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  1. #1
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    Truck headlights = thrashed.

    I'm the second owner of a 2012 Tundra. IDK what the first owner did, but everything on the truck was perfect when I bought it except very yellowed/fogged headlights.

    I did the whole 600/800/2000 grit wet sand > rubbing compound with cloth wheel on dremel thing. They looked better for like a week.

    Drove through crazy snow yesterday morning and couldn't see far past my hood. Was breaking trail and finally someone caught up to me and I let them pass. Brand new F350 and his lights were amazing and he blasted right by. OEM replacements for my truck are pricey.

    Should I try to sand them again? Try brighter bulbs in the existing lights?

    I don't want to be one of those assholes, but driving mountain and FS roads when you don't pass many other cars = a bright ass lightbar would be damn nice.

  2. #2
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    Could it be that there's nothing wrong and the headlights on a 2012 just suck?

    Maybe start with upgrading the bulbs to Silverstars or similar.

    Also make sure they are leveled properly.

  3. #3
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    Did you seal them with UV epoxy once you sanded them? If not, they'll cloud back up. I've got the Sylvania kit that includes sealant in my garage, going to do mine once it starts being dark for my drive to/from work.

  4. #4
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    Do you have a cap? When they wired my cap interior light, for some reason it dimmed my headlights. I ended up cutting the wire and just use a touch light in the cap.

    I have a 2012 tundra

  5. #5
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    just a data point; cleaning headlights as needed with DEET bug spray/paper towel does a really good job of deyellowing/restoring transparency.
    Master of mediocrity.

  6. #6
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    I've used toothpaste with some success as well.

  7. #7
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    If you aren't applying something to protect the plastic from UV, they'll turn yellow again. As The Tortoise said, I'd try some silverstar bulbs, they are usually much brighter than OEM bulbs.

  8. #8
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    I just did my Tahoe's headlights with the 3M kit

    Also upgraded with Silverstars and it's a huge difference.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon3 View Post
    Did you seal them with UV epoxy once you sanded them? If not, they'll cloud back up. I've got the Sylvania kit that includes sealant in my garage, going to do mine once it starts being dark for my drive to/from work.
    Quote Originally Posted by snowaddict91 View Post
    If you aren't applying something to protect the plastic from UV, they'll turn yellow again. As The Tortoise said, I'd try some silverstar bulbs, they are usually much brighter than OEM bulbs.
    These.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiteroom_Guardian View Post
    OEM replacements for my truck are pricey.

    have you tried the junkyards yet? nice cheap oem replacements to be had there...

  11. #11
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    The problem with OEM replacements is that you may very well end up with the same shitty lights you are trying to replace. I would look on Tundra forums for upgrade options.

  12. #12
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    Get led replacement bulbs with new housings. Yes, they're irritatingly bright. But you see better with them because they're irritatingly bright. Don't put leds into your old housings because they're not made for leds. Instead, replace the entire unit. Then spend some time properly aiming the new lights so that they're not not more irritatingly bright than they need to be.

    Yes, they are irritatingly bright. Yes, you'll that guy with the bright headlights. But I'll be damned if you can't see better at night when them. And, yes, to answer your question, I am the guy with the irritatingly bright lights. Since installing and properly aiming mine I have not been flashed by an oncoming driver even once despite my lights being an order of magnitude brighter than the stock halogen bulbs.
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  13. #13
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    Aug 2010
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    Here is what I have done and been pleased with the results.

    On a 2004 4runner I did the 3m kit. Did this around 2009. Really took my time with it getting the headlight housings polished. Made sure to seal the polished housings and they are still clear to this day.

    On my F150 the headlights are so poor holding a lighter out the window would be more effective than relying on my headlights. I wanted a completely street legal solution so I went with the Rigid fog light brackets and their D-series SAE fog lights. Looks like the offer brackets for the Tundra as well.

    The appeal of these is that they have a sharp cutoff line to keep from blinding other vehicles, are extremely bright and have a very wide lighting pattern (illuminates the side of the road, wildlife, etc). It is key to aim them properly but once you do they perform extremely well especially in snow, etc as they don't reflect off the snow creating that star wars effect. You can adjust them to throw light farther down the road than a typical fog but at the same time still keep them aimed lower than your headlights.

    I would imagine a LED bar would be basically useless in snow due to all the glare from those damn things. (Also, Jeremy Clarkson and the collapsed sun)

  14. #14
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    Good responses all, thanks. Supposedly the OEMs in my my truck are "self leveling". I didn't seal the lens after sanding and that is probably the problem. I might just try silverstar bulbs to get me through the winter or at least improve for now. May throw brighter bulbs in the fogs too.

    My last vehicle had those crazy progressive HID lights. It basically turned the road into daytime in the middle of the night. Those were nice. Now it's kinda scary driving when its snowing/raining or there aren't street lights.

