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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A Quick History
My first car was a Red 1999 Saturn SL2. Unfortunately, I don't seem to have any pictures of the outside of that car. I have a few from when I completely removed the interior to clean it, replaced the radio, all the speaker wires, replaced the speakers with a Rockford Fosgate system, and changed all the dash lights to LEDs. I also put a chrome intake with a cone K&N filter on it because I was a dumb high school kid and that car was a blast to drive, all 124 HP of it.

Anyway, when I graduated in 2010 my parents bought a Beige 2002 Volvo S60 2.4T from a family friend as a graduation present. It was in pretty bad shape and needed the engine cleaned out as the friend had not changed the oil in the roughly 6 years he had owned it. To be perfectly honest, even though it was a much nicer car overall, I missed my Saturn a lot. It had been passed down to my brother who was just starting to drive.

In 2012 I was looking to get a different car as I really did not like the silver/beige color of the 2002 Volvo and it was pretty slow and boring overall. My parent's helped me buy a used Red 2004 Volvo S60 T5, not from a dealer. I was looking at this car and another 2004 S60 from a dealership at the time, but the non-dealer car was significantly cheaper and had a clean title and maintenance record. That '04 S60 has been my favorite car so far, including my 2015.5 V60. In the first year of owning that car, I installed HD Bilstein suspension, 16" BBS wheels, the Elevate cat-back exhaust, replaced the stereo head unit, replaced the speakers with an Alpine system, IPD rear sway bar, and end links, poly subframe bushing, and replaced all the lights with LEDs. I also replaced the alternator and removed the headlight wipers. It was a really good looking car and was a blast to drive with almost 250hp. Unfortunately, around 2014 it started suffering from electrical issues that would cause the car to go into LIMP mode. I had the mechanic I bought the car from look at it and got a second opinion from a dealership. The mechanic said it was either a bad CEM or DIM. Dealership seamed to do a more thorough investigation and confirmed it was the CEM. They said it looked there may have been a leak somewhere that was shorting out the CEM. The car did tend to act up more after it would rain and car washes. I had the CEM replaced and everything worked fine for about 6 months. I returned to the dealership and they said the CEM was shorting out again and that the DIM was probably the cause, they recommend replacing both. That was going to be about $5,000 but I was able to get the CEM part of the replacement done for free since it was only 6 months old. Got both replaced and everything was fine for another 6 months. This was now roughly January/February of 2015 and I was commuting to college every day. I was driving on the freeway to college one day and the car suddenly went into LIMP mode and I was in the passing lane. It was very dangerous trying to get over with effectively no power as the car was stuck in 2nd gear. I was not ready to spend thousands of dollars again just to get the car to go along for another 6 months so I started looking for a new car.



In April of 2015 I was almost out of college, very luckily had almost no debt, and was not looking forward to another car I couldn't trust. My father had just purchased a 2015 V60, just a few months before the 2015.5 update, and I was really impressed with everything about it. I was looking exclusively at wagons, Subaru, Volvo, and Audi. I looked at a few used vehicles, but there were almost no used wagons anywhere. I test drove the Volvo V60, Subaru Outback, and Audi Allroad, but kept gravitating back to the V60. Once I decided that was what I wanted to go with I started looking at reviews, used and new prices, etc. and finally started looking at the overseas delivery option. I was almost ready to pull the trigger on that option, but I had also been job hunting for a few months and was getting nowhere. After a couple of opportunities, I was really hopeful for dried up I decided to back peddle a little on the car. At this point, I had been dealing with the 3rd round of electrical issues in my '04 S60 for about 3 months and needed a car. The dealership ended up finding me a good deal on everything I was looking for, except in Ember Black, as opposed to blue like I really wanted. However, it came with the technology package and climate package, which they were willing to effectively throw in for free since they couldn't find any new car in blue anywhere in their network and they wanted to make the sale that day. I had already been there a few times for test drives and for them to search their inventory for me.

So that's how I came to be the proud owner of my Ember Black 2015.5 Volvo V60 T5 Drive-E.


