I am finishing up a halo mod on my 2013 Dodge Avenger and just want to share some of the things I learned that I wish I had known up front.
- This is not a one day project. If you are modding the OEM headlights, assume your car will be off the road for a week depending on your schedule. I saw someone suggest that you order aftermarket housings and mod them so you can keep your car on the road and take your time doing the mod. Not a bad idea.
- The factory headlights are sealed with Permaseal. This is not nice stuff. You can find several videos on this forum by member Sphinx that will show you how to open them up. 265 degree oven for 20 minutes then get into it seriously with a couple of screwdrivers and a 1” putty knife. You WILL have to heat it multiple times to get all the way through your first attempts. Your goal is to open the end opposite the turn signal lens. Once you get that open and can get some fingers in there, the thing will come apart. (Thanks to Sphinx, by the way. I had all but given up on this mod until I found your videos.)
- Always work over microfiber towels when you do this disassembly work to prevent scratching the lens. If I were to do it again, I think I might go so far as to tape over the lenses to prevent scratching.
- Don’t worry too much about the plastic clips on the housing. The final seal that you put on is sufficient to hold the lens in place. If you can preserve the clips, so much the better.
- If you are extremely anal about the appearance of every detail of your car (including how the headlight housings look under the hood) don’t do this mod. Some damage to the ABS headlight housings is unavoidable.
- I used SMD LED halo rings for my mod. You can cut these to fit IF you cut between the diodes on the board. You can also reshape them a bit (change the radius) by heating them with a heat gun and spreading or squeezing them while they cool. You will have to remove any plastic supports on the halos that interfere with reshaping. It will likely take several rounds of heating and cooling to get it to hold final shape. Always bench test the LED halo rings after any mods before installing them in your housings.
- DO NOT, under any circumstance, put any kind of adhesive tape on the chromed plastic parts inside the headlight assembly. The chrome finish used on these parts is very thin and fragile and even masking tape will lift it. Do not use cleaning chemicals on these parts either. It takes very little abrading (as in cotton swab) to completely remove the chrome finish.
- Use a heat gun to remove the Permaseal from the lens receiving groove in the ABS headlight housing. Work a couple of inches at a time heating it with the heat gun on high setting and playing the gun back and forth. Remove the heat and score the Permaseal on the sides of the groove with a knife and then dig it out with a narrow blade screwdriver. You can then use the screwdriver blade as a scraper to scrape out the remaining adhesive. I used a cotton swab soaked in mineral spirits to do the final cleanup. This will look rough, but you’ll never see it once the headlight is assembled again.
- I used silicone to adhere the halos. I was afraid that epoxy would be too messy. It really doesn’t matter what you use, if you get it on the chrome parts inside the assembly and you can’t live with it, the game is over. Buy yourself some new housings.
- Use 3M Windo-Weld (1/4" butyl rubber extruded bead) to reseal the housings. Squish the bead into the groove on the housing and reinstall the lens. Heat in an oven at 250 degrees for 10 minutes then, using your gloved hands, squeeze the lens into the butyl rubber sealant. Be patient and don’t get the gooey rubber on the lens.