Has anyone else installed clear bra material on headlights?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Accessories & Modifications' started by Ken Cooper, Jul 29, 2004.

  1. Ken Cooper

    Ken Cooper New Member

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    On my last car I had the thick headlight protection clear bra material installed on my headlights and foglights. It was great and I never broke a lens (can't say that for past cars - always over $120 for replacement - the whole assembly gets replaced).

    Recently I had these installed on my Prius. There was though a very troubling secondary effect. The light seemed to split into vertical bands of bright and dark, almost as if there was a diffraction pattern effect. Can't say whether the problem had to do with the extreme slope of our headlight lenses, the fact that my headlights are HIDs, faulty clear bra material, or an installation problem. The installation though looked perfect as did the material; you couldn't even tell they were there.

    I communicated with the manufacturer who told me that they've sold 150 sets of these to new series Prius owners and haven't had any complaints 'til now. They did though tell me to go back to my installer and have them removed and get a refund if I felt that strongly about it. It was about then that I started wondering if maybe the effect was a product of my imagination, maybe the light emission had always been that way .. but I was sure it hadn't

    Yesterday I had them removed (only from the headlights). Last night when I was leaving my garage I wasn't even thinking about the issue. But when I turned on my headlights it became immediately obvious that the bands of light were gone and the light seemed much stronger. I'm now a very happy camper (although I worry that I've set fate in motion and that a rock from a truck, sometime soon, will go crashing into my headlight and cause the need for assembly replacement).

    I bring this up here for two reasons: 1) as a heads-up to those who might be thinking of installing these, and 2) to ask of others who might have had these installed if they've seen a similar effect (if the manufacturer has sold 150 sets of these, chances are at least one of those folks visit this forum now and then). I'd love to hear that mine was just a fluke. I'd hate to discourage installation of these if in other cases this hasn't been a problem.

    Ken
     
  2. InTheWASide

    InTheWASide New Member

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    Re: Has anyone else installed clear bra material on headligh

    Like in Final Destination!
    Death MUST win!!
     
  3. seasalsa

    seasalsa Active Member

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    No problems with mine. I installed X-pel Headlight Protection a couple of months ago. The material is much heavier than the clear bra and went on easily. There were a couple of small bubbles and a few areas that were foggy for a few days but cleared up and disappeared. No problem with the lights, the material is crystal clear and offers great protection.
     
  4. Ken Cooper

    Ken Cooper New Member

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    seasalsa said:

    "No problems with mine. I installed X-pel Headlight Protection a couple of months ago. The material is much heavier than the clear bra and went on easily. There were a couple of small bubbles and a few areas that were foggy for a few days but cleared up and disappeared. No problem with the lights, the material is crystal clear and offers great protection."

    Response:

    Maybe I just had some flawed X-Pel 3M material (and yes, it was the thick stuff provided specifically for headlights).

    I should ask though, are your headlights HIDs? Just wondering if the frequency of the light might have been a factor.
     
  5. seasalsa

    seasalsa Active Member

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    Ken,
    That could be the problem, my headlights are Halogen.
     
  6. artie

    artie Member

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    i have pkge. 8 so i guess i'm halogen-free.
    i too have the heavy clear bra headlite covers, as well as the full front end tx, and i have also noticed the "banding" effect, and it never dawned on me that it began after the covers were installed, but you are right, sir!
    don't know if i have x-pel, i do know it is 3m stuff.
    the only thing is, i like the bands, still seems to be plenty of lite, and the pattern is kinda, i don't know, 60's, if you know what i mean.
    now that you brought it up, i'm in trouble, remove or not, enuf lite or not, always something. ain't it great?
    art
     
  7. artie

    artie Member

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    i have pkge. 8 so i guess i'm halogen-free.
    i too have the heavy clear bra headlite covers, as well as the full front end tx, and i have also noticed the "banding" effect, and it never dawned on me that it began after the covers were installed, but you are right, sir!
    don't know if i have x-pel, i do know it is 3m stuff.
    the only thing is, i like the bands, still seems to be plenty of lite, and the pattern is kinda, i don't know, 60's, if you know what i mean.
    now that you brought it up, i'm in trouble, remove or not, enuf lite or not, always something. ain't it great?
    art
     
  8. Bob Allen

    Bob Allen Captainbaba

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    yup, me too

    I noticed the same effect: when the headlights are on and it's really dark outside, the lower portion of the field of view has a kind of "light being refracted through a crystal goblet" effect. I got used to it, however, and I didn't notice any dimming of my field of view, only the above mentioned effect. Turning on the fog lights virtually eliminated the effect. I elected to keep the covers on as it took me two hours of ditzing to get them on in the first place, and they apparently work according to numerous posts on this chatline. Since the HID's cost about 300 bucks a pair, I think it's worth the minor distraction to protect them as well as possible. My covers are made by Invica Shield and they are much thicker than the bra material. The thickness is likely the cause of the refraction.
    Bob
     
  9. norman

    norman New Member

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    I am ordering a sheet of that 3m material and will have to cut to suit. I am curious about the coverage of the x-pel kit.

