MK2 Audi TT Clear Corner Mod
One of the first things I wanted to change on my car was the ugly amber reflectors inside the headlights – the orange stood out and really took away from the clean look of the front-end. After searching far and wide, I couldn’t really find any examples of someone successfully doing a DIY clear corner mod like I did on my B7s. I gave it a shot anyway, but even with a heat gun I couldn’t get the lenses to even start to separate apart in order to remove the amber. I watched countless YouTube videos and read just as many forum posts with ideas, but still came up short on finding a truly DIY solution that didn’t destroy the headlights in the process. I started to look at buying OEM “E-Code” headlights from a European-spec Audi TT, but they run from $1,200-$1,500 for a set, and I just couldn’t wrap my head around spending that much money just to get rid of a pesky reflector. The e-codes also have full width LEDs and better projectors, but it’s still a tough pill to swallow from a cost/benefit perspective.
Alas, I spent the first 6 months of ownership being taunted by my ugly orange headlights, waking up in cold sweats with nightmares of giant amber reflectors chasing me everywhere I went. I looked at photos of my car and all I could see was orange. Things were getting desperate, but I wanted to save money for new street wheels and the cost of E-codes was a good chunk of change that could be better spent on that. Finally, I saw some posts on Instagram of a company called Garage Works (@garageworks_sd) that specializes in custom headlights, so I figured I’d give them a shot…fully expecting they’d try for a few days then come back and say it couldn’t be done, you’re on your own, pal.
But then something cool happened a few days after I dropped off my headlights; Tim from Garage Works sent me a picture of him putting the headlights back together! I raced over to his shop to pick them up, and sure enough my headlights were amber no longer. Tim wrapped the OEM reflector in matte black to match the inside of the housing, although he offered to wrap in any color I wanted (even a faux carbon fiber pattern I briefly considered). Tim sealed the headlights back up using a more standard glue, so the even better news is that I can take my headlights apart on my own now, just like I did on my B7.
Garage Works charges $350 for this service, which is substantially cheaper than getting E-Codes, and can turn around a set of headlights in just a few days depending on bandwidth. They also do projector retrofits, angel eyes, LEDs, etc. if you want to get crazy, but I just wanted a clean OEM look which is exactly what we achieved.
For context, here is a shot with the OEM “egg yolk” headlights – you can really see how much they stick out compared to the clear corners below:
I may tinker with taking the reflector out completely now that the headlight is easier to take apart and reseal, but for now I’m happy with the matte black. With the black accents inside the headlight as well as grille surrounds and carbon fiber bits, I think it ties everything together nicely even if it has a bit of a “storm trooper” look.
If you’re interested in having your headlights done, email Tim by clicking this link. He’s able to take shipments from those outside of San Diego and interested in getting this done.
Man, you and I are so much alike. I despise amber reflectors. Those reflectors taunt me, always making feel as if my S5 is not quite up to its full visual potential. Worse since I just got back from 2 weeks in Europe and saw so many Audis….and not an amber lens anywhere.
So, like you, all my prior Audis were “clear-cornered” as a DIY job (super easy on B5s and B6s), or the lens was easily (and cheaply) replaced with clears (Coupe Quattros, Coupe GTs, 90s) as well. But the S5 is like your TT; no easy way to break them open, and the amber plastic molding is actually part of the bulb socket, so you just can’t pop it out. Euros would cost me $1300+, and I can’t justify that.
Garageworks sounds like a great solution. You are lucky to have them local. I might think about buying a used S5 set, sending it directly to them and have them work their magic.
And as for DIY, I did this myself on my S2000; used a heat gun to separate the lens, and popped out the amber and replaced them with clear lenses & reflectors. Made the car look 100% better. But it was a long day….
Is there a way to wrap the headlights covers from outside just over the amber reflectors? I think that would be even cheaper…
Yeah, people have done that, but I don’t think it looks as nice…you can tell there is just a piece of tinted film on the outside.
I connect with this post on a spiritual level.
Like, Audi just takes the headlights that are fantastically designed and completely ruin the lines with the reflectors. It’s exactly the same situation with the 2014 S8.