Sunday, August 13, 2017

Restoring the Truck Headlights with the 3M 39008 Headlight Lens Restoration System

      BEFORE                                                               AFTER

The headlights on the truck were just starting to get too scratched/fogged. Besides just looking ugly this greatly reduces the headlight's effectiveness. And for my truck, replacement headlights are expensive. But it is worth checking the price of replacement headlights before polishing yours!

I spent about an hour and a half polishing the headlights. Most of that is just taking my time with the procedure. I suspect you could do it in under an hour.
I used the 3M 39008 Headlight Lens Restoration System, about $14 bucks on Amazon.

Here are some pictures of the polishing process.

Before. If you enlarge the picture you can see the haze and scratches better. The lens wasn't horrible, but was well worth restoring. Note this lens is fairly flat so it is relatively straightforward to polish. I wouldn't try this on a lens that had bumps, shelves or ridges as that makes the process much harder.

After P500 grit. The first step is the hardest, emotionally, because the headlamp looks much worse before it starts to look better after the following steps.

After P800 grit. Just cut to a finer level:

After the 3000 pad wet sanding. Now it is starting to get clearer!

Now, if you are using the 3M Quick Headlight Clear Coat, you should skip the next buffing step, wash the headlight well, clean it with alcohol and go directly to clear coating. The clear coat needs the slightly rough surface left by the 3000 pad to adhere properly, and the clear coat will fill that roughness in. See the bottom of this post for more detail.

If you don't clear coat, buff away:
After the buffing compound and waxing. It looks great!
If you shine a light across it, you can see fine scratches from the polishing, but it is vastly improved from before the process. I've heard that that the lens may now deteriorate more quickly than a new one, as the factory finish has been removed.  We will see how long it holds up. But for $14 bucks and an hour and a half of my time, I think this is a great result. Note that the cheapest replacement headlamps I could find were over $150 a pair and would have taken at least this long to install.

7 month follow up
Still looking good! Just the slightest fogging in a few spots.


28 month Update! It's definitely tine to do the headlights again.

The polish lasted well for a year, and then by the 2 year date it was looking pretty bad. At this point, 2 years and 4 months, they are unacceptable, bad enough to definitely affect how the headlights work. They are not yellow, just foggy looking. So I'm redoing them today.

I am using the same 3M 39008 Headlight Lens Restoration System as last time, but I have added the 3M Quick Headlight Clear Coat, part number 39173.

This is actually a great kit and a time saver. The quick coat goes on after the 3000 pad wet sanding, so you never buff and polish the headlight. I think the idea is that the clear coat needs a slightly rough surface to adhere well.

Here is the headlight after the second clear coat.

It will be interesting to see if this lasts longer with the clear coat's "Extreme UV Protection".

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Fitting a Ferracci 2 into 2 full exhaust system onto my 2000 Ducati 900S

Here is another old post (from 2004) that I'm moving here from my old website...

So, here is my tale of putting a pipe on my 2000 Monster 900S.

I ordered a Ferracci full system 2 into 2 low pipe in December. But it didn't fit. Ferracci was nice, and would have let me return it, but I said NO WAY, I just want one that fits! They swapped the header for me, but the new one was about the same. Here was the problem: The rear header was too close to the swingarm by the chain, and the chain would hit the header and would eventually cut it. Here is a pic of the lack of clearance for the chain:

Note the melted plastic swingarm protector! This is because because of the angle of the pipe: as the swingarm rises, it gets CLOSER to the pipe. Thats why you see the plastic has melted in an arc matching the shape of the pipe, it hits! If you look very closely, you can see the scratches from the chain on the pipe in this shot:

This is a bigger problem than it looks like, because in not long, the chain WILL cut through that pipe, just like a chain saw. This isn't acceptable. There was also an issue under the swingarm where the crossmember would move up and contact the pipe as the swingarm moved up. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a good picture of this. But if you fit a pipe inspect carefully how the swingarm moves upward and check how the clearance closes between the swingarm crossbrace on the engine side and the pipe. (I'll note that these issues may not be a problem for Monsters with the steel swingarm, but 2 separate pipes from Ferracci had this problem on my bike. Also note that Sil is the original manufacturer, so this is probably an issue with their pipe too!) The main problem was that the rear header had much less bend in it that than stock one. See this comparison shot, with the stock pipe on the left:

So how to fix it? First, the pipe needed to be opened a bit: I needed just a little more length between the front header and the rear. I made this rig to stretch the darn thing:

Stainless steel is darn hard to bend. Even heating and then jumping on the 2x4 shown had little effect. It helped some, but not enough. Hmm. Time to cut:

I had the rear header pipe cut at the top and the bottom: Top cut:

Bottom cut:

Note we didn't cut the pipe completely apart. This let it hang together and helped us position it. With the cuts made, it was fairly easy to fit the pipe and then tack weld it in the proper position. Then it was removed and welded solidly back together. With the new bend, the pipe bend looks a lot like the stock pipe, no surprise there! Stock pipe on the right:

Clearance to the chain was solved:

But there still wasn't quite enough clearance underneath the bike, where the inside swingarm crossmember would come up and hit the pipe. The simple answer there was to ding the pipe to provide clearance:

Finally! Done and ridable! Hmm... I think Ferracci should give me a big discount on my next purchase! This was not an easy to fit pipe! But the pipe sounds great! I also put in the airbox kit and power commander. But way back in December, before any modifications, I did a couple 'stock' dyno runs. The "before" run is box stock. The "after" run is with the FbF Full 2 into 2 low system, Airbox cover removed and BMC filter, and power commander. Interestingly, the run showed the power commander map as provided by Ferracci was very good and really didn't need to be tweaked. Actually, the curves are nice and smooth. You can see I gained a nice chunk of torque and power across the rev range. In fact, you can see smack in the mid range at 5000 RPM a 7.8 ft-lb torque gain and a 8.2 hp gain. At that RPM this is a more than an 17% gain in horsepower and torque!

Some of this looks to be due to the really lousy stock air fuel ratio, but regardless, the FbF kit seems to have done a great job.