    Does it cover all the glass? or just a strip at the front. I would have thought that it would have to be contoured or "shaped" to fit all the glass area, and that a panel cut from a flat sheet would not fit the contour of the glass properly.

    If anyone could post a close up photo, that would be greatly appreciated, or just a verbal description would help.

    Thanks.
     
  10. seasalsa

    seasalsa Active Member

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    The flat material conforms to the contour quite easily. Mine was cut to the same size as the headlamp cover. I had to use a hair dryer to get the final wrinkle out on the first side but had gained enough experience the the second one was a snap. As I mentioned in a previous post there were some small bubbles and a couple of foggy areas that disappeared in a couple of days. I was also concerned because in one area the matrial overlapped the cover by about 1/4 inch. I planned to trim that of later but noticed that it had shrunk back to a point where it is not noticeable. I'll try to get some closeup pictures tomorrow and post hem for you.
     
  11. norman

    norman New Member

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    Seasalsa,

    My material (Scotch 3m) came is a sheet, and I have to trace my lights and cut it out.

    When tracing (with tracing paper), there was no way that I could get a snug fit to the light unless I put a dart (as they say in the dressmaking trade) about half way up on the outer edge coming in about 3 inches. I suspect that is because the tracing paper has no flexibility like the 3m material. When laid flat, the outer width of the dart area is just over half an inch.

    What was the trick when applying it? Did you start on one side and work across, or did you start from the bottom and work up?

    Gee, an A3 scan of one of these sheets (or the discarded backing material) would sure make the task a lot easier ;-)
     
  12. norman

    norman New Member

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    When I installed my 3m rear bumper applique protection, I wet the surface with soft soapy water. This allowed me to move the material round to get it to the right spot. I then sqeegeed the water and bubbles out. I wonder if the same technique can be followed with the headlight covers?
     
  13. jamarimutt

    jamarimutt New Member

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    Can someone point to data indicating that a thin piece of plastic can prevent a headlight lens from breaking if hit by a rock? Aren't those lenses made of polycarbonate, which is much more resistant to cracking than glass?

    Many people around here put masking tape on glass windows when hurricanes approach, even though it's obvious that the tape offers no protection against anything thrown against the glass; then most it can do is keep some pieces of glass from flying in all directions.

    Do the diffraction patterns caused by the plastic bother oncoming drivers? That seems much more important than the protection they may offer against breakage.
     
  14. norman

    norman New Member

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    Re: Polycarbonate.

    That's a very good point jamarimutt,

    By tapping lightly on the headlight (and tail light) "glass", it sounds more like plastic to me than glass. If they are Polycarbonate, that might explain why the headlight assembly is so expensive.

    Having already bought the material, I am now wondering if it really offers that much value other than a psychological one.
     
  15. Bob Allen

    Bob Allen Captainbaba

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(jamarimutt\";p=\"34368)</div>
    Actually, the headlight stuff (X-Pel anyway) is quite a bit thicker than the same stuff used on the painted surfaces. I would guess that my lens covers are almost a quarter of an inch thick. This would be like covering your lenses with transparent rubber which might also explain the refraction that is being talked about in this post. The light is passing through the plastic at an oblique angle. I think the thickness of the material and its slightly spongy nature do add a level of protection that's worth it. Besides, I hate to admit I might have wasted 70 bucks. The refraction, as far as I can tell from looking at the car head on, is not apparent to oncoming drivers.
    Bob
     
  16. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    This thread is interesting to me because I have never heard of anyone losing a headlight to a rock. I've been driving for 32 years so if there was some serious issue, I would think I would have heard about at least a few. Maybe it depends on where one drives.
     
  17. removeum

    removeum Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(bruceha_2000\";p=\"44049)</div>
    Sounds like to me you have never driven behind a log truck and/or behind a big rig that has picked up a rock in one of their doolies. I lived in Louisiana for 13 years and I always had toyota headlight protector on all my vehicles.

    Ben
     
  18. Jim Biggs

    Jim Biggs Junior Member

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    Re: Broken head light

    A city bus threw a rock...
    There went a very expensive front head light on my Saab 900 Turbo.

    Granted this was a few years ago.

    Jim
     
  19. IsrAmeriPrius

    IsrAmeriPrius Progressive Member

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    Re: Has anyone else installed clear bra material on headligh

    In thirty-seven years of driving and approximately half a million miles, I lost exactly one headlight to road debris.

    The odds of it happening are pretty remote.
     
  20. removeum

    removeum Member

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    Re: Has anyone else installed clear bra material on headligh

    As always it depends the roads a person must travel.
     
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