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Do-It-Yourself SVT-Style Headlights

MMI-ZX3 (From Focaljet) Explains Step-By-Step how to take apart your headlights and give them a new look! He uses black, but you could essentially paint the inside any color (for instance, to match your car's paint color)

Time Required:
Varies but allow yourself one full day

Tools Needed:

  • 10mm socket
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Dull flathead screwdriver
  • #10 Torx screwdriver
  • Heat gun or hairdryer
  • Paint and primer of your choice
  • Caulk gun
  • Automotive grade clear or black silicone in caulk tube Putty knife
  • Razor blade or knife
  • Light grit sandpaper
  • 10-15 woodworking clamps of different sizes
  • large vise grips


    1. Remove two screw clips holding air intake snorkle and radiator support cover
    2. Remove remaining two screw clips holding on radiator support cover
    3. Remove 4 grill screws usning 10mm socket
    4. Remove grill by gently pulling up and back on the top center where it clips
    5. Unhook turn signal harnesses and set grill assembly aside.
    6. Remove headlight screws using 10mm socket. There are two on the top, one near where the grill screw is (which is a screw/clip) and one under the headlight. You will need to crawl under the car to reach the bottom one. The screw/clip can be removed by unscrewing it and then gently pulling it up.
    7. Pull the headlight forward and unhook harness.
    8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 for other headlight.
    9. Take headlight assemblies to a place where you have plenty of room to work.
    10. Remove both bulbs and set them in a safe place.
    11. Using the heat gun or hairdryer heat up the black sealant holding the two halves of the h/l assembly together. As you are heating it up use the dull flathead screwdriver to work the pieces apart. Make sure if you are using a high temp heat gun to avoid long exposure to the same areas of plastic. Move it from side to side in a small area. This will be a very long and time consuming project. The best place I have found to start is the inside point on the h/l. As you are working the halves apart make sure to pry the four clips off by working the screwdriver under them and prying them up and back while holding heat to them. When you have finally have the halves apart, lay them out and use a putty knife and razor blade or knife to remove as much of the factory sealant as possible.
    12. After you have as much sealant removed as possible remove the inside chrome trim on the lense half using the #10 Torx screwdriver. You will need to pry them a little off of the two set pins as well. Do not remove the chrome piece surrounding the bulbs in the back half.
    13. Lightly sand both chrome pieces. Make sure to get into all groves, cracks and crevices. Clean thoroughly after sanding.
    14. Now prime and let dry. I used Krylon white primer which dries in 30 minutes. I used three coats of primer to make sure there was an even coating.
    15. When primer is completly dry it is time to paint. To achieve the SVT look, I used gloss black but any color of your choice will suffice. It is up to you how you want them to look. Make sure when painting to get every area that will be exposed. I used several coats to get all of the different areas to make sure all was covered.
    16. When paint is thoroughly dry carefully put painted pieces back inside the h/l housing. Make sure not to scratch the paint. ***Do the following steps one at a time for each h/l. It is best to do one at a time as you need to make sure it is done right and also to allow for error***
    17. Using the auto grade caulk, put a nice bead all away around the back housing. There is a nice groove that you can fill it up with. Do not use sparingly. You want to make sure you have a good seal.
    18. Let cure for time stated and then put two halves back together. Be very careful not to hit the chrome bulb trim on the newly painted piece. It will scratch it and you will have to repaint. I know from experience. Take your time and line up the two halves and then press together. Make sure to hook the four clips back over their respective tabs. Do this very gently as they will break.
    19. Now take a pair of large vice grips and clamp the inner point of the h/l. Place several clamps around the whole assembly. It will take some trial and error getting them to stay and finding the right locations to position them. I used about 10-12 clamps per h/l. Make sure the they are holding the pieces snug. Let cure for stated time and then some. Never hurts to let it set a little longer.
    20. After it is completly cured use a razor blade to trim any excess caulk that has been pressed out. After that is done run another bead around the outside where the two halves meet. Let it cure and then again trim excess. I did this just to ensure that there would be no moisture leaks or condensation inside the h/l.
    21. Repeat steps 17-20 for second h/l.
    22. Replace bulbs.
    23. Reverse steps 1-7 and you are done for reassembly. Make sure to reconnect your h/l and turn signal harnesses.

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