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My $8.00 flea market light transformation (Lot's of pictures)

Discussion in 'How-to Guides' started by TRPLXL2, Jun 25, 2009.

  1. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member Platinum Contributor 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    A couple weeks ago I was at the local flea market, and I spotted an old set of rusty 6" off-road lights for sale. I walked up to the guy and asked him what he wanted for them, he told me $8.00 and they were mine. I couldn't pass up the offer for a good project, so I gave him the money and took my lights home to brain storm. Here is a picture of them when I got them home, they were pretty rusty but they were oddly smooth. I had a slight suspicion that they were a cheap grade of stainless steel, and if that was the case then they were able to be brought back.

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    So I took apart the lights which was relatively easy, I had to cut the four bolts out of the trim rings because they were completely frozen on. I then removed the trim rings and the large rubber gaskets, and lastly I removed the wiring and actual light fixture. I then took a Dremel with a sanding barrel with 60 grit sandpaper, and I worked in a fluid symmetrical motion all around the light to give it a nice finish. This is a finished light next to an untouched light, major improvement already and we're just getting started.

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    Here are the lights after about an hour of sanding on both of them, they have that raw finish to them that I just love. I was going to just clear them and leave them like this, but my mom suggested I try some painting on them.

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    Here is an up close shot of my sanding work on the light, it's hard to believe it's the same light!

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  2. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member Platinum Contributor 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    Part II

    This is the hardware that came with the lights, two hollow bolts which are nice for running the wires from the light through secretly. The two cup like things are actually the bases for the lights, they were chrome plated along with the little bolt inserts with the square hole in them.

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    I don't care whether it's a $1,000 light, or a $19.00 light they all share one thing in common. They ALL have stainless steel trim rings, this is exactly what they looked like when I took them off. Perfect shape, all I did was rinse them off with some soap and water.

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    These are the large hard rubber gaskets that hold the light together, they are extremely hard to get on and off without some help. What I found works best is some boiling water poured on them, it turns them soft and pliable so that I may quickly do what I have to do with them. They were just dirty when I took them off, no cracks or splits which ensures a good seal.

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    This is what was inside the housing, basically a set of H3 bulbs with a burnt and crispy set of wiring to help matters out. I tore all of it out and threw it in the garbage, I bought a new set of PIAA yellow plasma ion bulbs to put back in there. I put all new electrical components in the housing, they were 55 watt bulbs but I upgraded to 85 watt. I still have to buy the corresponding harness from PIAA, so they are not working as of yet!

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  3. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member Platinum Contributor 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    Part III

    Here are the glass light housings, they were covered in sticky residue and who knows what else. It took a lot of scrubbing but they did come clean with some Goo Gone, aside from a few tiny scratches they were in excellent scratches. If you ever come across a good set of lights for real cheap like I did, but one or both of the glasses is broke keep moving. Those glass replacements are all but $30 each, and that is for a generic 6" replacement. I learned the hard way with one of my KC lights, I just bought a whole brand new light from Summit for $50!

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    Here's the back of the light, after all of the new stuff was put on. Here you can see how the two 16 gauge wires fit effortlessly through that hollow bolt, none of my expensive lights I have ever bought have ever had a setup like that. I went to True Value hardware and tried to buy some spares for later on, and they had never seen anything like that before. All in all a very cool idea I think, I wish I could find more of those?

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    Alright well I went to home depot to get some ideas for paint, and I came across an awesome combination for my taste of colors. The Krylon paint was $4.97 and it is gloss black, the clear enamel was also $4.97. The textured paint was a little more expensive at $9.97 per can, and the primer was $4.97 so all in all about $30 in paint and prep.

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    Alright so first I did the trim pieces, I used two coats of black primer to give a good base coat. Next I sprayed 2 coats of the textured paint on everything, and lastly I sprayed two coats of clear enamel on the parts to give it a good shine. I was seriously impressed with the textured paint, it looks and feels just like that Line-X stuff! I am very happy with how it turned out, and it took a whole two days for it to harden but it was worth the wait.

