: Headlight assembly condensation solutions



eatyoursandwich
06-13-12, 02:51 PM
First off -- I have searched for literally days to find a thread dedicated to this issue, but the only threads I could find were either CTS or the V forums so since I doubt all of us spend much time in those sections, I though I would start one here.

-- If there is already a thread on this issue in this section, Mods feel free to delete this.

Ok so back to the topic -- headlight condensation.

My thoughts after taking the headlamps off and spending many hours in the shop taking them apart, putting them back together, etc:

I realize these headlamps are a passive system, which for those who don't know mean that basically, the headlight is vented to prevent a build-up of pressure in high altitudes. (I'm sure there are other reasons, but that is generally why headlights are passive)

Unless I have missed something, I can not find these vents anywhere. I'm told they are vented through the bottom, but I cannot physically locate them or find a parts diagram. Solely based on the process of elimination, I suspect what I think is the vent, but I'm not positive (the thing on the back of the housing that points up; kind of conical in shape).

After literally sealing the life out the housings, replacing access door gaskets, even applied a bead of silicone around the edge of both access doors just in case (I realize this will make future headlight changes even more of a PITA, but I spent quite a bit of money on lifetime-warrantied bulbs so I'm hoping I don't have to replace them anytime soon.

After about a month of on an off rain, the condensation is back. Not near is bad as it was, but it's back. Yes, the headlight will burn hot enough to evaporate a small build-up of water (like the dealer always says), but that does nothing about the condensation.

So, what have you guys done to permanently get rid of the condensation?

For those who have drilled a small hole in the bottom of the housing, how has this worked? I may just seal up this stupid vent and just drill a small hole in the bottom if that actually works.

I've read that spraying triple-distilled vodka on the inside of the lens will get rid of any residue from the condensation, but have never tried this myself so who knows.

Any tips, experience, or theories to add would be greatly appreciated.

1BadCadSTS
06-13-12, 06:40 PM
Sylica packets double taped to the access door. Never had a problem since.

buzz
06-13-12, 08:46 PM
Ok, so where is the "access door"? Can you see this without removing any body panels or the bumper cover? This is interesting, as I was actually thinking about some sort of moisture absorbent being a solution. I don't want to drill any holes for obvious reasons. Thanks for the suggestion. I did call a dealer on this and was told they do not repair these things... only replace. I am OK with replacement; however, the cost is staggering! Of course, with new headlamp assemblies, you do get new lamps. Maybe i'll get lucky and someone will back into me in a parking lot, and damage both headlamps. Just kidding!

curtc
06-13-12, 11:02 PM
Sylica packets double taped to the access door. Never had a problem since.

Brilliant!

mckellyb
06-13-12, 11:27 PM
Silica packet...

Damn, now I wish I hadn't eaten mine.

(genius idea)

eatyoursandwich
06-14-12, 10:39 AM
Ok, so where is the "access door"? Can you see this without removing any body panels or the bumper cover? This is interesting, as I was actually thinking about some sort of moisture absorbent being a solution. I don't want to drill any holes for obvious reasons. Thanks for the suggestion. I did call a dealer on this and was told they do not repair these things... only replace. I am OK with replacement; however, the cost is staggering! Of course, with new headlamp assemblies, you do get new lamps. Maybe i'll get lucky and someone will back into me in a parking lot, and damage both headlamps. Just kidding!

I've personally never touched the headlights without taking the bumper cover off so I'm not sure if they can bee seen from above or not, but here is a picture of them, there are 2 on each headlamp:

93355

Going to do the silica packets myself, thanks for the suggestion, 1badcad. Silica absorbs 40% of it's weight in water so hopefully that will be enough to keep what little moisture there is out of there.

BaTu
06-14-12, 11:14 AM
Until now, I was completely unaware of just how useless the Search function on this forum is.... :(

There are SO MANY previous posts on this (and I have callouses on my fingers from the amount of typing I've done on them) :D but I too can't come-up with any of them through a Search. I tried just the word "headlight" and only get 2 results (limited to this forum).


I quickly went to Google direct and got these (although didn't find some of the detailed threads I remember, might take more research)

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-sts-forum-2005-through-2012/233547-another-headlight-question.html
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-sts-forum-2005-through-2012/216812-moisture-headlamp.html
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-sts-forum-2005-through-2012/181450-fog-build-up-headlight.html
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-sts-forum-2005-through-2012/196488-bumper-cover-removal.html

1BadCadSTS
06-14-12, 11:51 AM
You can remove the side doors by pulling the air box for left lamp and the fuse box for right lamp.

eatyoursandwich
06-25-12, 10:43 AM
After sanding and buffing the headlamp lens, they look brand new with just a hint of condensation. Taped silica packets to the inside of the back access panel on head housing which will hopefully keep away what little condensation may get in.

Why I didn't resurface the lenses first, I will never know. Lesson learned, I guess.

