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Discussion Starter #1
My 79 spider came home from the body shop today with the dents removed, the ugly repeater lights removed and a nice paint job in AR Carmen Red. I had them install new Carello headlight covers in place of the original US rims. There are gaps of about 1/8" between the rear of the covers and the fender, around the headlight. It was raining as I drove home and the covers fogged up and there was quite a lot of moisture inside them. It looks like there should be a seal of some kind but none are shown in the Catalogo Rapido Ricambi. Am I missing seals or do I need to make some?

Thanks,
Ed Prytherch
79 Spider
88 Verde
 

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I have seen gaps as you describe on many Spiders, although 1/8" sounds a bit large. Can the cover be slid rearward and re-tightened? There seems to be a lot of variation in the Carello covers as well as the Spider sheetmetal. A body shop can do a few things to improve the fit, but it is work that would be done before the paint is sprayed.

There is no seal with this design. I agree with you that it is a bit odd. It is rather lame, actually. About all you can do is take off the cover and clean everything once in a while. If you don't want to remove the Carello covers right at this time, try driving around with the headlamps on. The heat from the lamps will help to dry out the moisture.
 

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The first thing you need to figure out is if it's the covers that are mis-shaped or if the front of the car has been poorly repaired. Over the years, I have bought three set of headlamp covers. Each of the left side ones have a little different shape from each other. It's the same for the three right side ones. Why are they that way? It could be from the way they were packed for shipping or stored on the shelf or just sitting in one of my boxes. So, if the front of the car is absolutely perfect, then a little heat from a heatlamp should get them shaped correctly. Without seeing pictures, I can only speculate that it may not be the covers, in your case.

Fitment of the covers is something that should have been taken care of before the car was primed for paint. Let's see some detailed pictures so that we can offer some suggestions.
 

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My covers fit my '69 pretty well with no modification. I don't know if I got lucky or if they tend to fit Series 1 cars better. I assume that the reason for not having a seal is that unless its perfect (including the buckets), moisture would invariably get in and then you would have permanent fogging. It seems that the gaps in my covers allow them to breath and I have never had an issue with them fogging. Then again, I can't say I've ever driven the car in a sustained rain storm...
 

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Personally, I've given up on getting Carello covers to fit well. The covers themselves are very soft, and change shape/size with temperature and sun exposure. "conedriver" has installed some foam weatherstripping tape around his, though, and last picture I saw looked pretty nice.
 

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The covers you refer to were bought new for the New Hampshire AROC convention. The foam was just a generic product bought at a local home improvement store and slit to size. The covers and foam provided a nice fit, but within a year, UV exposure had distorted and shrunk the covers 1/4 inch in some dimensions. Really discouraging. I bought new covers this year, applied a liberal coating of UV protectant (303 Aerospace Protectant), and they still warped. I really love the look of Carello Headlight covers on Spiders but the molding material in current use is very poor compared to 10-20 years ago. BTW, my headlight covers are on a dedicated autocross spider, and the headlights are never used.

Has anyone solved the warping problem?

Personally, I've given up on getting Carello covers to fit well. The covers themselves are very soft, and change shape/size with temperature and sun exposure. "conedriver" has installed some foam weatherstripping tape around his, though, and last picture I saw looked pretty nice.
 

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I put on a new set three years ago, the fit at first was great, then loosened up, now the gap is 3/8 inch, they are shrinkng badly, more each year. I am going to drill a new hole in the front to reposition them so they dont blow around while driving. they are so loose now, they pop out and wave at other cars.
cliff
 

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Ed, did you have your headlights changed to the version thats goes with the covers?
For getting the cover flush with the metal - well sort of, you need headlight houses that is fitted from inside the fender and have nothing on the outside.
Even with the right headlight they are not flush.
Erik
 

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I guess I got lucky...I bought mine about three years ago, and they still fit well....they are all made by Carello, right?
 

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BTW, my headlight covers are on a dedicated autocross spider, and the headlights are never used.
Have you thought about painting the covers body colour? Then you could fill any gaps and paint over it. I've always wondered what that would look like - you seem to have a spare pair to try it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the responses.
The headlights were moved to the rear of the fender opening. I printed out John M's instructions and gave them to the body shop. The covers are brand new Carello. I will be replacing the headlight units as the body shop broke one of my Cibies and substituted a pair of sealed beams. I may fill the gap with clear RTV after I have got the lights the way I want them.
Ed
 

