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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been wanting to black out the front of my Caliber for a while.
I was sure about the headlights and adding some Black Magics, and I was giving serious thought to blacking out the grill as well.

I used nbrown16's excellent thread as a guide, but I did it slightly differently: instead of using the oven, I used a heat gun instead. I was worried about the shape change that people have reported when they heated the entire light, so I used the heat gun to heat the outer black plastic "lip" that holds the clear lens. Once a section of the black plastic was softened, I used a flat screwdriver to flare it out a little all the way around. Then, once it had all hardened back up, I pried the clear lens out by gently hitting each area I was working on with a little heat as I went - this softened the black sealant bead just enough. It worked great and took about 20-30 minutes per light.

nbrown16's thread has all the rest of the details, but here are a few pix anyway ;)

It looks worse than it is!
Everything comes off very easily.


A shot of the lights once they were apart.
It takes a lot of force to pry them apart unless you want to use a lot of heat, and the heat it takes still burns the fingers.
Wear gloves!

Note that I didn't tape off some of the reflector area for the turn signal bulb ... I was taping that up and was unhappy with the placement of a piece. When I lifted the tape off, there was a little adhesive residue which I attempted to remove. The reflector materal coating rubbed through immediately. That stuff is delicate - be real gentle with it! Since it was damaged, I decided to just paint it black, too ... and, of course, it had to be symetrical, so I blacked out more than I had planned.
The good news? I like the way it looks and they seem to work just fine like that.

To seal them up again, I pushed the halves back together and got the three clips hooked up. Then, I used the heat gun again to soften that black plastic lip and form it back down around the lens like it was originally. It hardly looks like they were ever open at all.

Here they are painted and sealed back up.
I had a shot before the lenses were back on, but I'm having trouble with my camera, and it's one of the many that I can't get loaded onto my computer.

I was going to paint eyelids on them on the inside, but I forgot until I had one of them already sealed back up. Oh well.

Here they are back in the car. They look blacker, darker, and more menacing in person. The pic doesn't do 'em justice.

I put two applications of RTV sealant all the way around them. They ain't gonna' leak. I hope.

On to the Hella Black Magics.
I had two goals for the mounts that I wanted to make:
I didn't want them to shake or vibrate, and I didn't want to have holes in my bumper cover.
This is what I came up with:

They may not look it, but those are EXTREMEMLY heavy duty! All grade 8 hardware and real beefy.

They mount here like this:

It looks tight in the pic, but there's plenty of room between the brackets and the radiator. You can also see the extra piece I added to each bracket to extend them out a little more to better clear the grill.

I needed to relieve the foam in the bumper cover a little to make room for the thick metal of the brackets. Use a sharp blade - that foam is very dense and tough.


Here they are mounted, but not wired up yet. I haven't even taken the blue Hella stickers off yet!


The Hellas come as a kit with loomed wiring that's mostly terminated, a relay, a fuse, and good instructions.

I mounted the relay upright on the driver side firewall here:

It's to the left of the factory grommet. Also, over to the right, I mounted the fuse. In the middle there is where I put the ground. The wire provided with the kit wasn't long enough to reach the battery, so I sanded down to bare metal and tapped a hole for the ground terminal.

Here's a shot with the ground installed and painted over with some good black paint:

I've since painted the other two mounting screws black as well ... gotta' keep it looking sharp!

There are three wires in a loom that need to get into the interior ... I ran them inside a larger loom that I had earlier run through the original A/C drip tube hole. Since I had recently removed the CB antenna coax, there was plenty of room. You can see the loom "Y" here:


A shot of the positive connections at the battery. The purple wire is supposed to be hooked to the high beam wire, of course, but I put a ring terminal on it and hooked it to the battery, instead - I want them to come on whenever I want. I'm such an outlaw.


The power wires run along the fender wall ... everything looks real good.

With the battery cover back on, you can't see a thing.

I ran the wiring into my switch mount location (next to the power point below the shifter).

I was going to mount it next to the emergency flasher switch ... but I decided it fell more naturally to hand down here.

The lights off:



And on:

Oh - that'll have to wait until the next post ... (too many pix, I guess)




These two mods were pretty easy and I think they look awesome. Actually, though, the Black Magics don't look quite as cool as I hoped they would ... still pretty cool, just not as bad A as I expected.

I wish I hadn't forgotten to do the eyelids on the inside of the lights. That sucks. Also, in the middle of the project, I decided that I had enough "black out" action going on, so I skipped blacking out the grill. Now I wish I had done it. Oh well. It'll be a piece of cake - another project for another day.



Thanks for looking.

-Slo
 

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Thanks Slo! :smileup:

This mod is for me also. The country roads and snowstrom will be much easier with these. ( I used to have those kind of lights on my 1989 Ford Ranger. ( Marshall )

I'll order a pair of Hella, roll my sleeves & try my best. Found the web site (US & Canada).

Cheers!, François.
 

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I love this bro! Now i see where you been! long time no talk!

REPS FOR CHEAPEST Black Headlights ;)
 

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These two mods were pretty easy and I think they look awesome. Actually, though, the Black Magics don't look quite as cool as I hoped they would ... still pretty cool, just not as bad A as I expected.

I wish I hadn't forgotten to do the eyebrows on the inside of the lights. That sucks.


 

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hey...
:)

so i like the blacked headlights... but the others are nothing for me
;)
why did u install them?
 

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looking gooood!! really nice pix and great result. i would have had a smaller space between the Black Magics but this works aswell :) reps!
 

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Not sure about the Black Magics , not my cup of tea, but sure you did a good job and I like the look of the blacked headlights so here some :rep:
 
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