Are your headlights looking old, faded and discolored?  You don’t need to replace them!  Restore them instead.

Before Headlight Restoration

Before Headlight Restoration

Most modern vehicles including my 2000 Mitsubishi Montero Sport have plastic headlights.  They look much more stylish than the older glass sealed beam headlights but they age poorly.  My headlights were discolored, scratched, hazy and looked horrible.

Originally I planned on replacing the headlights until I discovered they cost over $200/ea on Ebay.  I was determined to find another alternative.  After searching Google I discovered several headlight polishing restoration kits.

The kits use fall into 2 categories:  1. polishing no sanding  2. wet sanding and polishing.  The no sanding kits are more or less a short term solution that will need to be repeated; the wet sanding kits are a better long term solution.

Permatex Plastic Headlight Lens Restoration Kit

Permatex Plastic Headlight Lens Restoration Kit

I chose the Permatex Headlight Lens Restoration Kit.  It can be found at Schuck’s Auto Supply or O’reilly Auto Parts for about $17.50.  There are other similar kits; be sure that the kit you choose includes sand paper (for wet sanding) and polishing products.

The process is fairly simple just follow the instructions included with the product.  There are several steps involving wet sanding with various grades of sandpaper, cleaning and polishing.  I went a bit overboard on the polishing and used the entire bottle of polish on the headlights.

I’m very impressed with the results.  The headlights aren’t new but they look very good.

After Headlight Restoration - Plastic Polishing

After Headlight Restoration - Plastic Polishing

While this may be considered a “cosmetic” repair it also allows the headlights to project slightly brighter light.  This is definitely a worth while project that may save you hundreds of dollars in headlight replacement costs.

Feel free to leave comments with questions or experiences!

Peter Stewart on October 6th, 2009

Come Join us on our upcoming 4wheeling Trip to Naches Pass Trail in Washington.

Date: October 24, 2009
Meeting Location: Naches Pass Trail – Greenwater, WA
Meeting Time: 9am
Who: Anyone!

Naches Pass Event

Naches Pass Event

Some quick ground rules for all Gitout.com events:  ensure your vehicle is in safe, reliable condition; no drinking or drugs on the trail; responsible care and respect for others.

Vehicle Requirements:
1. Reliable – Street Legal w/ Insurance
2. 31″ Traction Tires or larger
3. 2″ Lift or more
4. Tools and Recovery Equipment

The objective is to explore some great trails, enjoy fellowship and make new friends.

Join us on the forum for additional details and to confirm attendance!

July 20 – August 3, 2009Road Trip Report

Destination: Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft Collins, Buena Vista, Fox Field, Durango, Colorado City — Colorado
Distance: 4,609 Miles
Attendees: Peter, Charlie

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Day 1 (July 19):  We gassed up and hit the hwy around 7am.  Our destination was Salt Lake City, UT.  “Ah Yeah” my 1986 4runner was loaded with camping gear, food, supplies and mt bikes.  We made good time and crossed the border into Idaho in the early afternoon.  Our progress was slowed when the truck’s alternator failed.  Thankfully, Schuck’s Auto Supply had the part and we kept driving until night fall.  We found a great camping spot right on the Salt Lake.

Day 2 (July 20):  I got up early to replace the truck’s alternator and enjoyed an antifreeze shower (good times).  We packed up and left for Salt Lake City, after stopping for supplies at Target we hit the hwy.  We drove through a monsoon in Arizona.  We arrived at the Grand Canyon North Rim that evening and setup camp.

Road Trip Utah

Road Trip Utah

Day 3 (July 21):  We spent the day exploring the North Rim, relaxing at the lodge and hiking trails.
(be sure to check out our “Grand Canyon” post for more details)

Day 4 (July 22):  We packed up and headed towards the South Rim (240 miles).  We stopped for a shower around the Marble Canyon Bridge.  We arrived at the South Rim in the early afternoon and visited many view points.  We found camping at the Ten-X campground.

Grand Canyon South Rim

Grand Canyon South Rim

Day 5 (July 23):  We left the South Rim and headed towards Durango, Colorado.  We stopped at 4 Corners for pictures.  We found camping about 10 minutes from downtown Durango.

Day 6 (July 24):  We went Mt Biking in Durango, relaxed at the river and attended the Durango Rodeo.  Durango is an active city full of fun shops, restaurants and recreation.  Definitely a favorite recreational destination.