I will say, these lenses are pretty poor quality for a $50K+ car. Ive never sanded more coarse scratches on headlights in my life. The smallest rock or just common road debris will destroy the clarity of the lens especially if you spend lot of time on the highway.

I've ordered a set or 3M headlight film to help, but without checking part numbers, I swear these are the same lenses they put on Aveo's or Cobalts or something.

At the end of the day, if my biggest problem with the car is poor quality headlight lenses that can be easily fixed, there's nothing to complain about. Especially when the air suspension on my wife's Range Rover just went out this weekend....

Cadjiek
06-25-12, 11:05 AM
Mine still look brand new and no moisture either. No scratches or stone chips. Yes I do drive the freeways ocassionally. Maybe I lucked out. I do wax them when doing the car. Maybe that helps. Wax wouldn't help a seal problem though.

EChas3
06-25-12, 11:45 PM
Members posted horror stories about adverse long-term effects of headlight resurfacing about 4 years ago. I hope yours retain their new beauty.

Based on that dim recollection, a surface treatment makes a lot of sense.

chazglenn3
11-28-12, 10:20 PM
I know this is an old thread, but I was doing some research on the water in my headlights. The OP mentioned that he couldn't find the vents on the headlight housing. In the photo above there is one of the vents visible...the little "L" shaped tube in front of the cone shaped thing. There is another one down lower.

Mullah88
12-01-12, 12:16 AM
i dont know what to call this but the outside of the headlamp is smooth but the the inside is grainy? when the lights are on....the grainy part is directly where the light beam out of (hi/low beam). its like the heat from the light is melting inside the headlight housing

http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q137/chimam2002/2012-11-29174836.jpg

http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q137/chimam2002/2012-11-29174805.jpg

lights are not actually yellow, its just my camera adjusting

DarkMingBlueSTS
12-01-12, 12:53 AM
Mullah are talking about the grainy part being on the glass ball part of the headlights? If you are I have the same thing going on with mine. And it looks like I have a yellow part on the top of the beam when I pull up close to a white wall...oem headlights did it and the HID's do it also...so yeah I'm with you on the burn part

----------

*besides the just the lens?

Mullah88
12-01-12, 09:02 AM
The projector lens is fine on my. No condensation inside the unit but as you can see in the picture, when the light hits the glass/plastic, it has some texture on it. If this was on the outside of the lamps, i would have tried restoring both units, this looks to be inside the housing??! It always makes the headlights look dusty

DarkMingBlueSTS
12-01-12, 10:23 AM
Yeah that dusty look is what I have on my projector but not on the inside of the lens

DarkMingBlueSTS
12-01-12, 01:46 PM
I just looked at mine...and my lenses look like they have tiny cracks on the inside maybe that's what you're seeing mullah?

dkozloski
12-01-12, 02:00 PM
Once the plastic has become crazed(millions of tiny cracks) you are SOL. Even if you find it is shallow enough for you to polish out it will soon return. The crazing is caused by surface stress from moisture, UV light, and/or cleaners containing ammonia or other chemicals.

Ludacrisvp
12-01-12, 03:08 PM
^^^^ this is what it is.

Mullah88
12-01-12, 09:49 PM
****! oh well i guess i need some bright HIDs then

Ludacrisvp
12-01-12, 09:59 PM
****! oh well i guess i need some bright HIDs then

Unfortunately that won't really help much. Time to get new housings. :)

EChas3
12-02-12, 12:04 AM
Even on eBay, you may find there to be a Cadillac tax.

Mullah88
12-02-12, 01:11 AM
Unfortunately that won't really help much. Time to get new housings. :)

yeah i know it wouldnt help...ming has HIDs and still has the problem. i got more pressing matters (EVAP leak) than that for now

curtc
12-02-12, 01:56 AM
Mine have a bit of that "crazing" issue too, right in front of the low beam projector, grainy looking on the inside, the outside is smooth as butter...not worth the $$$ to worry about it right now as these assemblies are so damn expensive. It is annoying though...

Yes, I know the driver side marker light is out :)...That can wait until spring, going with LEDs, those halogens are ugly

Hit a Bambi in my 2001 Seville a few years back doing about 50-60MPH, trashed the entire passenger headlight...Called the Caddy dealer and they wanted over $900 (halogen version) for a new one, even the parts lady was shocked! Her words exactly; "Yeah, we can get those, they run for $914 each, holy sh!t! I'm sorry about that, I didn't realize they were so expensive!"

Ended up getting a used one in pretty good shape for $325 from a local salvage yard.

I can still see better than most at night in the STS (get flashed for my low beams ALL THE TIME) so this is not high on my list of things to replace/repair.

02603sec
12-02-12, 06:57 PM
Watch for a replacement headlight assy on ebay. Car-part has them too. Inspect the replacement for broken plastic tabs.. in the meantime the moisture prob could be a couple things: there are poly seals on the exterior and poly seals for the plate access. Good chance it is off track. Of course you have to take it out. There are also ventilation holes that could be clogged. Yes you would still have to pull the assy.

