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DR1FT HAVEN

D.I.Y Vented Headlight cover

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D.I.Y : Vented 180sx headlight cover

 

Just finished my vented headlight cover and thought I'd explain how I did it, the point of it, etc, etc……. here goes:

 

The idea:

The vented headlight cover is a mix of performance concept and style, but mainly style. The concept is that by venting the passenger (left hand side) headlight cover, air can flow through the vent straight to the cars air intake, whether stock air box or pod, etc, like a basic air induction system. The effect of this is hardly noticeable and most people reckon it's looks only so don't expect huge gains, mainly it just looks cool.

I was shopping around for a vented headlight cover and being a bit tight for cash atm I decided to try and build by own. To buy a fibreglass headlight cover costs approx 69-79$, yet all up in total for me to build my own cost about 40$ and was relatively easy. A few of the materials I had or found lying around which saved cash but here’s how I did it:

 

What you need:

Angle grinder

Stock headlight cover (the boys at jap motorsport set me up with one for 25$)

Sanding paper (from rough to fine, say up to 1200 grit)

Bodyfiller (12$ from supercheap auto or even kmart)

Fibreglass repair kit ( 15-25$)

Blow torch (not vital)

Spray can of primer (2.50$ from super cheap)

Spray can of your choice (or colour matched paint)

Mesh (eg grill mesh, bodykit mesh, what ever you call it)

materials.jpg

 

 

 

I searched around for a while to get a few different ideas of what headlight covers can look like, eg the size of the vent, the shape ,etc. I based my design on a picture off ozkits.com.au. Using the pictures as a guide I sketched the shape and size of the vent on the cover in texta, then worked out length and rough depth.

 

stockcoverwithcutinglinesetc.jpg

 

Once the shape was sussed out it was time to cut. Using the grinder, I cut the sides and rear of the vent, this allows you to bend the cut piece downwards, acting as the bottom of your new vent. I used the blowtorch to heat the metal at this point as it helps you bend it more smoothly without creating a hump at the front, just don’t do as I did and try to push the cutout down with your fingers (blowtorch=hot!!)

 

aftercuttingcover.jpg

 

Once you’ve got the vent "cut-out" bent downwards to the depth you want / fits in the headlight structure( check clearance before going further), it’s time for bodywork. In my case I used the fibreglass and created the sides from the underside of the cover, eg mould the fibreglass over the cutout to create sides, but do it on the bottom, this makes sanding a lot easier and allows you to just fill with bodyfiller.

fibreglassedunderside.jpg

 

If your aiming for a vent with curved sides, make sure you grind the cover back so the gap between the top cover and the bent vent piece is larger, otherwise you’ll have to do it after the fibreglass is set as I did, which is a pain in the ass. Once you’ve fibre-glassed the underneath side of the vent, flip it over and use the bodyfiller to fill in the rest of the vent sides. This way allows for less sanding and a more accurate curve. Bodyfiller is a lot easier to use and mould in my opinion than fibreglass.

 

Fibreglass kits will give specific mixing ratios, often 8 drops of catalyst per 20ml resin. Fibreglass materials and chemicals are extremely toxic, both the vapour and dust when sanding, make sure you have a good mask or ventilated room. Filler is often harder to mix, my container says to use 1 part per 50 in weight, which if your using small amount as I did, your simply not going to get out the scales. More accurately is a small blob, say a 1-2 cm bead for ever ice cream scoop sized blob, filler is quite forgiving, if you add a small amount of catalyst it often just takes longer to set and opposite for to much catalyst. Filler is also hazardous when sanding so again wear a mask…

 

Once the filler has set it’s time for the least exciting part of the job, sanding. The smoother you can get the filler before it sets the better. Filler dries insanely hard and takes a shite load of sanding to get it dead smooth. I started with heavy duty sand paper and worked my way down to 1200 grit. Every so often brush of the fine dust and run the cover under water to clean it. The problem I found is it was very difficult to hide the line where the filler ended and the metal started. Visually it looks ok but when you do the primer the lines show up like dogs…. Well yea they show up. Just get it as smooth as possible, if any one knows a better way to get filler smooth I’d be glad to hear it…

 

sandedbogetc.jpg

 

Once the filler is done your ready to apply the primer, I used 4 layers of primer, sanding slightly between coats to keep it smooth. For the vent mesh I used the grill from a fireplace cover, but you can just buy the same stuff from heaps of auto places. I simply bent this into a step shape and glued it to the back, open side of the vent. From here if everything is smooth and your happy with it, paint it the colour of your choice and replace your stock cover.