I did nothing with my car for 4 years as I was pretty heavily invested in it financially and I did not want to void the warranty or spend money on it at the time. In the fall of 2018 my friend who does SCCA events in his heavily upgraded Subabru WRX invited me to come to one of the events. In fact he had been asking me for most of the summer but I was busy with work. I ended up going to an event finally in September and had a blast trying to get my completely stock wagon around the course. I managed to come in 5th out of 7. That was sort of the catalyst that pushed me to start doing work and upgrades on this car after 3 years of nothing but planned maintenance.

My SCCA Autocross Adventure

Factory Car Specs:
2015.5 Volvo V60the fall of
T5 Drive-E
Premier Plus
Ember Black exterior, Beechwood Sport interior
Technolgy package
Heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel
Convenience package
BLIS package
18" Titania wheels

Upgrades/Accessories:
Wide-angle driver's mirror (literally a huge selling point for Volvo to me, 90% of cars I have been in have nearly useless driver's side mirrors)
Ebay center console organizer
Volvo rubber mats
Weathertech trunk mat
Non-OEM bumper/trunk protector
Full Brake Replacement
  • 300MM Centric fully coated rotors
  • StopTech Street brake pads
  • Silver painted brake calipers
  • Bosch ESI6-32N Brake Fluid
TDI tuning box
Knock-off R-design pedals
PowerFlex "Race" Torque Bushing
Fumoto oil drain valve + Liqui Moly 0w-20 oil
Heico SportIV Suspension Upgrade
  • Hecio lowering springs
  • Tuned Bilstein B8 shocks
  • IPD sway bar end links
  • Outer tie rods
  • Strut bearings, bolts, etc.
2016 19" Polestar "grey" + 235/40/19 Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3
2016 19" Polestar "grey" + 235/40/19 Contenental Extreme Contact Sport
Viofo A129 Plus Duo dash cam
Headlight Restoration and Protection
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Full Brake Replacement
The first major bit of work I did to my car was replacing the brake rotors and pads, and shortly after a brake fluid flush. I also painted the brake calipers silver as they were starting to look really brown from rust and brake dust. I kind of wish I had painted them a light blue, especially now that I will soon be using grey Polestar wheels. If I have to end up replacing a wheel bearing I might paint them blue at that time. :)


Anyway, I already made a post here (Full Brake Replacement).
Honestly, I should have upgraded to the 325mm brakes at this time, but I was not entirely sure what all needed to be changed to fit the larger brakes. Sounds like it would have just been the brake dust shield, caliper, pads, and rotors and would have taken no extra time to complete. 馃う




Follow up impressions
After about 6 months of use the StopTech brake pads definitely dust more than the stock pads. The braking force still feels really good, but there is some minor surface rust already starting on the vanes of the coated front rotors. Overall I am very happy with these pads and rotors.

2-19-2021:
A decent amount of surface rust on the rotors, seems to have the same amount of rusting as the OEM rotors. The silver paint on the calipers is holding up extremely well, after power washing the other day, they still look exactly the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Hecio SportIV Suspension Upgrade
Shortly after replacing the brakes, I started looking at other upgrades I wanted to perform on my car. I knew I was going to need to replace end links and tie rods, which led me to looking at the different suspension upgrades available for the V60s. The two most used setups are the factory R design springs and shocks or H&R lowering springs with Koni or Bilstein shocks. I ended up going with the Heico SportIV suspension setup which consists of Heico lowering springs (~1") and "specially tuned" Bilstein B8 shocks. I am not sure what the H&R + Koni setup would have been like, but the Hecio system is harsher than I was expecting. It is very firm, but even after 2+ months and 2,000 miles, the springs still feel too bouncy and the shocks are overly firm on bumps. Maybe the other setups would be similar, but I was looking for a firmer ride that kept the V60's body roll under control, but still smooth over freeway bumps. I still like the tighter, firmer ride overall, I was just expecting something more balanced I think.


