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  1. #1
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    Tinted Tails..... DIY

    I've been asked a few times what the procedure was that I used to tint my tail lamps myself. Well I've had a condensation problem with my last set of tails since I did them, so I got another set from a member and started over.

    Here's how:

    First get together everything you'll need.
    1. Tails
    2. 1000 & 2000 Grit Wet Sandpaper
    3. VHT Nightshades Spray
    4. Automotive Clearcoat
    5. Masking Tape
    6. Razor Knife
    7. Alcohol Swabs


    Wipe the surface of the tails with the alcohol swabs to remove any grease, oil, or wax that may be present, and sand them with the 2000 Grit paper to remove any impurities left, and ready them for paint. (This just in from Ernie at ACW {the master} Use a 1000 Grit paper for this initial sanding to give a better surface for the Nightshades to adhere to.)


    All sanded, now you have to decide if there are areas you don't want tinted.


    Tape off the areas not to be tinted. I decided to leave the clear sections clear.

    Both done.

    Shoot the VHT Nightshades spray, use even smooth motions, keeping the nozzle about 8" from the surface, overlapping by 50% on each pass.

    Both done, now allow to dry completely.


    Scuff the surfaces with the 2000 Grit wet paper, to remove any dust particles or inconsistancies in the paint that may have developed. Clean off all sanding debris completely. (I'd still use the 2000 grit here, far more room for error)


    Shoot a second coat of the VHT Nightshades spray to acheive the level of darkness desired, and allow to dry completely.


    Peel the tape from the areas masked off (if applicable) and do a final sanding once again to remove any impurities or inconsistancies, and to give a good surface for the clear to adhere to. Clean all sanding dust from the lenses.



    Spray the automotive clearcoat onto the lenses, to protect them. THIS STEP IS NECESSARY!!! The VHT Nightshades cannot be left without a clearcoat or it will turn chalky.




    If you desire, you can repeat the sanding again, and shoot a second coat of automotive clear.

    Now you just wash and wax the tail lights like you do the rest of the car. They have been clear coated and should be treated like any other painted surface.

    Lastly, a couple of before and after shots:





    They are not ACW "Ernie" lamps, but all things considered....... I'd say Not Bad!
    Last edited by Token; 12-27-2006 at 11:16 AM.
    2005 AWD Magnum RT. FRI Econo Heads & FRI Sidewinder, JBA Shorties, JBA/HHP hi-flow catted mids, stock SRT8 cat-back, C&L CAI. [email protected] - RETIRED
    2015 Chrysler 300S - Daily Driver
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  2. #2
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    Anyone wanting to see this page with Hi-Res images, click HERE

    WARNING! The images are very large, and may take some time to load.

    56K.......don't even think about it!!!

  3. #3
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    WOOT. Made the KB!

  4. #4
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    looks great Token. this should help members for years to come. if i could, i'd bean ya.

  5. #5
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    Thanks Dave!

    Still a lil nervous doing it... but I'll be doing it in the spring!

  6. #6
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    Well done Dave! Great write up! I presume the same technique would work on the 3rd brake light and side markers too (for the 300's and chargers).
    2006 Magnum SRT8 "HEMIWAGN"; Hemiwagn2: 468 Aluminum N/A, BFNY built, AJ "Hemituner" designed and tuned. 9.495 @ 143.47 MPH, 1.361 60', 3215lbs with driver, DA-325ft.
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  7. #7
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    ive never sanded when I do them... but it appears to work!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by spenosk8er View Post
    ive never sanded when I do them... but it appears to work!
    You can't beat wet sanding to get the finish as perfect as possible.

  9. #9
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    The sanding is the part that scares me. But, damn! I did Nightshades on my 99 Intrepid and they did not come out even 20% as good as Token's. Bravo!

    For the sandpaper challenged as myself: How does adding the clearcoat make the "clear" portions of the lamps suddenly become "uncloudy" from the prior sanding?
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  10. #10
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    You use an extremely fine sandpaper like Token's spec'd. So you do put scratches in them, but they're very tiny. When you clear it, it actually fills the scratches, which helps it bond to the plastic. Same thing between coats for the same reason, if you let it harden.
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  11. #11
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    They look great!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMAG View Post
    The sanding is the part that scares me. But, damn! I did Nightshades on my 99 Intrepid and they did not come out even 20% as good as Token's. Bravo!

    For the sandpaper challenged as myself: How does adding the clearcoat make the "clear" portions of the lamps suddenly become "uncloudy" from the prior sanding?
    Thanks DMAG. As Jaak stated I used 2000 Grit Wet sandpaper, which is a little smoother than the skin on my hand LOL.

    The scratches it creates in the surface are verry shallow and the clearcoat actually builds into those scratches and becomes clear and shiny. It also helps reduce the chance of creating runs in the clear.
    The sandpaper is so fine that all you are doing is breaking down the gloss of the finished coat to to give a better mechanical adhesion to the next coat of clear.

    Those same scratches could easily be buffed to a high gloss shine using a little bit of fine rubbing compound.

  13. #13
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    Dave,

    Good do it yourself write up, but honestly a 2000 grit sand scratch is much to shallow for paint to bind to, We start with 320 and end up with 800 grit paper before we plastic prime the lens. Just wanted to give my 02 cents.






  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avon Custom Wheels View Post
    Dave,

    Good do it yourself write up, but honestly a 2000 grit sand scratch is much to shallow for paint to bind to, We start with 320 and end up with 800 grit paper before we plastic prime the lens. Just wanted to give my 02 cents.
    Thanks Ernie, of course I know I need to to the master, and you're absolutely right, but there is far less room for error with the more agressive papers. Also, if I'm not mistaken the plastic prime (which I do not have ready acces to) has a lot more ability to build than the extremely light Nightshades stuff in the rattle can. It also doesn't have very good self leveling properties. I would be worried about the sanding scratches still being visible in a job being done by the average DIYr. Using the very fine paper like a 1500 or what I had at the time 2000 it would be very hard to screw up.

    Like I said in the first post, the chances of getting your DIY tails to look like ACW tails are very slim indeed, unless of course the DIYr has access to a spray booth and some HVLP equipment. LOL

  15. #15
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    The plastic prime does not have any build qualities. Its sole purpose is to make the paint stick to the plastic. Without really using a plastic primer its like shooting paint over bare steel, it may stick initially but somewhere down the road its not going to. At the very least since you guys don't really have access to plastic primer I would snad the lamps with 1000 grit before applying the nightshades. Just my opinion, not trying to discourage anyone.

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