Start off by taking them apart. The two main lens
pieces are screwed together with 5 or 6 screws and you
have to take those off before anything else. I used
what I am calling a "heat gun" but it is basically a
"shrink wrap gun" used to shrink wrap stuff. This is
a real cheap one that I already had but I would figure
that you could buy one at Home Depot or something
similiar for fewer than 10 dollars. You have to get the
plastic pretty hot but don't worry about it because you
will melt the glue long before you melt the plastic. I
just ran the heat gun up and down the joints where the
glue holds the two pieces together by holding it for a
few seconds in each spot. The glue, more of a glue /
caulk compound, remains sticky for a while. After you
have heated up the glue seams I just used my manly
strength (not really) and pulled them apart starting at
the easiest end which I believe was the yellow end.
Once you get a look inside it is easy to get upset.
It's kind of sad to realize how easy it would be for
Mazda to sell just the internal replacement lenses. I
haven't seen the new lens and housing but I have a
very good feeling that it's exactly the same thing but
with two new internal lenses inside - it's that easy.
Inside the main housing there are two lenses total
with each one help on by one screw and a little more of
that glue stuff on the tabs at the other end. One lens
is yellow and the other red.
Now on to the painting. I went to Office Depot and
bought some sticker labels in sheets. This part was
probably the hardest but if I could find a round 3 inch
sticker then it would be simple. I used a compass with
an exacto blade attachment and cut out 3 inch circles.
I don't know how big the circles on the actual lens are
but 3 inches is the biggest circle you can fit on the
yellow lens so I went with that size. I decided on
spacing of 1 inch apart based on the size of the circle
and the position of the light bulb with the circles
centered over them. I set the lenses down as they
would be on the car (not a hard thing to do) and used
a ruler to line up the pattern.
I used Testors Gloss Enamel Black (the one in the spray
can) to paint the lenses. I think that you could use
any gloss black paint you wanted but with the durability
that Testors has shown on my brake calipers I felt that
it was good enough. I used several coats and let each
coat have adequate time to dry before applying another.
I didn't want to take the chance of any light shining
through the lens. I did have a few imperfections and
lint that fell on the lens that I wasn't happy about
but when you put it all back together you couldn't see
it with a magnifying glass. They look very good. I
let the paint dry overnight and removed the stickers by
prying up the edge with my trusty exacto knife. My
roommate thought I was insane as he always does when I
start taking my car apart but thought they looked
exactly like the picture I showed him.
When I first pulled the two main pieces apart I was
satisfied with the amount of glue on the pieces to
believe that it would be plenty to hold them together
and keep any water out. As for moisture, they are
vented through a tube opening so I was more concerned
about water leaking in when it rained. When you touch
the glue it is tacky but after you run the "heat gun"
back across it it becomes crazy glue again. I would
recommend not touching the glue because it gets real
stringy and tries to get everywhere. After I heated
the glue back up I put the two pieces together and then
realized that the screws are there for. I heated the
glue up one more time and, in the same fashion, took
them apart. I ran the gun along the seal and used the
screws to tighten the whole piece back together. If
you were really concerned about water leakage you could
probably apply some caulk to the seam after you were all
done. They haven't seen rain yet but I will update
the list when they do.
All in all it can be done in a day but letting the
paint dry overnight was a good thing in my book. It
wasn't the easiest job but much better than spending
500 bucks. You could take the things apart and have
some body shop paint them for less than that.