Z31 Clear Lenses - How to
article was first posted on this link http://home.swbell.net/zweebach/clear.html
This is a copy of the original article and pictures with no alterations,
the original writers email is at bottom of article.
basic instructions on how I made clear turn signals, side markers, and
tail lights for my 1988 300ZX (87-89) I can't guarantee that these same
things will work on 84-86 Z's, but the idea should transfer for those
cars. If you're going to undertake this project, I suggest starting
with either the front turn signals or the side markers. The side markers
are easier to remove from the car (1 10mm nut on the inside of each
fender), but require destruction of the lens to remove the lens. The
turn signals may require removing the front bumper cover - not hard,
but time consuming. The front turn signals are attached to the bumper
cover on each side of the signal light - the bumper reinforcement may
prevent you from getting to the screws. To take off the bumper cover,
I would recommend a deep well 10mm socket for the nuts on the inside
of the fender. That or put your 10mm socket on the nut and then put
the driver in the socket (the threaded part might too long to get the
socket on normally otherwise).
I used a
fluorescent light diffuser cover. It's just the cover that goes on fluorescent
lights. At home depot, they have it in two different places. The stuff
I got was in the same area as all the chandeliers and other light fixtures.
This stuff is made to snap around the fluorescent fixtures so it has
sides to it. It's shaped like this:
pieces that are completely flat, but the prisms are too big in my opinion
(there are also other weird designs). I got the diffuser with the smallest
prisms; I think that looks closest to the stock lens diffuser patter.
The plastic is somewhat flexible when it's in a large sheet, but when
it's cut down smaller it's much stiffer. The plastic costs around $18.
the plastic to the lens housing, I started out using some GE Silicone
Sealant - this works all right, but it has a slightly white hue to it.
I later switched to another sealant. It's made by DAP. It's perfectly
clear, pretty sticky and worked well. It just smells bad. Both of these
come in a caulk tube, which is what I used.
orange lens cover is convex sort of, you'll see what I mean. The clear
lens is flat. This will cause there to be a small gap between the bumper
and the turn signal lens - you can see it better at some angles than
others. If this bothers you, maybe you don't need clear turn signals.
The stock bulb is clear. You may want yellow ones to be legal (I left
mine clear and haven't had any problems yet - I like the way it looks
better). If you can't find an 1157 amber bulb, you can paint the bulb
- just regular spray paint works, use the color you want the light to
be, or a 2057 bulb will work. You have to grind down one of the nubs
on the 2057 to fit it in the socket.
the colored lens from the side marker light, you must break the plastic
lens off of the backing. Be careful on this, the housings may be somewhat
brittle and easy to break. What worked best for me was using a nail
and putting it through the hole for the bulb. Then hit it with a hammer
to break through the lens. Continue to break off pieces of the lens
until all large pieces are gone. Sand the housing a bit to remove the
smaller remnants of the lens. I primed the housing and painted them
the color of my car (silver). This makes it look more like there isn't
even a light on the car when it's not lit.
trace out, or get an idea of the size of clear plastic lens needed.
While the paint is drying, cut out the clear plastic to make lenses
for the side markers. Apply sealant to the housing around the light
bulb recess. Mate the clear lens to the housing, bumpy side to sealant.
Make sure you line up the rows of prisms with the edges on the housing:
otherwise it may look weird. Clamp and let it cure. Use a Dremel or
similar tool to sand and shape the lens to match the housing. Smooth
it with some fine sandpaper. Re-install in fenders.
- Notes -
the colored lens is molded and has edges that wrap around the sides
of the housing. The clear lens is flat and does not do this. Because
of this, your sealant or adhesive that you use will be exposed, visible,
etc and may discolor or just plain not look good. It is also hard to
get a smooth texture to the sealant after it has dried - sanding it
makes it rough. You could try using a clear epoxy or another adhesive
hear and you may get better results. I left my bulbs clear - this is
legal for side markers - they can be yellow, red or clear. There are
plenty of other colored bulbs if you desire these - or you could just
spray some paint on clear ones.
Difficulty - hard
taillights ended up being pretty difficult. Originally I had the lens
flush with the outside of the housing - the lens was basically resting
on the housing with the sealant holding it in place - this didn't work
so great, in fact the lens separated from the housing before I installed
them in the car, that is why I changed to fitting the lens inside the
lip of the housing. These were hard to get waterproof too. It started
raining one day and my car was in the rain for 20-30 minutes. One of
the taillights was half full of water - it's somewhat amusing now, but
I was pretty annoyed then. The water inside the lights also tends to
make bulbs fail.
& Euro foglight mod
section between the taillights took some creativity. I actually used
a heat gun to soften the plastic lens a bit so that I could bend it.
You have to remove the center section lens - the red part the same way
as removing the lenses on the taillights. Once getting that off, you
have to remove the piece of plastic covering the area on either side
of the reverse lights. Once doing this, you can re-assemble the whole
section or make a clear lens - whatever. To get a light bulb in there,
you have to cut a whole on the otherside - where it looks like there
would be a bulb, but there isn't. You can buy all sorts of types of
light sockets at auto parts stores. I had some extra taillight harnesses
(from the extra set of taillights I had), so I spliced an extra sockets
into each wiring harness. To make the hole for the center section, I
used a 1" hole saw and cut a hole in the back of the center section.
The I used a dremel to cut the little notches around the hole - to fit
the socket in. Look at the other light sockets as a guide. The socket
fit really tight with the 1" hole, so I used a sanding drum on
my dremel to open up the hole a bit. There, your socket is in. It only
took me 20-30 minutes to make the holes for the sockets. I thought it
would be harder, but it really wasn't. Now, the funny thing - the taillamp,
stop lamp sensor(the box near the passenger side taillight) sends the
signal to the dash to tell you when a light is out. I guess this thing
measure resistence or voltage or something and sends a signal to light
a dummy light on the dash telling you a bulb is out when the measured
value is above/below what it is supposed to be. So what am I getting
at? Since you added two more bulbs to your wiring, the sensor won't
register that a bulb is out until 3 bulbs have gone out. You can drive
around with two bulbs out and not have a clue. There you go - it's not
as hard as it may sound - removing the lens is the hardest part
all that, if you still decide to try this, I wish you luck. If I haven't
answered questions well enough here, Feel free to email me and ask.
I'm happy with my results so far. As I mentioned in the notes after
each individual procedure, there are things I am not completely satisfied
with. If I come up with a better alternative, I'll up date this. The
one nice thing about the silicone or dap sealants is that they are rubbery
and can be completely removed from the surface. You can undo what you've
done and try again. If you try and use epoxy or a similar adhesive this
won't be the case.
email me for questions on this topic.