Mt Biking Durango Colorado

Mt Biking Durango Colorado

Day 7 (July 25):  We left Durango and drove towards Denver.  Unfortunately, a storm slowed our progress when it flooded a small town and a landslide covered the road.  We decided to stay in Colorado City instead.

Day 8 (July 26):  We explored Bishop’s Castle which is located about 40 minutes from Colorado City.  This is a must see destination if you visit ColoradoJim Bishop has been building this castle single handed for the past 30+ years.  He might be thought crazy but he demonstrates what one person can accomplish in a lifetime.  After our tour we hit the hwy for Ft Collins, Colorado.

Bishop's Castle

Bishop's Castle

Day 9 (July 27):  We stayed with Charlie’s “Campus Crusade” friends in Ft Collins.  We did some biking, exploring and hanging out.  Special thanks to Scott “Addicted Off Road” for shop use.

Day 10 (July 28):  We drove to Denver, CO and stayed in a hotel about 10 minutes east of downtown.  We spent the day exploring downtown.  We had dinner at Casa Bonita (fun mexican restaurant) and enjoyed a concert at a local venue.

Dinosaur Ridge

Dinosaur Ridge

Day 11 (July 29):  We explored Dinosaur Ridge and Red Rock.  We then met up with Charlie’s relatives (Margi & Tom) in Fox Field, Colorado.  We hung out, played games and watched a movie.

Day 12 (July 30):  Margi took us about 40 minutes outside of Fox Field for some mt biking and she rode horse back; it was a fun, muddy time.  Huge thanks to Margi & Tom for your incredible hospitality.  Our stay was fabulous!

4wheeling Buena Vista Colorado

4wheeling Buena Vista Colorado

Day 13 (July 31):  We left early for Buena Vista, Colorado.  We met up with a group from YotaTech for the 4runner Jamboree.  We had a blast exploring and 4wheeling the mountain peaks of Colorado.

Day 14 (August 1):  We explored more trails and mines in Colorado.  That evening we packed up and drove to Grand Junction, Colorado.

4wheeling Buena Vista

4wheeling Buena Vista

Day 15 (August 2):  We began our drive to Nampa, Idaho.  The 4runner ran out of gas in Utah; we pushed it for a mile or so until someone stopped and offered us some gas (thank you God).  We arrived in Nampa in the evening and stayed with my friend Dan (thanks for the room!).

Day 16 (August 3):  We drove home!  Over 4,600 Mile Road Trip, Camping, Mt Biking, Hiking, 4wheeling and crazy times!

Check out our:  Grand Canyon Adventure

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July 20-23, 2009Road Trip Report

Destination: Grand Canyon Arizona
Distance: 1,409 Miles
Attendees: Peter, Charlie

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The Grand Canyon was the first major destination on our Colorado Road Trip.  We arrived at the North Rim late Monday night July 20th and stopped at Jacob’s Inn for dinner.  Jacob’s Inn is located at the junction of US 89A and SR 67, the gateway to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (45 minutes away).  Be sure to order the “Grand Bull Sandwich” it is touted as the best hamburger west of the Mississippi.  Jacob’s Inn offers: lodging, restaurant, bakery and gift shop.  www.jacoblake.com

We were under the impression that the North Rim was remote with less tourists; that assumption proved incorrect.  Nearly every campground was full and the majority were reservation only.  We stopped at the Kaibab Lodge located 5 miles from entrance to the Grand Canyon and asked about camping.  www.Kaibablodge.com This guy came up to us and gave us directions to free camping.

Campsite directions from the lodge: drive 3/4 mile past the Kaibab Lodge towards the Grand Canyon, Left FSR 611, Right FSR 610, Left FSR 568, Right to dead end.

Grand Canyon North Rim Camping

Grand Canyon North Rim Camping

Tuesday July 21st we cooked up some breakfast and drove to the North Rim of the canyon.  There is a $25 vehicle entrance fee which allows access to the North and South Rim for 7 days.  Visit here for more details:  www.nps.gov

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is at over 8,000 ft and receives more rain and snow than the South Rim.  Road closures are common during the winter months.  Be prepared for cooler temperatures and heavy rains “monsoons”.  We drove through a monsoon coming into the Grand Canyon; thankfully the weather was mild during the remainder of our stay (mid 70s).

