... awsome results and are like new... so today give the xenon ones on the car a another go over with this method and same results come up like new ... Uv polish by the way is in most glass polish and wax.. any good glass polish once finished buffing, a wipe over with tis will seal it.. !!!
    i will upload some pics later ...


    ... These guys going around charging £60 sheets to do this is money for old rope .. took me a couple of hours to get these back to life .. little elbow grease works wonders ...and get them how you expect they should be , not expect someone to get them how you want them !!!
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013
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  32. Rob45
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    Rob45 Member

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    I ran a heat gun all the way around the unit at a safe distance so not to melt for a few mins, then prized lens off... BTW , there is a screw (torx) indicator end which goes threw to the lens and is the end screw for the inner chrome trim lip in the lens, the rest are screwed to the inside edge of the lens ... if you dont remove this one it will crack when you try to prize it off .. ut as said , they come off a P.O.P , was so easy .. reverse when i do it will be to re heat the bonding thats there then put lens back on , put clips back on which are there to keep the lens in place when the bonding is drying .. Job Done !!!
    #32

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