GS headlamp restoration options
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Thread: GS headlamp restoration options

  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Default GS headlamp restoration options

    My GS has SEV Marchal headlamps, the reflectors of which have seen better days, so today I ventured to A Class Metal Finishers at Lonsdale (SA) to enquire about the feasibility and cost of refurbishment.

    Before continuing the story, I should add that I had removed the glass from both headlamps and one had presumably been refurbished previously, as the glass was secured with a clear silicone-like material, but there was also evidence of the original white sealant/adhesive. The other strange thing about that lamp (right hand) was that the outer section - the part to which the glass is attached - is plastic, whereas the rear section is metal. My entire LH headlamp is metal apart from the semi-circular piece, which is plastic (in both lamps).

    As their name suggests, A Class Metal Finishers work with metal, so the plastic parts create a problem - especially the semi-circular bit. Fortunately (with reservation: read on), the semi-circular reflector sections on both of my lamps are serviceable; also, my plastic outer section can be refurbished - because it is effectively an open box-shape: there is a problem with plastic if it's concave in shape (e.g. the base section would be a no-no, were it made of plastic). Apparently, silver coating plastic requires a vacuum process and A Class Metal Finishers haven't been able to find anyone who will sub-contract such work. It's commonly used in contemporary new production, but apparently the firms which make these components aren't keen to do one-offs, especially with used components.

    So to the cost: it would be $140 for each of the metal sections (i.e. three in my case) and the plastic outer section would cost double that - all plus GST; i.e. about $770.

    Alternatives: I suspect that any second-hand GS headlamps whose reflectors are in good nick are like hen's teeth. Daniel Engelhardt seems to offer various GS headlamps for somewhere between 159 and 179 Euros a piece, plus about 90 Euros in freight; total cost at current exchange rates: about $590. The question is: which of Daniel's lamps equate to the originals I have and how does the quality compare?

    The A Class Metal Finishers option is costly, but they will refinish the reflectors in "a hefty layer of" silver. On the face of it, they should last a considerable length of time.

    While I was about it, I also took the top section of my grille to A Class Metal Finishers, as it has quite a few dings in it. They could remove the dings and polish it, but couldn't give me a price: it's all labour/time dependant ($140 per hour).

    Value judgement: at what point does one begin to over-capitalise the refurbishment of a GS?

    I'm sure others have been down the GS headlamp restoration path. I'm interested to learn more (as, possibly, are others).

    Chris

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  2. #2
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    I've found that there are only 3 companies in Australia that do vacuum metalising on a commercial scale. Hyqual in QLD and Decor Engineering in VIC. Both will take on one off small jobs as they put them through the line between the main production runs. I've had work done by both and each time the parts came back looking brand new.

    I think when it comes to headlamps, its a question of safety rather than economics. The cheap and cheerful way of improving the light output is to fit relays and 100W bulbs but its a loosing battle as the extra heat can vaporise whatever silvering is left.

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    If you can't locate some half decent second hand ones locally some ebaying etc would be the go. Resilvering sounds like way too much money to spend.

    I think there is a pair on ebay at present from Italy that would do the trick. Check against your lights?

    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F332507210173
    Last edited by forumnoreason; 15th February 2020 at 08:21 PM.

  4. #4
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    Thanks, Forum. They don't seem to have the small semi-circular reflector which mine do. I'll enquire further.

    Chris

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    1000+ Posts Bruce H's Avatar
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    Hi Chris, in my experience most the NOS ones you’ll find on eBay are the later non-reflector (boomerang in my book ) ones, and most are left hand drive lenses (but you could always swap them out if you have a decent set of the rhd ones). Similarly, many NOS indicator lenses on eBay are also from GSA, with the black surrounds. I’ve never needed to check out Daniel’s stock, so not sure if he carries yours.
    Bruce H

    Now 99 Xantia SX x2; 96 Xantia SX; 76 GS Club Estate x2; 76 GS Club; 74 GS Club; 88 VW T3 Reimo
    Before: AX Gti; BX 19TRi Estate; CX 2200 Super & Pallas; CX2400 Pallas; CX 2400ie Prestige auto; DS3 DStyle; GS Pallas; GSA Club; Xantia Image Estate; Xantia Exclusive; Xsara VTR R4; 1.4 Special Estate; Virage; R16TS

    Contact for the Australian Citroen GS GSA and Birotor Register http://australiancitroengsgsaandbiro...com/index.html

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    Maybe there is a difference between vacuum metalising and plastic chroming... but A Class did the three gauge bezels on my D Super and did a great job rechroming them. So why couldn’t they rechrome the plastic reflector parts for you?

    Sven

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    1000+ Posts Ken W's Avatar
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    The vacuum aluminisation give the best optical result. I think Hyqual do each light for about $50 each.

    Cheers, Ken
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    Some of the instrument cluster bezles are metal, others are plastic as I discovered the other day pulling apart 4 clusters. I think the earlier ones are metal along with having a piece of glass over the speedo not plastic.

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    I daydream (thats the extent of it) gettig hold of a lhd instrument panel, getting onto a 3D printer and flipping the layout to RHD and plopping in all the instruments, the lhd dash was very groovy. The only place it would weird out is in the speedo which would have a kind of reverse appearance! One day? Never? It would be a fun project however I'm too preoccupied with the daily grind!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken W View Post
    The vacuum aluminisation give the best optical result. I think Hyqual do each light for about $50 each.

    Cheers, Ken
    Thanks, Ken.

    I've emailed Hyqual. Hopefully, I'll get more of an insight fairly soon.

    Chris

  11. #11
    1000+ Posts Dano's Avatar
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    Personally I've had work (headlight reflectors) repaired at Hyqual and never had a problem. They will also do your plastic bezels. Once done, they spray plastic parts with a clear coating to help protect them from moderate damage. Their primary line of business is 3D printing coffin accessories then coating them.

    The machine they use is ex-Hella Australia.

    Wizard classic Chrome at Narangba, just North of Brisbane can and will chrome plastic parts. It is not hard chroming as in bumper bars etc,. They did explain the process to me, but I forget the full details now. The key factor is a base chemical that is used to treat/bond the two materials. The chemical is the expensive part of the process. When done, the parts have that metallic ring when bumped together. It was comparatively more expensive to have four window winder bezels plated this way.

    Just for the record their details are below. Julie (?) is helpful, but straight to the point.

    Address: 38 Ferrier Rd. Narangba QLD 4504
    Phone 07 3888 6006

    As stated in an earlier post in this tread, they both accept postal orders being sent to them.

    In my opinion, both are good. Simply, they just offer different services. Wizard only chrome, where as Hyqual vacuumise, which is how Hella did all their light reflectors.


    Cheers,

    Dano
    Last edited by Dano; 16th February 2020 at 06:24 PM.

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