Carvone
12-03-12, 03:37 PM
I have the same problem on my '07, mine looks just like "curtc" pics. When I bought the car there was water in the lenses so I took the the front of the car off, took apart the lenses, cleaned and polished it all and resealed both. The are nice an dry now but still have that "grainy look". It is on the inside of the lens too, doesn't make sense but it is. There is no way it is worth the cost of replacement so I live with it.

eatyoursandwich
12-03-12, 05:56 PM
The quality of these headlamp lenses are complete shit. The smallest scratch/imperfection is extremely noticeable and they scratch like carbon paper. Going brighter only further amplifies the flaws. I have adjustable ballasts and when I dial my bulbs up to 100w, every tiny little imperfection is visible.

Ludacrisvp
12-03-12, 06:58 PM
The quality of these headlamp lenses are complete shit. The smallest scratch/imperfection is extremely noticeable and they scratch like carbon paper. Going brighter only further amplifies the flaws. I have adjustable ballasts and when I dial my bulbs up to 100w, every tiny little imperfection is visible.

It's not just the lens ... The whole unit was / is complete shit. Go look at my hid thread and you will see how terrible the reflector bowls are. Hint: they should be smooth mirror like cups that have the hid in them, but they clearly aren't the output from them is abysmal at best. Not sure how the halogen guys can even see the cars in front of them.

KRSTS
12-03-12, 08:01 PM
My headlights are just fine. Lenses are clear with no moisture inside.

Ludacrisvp
12-03-12, 08:22 PM
My headlights are just fine. Lenses are clear with no moisture inside.

Well currently mine are still factory fresh looking no moisture or crazing either. This was one of my prerequisites when buying the car... As in I refused to even look at the car in person if the online photos showed any hint of fogging / hazing / moisture / etc.

Surfstix
12-10-12, 02:36 PM
Yeah was told several times its normal everything that is wrong is normal, nothing like a Cadillac or their service. I'm just about done with GM as much as that hurts to say I just cannot get any satisfaction 3 dealers later school for the techs must be a cinch just tell them its normal and we will cover our asses.GM :helpless::helpless::helpless::helpless:

JakeBanman
12-10-12, 05:43 PM
When I had water pooling in my passenger sidelight (which was brand new); the shop told me that the manufacturer didn't SEAL the two sides together fully; there was about an 1 1/4" long strip that was not sealed and that was causing the leak.

They used a marine epoxy like compound to seal it so it wont dissolve on rainy days and so far, it's dry as a bone!

tbreezy
12-20-12, 10:25 PM
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I have the same problem on my '07, mine looks just like "curtc" pics. When I bought the car there was water in the lenses so I took the the front of the car off, took apart the lenses, cleaned and polished it all and resealed both. The are nice an dry now but still have that "grainy look". It is on the inside of the lens too, doesn't make sense but it is. There is no way it is worth the cost of replacement so I live with it.

I have an 07' as well and I am having the same water problem. How and what parts did you re-seal?

james6speed
12-24-13, 08:35 AM
You can remove the side doors by pulling the air box for left lamp and the fuse box for right lamp.

1BADSTS,,, so let me get this straight, you can remove the pass. side fuse box, then remove this side cover from there without removing headlight and bumper?
Is this where you double-taped the silica pads to, inside the side cover?

1BadCadSTS
12-24-13, 08:43 AM
1BADSTS,,, so let me get this straight, you can remove the pass. side fuse box, then remove this side cover from there without removing headlight and bumper?
Is this where you double-taped the silica pads to, inside the side cover?

Correct. Not fun if you have big hands haha but I managed just fine.

james6speed
12-24-13, 08:49 AM
probably can't get a hairdryer in either ehh? Or would the silica bags take care of it?

james6speed
12-24-13, 09:18 AM
So the front is not removable??? See picture for what I mean.

1BadCadSTS
12-24-13, 04:28 PM
If you bake it in an oven and pry it apart.

Roger O'Dell
12-24-13, 07:58 PM
I complained to the dealer while still under warr, but the said they could not duplicate, and I polishes the exterior with aircraft grade windshield polish, looked good for quite awhile but starting to haze again 2005 sts just past 140000mi.

EChas3
12-27-13, 10:43 PM
Warranty only covers 'excessive moisture'. About five years ago it was a very popular forum topic. Members schooled those reporting the issue to always repeat 'excessive moisture' at least twice during every conversation with Cadillac and dealer representatives.

It did seem to improve the odds of coverage and provided a negotiating position. Cadillac is very proud of that headlight assembly. If I had a bad one and could get it replaced for the cost of labor, I'd consider that a pretty sweet bargain.

james6speed
12-27-13, 11:49 PM
out of warranty, so no dice for me

Ludacrisvp
12-27-13, 11:50 PM
out of warranty, so no dice for me
As most of us likely are these days... :(