• Restoring Marchal Lights

    -Supplies Needed-

    • Lights, of course
    • Masking Tape
    • X-acto Blade or sharp razor blade
    • SEM High Build Primer
    • SEM Trim Black Paint
    • 220/320/400 Grit Sand Paper
    • Glass Bead Blaster Cabinet (optional, but very helpful)


    This light that is in need of some restoration.

    This is a single light I was just recently working on. I will also be using pictures of a pair of lights that I just restored. So, you may see some pictures that have a pitted lens and others that have a nice clear lens.

    At this time I do not have a remedy for fixing the pitted glass, but, I am working on it.
    I was hoping to use this glass to experiment with, but I shattered it in the glass bead blaster trying to clean the trim ring.
    NOTE: Do NOT bead blast the trim ring while the glass is still in place. This is the second time I have shattered one and I really thought I had it protected enough this time with masking tape. NOPE!

    First, we start by unscrewing the 2 screws on the front of the light with a flat blade screwdriver

    Gently pry open the casing, the black seal around the light can hold it on pretty well, so you have to use some force but donít pull to hard as the light bulb holder is still attached to the wires inside and is fragile. The "Made in France" Marchalís have a white ceramic holder while this "Made In Belgium" one seems to have a holder made of a different material. The Belgian ones are a bit stronger from what I have seen.

    Disconnect the 2 wires to the bulb holder

    Release the bulb holder by unlocking the metal hold down and remove it from the reflector.

    Now you can take out the light bulb/holder and set it aside
    NOTE: Donít touch the bulb with your fingers, as the oils will harm the bulb and cause it to burn out prematurely.

    Unscrew the 2 screws from the retaining nuts near the reflector from the cover screws. The French ones have metal nuts, the Belgian ones have plastic screw-on washers.

    Now you can remove the reflector and set it aside.
    NOTE: Set it aside face down to keep dust and particles off the reflector. The less you have to touch that surface the better, as it scratches very easily. If you get some dust on it, I would use compressed air to remove particles before using a cleaner on it. Also, if your reflector is shot and peeling, I am going to be experimenting with some other stuff so you can try to reuse them. Some thoughts of mine are the chrome-type tape that is used in the HVAC field for heating ducts, etc. I will report back on that more later.
    Here you can see where it says Made In Belgium.

    Now you will want to slide the wires out from under the metal brackets, then use some needle nose pliers to squeeze the grommet so it will slide the wires out of the rear housing. Just pinch the grommet and gently pull the wires out the back.

    So, you should now have a pile of parts ready to work on.

    The Belgian lights have a painted-on cat on the inside, the French ones have a metal cat on the outside. 9 times out of 10 the metal cat has fallen off and never to be seen again. So I am painting it back on these which were painted anyway.

    At this point if you DO NOT have any rust issues* on the trim ring and will not need to bead blast it, you will not have to remove the glass. I will update this when I remove the glass from my next set. I used a brush and warm water to cleaned all the dirt out. It was enough to remove the cat on the inside. I am sure that some lacquer thinner would wipe the cat off if needed.

    Once clean, dry them out with some compressed air, then get it ready for masking.

    *If you have some rust issues, you will need to cut the gasket out from the glass and remove the lens. (No pics yet)
    Here are the rust issues I have with this one.

    *Ok, if you donít have rust issues, then mask it up.

    You can now sand down the trim ring with some 320/400 paper and prime it up.
    I have been using SEM High Build Primer in black.

    After the primer has dried, sand it out smooth with some 400 paper. The high build works great as it hides most imperfections, especially if youíre not a good body man

    *If you have rust issues, then after the glass is removed (yes mine was still in here but I broke it this way remember) you will need to bead blast it clean.
    If you have body filler, this is the time to get that on there for the rough spots. If not, well, you can prime and paint over these areas now that the rust is gone but it wonít be as pretty.

    Once the filler has cured you can shape it down smooth with some heavier 220 grit paper then finishing it with the 320 and 400

    You can now paint your trim rings after they have been primed and sanded smooth as described above.

    I used SEM Trim Black.

    This is the single trim ring that had all the rust.

    At this point I was lucky to have a metal cat still around so I used it as a template.
    I laid it down in the cut out and traced over the tape with an X-acto razor blade.

    I used some High Temp Black paint, I had some VHT Black Brake Caliper Paint laying around so that worked for me.
    Spray the cat black on the exposed glass area.
    Then Peel off the masking tape after it has dried.

    Ok, now on to the rear housings.
    I removed the hardware and bead blasted them clean.
    You can choose to paint these at this time if you wish.
    The round piece still had the chrome on it, so I did not paint that.

    I then gave the rear housing a blast, and that inside corner that has some rust.

    Mask off the rivets and the threaded stud.
    Use the X-acto blade to cut around the rivets.

    Prime the covers with the SEM High Build Primer, sand them, and paint them up with the SEM Trim Black.

    After the paint has cured you can remove the masking tape.
    You can reinstall the hardware onto the stud at this time as well.

    Lastly, donít forget to clean up the screw heads and give them a spray of SEM Trim Black.
    I just cleaned them up with a wire wheel.

    Once all dry you can reassemble the lights in the reverse order of disassembly.

    The finished product! These are the pair of lights I restored, the single light has the broken glass so I have not reassembled it yet.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Cereus57's Avatar
      Cereus57 -
      Great "how to", thanks for the info!
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