Steve Edwards

Car & motorcycle accident damage & paintwork repairs, plastic welding, SMART Repairs, TVR & Fibreglass projects
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Designed as a replacement for the standard TVR plastic headlamp shrouds, these faired-in headlamp pods replicate the very last version of Chimaera to leave the TVR factory, but rather than being a permanent modification the replacement pod, after prior assembly, simply bolts to the car in exactly the same way as the original shrouds - by using the same fixing holes and a small blob of sealant at the top edge.

The kit includes a new pair of cowls - very similar in shape to the originals, but re-shaped around the circumference to allow a 3mm thermoformed lens to sit into it and flush with the surrounding bodywork.
These cowls are painted matt black as standard, or can be body coloured at small additional cost. Alternatively they can be supplied in 2-pack primer for final painting by the customer.

The outer lenses are available in lightly smoked or completely clear 3mm acrylic, and have a parallel black border around the full circumference as standard (pictured top right and below).

The following pictures illustrate how the smoked lens looks with the black border over a matt black cowl.

TVR covers 010 TVR covers 014

In the vast majority of cases, no bodywork modification will be required at all and all the parts of the kit will fit straight into place, although, as all TVR's vary slightly, with a minority of cars the area directly above the headlamp bowl where the replacement cowl sits may need slightly trimming/sanding to round off the leading edge - (shown in the example below) to provide enough clearance for the new inner cowl to sit in place on top of the ledge without forcing the outer lens to sit proud of the bodywork.

TVR covers 013

This slight modification to the ledge profile may be necessary due to combination of reasons such as previous repair work, and excessive build-up of filler/primer/paint/lacquer, and also the original body mould used during manufacture - cars with Malaysian bodyshells may have a more prominent 'shelf' above the glass headlamp bowl and may need a small amount of material removing to get the parts of the faired-in kit sitting nicely together.
Test assembly of the new inner cowl, with the outer lens placed over it, will instantly reveal whether any excess needs removing from the shelf. If the outer lens sits flush to the surrounding bodywork then no extra work is needed.

If however, the cowl is sitting too high on the shelf, and as a result preventing the outer lens to sit flush to the exterior bodywork, then material will need removing as described in the assembly instructions below.

Before starting to fit the kit, the old sealant around the headlamps will need trimming and the general area under the original shrouds will need cleaning and tidying to remove any old mastic, but the whole assembly can be easilly DIY fitted as the pictures and video below illustrate.
For anyone not wishing to attempt DIY assembly, there is also the additional option of having the faired-in kit fitted at the workshop in Halifax.

The total assembly time is only several hours, but the separate stages of assembly will require allowing the bonding sealer to cure overnight before moving onto the next stages, so it is recommended that 2-3 days are allowed for fitting including sealer curing time.

Chimaera Headlight CoversSTEP 1.

Firstly, the original plastic headlamp shrouds will need removing, and all of the old sealant on the bodywork ledge - directly above the glass headlamp bowl - will need cleaning off to allow the faired-in kit parts to sit in close contact and flush with the surrounding bodywork.
Examine the sealant bead securing the glass bowl in place - if it is damaged and/or applied in a thick bead then the headlamp glass will need cutting out, all the old sealer removing, before being refitted, sealed back in place, and the sealer thumbing-in smooth to avoid any build-up that could obstruct the new parts of the kit, as shown in the following pictures. This is a good oportunity to clean the glass headlamps and make sure the reflectors are clean before proceeding with the faired-in covers.
If the existing sealer securing the glass headlamp bowl in place is already neat and thumbed-in smooth, and the inside of the bowl and reflectors are clean, then there is no need to remove and re-seal them, and move onto the next step.

STEP 2.

Next, drill a drain hole in the lower part of the headlamp aperture, in the centre, just in front of the headlamp glass. This hole provides ventilation to prevent misting up of the lens, as well as a means of drainage if any moisture found its way inside the pod assembly. 

STEP 3.

