The very reason I found this site back in 2002 was because I wanted to brighten up the headlights on the V6 '93 Cougar I used to have and Google directed me here. I didn't look at the forums much and focused mainly on the technical articles on the main site. I printed out the instructions for resurfacing the headlights and made progress. Besides removing the air silencer I didn't do much with the car or visit the forums much if at all.
Now when it comes to the V8 '95 Cougar that's a whole different story. Besides the topics I've already started or participated in I have tons more pictures and stories I have yet to tell. This topic isn't for all of that but rather my most recent project.
Resurfacing the headlights the old fashioned way wasn't cutting it anymore. http://forums.tccoa.com/15-exterior/...eadlights.html This topic got me thinking about doing it the right way. This time I wanted to completely remove the lights and take them apart not only to make completely resurfacing them easier but also because water was getting inside them. They just weren't becoming all that clear doing it the old way and I had already decided to add relays while the headlights were out.
That is what I started with and it had been awhile since the last time I messed with them.
I baked them in the oven and managed not to melt them despite leaving the oven on at 300 degrees for almost 10 minutes each. The one corner light on the other hand didn't exactly survive unscathed but I managed to still make it work until new clear corners came in.
After using a dremel with a cutting wheel to remove most of the nubs I used a mouse sander to make them completely disappear along with the writing on the outside.
I removed the metal deflectors and too bad I didn't know how not to break the plastic where the taps push in when I pulled the first tab out. Bending the tabs just right made it not an issue. I polished the reflectors as best as I could but the water damage is fairly permanent. I also used polish on the inside of the lenses just in case and even though you really can't see them I painted the deflectors black because that grey metal looked spotty and crappy.
After gradually working from 400 grit sandpaper to 2000 grit sander and using rubbing compound before using metal polish I added a layer of clear lacquer every hour until I figured 6 layers was good enough. I also lacquered up the black deflectors for the hell of it.
The last phase consisted of using 2000 grit sand paper, rubbing compound, and metal polish again but I feel I should've used the sandpaper longer. I can still see micro spots in the lacquer from how it was sprayed on and overall I don't think this plastic can get much clearer. Not as clear as '96/7 and Grand Marquis lenses.
Next up it was time to wire up the relays. I used the driver's side headlight harness as the source for the relays. Makes it easy to switch back to the old style if for some reason I had to undo all of my hard work. It also looked like too much trouble to try to tap into the wires anywhere else.
Just in case I gave each relay its own fuse and power wire. I also grounded both relays directly to the battery until I get some kind of ground distribution block. You'll see why.
The holes in the header panel are from when I installed 2" round fog lights back in 2007. Months later one was taken out by a rock and I was too lazy and cheap to replace them until now.
I had an epiphany and turned the mounts around which pushed the lights a bit further and gave them more room from the plastic for the grill's mounting tabs. It also makes these 3.5" lights much more visible though the grill.
These driving lights got their own relay but they will have to share the 3rd fused power wire I added. You may notice 2 extra wires for 2 more relays for when I add some fog lights lower inside the bumper and a red light for behind the Cougar in the grill which will be for off road use only. Each wire has its own switch in the cabin. Considering how long it took me to run the first wire to the cabin I figured I'd save time and be prepared for the future.
Here's all of the wiring I added. Notice the solid core 8 gauge going to the cabin. That's mainly for when I reinstall my alarm but it's handy for many other things like being the source for the switches and the 12v outlet w/2 USB ports I had to add even more recently. There's a distribution block under where the trunk and fuel door release buttons are located. I already had the wire and block handy from my previous install so I said why the hell not.
Here they are in their full glory along with the clear corners. The clear corners make the headlights still look like crap but I don't think I'd buy a brand new set just for that reason. My plan is to get some Grand Marquis headlights and then have 2 sets of headlight bulbs before going with quad HID projectors.
Here's the original light spread before trying to aim them a little better. Installing the grill still pushed on them at the bottom so I have to use a hook to try to fix them hopefully without scratching the sides too badly.
My most recent attempt to aim them. Considering how close together they are and how I have them aimed directly forward they look more like a single light on the road. Eventually I'll take the grill off and try to angle them more towards the outside. They still do enhance what's on the road with the brighter headlights which also need some re aiming. Oops, I didn't take any pics of the light spread with the headlights on other than that shot up against a wall but I do have some videos.
Here I have some Sylvania Silverstar 3157's and I wasn't happy so I returned them. White light my ass. Maybe whiter than the original amber but still yellow. I'll upgrade to LEDs when I have more disposable cash.
This is what I'm running at the moment which is just what I had handy when I returned the Silverstars. The driving lamps are back to being regular 3157's but the clears received some clear 3057's that I still had in their packaging back from when I still had the '93 Cougar. Looks just as white if not whiter than those Silverstars and didn't cost me $10.