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I don't think the covers will let you use them on a daily driver or a car that is not garage kept out of sunlight. I too have tried 3 sets. I do have one set that is on my Duetto that stays in a completely dark garage with a cover on them and they so far are hangin in there. I think some folks put their covers on for special occations. I do this with my black 86 when I go to an Alfa event. ONE THING that I do know is that the covers can't take much pressure. When you say tighten them up, I have tried this with little spacers and it only causes them to crack inside where they get pressure. On the original Duetto there are soft plastic inserts that fit where the Tabs go around the head light. These seem to tighten things up without damage. I got mine from Highwood. I have also seen covers installed without the little chrome hold down clamp, but with just a screw through the small hole in the cover.
When I have my covers off my 86 I put a bolt through the front hole and use one of those license plate screw covers (button) and it doesn't look bad. I paint it the same color as the car. Nobody ever notices..It's one a them wierd ferrin cars ya know.
 

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I bought them for another "application" I had and besides the fact that they didn't fit (it was a 50/50 shot) I was disappointed in their quality and the packaging you got for $300. Covers wrapped up in paper with the hardware just thrown in. I returned them.
 

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I don't think the covers will let you use them on a daily driver or a car that is not garage kept out of sunlight.
granted, I keep mine in a garage, under a cover, so there really is not a whole lot of exposure to sunlight, although I do drive her regularly
 

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Hi Cosmo,

I had headlight covers for the autocross Spider painted red several years ago, but these broke and I couldn't justify painting a new transparent set. Almost all racing Spiders here use painted covers.

Have you thought about painting the covers body colour? Then you could fill any gaps and paint over it. I've always wondered what that would look like - you seem to have a spare pair to try it out.
 

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Mine were purchased in Germany and initially the fit was poor with probably about an 1/8" gap. Someone told me to sand them where they contacted the body, near the rear lower corners, and that was supposed to allow them to seat better at the top and sides. Well, after a couple hours with sandpaper and now a year of use, I've ended up with gaps up to 1/4 inch. I'm thinking part of the problem could be that no two spiders have exactly the same contour to the headlight areas in addition to shrinkage or warpage in use. Do you suppose?
 

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I like George's solution for sealing them up Ed. Get George to send a picture of the light grey colored weather strip he is cutting down and using along the edge. It will for sure cut down on debris that gets behind them and its hardly noticable if you apply just to the very edge.

Or you might just sell those covers you have on ebay....and buy another set and see if they fit better. Personally I just live with the slight gapping. Mine fit pretty well and have not deformed or discolored. The car has lived garaged for the most part. But its regularly driven. I wouldn't go to the trouble of matching the nose to a set of covers just to have them warp...especially considering the noted variances in covers.

Best Regards,
John M
 

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You people suck. :D

'I've got 2 sets' this and 'I'm on my third warped set' that.

Somebody just send me some of thier old warped and shrunk ones they are no longer happy with and I'll make the work on mine and be satisfied with them ;)



BTW, I'd been looking at rubber automotive weatherstrip, and honestly, some of the patterns they have look like they'd do a fair job of covering the gaps and giving a bit of accomidation for shrinkage/warpage. (I just don't have a set to try :D :D )
 

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A few years back, I saw a green series 2 Spider with Carello covers and a chrome-like border. I say chrome-like because it was a picture from one of the West Coast events (SoCal I think), and I couldn't really tell what material was used. Anyway, they are the best looking covers I've ever seen, and certainly the border would have been able to handle shrinkage. Would anyone know the car?

Best regards,
 

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Calm yourself, Tifosi...

I have considered using weatherstrip as a "gap filler" especially as a means to make Carello headlight covers fit on my '91 S4 Spider. However, if one examines a cover, it is obvious they are molded, with a thick edge at least 1/4 in. wide. I have looked at various weatherstrip, but the appearance of the size necessary to fit over the edge doesn't seem appropriate. Having said that, I have never seen anything like the "chrome-like" product that Enrique mentioned.

My issue (and obviously that of others) is the warpage; sanding and fitting a new cover (see picture), only to have it warp is frustrating. Knowing a little about plastics, it appears that Carello has substituted a cheaper molding material that lacks the UV protectant of the covers manufactured a decade or so back (Maybe the various suppliers could send this message back to Carello?).

You people suck. :D

'I've got 2 sets' this and 'I'm on my third warped set' that.

Somebody just send me some of thier old warped and shrunk ones they are no longer happy with and I'll make the work on mine and be satisfied with them ;)



BTW, I'd been looking at rubber automotive weatherstrip, and honestly, some of the patterns they have look like they'd do a fair job of covering the gaps and giving a bit of accomidation for shrinkage/warpage. (I just don't have a set to try :D :D )
 

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