Saturday, August 11, 2018

MKII Supra Fog Lamp Restoration, Part I

Actually more of a quickie refurb to me, but compared to some of the "restorations" I've seen on TV, this almost qualifies for Pebble Beach.

Both of my fog lamps have broken lenses from being hit by rocks, and besides the fact that it's a 33 year old Toyota, the lenses were never a "Service Item", as they're glued into the reflector assembly with God's Own Glue, and are very difficult to separate. There were some clear, smoked, and colored replacement polycarbonate lenses available from Japan, but I think even they've dried up. And there are numerous tales-of-woe on the Supra websites about what a gigantic PITA it was to get the glass lenses out, and glue the replacements in. Horror stories of heat guns, pots of boiling water, and well insulated glues abound.

So your options are limited to living with broken fog lights, replacing them with some type of current aftermarket unit, or finding some unbroken used ones to clean them up.

I chose to go that last route, and bought some used ones from a forum member. When I bought these 3-1/2 years ago, I opened the box, inspected the lenses, then sealed it up and put it OTS.

When I took them out last week, I noticed they were a bit rusty....

Since my "buckets" (the stamped steel brackets that mount the lamp assemblies and lamp adjusters to the car) were in better condition, and the reflector/lens lamp assembly was the only thing I needed, I started taking things apart.

Oh.....about that rust? Here's the reflector/lens assembly removed from the bucket.

The top side:

And the bottom, where the water collects:

The backside of the reflector/lens assembly. Top of picture is bottom of housing as-installed in the car:

OUCH! Look how much nicer the reflector/lens from my car looks:

The brown color is not rust; it's dried road dirt, and wipes right off. Too bad it's such a PITA to remove the lens from the reflector.

And my buckets are in far better condition. You can still read the OEM stamps applied by Toyota. Real Hard-Core restoration people salivate over having such "pristine" 33 year old ink stamps! Every time I've run across ink stamps, color stripes, part number tags, and writing on the backsides or insides of assemblies, I've taken a picture of it, and made notes about it. This car was 95% untouched when I bought it, so each and every one of these marks was placed there and untouched since the car was "Made In Japan" in March of 1985, making it one of the 28,475 Supras produced that year.

These are the buckets that were in the car.

And these are the buckets from the donor units.

Taking them apart involved removing the two screws that hold the bezel on, which secures the reflector/lens in place, then removing the bezel, and finagling the wiring a bit, and presto!, one disassembled 1985 MKII Supra fog light. Oh....and my retaining bezels are also in far better condition than the donor ones.

If my donor units were in as good a shape as my OEM units, I'd be done with this by now, but they're not, so how we gonna clean this mess up, huh?

With lots of Dremel attachments for one of my Dremel tools.

I'll probably go with my AC line-powered Dremel with the flexible shaft attachment, as that lets me hang the tool on the pegboard backing my workbench, and the flexible shaft is easier to control than having the whole battery-powered Dremel in your hand.

Once I have them cleaned up, I'll use this POR-15 kit to rust-proof it, and then spray it with some satin-black Rust-Oleum.

This will be the first time I've used POR-15 even though I've known about it for years. It's expensive, and requires a top coat, but people I know who've used it swear by it.

If it works acceptably well here (ease of application, good coverage) then I'll use it in the jamb area of the hatch, and the underside of the hatch on the leading edge. I'll use Toyota Paint Code 040 "Super White II" paint for the topcoat there, so what little of it that you can see will be the correct color. No, it won't be "Show Quality", but unless you take the car apart like you're watching me do, you'll never see it.

Perfection is the enemy of "Plenty Good Enough".

This car will never be a "100 point car", and I never intended to make it one. I'm trying to "preserve" the car, correct any nasty issues that are lurking in there, and spend my money wisely on the items I have to address.


  1. but unless you take the car apart like you're watching me do, you'll never see it.
    But now it's documented. :)

    1. yuk-yuk!

      You are 100% correct, Ed.

      BUT.....I doubt if I'll ever run into any readers of this blog at car events.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, sir.

      If I had "better" facilities, I probably would have bead blasted the back of the reflector, but I'd need a compressor, a media blast cabinet, and a couple of bags of glass beads/walnut shells/etc.

      Would have been done in 15 minutes instead of spending 90 minutes with my Dremel......

  3. Replies
    1. She's WAY better looking since she got here in February. Much, much cleaner, and tons of little things have been, and are being, taken care of, like replacing all the 30 year old light bulbs with LED's.

  4. Seems like a lot of work, but then the satisfaction of doing it yourself is some compensation. And at least it keeps you off the streets!

    1. Yeah, it is, and I suppose I could have actually saved money by buying a "better" pair, but these are hard to find with good lenses.

      Between buying all the little Dremel doo-dads, and the special paint, I'll easily have over $100 in them, not to mention the time.

      But as you say, it keeps me off the streets at night, and my wife always knows where I am!

  5. Replies
    1. Oh, yeah.....If'n Mama ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy!!


Keep it civil, please....