We explored the various view points and relaxed in the North Lodge built in 1922.  www.foreverlodging.com Our next destination was hiking the North Kaibab Trail;  this trail winds along the North Rim with numerous viewpoints.  This trail is located a couple miles before the North Lodge just off the main road (watch for signs).

North Kaibab Trail

North Kaibab Trail

We spent a second night at our free campsite and the next morning we packed up and began the 240 mile drive towards to South Rim.  We stopped for showers at a small laundry mat by the Marble Canyon bridge; that’s a great place to stop for remote campers like us.

We arrived at the South Rim that afternoon and stopped at numerous view points and tourists stops including the Desert View Point.  The South Rim is a HUGE tourist trap; there are shops everywhere and tons of people.  Pushing through crowds and waiting to take photos at the view points isn’t much fun.  Although, there are some amazing views and exceptional hikes depending on time constraints and physical conditioning.  I liked the view of the Grand Canyon from the South Rim better whereas Charlie preferred the North Rim.

Grand Canyon South Rim

Grand Canyon South Rim

We found a great campground just outside of the South Rim entrance called “Ten-Xcampground.  There were plenty of sites available and only $10/night.  TenX CampgroundOther Camping

The campground host gave us recommendations for hikes and suggested that we view the Omni Theater Grand Canyon TourOmni Theater The Omni Grand Canyon tour was incredible; it’s definitely worth watching.  We also had the opportunity to watch the sunset over the canyon.  Take a look at the sunset schedule.

We departed from the Grand Canyon on July 23rd for Colorado.

Check out the:  Colorado Road Trip

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Peter Stewart on July 5th, 2009

June 28-29, 2009Road Trip Report

Destination: Oregon Coast Beaches – Hwy 101 – Oregon
Distance: 370 Miles
Attendees: Peter, Lisa (sister)

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Our Oregon Coast Beach Road Trip began Sunday afternoon in Cresent City, California.  We crossed the border into Oregon and stopped for lunch at Harris Beach.

Harris Beach:  Has the largest island off the Oregon Coast (“bird island”).  The beach is clean and family friendly.  There are plenty of things to do including: climbing on the rocks (recommend shoes not flip flops), bird watching, sea wildlife and more.  We enjoyed our short stop here.  Note to self: be sure to not lock your keys in the car!  Thankfully Toyotas are easy to break  into…  Why do I lock it anyhow?

Whalehead Beach:  This is a much more secluded beach.  There are rocks and driftwood on the beach but still beautiful and quiet.  We enjoyed our short stop here.

Arizona Beach:  Is a quiet beach with plenty of hiking opportunities.  It’s also a cold beach with the high summer temperatures only reaching the high 60s.  It was windy too.

Bandon Beach:  This is my second favorite beach on the Oregon Coast.  The scenery is beautiful.  The sand is clean and there is plenty of beach to hike.  This was an excellent stop.  Definitely worth the drive!

Umpqua River Lighthouse:  Built in 1888.  This was a fun stop.  We didn’t go inside but enjoyed reading about it and enjoying the views.

Oregon Dunes:  This is the place to visit for ultimate sand fun!  Bring your sandrail and quads here.  There is plenty of space to explore and have a blast.  We checked out the views and dune map before finding a campground.

Oregon Coast Hwy 101 Beach Road Trip

Oregon Coast Hwy 101 Beach Road Trip

We camped out at Sutton Campground just north of the Oregon Dunes.  It’s a clean campground with restrooms, hiking trails, private campsites and $20/night.  My sister Lisa camped in a tent while I slept in the truck on an air mattress.   We enjoyed roasting marshmallows and exploring the beach trail.

Yakima Bay Lighthouse:  This was one of our first stops on Monday morning.  It’s a beautiful lighthouse with wonderful views.

Lincoln City Beach:  We  stopped shortly at this beach.  It’s fairly crowed due to the discount shops and tourist attractions.  The beach is mostly flat and lacks many hiking and exploration opportunities.

Pacific City (Kape Kiwanda):  This is my favorite beach on the Oregon Coast.  Some of the attractions include:  vehicles permitted on the beach (I drove the 4runner on the sand), dorries (fishing boats), huge sand dune and many exploration opportunities.  It’s beautiful here.  Don’t tell anyone about it.  It’s the hidden secrete of the Oregon Coast.

The views and scenery made this trip incredible.  Feel free to share your comments and favorite beach spots!