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Headlight plastic welding

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Old 11-11-2011, 05:38 PM   #1
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Headlight plastic welding

Does anyone know the type of plastic they use on the Tacoma headlight housing? I brought one of my project lights to a plastic supplier to have a tab repaired today and I was asked what type of plastic it was......right. I was told either A.) Call the manufacturer to see if it's pastic weldable, or B.) he'll figure it out for $65. A.) yeah right B.) F that.

Has anyone out there plastic welded the headlight housing?
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:40 PM   #2
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Sorry I can't tell you about the kind of plastic, but I can tell you how I would first try to repair almost any plastic on my truck... J.B. Weld is the most amazing stuff I've used. You can mould it, build it up in stages, and even drill and tap it with threads.
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:44 PM   #3
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JB weld x2
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Old 11-11-2011, 07:09 PM   #4
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An alternative to J.B. Weld is called Marine-Tex. You can get it at any boat supply place and some home improvement places. I think it actually works even better than J.B., but it's harder to find. The cool thing about it is, if you're in a hurry, you can cure it in 15 minutes with an I.R. heat lamp.

I used to use it on a chronically breaking intake air box in a Porsche 911. Early Bosch Motronic injection systems would occasionally backfire through the intake and break the box. I kept Marine-Tex on hand to repair it. It saved me hundreds of dollars on numerous occasions. Curing in 15 minutes is a really cool option.
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RainDodger View Post
An alternative to J.B. Weld is called Marine-Tex. You can get it at any boat supply place and some home improvement places. I think it actually works even better than J.B., but it's harder to find. The cool thing about it is, if you're in a hurry, you can cure it in 15 minutes with an I.R. heat lamp.

I used to use it on a chronically breaking intake air box in a Porsche 911. Early Bosch Motronic injection systems would occasionally backfire through the intake and break the box. I kept Marine-Tex on hand to repair it. It saved me hundreds of dollars on numerous occasions. Curing in 15 minutes is a really cool option.
Thanks for the alt. fix. I'm sure it would work alright, but I'm really curious if these things are even plastic weldable. Anyone have any idea what type of plastic these things are made of? or of a place I could contact to find out? There must be somone on this site that does plastic welding and has tried repairing a headlight.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:02 PM   #7
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It will have a two letter code like PC or PE. Might be ABS. Any epoxy should work with some mesh drywall tape for strength. definite DIY.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:36 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by squamish VFR View Post
It will have a two letter code like PC or PE. Might be ABS. Any epoxy should work with some mesh drywall tape for strength. definite DIY.
I see it now. Housing: PP-T20

Thanks!
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:39 PM   #9
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.
... X 2 on the JB Weld
.
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Old 11-17-2011, 06:35 AM   #10
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PP is PolyPro (Polypropylene).

Quite easy to weld with the correct equipment.

However for best results you would need the exact same plastic rod stock and even the color to get the strongest bond.

PP comes in about any color and welding it in the past I have noticed slight differences in different colors of PP even though both pieces were the 'same' plastic.

If anyone is curious you can not join different types of plastic together using traditional plastic welding. ANY contamination will severely weaken the bond as well, so you need to know what you are doing to get the best results.

In any case you will want to use a quality plastic welding machine, preferably with the high speed tip and rod preheat channel. Done correctly the welds can end up stronger than the stock material.

If you've never plastic welded before and don't have the correct equipment and rod, I suggest you just glue it.
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Old 11-17-2011, 09:36 AM   #11
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I don't think epoxies like jb weld or marine Tex will bond to polypropylene Google is your friend.
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurdain View Post
PP is PolyPro (Polypropylene).

Quite easy to weld with the correct equipment.

However for best results you would need the exact same plastic rod stock and even the color to get the strongest bond.

PP comes in about any color and welding it in the past I have noticed slight differences in different colors of PP even though both pieces were the 'same' plastic.

If anyone is curious you can not join different types of plastic together using traditional plastic welding. ANY contamination will severely weaken the bond as well, so you need to know what you are doing to get the best results.

In any case you will want to use a quality plastic welding machine, preferably with the high speed tip and rod preheat channel. Done correctly the welds can end up stronger than the stock material.

If you've never plastic welded before and don't have the correct equipment and rod, I suggest you just glue it.
This all seems completely logical. thankfully I have a spare housing which has proven to be useful. while completely in agreement wth using the right tool for the job, in the case of plastic welding have you ever used a soldering iron for joining similar plastics together? Polypro seems to be a decent candidate for using a soldering iron to fix (second best to prof. plastic welding).
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Old 11-18-2011, 06:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apotter View Post
This all seems completely logical. thankfully I have a spare housing which has proven to be useful. while completely in agreement wth using the right tool for the job, in the case of plastic welding have you ever used a soldering iron for joining similar plastics together? Polypro seems to be a decent candidate for using a soldering iron to fix (second best to prof. plastic welding).
You can, I've done it with toy car and crap like that.
The weld won't be very strong, it might hold up but it's hard to say.

The soldering iron will burn the plastic too, which can contaminate if you try to weld it later.

The plastic welders use super heated air to 'plastisize' the material, so it never touches the actual weld point (there are a some exceptions like guide channels, etc.).

They make some crazy epoxy materials, still probably your best bet.
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Old 11-18-2011, 06:30 AM   #14
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I welded two Optima batteries once... UPS cracked the case during shipping. Got a 2nd one and the same thing happened... They refunded my money and said to recycle them cause they cant ship them back. I welded both and they have been fine for the past 3 years(Just used a piece of the base and a soldiering iron). Cant complain for 2 free optima's.
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:58 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurdain View Post
You can, I've done it with toy car and crap like that.
The weld won't be very strong, it might hold up but it's hard to say.

The soldering iron will burn the plastic too, which can contaminate if you try to weld it later.

The plastic welders use super heated air to 'plastisize' the material, so it never touches the actual weld point (there are a some exceptions like guide channels, etc.).

They make some crazy epoxy materials, still probably your best bet.
Greatly appreciate the advice. Thankfully with the project I'm working on I have nothing to lose really so I attacked it with the iron to save some $$, and make it look decent (epoxies always tend to look botched to me). The piece is surprisingly strong (for now), although no doubt somewhat brittle. The PP-T20 appears is very weldable to anyone out there looking to fix/replace a tab. I can post pics of how the solder iron method works out if interested.
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