 

primedcover.jpg

 

stepbentgrillmesh.jpg

^^^ the mesh bent into a stepped shape to fit the back of the vent^^^^

fittingmeshsection.jpg

^^^^ this is how the mesh sat in lace, to be glued... ^^^^

 

I did this project in 3 days from start to finish, but made a lot of filling and cutting mistakes, so it could be done in two days depending on paint and filler drying times. hope this helped someone or motivated them ot give it a shot, it's really quite easy. :)

 

haven (ross)

 

ok jsut put on the third layer of the gloss black so here's how it turned out....

sourcesofinspiration.jpg

these were the images i sued for inspiration

topcoatinglossblak1.jpg

topcoatinglossblak2.jpg

topcoatinglossblack3.jpg

topcoatinglossblack4.jpg

finalcoatinglossblack5.jpg

 

turned out very smooth thanks to the filelr / primer so thanks for that sugegstion, asy ou can see it's ultra glossy atm and looking good, i just need to spray the grill mesh in sivler and presto, complete headlight vent. ! :)

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update *******

 

i finally got my car back today so i fitted the cover... as you can see in the pic, a reasonable amount of grinding is required on the headlight frame to make it fit, but not hard...

 

PIC_0037.jpg

^^^before grinding

 

PIC_0038.jpg

^^^ after

 

PIC_0039-1.jpg

PIC_0040.jpg

PIC_0041-1.jpg

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nice job, i like the grooves of your custom one over my sniper racing cover. here's what mine looks like after painting with pressure packs.

 

27-01-08_1650.jpg

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thanks for the comments people yeah heaps happy with the way it turned out... considering making another one to create symmetry but i spose when it all gets resprayed to match it wont look so out of place.....

 

 

"smithbro" urs looks good in that aspect that kos its the same colour it blends in well and doesnt lok out of place, but yea i do prefer the shape of mine, hence why i made my own,lol.

 

feel free to pm for questions or nethign i missed :)

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i like. looks clean and pro

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good job, just a few words of advice, sang the existing paint before cutting. use a finer cutting blade. and i know it sucks but it does require more sanding, mabey get a small electric sander $25 and supercheap but work absolute wonders! also u said u measured for clearance? then u shouldn't need to hack the f**ker out of the headlight assembly? u shouldn't need to measured correctly.

very good job though mate. 8\10

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**** yea thought i'd betetr update that point mentioned above.... irrespective of measureing if yopu want a good looking, deeper vent like mine you will definately need to hack up the headlight sturcture.really easy to do with a grinder, but yeah, will need done for this type of vent. hacking the structure also actually allows air to flow through instead of just hitting the frame behind the vent piece and doing nothing. but make sure you get paint or something and touch up the structure you juts hacked, mine went rusty afetr a while, so i just sanded it, rust killed it and dabbed it with black house paint, you cant see the structure ever so doesnt matter what you use.

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all the time & money spent doing this, wouldnt it been easier to bu a fibreglass vented cover, prep it & paint? lol

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nah kos u cant buy a fibreglass vented one that looks liks that... they have triangular shaped vents.... and depends if you have the time... if you dont mind a bit of labour, worked out quite cheap in comparison to a bought one.... plus its custom :) nothing pays like the satisfaction of having made it urself.

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Good work mate im inspired.. was goin to buy one but like you say if you want a decent sized one you gotta make it and do some hackingthumbsup.gif

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very nice, i was thinking of making one of these for my s14 from a plastic headlight cover and Fibreglass it but pulled the light out and found the air wouldnt go anywhere without cuting the Rad support so i scrapped the idea... i might just do it to my bonnet when i get my custom cold air box made. and yes it does feel alot more special when u've made it yourself and its a one off mod that no body else has one just like it. Good work buddy.

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