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  4. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member Platinum Contributor 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    Part 4

    Here are the actual light housings, I had them hanging from a tree so that I could coat all of the radiuses. I really like the look that I got from this stuff, but It did look cool even before the clear coat. It didn't call for clearing it so you don't have to if you don't want to, I just don't like the flat black thing. Also the texture paint looks almost grey without the clear, so the way I did it actually darkened it a lot.

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    After two days of drying I finally installed the rubber gaskets back on the lights, here you can see that I also painted the inside of the light for a more completed look.

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    This picture is kind of deceiving as far as the color, the flash gave the trim ring a lighter color but I assure you that the color is the same. Those light covers did not come with the lights, I will explain that in a few more steps.

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    This is the underside of the finished light, I replaced all of the crappy Zinc hardware with all stainless steel hardware. It was only $3.75 for all of the hardware, here is a small list of the necessary stuff.
    4-1/4 20 bolts
    4-1/4 20 lock nuts
    8 1/4 washers

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  5. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member Platinum Contributor 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    Part 5 The End!

    Here are the lights completed, so I took a set of $8.00 lights and put about $80 into them and basically have a brand new set of lights. It might not seem worth it to some of you guys which is fine, but I just love bringing stuff back to life myself.

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    These light covers were originally off of my S-10, they were the bright yellow KC Daylighter covers which you see every where. Well I buy a new set every year because they fade terribly, so these old ones get thrown in the back of the garage. I took two of them out of storage and scuffed the hell out of them, you have to in order for the paint to stick. I then put two coats of primer on them, and put 4 coats of black paint on them to make a nice thick finish. I finished them off with about 5 coats of clear, and I swear they look perfect in person.

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    Since I kind of missed the little smiley faces on the covers, I decided to paint them back on in blood red acrylic paint. I have yet to re-clear the covers, so that is why they don't quite shine like there supposed to. It took me about an hour to paint each one free hand, I just didn't feel like dragging out the air brush for this little bit of stuff. So that's it for now! Once I get them wired up, I will have videos for you guys. And I'm on the lookout for my next lighting project LOL!

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  6. adampaul1964

    adampaul1964 Active Member 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    Nice work Amy, The Queen of Light shines again!!! :great:
  7. 5speedsilverado

    5speedsilverado New Member 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    wow, great restoration, so you decided against the cheap HID's in them?
  8. pmf608

    pmf608 Active Member 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    Awesome project!!!

    If i had a 4wd or any type of truck more suited for the off-road look, I would be setting up a whole bunch of off-road lights too.... maybe on my next truck. This could definitely even be applied for anyone who just wants to customize the look of the lights they already have.
  9. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member Platinum Contributor 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    Well I don't know if I'm the queen of lights, but I sure do like lighting up the night. I guess it has turned into a hobby for me now, and besides that I know you guys enjoy all of the nice pictures.

    5speedsilverado-I was going to experiment with the HID's, but I decided against it because I am really not familiar enough with it yet. I am still researching on the right way to do it, I kind of want to find a set of used HID spot lights that I could tear apart and see what makes them work. A big part of using HID's is in the housing and reflectors, these housings were not good for the HID tryout so I will looking for an HID project. I am actually thinking about finding a set of Envoy headlights for my S-10, they are a TRUE HID unit and they are direct swap wot my S-10. No one has ever done that one that I can find, but I was talking to a guy at the Chevy dealer about it and he inspired me even though I bet that would be at least a $1,000 upgrade! :gasp:

    I am going to a swap meet in a few weeks, so I am sure that I will pick up a new toy to mess around with. I kind of have my heart set on those Envoy headlights though, you never know! :sign0011:
  10. Z71_guy

    Z71_guy New Member 1000 Posts 100 Posts

    nice job, looks good

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