Front strut installation without removing the wheel knuckle:
  1. Remove the strut knuckle bolt and thread it back in through the threads. Put something relatively strong to use as a spacer into the slot on the back of the knuckle and start tightening the bolt down. It should push against the spacer, opening the knuckle around the strut
  2. Remove the sway bar end-links, disconnect the outer tie-rods, pull ABS and brake lines out of the holders on the strut, disconnect the ABS plug from the knuckle (you may need to use compressed air to clean this out after reassembly, I had rust flakes in mine that threw ABS errors.)
  3. Loosen the 3 bolts on the top of the strut connecting it to the turret, do not fully remove
  4. Have someone place their foot on top of the wheel knuckle directly behind the brake rotor, in front of the strut. As they start putting their weight on it the strut will get held by top bolts in the turret and should start to slide off the knuckle. Use a hammer to help it if it is rusty
  5. Be careful with the brake line!
  6. As the knuckle reaches its lowest part, start rotating the knuckle towards the front of the car. The strut should start to come out of the knuckle since it is being held at the top. The knuckle will move a lot farther than you might expect, but just keep it lowered as far as possible and as you rotate it forward the strut should pop out
  7. Reassembly is the opposite procedure, put the strut in, get the top bolts threaded in most of the way, push the knuckle down and rotate towards the front of the car. The strut should be able to move forward and get into the top of the knuckle hole. Use a hammer on the knuckle if needed to get the forward edge of the strut into the hole as you start to rotate the knuckle back to vertical
  8. Reattach all your parts




The first side took about 25+ minutes to figure out exactly how to get the strut out. The other side took about 6 minutes to wiggle it out. Putting the new struts in took about 5 minutes per side.

Here are the before and after pictures for the ride height.




The car is about 1" lower in the front and back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Knock-off R-design Pedals
I wanted to spice up my pedals a little bit, but the polestar pedals are exorbitantly priced. I was going to buy the OEM R-design pedals, but I found a set of knock-off pedals on ebay that look exactly like the real ones. In fact, after I got them in hand, the brake pedal is a geniune Volvo R-design pedal. The accelerator pedal is the knock-off, but it has the same number of rubber ribs as the OEM one and looks the same. It has some 3M tape on the back to keep it from coming off which is nice. Perfectly happy for $46.



 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Fumoto Oil Drain Valve + Liqui Moly 0W-20 Oil
As I started learning more about the 2015.5 MY Volvo's on these forums, I quickly noticed all the posts about oil consumption, seal issues, etc. I doubled checked and my engine is affected so I started digging into remediations. From what I have gathered, the wear seems to come from the use of incorrect oil and the start/stop function. I turn off the start/stop by habit now every time I get into my car. I find it way too aggressive as it will kill the engine while still moving, which means it often enough will shutoff as I am almost stopped but will have to turn back on less than 1 second later as traffic starts to move. I always thought that this over aggressiveness would cause lots of extra wear on the starter, battery, engine, transmission, etc. and it seems that is the case for the original run of sleeves. I also saw that the Volvo-certified oil should be used on the drive-E engines, contrary to what all the dealers use and what is printed on the "recommended oil" sticker and the manual. I bought and will use from now on, Liquimoly 0W-20 oil that meets the Volvo spec. I also bought a Fumoto Oil Valve to make changing the oil much easier and less messy as I will either be doing the changes out in my apartment parking lot, or in my parent's small garage. I did a test drain and while it will take MUCH longer to get all the oil out, it should be very easy. The oil filter will be the hardest/messiest part from now on, which isn't bad at all.

For the 2011-2018 MYs you definitely need the extension adapter because you can't screw the valve on without it.



 

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Pretty car, especially the beechwood (I think it's two Es).
Nice job on the improvements and maint so far. I think I'm headed here sometime in the next few years if it's not a coveted and rare XC70 T6 from the same year.
By that point they will be 6 or 7 years old and will need all kinds of stuff.
 