  15. #15
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    Apr 2007
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    My two cents: if you want a fuckton of light for poorly lit roads (especially those with large critters around), but don't want to be an ass, up the lumens on your high beams but not your low beams. If putting LED "bulbs" in place of the halogen units in you existing housing doesn't work, aftermarket driving (not fog) lights triggered by the high-beam circuit should allow you to get the distance down the road and quickly switch back to normal lights so as not to offend traffic. I've got a similar setup on my motorcycle: high beams are driving lights (PIAA IIRC), low beams are a shorter-range LED. In low-beam mode, the LEDs operate on a lower dimmer setting; in high-beam mode, all four units come on, and vampires run for cover.

    In my current-gen F-150, which has the best OEM lights I've even owned, I kept the stock low beams and put LED "bulbs" in the highs. The color-temp difference is annoying, but it allows me to have lots of light available without being an ass (unless I want to). As someone else said, I'd look to the Tundra forums to see if there's a good answer for improving the OEM housings; I'd also check to see if you're getting any significant voltage drop due to just-good-enough OEM wiring and grounding that isn't as good anymore. The LED "bulbs" seem to match a halogen beam pattern well enough to put the light where it belongs; YMMV, though, and high beams aren't as demanding as lows in that respect.

    With both of the above setups, the biggest downside is that I have to remember not to look directly at white signs when I'm close, or the reflection is enough to screw with my night vision.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiteroom_Guardian View Post
    Good responses all, thanks. Supposedly the OEMs in my my truck are "self leveling". I didn't seal the lens after sanding and that is probably the problem. I might just try silverstar bulbs to get me through the winter or at least improve for now. May throw brighter bulbs in the fogs too.

    My last vehicle had those crazy progressive HID lights. It basically turned the road into daytime in the middle of the night. Those were nice. Now it's kinda scary driving when its snowing/raining or there aren't street lights.
    My 2010 has a little thumb wheel to aim the beams up/down... does your 2012? Or is that what you mean by self leveling... no manual aim?
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norseman View Post
    My 2010 has a little thumb wheel to aim the beams up/down... does your 2012? Or is that what you mean by self leveling... no manual aim?
    Yeah mine as the thumb wheel. No adjustment makes it better. All the way down and the road is bright like 20 feet in front of the road and then it's like driving into a black hole beyond that. All the way up is where I keep them and it's still not great.

    Upgraded high beams are good for big critters on empty roads, but in snow they are worse as we all know. That's why I think I need to brighten up both lows and highs.

  18. #18
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    Interesting comparo of the various methods of cleaning headlights. The pro method looks optimum but damn that's a lot of $$$, elbow grease and time. Bug spray for the ghettowerx win. The second clip shows the hypothetical best practices approach to employing the bug spray method. Haven't tried it but I'll give 'er a go on my recumbent bicycle front fairing and see how it does.



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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by swissiphic View Post
    my recumbent bicycle front fairing]
    JFC.
    Quote Originally Posted by Downbound Train View Post
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by swissiphic View Post
    Interesting comparo of the various methods of cleaning headlights. The pro method looks optimum but damn that's a lot of $$$, elbow grease and time. Bug spray for the ghettowerx win. The second clip shows the hypothetical best practices approach to employing the bug spray method. Haven't tried it but I'll give 'er a go on my recumbent bicycle front fairing and see how it does.



    Hmmm, when I sanded I used a circular motion with overlap, not the "east west" method like in that video. Possibly part of the problem.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by PNWbrit View Post
    JFC.
    I'm rollin', u hatin'? Street cred at the skate park. Need a clear lens to see the transition, air the tabletop and time the pump track.

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    Master of mediocrity.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowaddict91 View Post
    If you aren't applying something to protect the plastic from UV, they'll turn yellow again. As The Tortoise said, I'd try some silverstar bulbs, they are usually much brighter than OEM bulbs.
    dont forget you're also blinding drivers on opposite side of road with these bright bulbs...dont be surprised to get lit up by them if they have light bars and tug fogs...
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  23. #23
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    Dec 2009
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    The stock headlights in the gen 2 Tundra are pretty good when the lenses are clear. Toyota unfortunately seems to have shopped the manufacturing out to the lowest bidder though, as most of these trucks (and other Toyotas) that are more than a few years old and not garage kept have noticeably cloudy headlights on them. I have had limited success with the various renewal techniques over the years and have found my time and money to be better spent on replacement lenses. I was able to find some OE jobbers through NAPA for my 2011 for a decent price. The difference between old and new lenses with stock bulbs is huge. I also added a 20" street legal light bar for extra reach and width. Installation was custom and was a pain in the ass, but the results have been worth it.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiCol View Post
    dont forget you're also blinding drivers on opposite side of road with these bright bulbs...dont be surprised to get lit up by them if they have light bars and tug fogs...
    I ran silverstars in my old montero with glass lenses and never got flashed by anyone. They aren't crazy bright like LEDs or something. Hell, some of the new OEM LEDs are awful.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Tortoise View Post
    The problem with OEM replacements is that you may very well end up with the same shitty lights you are trying to replace. I would look on Tundra forums for upgrade options.
    Yes, if you replace with OEM junkyard finds you get the shitty housings again. Same problem. I don't know when they fixed this issue but my 2008 UrbanRunner had this too. Polishing was such a time-suck. You can get new bulbs and that will help, sure, but you will still have fogged headlights that suck.

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