Headlight assembly condensation solutions
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Cadillac STS Forum - 2005 through 2012 Discussion, Headlight assembly condensation solutions in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; First off -- I have searched for literally days to find a thread dedicated to this issue, but the only ...
  1. #1
    eatyoursandwich is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Headlight assembly condensation solutions

    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.

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    1BadCadSTS's Avatar
    1BadCadSTS is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Sylica packets double taped to the access door. Never had a problem since.

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    buzz's Avatar
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    Re: Healight Condensation Solution Thread

    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!

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    curtc's Avatar
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    Re: Healight Condensation Solution Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by 1BadCadSTS View Post
    Sylica packets double taped to the access door. Never had a problem since.
    Brilliant!
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    mckellyb is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Healight Condensation Solution Thread

    Silica packet...

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

    (genius idea)
    rnkath08, rnkath08, 9t8z28 and 1 others like this.

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    eatyoursandwich is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Healight Condensation Solution Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by buzz View Post
    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:

    STS headlight.JPG

    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.

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    BaTu is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Healight Condensation Solution Thread

    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) 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...-question.html
    http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums...-headlamp.html
    http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums...headlight.html
    http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums...r-removal.html

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    1BadCadSTS's Avatar
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    You can remove the side doors by pulling the air box for left lamp and the fuse box for right lamp.

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    eatyoursandwich is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Healight Condensation Solution Thread

    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....

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    Cadjiek is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Healight Condensation Solution Thread

    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.
    blueflash and blueflash like this.

  12. #11
    EChas3's Avatar
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    Re: Healight Condensation Solution Thread

    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.

  13. #12
    chazglenn3's Avatar
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    Re: Healight Condensation Solution Thread

    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.

  14. #13
    Mullah88's Avatar
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    Re: Healight Condensation Solution Thread

    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





    lights are not actually yellow, its just my camera adjusting

  15. #14
    DarkMingBlueSTS's Avatar
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    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?

  16. #15
    Mullah88's Avatar
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    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

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