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Fumoto Oil Drain Valve + Liqui Moly 0W-20 Oil
As I started learning more about the 2015.5 MY Volvo's on these forums, I quickly noticed all the posts about oil consumption, seal issues, etc. I doubled checked and my engine is affected so I started digging into remediations. From what I have gathered, the wear seems to come from the use of incorrect oil and the start/stop function.
Not trying to start an argument in your thread, but I follow this topic on this forum pretty religiously and this is the first I've ever heard someone say oil consumption can be caused by the start/stop function. Don't get me wrong, I hate start/stop in our cars as much as the next guy and I also turn it off every time, but aside from the usual claim from the anti-start/stop crowd that the feature is bad for engines, do you have any specific datapoints showing that the start/stop feature on our car causes oil consumption?
For the 2011-2018 MYs you definitely need the extension adapter because you can't screw the valve on without it.
There are 3 engines across those model years. do they all need the extension adapter?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I don't have any hard data points, and could definitely be wrong. As I was reading peoples' post about when they needed the new sleeves, it seemed like anyone who mentioned using the start/stop feature seemed to have the service done sooner. I believe someone else in one of the many posts on this topic was also trying to find if it was part of the causation. They talked about how the different viscosity between 5w-20 and 0w-20 could possibly cause it to be too thick at startup and if start/stop happens while the engine is not up to temp, it compounds the problem. I don't know if anyone has knowledge or some way to find out, but my guess is the new sleeves are probably a slightly different makeup of metal, thicker, or are shaped slightly different, or some combination that handles that wear better. This is conjecture and educated guessing, it would be interesting to try and poll the community to see who used start/stop, what oils were used, average mileage per month/year, and when the sleeve service had to be done.

I am not sure about the other engines and the adapter, I believe some of the other posts on the fumoto valve might have that info. I want to say they do need it though.

Sent from my LM-G710 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
TDI Tuning Box
Around March of this year (2020) as I was gearing up to tackle the suspension job for my car I was also looking at other modifications and upgrades I could make to my car, seeking out the best bang-for-your-buck mods. The Polestar optimization was an obvious choice, but the price tag felt and still feels a bit unjustified for the T5 Drive-E engine. I started looking at other tuning options and found a number of people recommending the TDI tuning box. Many people using it already had the Polestar tune and almost all of them had 5 cylinder engines. A few people with the Drive-E engines said they felt it make a marked difference, mainly in the highest mode and after a lot of mental back and forth with myself and my wallet, I decided to give the TDI box a try.

They asked for pictures of my engine with the foam cover removed to ensure they sent the proper tune and wire harness for the engine. I believe it only took about 2 weeks for the box to arrive and the installation (at least for the Drive-E engine) was extremely easy. The hardest parts of the install was popping off the connector near the bottom of the radiator (don't do it while the car is still hot!) and finding a place to mount the box and route the wire harness. I ended up screwing a single screw into the side of the fuse box, at the thickest part of it where it is essentially double walled due to it curving to follow the edge of the airbox lid. It also allowed me to route the harness around the windshield fluid filler spout and everything looks pretty tidy with a single zip tie keeping the excess wires tied to an existing wire path. At some point I will probably try to move it somewhere a little more hidden, but it is fine where it is. I also really like that not only can you turn the unit off to restore stock performance, but it also comes with a plug that replaces the TDI box completely removing it from the harness. I plan to do that everytime I take it into the dealer, just in case.



Overall I am very happy with the TDI box, especially since I got it on sale. The Bluetooth upgrade may or may not be worth it as it takes a solid 20 minutes or so for the engine to adapt to changes in the TDI modes, so it doesn't really save you anything other than not opening the hood. Now if you hid the TDI box away where it was hard to access the buttons on it, it would obviously be worth it to get the Bluetooth option. The Android TDI works fine, but everytime I open the app I have to give it a few seconds, close the app, and then reopen it in order for it to connect to the TDI box. I assume its probably a problem with the TDI box's Bluetooth implementation or the app. It seems like it just doesn't refresh the connection properly when the box comes out of Bluetooth sleep, so you have to open the app, it wakes up the box's Bluetooth, but something doesn't refresh, so you need to close the app and reopen for it to start talking to the box. I also notice that when I change the modes through the app, sometimes it doesn't update in the app, but the box has changed modes. For example, if I go from 5 to 4 the lights on the box will change, but the app still says I am on level 5. If I press down again the app will usually update to level 3 and the box is level 3, so now I have to press up again to get everything synced at level 4, which is what I originally wanted. This isn't really a problem unless for some reason you change the modes a lot.