The replacement cowls can now be test fitted for shape and size within the headlamp recess.
Allow the cowl to sit in place and check that the outer acrylic lens can be placed over it and rest in position nice and flush to the surrounding bodywork.
The acrylic outer lens has a good degree of flexibilty and can be manipulated into position if necessary without any trouble.
It is perfectly normal to have to manipulate the lens slightly to get it 100% flush - it may want to flex out slightly at the sides but when taped down firmly to the bodywork the lens will follow the correct profile of the bodywork and be flush all the way around the circumference. Later on during final bonding stages the outer lens will require pulling down flush to the bodywork and will require taping down firmly until the sealer sets so dont worry about having to flex the lens slightly as this is perfectly normal.
The important thing at this test-fitting stage is that the inner cowl is not preventing the outer lens from sitting flush.
If the acrylic outer lens is being prevented from sitting flush by contacting the top of the inner cowl beneath it, then the bodywork 'ledge' above the headlamp glass needs shaving down to allow the inner cowl to sit a little lower. Remove any excess paint/primer/GRP from the leading edge and top surface of the upper ledge (pictured earlier in the description above) by sanding or carefully grinding with a flat disc. Mask out the surrounding bodywork to protect the paint if necessary. 
The acrylic outer lens needs to sit in close contact with the inner cowl to be flush to the surrounding bodywork but with enough clearance to sit in position without requiring excess force. Remove enough material if necessary to allow the cowl and outer lens to sit nicely in position. 
Its also a good idea to not have the circular opening of the cowl section butting right up to the headlamp glass - a small gap will aid airflow around the pod. Any adjustment or trimming of edges must be done to the cowl at this stage to prevent fitting problems later when the parts are bonded together.
The cross section diagram at the bottom of the page shows a more detailed illustration of how the parts of the kit fit together when properly assembled. 

 

STEP 4.

Next, offer up the base plate, make sure it sits neatly in the bottom of the headlamp aperture with an equal gap around the sides. Mark the position of the fixing holes in the bodywork on the underside of the base plate, drill the holes, and fit the fixings as shown. Make sure this assembly tightens up nicely to the car.

After test-fitting, refit it in place with the polythene sheet underneath for the filling stage.

STEP 5.

Now glue the channel sections of drainage rubber into place using superglue. The rubber channel has a flat side and a curved side - The flat side needs gluing to the bodywork following the edge of the aperture and positioned around 5mm down inside from the edge. Note the way the ends of the rubber are cut to match up nicely to the bodywork next to the headlamp glass. This makes it easier to seal this area at the final stage using non-drying gutter sealant. As well as diverting water away from behind the pod assembly, these rubbers also prevent any light escaping from behind the edge of the assembly as can sometimes be found with the original plastic shrouds when viewed at certain angles.
The rubbers are supplied with the kit pre-cut to length, with the ends pre-cut at the right angles to fit into place, and labelled to ensure they are fitted correctly.

STEP 6.

Next, open out the polythene to protect the rubbers and adjacent paintwork.
Remember that using filler and bonding sealer can be messy and rubber gloves are recommended.
Apply a bed of body filler onto the fibreglass base plate. (Note - Body filler is not supplied in the kit and will need supplying separately).
Avoid applying the filler too heavilly or too close to the edge of the base plate where it may squeeze out and become seen.
Body filler is used in this example because of its strength and rigidity providing a solid base when cured.
Sikaflex/polyeurethane sealant, and other joining methods could be used but drying times will be considerably longer involving an additional overnight cure before progressing. Where possible, a quick solid-drying filler (pictured) or fibreglass paste should be used.
The cowls can now be sat into the filler BUT WORK QUICKLY WHILE THE FILLER IS STILL WET and test-fit the lens by placing it into position on top of the inner cowl and taping it down to the bodywork. GET THE LENS SITTING FLUSH TO THE BODYWORK AND TAPED DOWN FIRMLY IN POSITION WHILST THE INNER COWL IS STILL FREE TO FIND ITS FINAL RESTING POSITION BEFORE THE FILLER SETS HARD.
This ensures that the cowl is sitting in the correct position and not sticking proud at any point which would prevent flush fitting of the lens over the top. 
Make sure the lens is sitting FLUSH with the surrounding bodywork before allowing the filler to set solid.

STEP 7.

When the filler has dried (15-20 mins in ideal conditions, longer in cold weather) remove the tape holding the lens down, unbolt the cowl assembly which will now be a complete item with the base plate attached, and remove the polythene.

STEP 8.

Remove any unsightly excess filler that may has squashed out where it could be seen by using a dremel, grinder, or by hand filing.

STEP 9.

Any gaps in the filler can be filled in to provide full strength/adhesion of the cowl to its base plate.

STEP 10.

Now the back of the cowl assembly can be masked out around its circumference. Tape firmly onto the underside of the flange without any gaps in the tape. The cowl assembly now needs bolting to the car, centrally in its aperture, with even clearance around the sides for the lens to sit nice and flush.

Tape down the cowl to the bodywork as shown in the pictures. Use extra protective strips of masking tape around the headlamp recess to prevent any excess sealer contacting the vehicle paintwork.

STEP 11.

NOTE-
There are several ways to seal the outer lens to the cowl assembly, depending on experience and DIY ability, choose the method below that suits best:


Either - apply the sealer in a full bead if confident (shown in STEP 11a).

OR -

Apply small blobs of sealer at intervals around the flange to avoid excess amounts of sealer squashing out into the visible part of the pod assembly (shown in STEP 11b).

IN BOTH CASES, DO NOT APPLY SEALER AROUND THE TOP HALF OF THE COWL AS THIS SECTION IS SEALED AFTERWARDS FROM THE UNDERSIDE.

