Restoring 70-72 Buick Side Marker Lights

Discussion in 'Wrenchin' Secrets' started by Duane, Nov 24, 2018.

  1. Duane

    Duane Member

    NOS examples of 70-72 side marker lights are getting harder and harder to find, and are getting more expensive. One of the things I do is recycle originals.

    Usually the ones I find have either nice chrome or nice lenses, so I take the best examples and put sets together.

    The ones with the nice chrome usually have lenses that are "bleached out" by the sun. (The ones I get from Texas are great, thanks James) I take these and break out the lenses, then pick out all the glue, and polish the housings up. To get the lenses, I break the housings off ones that have bad chrome and then polish up the lenses until all the scratches are gone.

    Then it is a simple matter of gluing them together and you have a complete side marker light. You can do this for both front or rear lenses if needed, the process is the same. I use a bead of clear silicon to glue them together.

    I have also done this same thing on 70-72 Oldsmobile Cutlass/442 side marker lights, but they are much harder to do because you have to cut the "pot-metal" housings apart to get a good lens.

    The first 2 pics show a typical lens that I start with and the next few show the pieces I put together.

    It takes a while to do this, but if you have more time then money, or really want to use original pieces rather then reproductions, this is a way to get what you need.

    Just thought I would pass along one of my tips for recycling parts.


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    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
    1967 Big Buick, Dano, gsconv and 6 others like this.
  2. Brett Slater

    Brett Slater Super Moderator Staff Member

    I love recycling OEM stuff!

    Well done, Duane!

    What's the tip for polishing the lenses?
    russ455 and TorqueMonster1 like this.
  3. Duane

    Duane Member

    I use a plastic polish a friend of mine made up years ago. It is Koala Plastic Polish. I don't know if you can buy it, but am sure there are other plastic polishes available. I use a regular Chrome polish for the housings.

    The trick is to NOT use chrome polish on the lenses, at least not for the final polishing. It is too aggressive and scratches the crap out of them. Now the chrome polish (used gently) will work fine if there are some heavy scratches on the lens, so you can work them out first, but then you need to use the plastic polish for the final finish. (I generally just stick with the plastic polish.)

    I just sit there and work on the lenses while I watch TV. Like I said it takes a while but the results are great.

    When I did my 71 Blue GSX I made up a set like this for the car. It has gone thru Concours judging a few times, as well as an AACA Junior and Senior Award and has never had any points deducted.

    Also, if you are replacing the lenses it is a lot easier to polish them before you put them in the housings.

    The other thing is this, most guys will simply give you the starting pieces, or charge very little for them. The ones from out West usually have great chrome, but the lenses are baked. The ones from up North have great lenses but the chrome is bad. Neither are really marketable items, so if they can get a few bucks for the parts they would usually throw out, then they are happy.

    This is a time intensive project, so all the value is in the labor, not the part itself. No body is going to make a fortune on this, but it is a good way to bring parts back to life that would otherwise be thrown away.
    Brett Slater and TorqueMonster1 like this.
  4. Premier 350

    Premier 350 Chris (aka Webby)

    So I'm not alone in sanding/polishing in front of the TV. There's either a cat or a bowl to sand models on my lap. Great work on the lenses too.
  5. Cutlass

    Cutlass Platinum Level Contributor

    Great idea and super results!!
  6. Duane

    Duane Member

    Premier 350,
    I often use the TV as background noise while I do things. I am one of those guys that watches the same movies all the time. I keep doing what I need to do, and then stop to watch an interesting scene, like the chase scene in Bullitt, then go back to what I'm doing.......................and by the way the cat is sitting next to me and not on my lap.:D..............that is until the cat wins and I have to stop for a while.
    71GSX likes this.
  7. scubasteve455

    scubasteve455 Well-Known Member

    Get Automotive clearcoat. I tinted my clear with lil red. lil yellow. with a drop or two of orange. Now look new . No UV wash out on the plastic. like new
  8. Utah455

    Utah455 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the tips! I have a couple sets of lights. When the time comes, I will have to try the above before spending the cash for repo’s.

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