Now let's talk about the modes and my experience with them. NOTE: You must use 93 or higher octane with the TDI or you will almost definitely get knock, unless you special order a lower octane tune from them. For reference I typically don't drive that much per year and most of my miles are highway or at least limited stop and go. The following experiences are all butt dyno across different days, but similar driving area and with the same tires. Also for reference, the stock Drive-E tune has limited power in the low RPMs and needs to downshift to accelerate in most cases and most gears. The turbo also feels like it is on/off with the accelerator pedal, making it difficult to drive through corners at times. If I hammer the gas out of a corner the turbo basically just turns on and the torque steer makes it hard to keep whatever line I was on. The hard almost instant power from the turbo also makes it hard to launch from 0mph without either traction control kicking in, or if it is turned "off", feeling the engine bog down, which I think is part of the ECS that doesn't turn off?

TDI claims that all of the modes should provide an improvement in HP and Torque over the stock ECU tune, with the lower number modes being more fuel efficient. I believe modes 5-7 are the "performance" modes essentially. Each one offers more HP and Torque over the previous level, but each one (at least for my Drive-E engine) has a different feel to the power curve to me.

  • Modes 1-4 all seem roughly the same to me, but I honestly have not spent much time in any of them. I did spend about 200 miles of highway driving on mode 2 and saw about a 4mpg increase over stock and the car still felt ever so slightly better than the stock tune, but honestly just cruising on the highway was not great for feeling it out. For long road trips on the highway it is probably worth it to try out mode 1 or 2 for better mileage.
  • Mode 5 feels like a slight improvement over stock, the engine feels like it is a little less hesitant with smaller throttle changes, and (for me) gas mileage is roughly 1-2 mpg better than stock. More than anything this mode feels like how I remember the car being brand new, but with better mileage.
  • Mode 6 seems to change the power curve of the car, making it more turbo-y, if that is even a word. Basically, from the feeling of the power and the sound from the engine, the turbo sounds like it is spooling sooner, but also more peaky. The car seems to snap into the turbo a bit more in mode 6, similar to the stock ECU, but again has less hesitation and doesn't need to downshift as often just to accelerate slightly. Again, MPG has been about 1-2 mpg better than stock in mode 6. I would call mode 6 the "turbo" mode I guess. Finally, mode 7 is where I have decided to leave the TDI box as it supposedly provides the highest increase in power over stock.
  • Mode 7 feels more like a naturally aspirated car would, IMO. The turbo doesn't sound very "turbo-y" like in mode 6, but when you floor it you get a nice whistle sound from it. The turbo spool is smoother, torque steer is reduced, and the car is much less hesitant and has more torque in the lower RPMs. The car very rarely needs to downshift in flowing traffic, but when it does it definitely feels like there is more power. As I already said, the engine feels almost like a naturally aspirated car rather than a small turbo'd engine. It obviously is nothing close to my father's Volvo V60 with the 5 cylinder, but that also has AWD so it feels significantly different anyway. The biggest take away is that there actually feels like there is some amount of power below 3000 RPM unlike with the stock tune. I have tried to get some 0-60 times with the modes, but DashCommander has only logged like 6.2s and launching from zero usually has a tiny bit of wheel skip or ECS bogs everything down. I also care much more for like 10mph-80mph power since that is where most driving is done and I would rather have fun around corners than only a straight line. Mode 7 has also netted me a gain of about 3mpg over stock. In mode 7 I currently get ~35mpg highway, ~20-25mpg city, combined ~30mpg. My trip to New York at an average speed of 80mph saw 36mpg on the highway!
 

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Nice write up on your experience with the TDI box, I am currently at this point with it...

a lot of mental back and forth with myself and my wallet
While if I am completely honest, the V60 I have is plenty fast enough, mine is a 6 cylinder T6 with the Polestar optimization, there is always the want for just a little more. Improved MPG might be the tipping point, I'd be really pleased to gain an extra 1-3MPG over the stock set up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Viofo A129 Plus Duo Dash Cam
I installed my new A129 Plus Duo dashcam (just the front unit today) with the parking mode wiring. I was hoping to find an accessory fuse in the #2 glove box fuse box (the bigger one), but all of them were either always on, or never on, which I did not understand, but I tested multiple times with a fuse test light. I ended up putting the add-a-fuses in the #1 glove box fuse box, always on power on the driver's power seat and accessory power on the passenger's heated seat. The fuse cover will not go on with the add-a-fuses, so I duck-taped it... I put the ground wire on a bolt on the heater core as they were the only grounding points I saw in the passenger's footwell area. I ran the camera wire up the lower A-pillar trim, over to the windshield, and then on the top edge of the A-pillar. That should keep it from getting in the way of the ICS airbags since the wire is above where they would come down from inside the pillar. I shoved the last of the wire into the headliner and stuck the camera onto the center of the plastic housing for the forward camera cluster, just behind and below the rearview mirror. I don't know if I will keep the camera in this spot as it sticks out a bit and looks a little awkward, but it allows the camera FOV to see everything in front of the car. I will tackle the rear camera and wire another day.