(STEP 11a)

If applying a full continuous bead, the objective is to apply a NEAT bead of sealant, no more than around 3mm in diameter, to the very edge of the flange next to the taped edge. DO NOT apply the sealer too thick or too far inwards on the flange as it may squash out beyond the black border area of the lens and become visible. CARE MUST BE TAKEN.
The following picture shows the sealant being applied in one continuous bead down both sides and around the bottom of the inner cowl BUT NOT AROUND THE UPPER SECTION.
(The upper section is sealed afterwards to remove the risk of the sealer bead compressing and squashing out past the black border. The fitting tolerances are tight in this area meaning that there is little room for error when sealing, so this upper section of the lens must be sealed from the reverse side afterwards by thumbing-in the sealant into the tight gap).

(STEP 11b)

An alternative, and much safer sealing method, is to just apply small blobs of sealer at regular intervals around the edge of the flange - just enough to hold the lens in position on its inner cowl when cured (as shown in the folowing picture), but as above - DO NOT SEAL THE UPPER PART.

STEP 12.

Now place the lens onto the wet sealer and tape it down flush to the body. Use as much tape across all sides as necessary to hold the lens securely in position.
Usually just the top half of the lens and the front leading edge will need firmly taping down, but also check the sides and use as much tape as necessary to keep the lens sitting nicely in position and not proud to the bodywork.
As all TVR's vary slightly, the lenses may need taping down differently from car to car to make them sit flush. Don't worry about excess sealer coming from behind the lens and out onto the masking tape as this can easily be trimmed off when cured. The important thing at this stage is being happy with the position of the lens in relation to the surrounding bodywork and then allowing the sealer to cure overnight.
Remember that when the sealer has dried, the individual parts of the headlamp kit are now in their final positions to each other and cannot be altered, so be patient to ensure the lenses are well positioned and taped down properly while the sealer cures overnight.

STEP 13.

After being left to cure overnight, unbolt the entire pod assembly, remove all the tape applied around the edge of the cowl and on the bodywork. Thumb away any cured sealer from the face of the lens (adhesion will be poor on the shiny surface and stray sealer won't be hard to remove).

With a very sharp blade, carefully trim away any excess sealer from around the edge of the lens, and then fully seal any gaps in the sealer bead around the full circumference from the underside of the pod assembly - including the upper section deliberately left in the previous stage. Take care not to thumb-in too much sealer which may spread into the visible part of the lens - just enough to fill the gap between the cowl and lens, and bond the two together.

STEP 14.

Now apply a slim bead (approx 3-4mm diameter) of non-drying gutter sealant around the upper part of the headlamp recess and down into the rubber gutter channels (seal down into the channel part of the rubbers at least 10mm). Thumb some sealer underneath the rubbers for additional waterproofing. Place this sealer bead on the ledge above the headlamp glass so it contacts the underside of the cowl and creates a seal. Any excess that comes out from the circumference of the pod onto the bodywork isn't a problem as it can be easilly wiped away. When applying the gutter sealant, aim to make the height of the bead just enough so that it fully contacts the underside of the pod assembly when the pod is fully bolted down, and creates a continuous unbroken waterproof barrier around the upper part of the finished pod assembly. 

It is essential that there are no gaps in this sealer bead as it would allow water to run down inside the pod and over the headlamp glass. 

Always use the non-curing gutter sealant for this section around the top of the headlight bowl and down into the rubber channels.  

STEP 15.

Apply a tiny blob of the polyeurethane lens sealer to the top centre of the aperture (further upwards from the gutter sealant bead) before refitting the pod assembly. This will contact the underside of the pod assembly at the very top and should be taped down overnight whilst drying. Check for any excess sealer squashing out from behind the pod assembly and wipe away using white spirit or degreaser.

STEP 16.

Now, bolt the finished pod to the car, and tape down the top edge whilst the final Sikaflex blob cures.



The cross section diagram below shows how all the sections of the kit fit together when fully assembled.

CUT AWAY DIAGRAM

 

The full kit includes all the parts pictured below which includes all the parts, fixings, rubbers, superglue, tape, etc, but DOES NOT INCLUDE body filler required at step 6 above.
Where the term 'Sikaflex is referred to in these instructions, it relates to the polyurethane sealant supplied with the kit, which may be an alternative brand such as Carbond (pictured below).
The important thing is not to confuse the two types of sealant supplied in the kit -
The POLYURETHANE sealant is used to bond the outer lens to the inner cowl, and to secure the top of the pod to the bodywork as described in Steps 11a, 11b, 12, 13, and Step 16 above.
The RUBBER BUTYL sealant (gutter sealant) is non-drying and only used to weatherproof the pod assembly and prevent water getting behind the finished pod assembly as described in Step 14.