I installed the rear camera and with some guidance from MyVolvoS60, found a super clean way to route the rear camera wire. This may not work for all camera systems depending on how big the rear camera's end of the USB cable is. The one supplied with my kit just barely fit and I had to use a screwdriver and some thin pliers to poke and pull the head of the cable through the tailgate wiring boot, as seen in the pictures.

I played around with the mounting location for the rear camera and settled on attaching it to the plastic piece on the tailgate at the top of the window, rather than to the window itself. I mainly put it here because of the chunky, non-90 degree plug for the rear camera means that it would have had to be placed a few inches down from the top of the window in order for the plug to fit. By putting it on the plastic, it not only eliminates the spacing issue for the plug but also keeps it out of the line of sight a little more and gets it as high as possible in the window. Hopefully, in the summer heat, the front and rear cameras will stay stuck to the plastics.



I was unable to remove the plastic piece in the roof of the trunk that covers the tailgate boots and tailgate hinge bolts, but I managed to pull the outside edge down enough to feed the USB cable from the outside under the weather stipping and into the tailgate boot hole. The passenger's side boot houses the washer fluid tube and has slightly more wiggle room to get the USB cable through it. You can see in these pictures that I was able to feed the USB cable through the existing boot, remove the plastic piece above the tailgate window, and pull the cable through to the rear window, following the factory wires.



I decided to run my rear camera cable around the driver's side of the car as the headliner above the passenger's seat has a the excess USB cable for the hardwire power kit in it already. I ran the cable from the back of the car forward. On the left side of the trunk I ran the USB cable under the weather stripping of the trunk and tucked it into the natural channel in the plastic trim pieces that are on the inside of the trunk roof.


I also wasn't able to get the "quarter panel" esque piece of trim off that is in the back of the trunk on the side, but I was able to pop it most of the way off and feed the USB cable behind it and then up into the headliner. The solid red line shows the cable including it hanging down ready to get run further. The dotted line is where it was eventually run. I pulled the seat belt trim piece out as much as I could and fed the USB cable behind it. I pulled the tops of the weatherstripping off of both the front and rear doors, giving access to the headliner edge, allowing me to push the USB cable up over the top of the side-impact airbags.


This is the cable going behind the rear seatbelt bolt trim piece.


Again, I fed the USB cable behind the seat belt trim piece


Here you can see the side-impact airbags and that the cable is behind them, against the metal frame of the body. I fed the USB cable over the top of the airbag and into the headliner above the windshield.


I shoved the roughly 6' of excess cable into the headliner above the driver's seat. There is a very slight bulge in between the sun visor screw points.


Here is what the cables look like going around the rearview mirror and into the headliner. I still need to remove the adhesive from the old dashcam.

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Headlight Restoration and Protection
About 3 months ago one of the members here messaged me with a set of Lamin-X headlight protectors he had for sale. I had been looking at restoring and protecting my headlights and jumped on them. I got around to doing the work today, as well as re-greasing my front caliper slider pins. I ended up using the 3M Headlight Restoration System, over the Sylvania system because it can be attached to a drill to make the sanding faster. I thought it would be easier to do the sanding with the headlights removed from the car and I would not need to worry about masking around the headlights so as not to accidentally scratch the paint. I don't know if it was actually easier because it is difficult to get good pressure on the headlight assembly depending on how you try to prop it up. I first tried to lay it down in the bathtub, but it kept sliding around making it hard to slowly and evenly move the drill back and forth. I moved it out to my kitchen sink and it was easier, but still wanted to move around a bit. Here are the steps I did to each headlight, which differs slightly from the instructions. I found that by strictly following the 3M instructions left a hazy, patterned, appearance in the 3000 grit and polishing steps.

  1. Attach 500 grit sandpaper to drill attachment and slowly move the drill back and forth at 1/2 to 3/4 drill speed. Completely sand the headlight 2-4 times or until the majority of the yellowing/scratching is gone
  2. Wipe off the headlight with a damp paper towel
  3. Attach 800 grit sandpaper to drill attachment and slowly move the drill back and forth at 1/2 to 3/4 drill speed. Completely sand the headlight 2-4 times. Go in different directions for each pass
  4. Wipe off the headlight with a damp paper towel
  5. Attach 3000 grit sandpaper to drill attachment and slowly move the drill back and forth at 1/2 to 3/4 drill speed. Slightly wet the sandpaper and headlight, completely sand the headlight 4-6 times. Every two passes wipe off the headlight and examine the patterning of the sanding, try to avoid seeing "waves" created by the sanding process. This was where I had to deviate from the instructions the most. I was seeing a lot of circular "waves" patterning from the sandpaper when using the drill, so for the last couple of passes, I used the 3000 grit sandpaper by hand. This greatly improved the clarity of the headlight
  6. Attach the polishing pad to drill attachment and apply a dime-sized amount of polishing compound to the pad. Before turning on the drill, rub the polishing compound onto the headlight. Using about 1/2 drill speed slowly move the drill back and forth over the headlight until most of the hazing is gone. For me, the haze would not diminish no matter how many passes I made, so after about 6 passes or so I wiped off the lens with a paper towel using a lot of pressure
  7. Using some mild cleaner and water, clean off the headlight. Examine the clarity and sanding pattern, if you see patterning or lots of scratches, try using the 3000 grit sandpaper by hand, in a circular motion, then reapply the polishing compound
  8. Apply your protecting layer, I used Lamin-X protectors. Continue reading for my thoughts on them

120738


Left: After Right: Before
20210314_130338.jpg


As you can see on the left, it's not exactly brand new looking, but it is significantly better than how they were looking, on the right.
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After restoring the headlights I went about trying to apply the Lamin-X protectors. It is essentially the same steps as putting a screen protector on your phone, and I have done a lot of these types of applications. I ended up spending over an hour per headlight trying to get the protectors to follow the curve of the headlight at the "fat" end without it creasing. I could not do it. I ended up using a razer blade to cut "reliefs" into the protectors. You can kind of make them out in the following pictures. No matter how I tried applying the protectors they simply could not curve over the "fat" part of the lens without creasing. The "reliefs" allowed the protectors to "bend" which allowed them to follow the curve of the lens. Also, I squeezed as hard as I could, but some of the bubbles would not come out. The instructions say if they last more than a couple of days, to puncture them with a needle.

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How they currently look on the car. If they still look blotchy and awful in a few days I might just remove them...
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Honestly, I can't recommend the Lamin-X protectors for the 2011-2018 model year headlights based on my experience with them. The cuts for them seem to be a little off and/or they need the relief cuts in them to allow them to curve correctly.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Re-greased my front brake caliper slide pins, they really needed it. Brakes do not feel so "sticky and grabby" now. I will hopefully get to the rears this week after I get the correct socket from my parents' house. Also, the caliper paint is holding up really well so far. Just spraying Brakleen was enough to knock the brake dust off and everything was still shiny silver beneath.

EDIT: Brakes feel immensely better, I think one of pads was sticking and causing part of my steering issues. I was getting a pull to the right even though my alignment was nearly perfect, it is effectively gone now after greasing the slide pins.

Additional edit: Brake squeal from the front left is back, I am going to try swapping the pads out with ceramic Akebono to see if it is the semi-metallic pads causing the noise. I am not sure what else it could be with the new grease.

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I ended up removing the Lamin-X headlight protectors. The bubbles would not go away, I tried puncturing the big ones with a needle and tried smoothing them out again, but it didn't do anything. Upon removing the protectors, the headlights had a very sticky tack to them that I had to scrub off with an abrasive sponge. I ended up just buying another 3M restoration kit and doing the procedure again. I final coated the headlights with Mother's Ceramic coating and added a 2nd layer 24 hours later.
 

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Not trying to start an argument in your thread, but I follow this topic on this forum pretty religiously and this is the first I've ever heard someone say oil consumption can be caused by the start/stop function. Don't get me wrong, I hate start/stop in our cars as much as the next guy and I also turn it off every time, but aside from the usual claim from the anti-start/stop crowd that the feature is bad for engines, do you have any specific datapoints showing that the start/stop feature on our car causes oil consumption?
There are 3 engines across those model years. do they all need the extension adapter?
start stop causes the engine to go through a lot more "key cycles" which causes more deposits to build up. Its why Prius has issues with their piston rings. The rings get deposits faster and cause blow by and oil evaporation.
 

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start stop causes the engine to go through a lot more "key cycles" which causes more deposits to build up. Its why Prius has issues with their piston rings. The rings get deposits faster and cause blow by and oil evaporation.
Welcome!
Our cars with two different types of engines, one with start/stop, one without, have oil consumptions problems. The one with start/stop having oil consumption problems had piston rings with a problematic design from the factory which was later changed when volvo engineers found that design flaw. Our cars' oil consumption problems aren't caused by start/stop.
 

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@thebobwiley

1. Were yours pitted? How does that damn plug come off that hooks the headlight wiring harness to the vehicle wiring harness. I asked Bob at last service visit and he wasn't sure. Sigh.

2. Do you have any before and after photos of how bad your headlights looked before this project?

Mine are pitted to hell. Mostly surface rock pits, but a few deeper ones.

Unlike the Dash Cam (Tech is up my alley), I'm super leery about attempting this as I don't want to screw up headlights that cost $800 a piece new. So how hard was this project to undertake?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
@thebobwiley

1. Were yours pitted? How does that damn plug come off that hooks the headlight wiring harness to the vehicle wiring harness. I asked Bob at last service visit and he wasn't sure. Sigh.

2. Do you have any before and after photos of how bad your headlights looked before this project?

Mine are pitted to hell. Mostly surface rock pits, but a few deeper ones.

Unlike the Dash Cam (Tech is up my alley), I'm super leery about attempting this as I don't want to screw up headlights that cost $800 a piece new. So how hard was this project to undertake?
Mine were not pitted, but had yellowing at the top outside edge by the orange reflector and lots of clouding too. The headlight plug slide-clip piece on my left side broke when I went to push it off the "rail". It just hangs loosely in the engine bay, but the wires are short enough it won't be an issue.

The headlight plug you want to undo is not the one on the back on the assembly, but rather follow the wire back to where the is a breakaway connector that is attach to pay of the metal frame of the car back behind the headlight and towards the radiator. You don't necessarily want to pull the connectors off of the metal as it makes it a little harder to pull them apart. Use a screw driver or strong fingers to push the clip holding the connectors together down and just pull apart. They are sealed connectors so there is a bit of resistance to overcome.

Pitting will not be easily fixed with a restoration kit unless it is very shallow, but the process is easy. You can follow my steps above if you plan to use the 3M kit, but most of them are the same basic steps. Start with the lower grit sand paper and work your way up, make sure to remove the plastic dust often so you can see the progress you are making. Make sure to do a lot of passes worth the polish without adding more first. If you still see micro scratching from the 3000 grit, add some more polish and go again. The polish is where you make the clarity, obviously. The is very little chance to screw up this process unless you heavily, unevenly, over sand with the low grit sand paper.

I don't have any other pictures showing the difference before and after besides the 2 pictures in my post.

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@thebobwiley

1. Were yours pitted? How does that damn plug come off that hooks the headlight wiring harness to the vehicle wiring harness. I asked Bob at last service visit and he wasn't sure. Sigh.

2. Do you have any before and after photos of how bad your headlights looked before this project?

Mine are pitted to hell. Mostly surface rock pits, but a few deeper ones.

Unlike the Dash Cam (Tech is up my alley), I'm super leery about attempting this as I don't want to screw up headlights that cost $800 a piece new. So how hard was this project to undertake?
Sounds like you need new headlights. Nothing will fix pitting. Either find a used pair that are in better shape or get a new set when dealers offer parts promotions - that's what I did.
 
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