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Discussion Starter #21
Great write up saytra! Clearly you’re more talented than most of us.

Though not as cost effective, I like to buy the precut pieces of film from invisiblemask.com - saves me from messing up a cut and scrapping a piece.

I’ve tried cheaper films, but 3M is hands down the clearest and most durable. I tried R-vinyl, purchased from amazon, and it looks like I put orange peel on my headlights. I will be redoing that project.
Thank you. More than anything, is the proper clean space and practicing. I do this once every many years (that is between purchases of new vehicle), and it feels like I've forgotten the details that make for a smooth installation every time. That is part of the reason I'd like to document this process.

Yes, 3M ScotchGard is quite good.

Warming the film makes the install easier (and better), imho.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Thanks for sharing this PPF DYI! I was planning on finding a vendor to do this until I read through your post on how to do it by oneself. A few questions:

A) How long did it take to do the hood? Front bumper area? How long do you estimate for a beginner?

B) You mentioned applying heat to stretch the PPF for high curvature locations. What type of heat source do you recommend? Hair dryer or something more "professional?"

C) When working with the 3M Pro PPF is there a limit to how many "times" water can be sprayed under the PPF? Is there adhesive on the PPF surface touching the car that can be washed away by overspraying it with too much water?

Before going all-in I might try putting PPF first on the small side mirrors. If that goes well then I'll have some confidence for the larger PPF sheets.
Hi. Sorry I didn't see this post until now.

The side mirrors is quite curved; you might want to try the fender area behind the headlights. Or maybe a long strip along the A-pillar. That is also a useful area to protect.

(A) Excluding thorough washing and drying, be prepared to allocate about morning to noon/afternoon. When all the squeegee motion and amount of pressure is just right, it will be much quicker than that. The most likely reason things go slow is from redoing mistakes.
(B) I use home-grade hair dryer. I have 1 heat gun (pictured), and even the lowest setting can be dangerously hot enough to permanently deform plastic. It is nice that heat gun heats surfaces up faster, but sometimes the threshold between nicely heated to toast can be missed. I've had an ABS piece I was heat forming turn to useless wavy piece because of that.
(C) Depending on the film manufacturer, some recommend a second spray bottle of water with 1-2 small drops of baby shampoo. Baby shampoo because most other soaps have additives that might stay under the film. Soap because it momentarily makes the adhesive not stick to the body panel. So, the way you use it is to spray the entire adhesive side of the film with the water/soap solution, and when you want to work on a particular small area, lift the film and then remove the water/soap with the water/alcohol solution. I've seen youTube videos where they seem to casually re lift the film and re squegee several times; I would try to avoid that.

Good luck
 

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i've installed the precut stuff before and to be honest it isn't hard. is it worth it to just buy a precut kit for $350 then try to get all the rolls and stretch/ cut?
 

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Discussion Starter #24
i've installed the precut stuff before and to be honest it isn't hard. is it worth it to just buy a precut kit for $350 then try to get all the rolls and stretch/ cut?
My personal preference is for the rolls, because: (1) I find that the precuts I've seen for front bumper cover area doesn't extend as far into crevices etc. and sometimes cut extra shapes to avoid the need to squeegee into concave surfaces (which is hard and is a potential cause of customer dissatisfaction when they have difficult installing it themselves), and (2) there will be body panels I want coverage but no pre-cut pattern is available.
 

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so what do you do about the bumpers? I'm guessing you are not rolling the edges like you do the hood. What about the fenders? that looks challenging due to the fender flares. I noticed on the precut they actually cut a strip for those. i'm adventuring to say i'll probably buy the roll. does your 3m pro self heal like the xpel stuff?

Thanks,
Sid
 

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Discussion Starter #28
so what do you do about the bumpers? I'm guessing you are not rolling the edges like you do the hood.
The pictures I posted above (reposted below) are the front bumper cover areas that I have film on. I don't roll them all the way to the underside like the engine hood; no. But I roll them into the gaps that meet the grille, headlights, etc. Where the pre-installed film curves as seen below is _approximately_ where I "roll" the film into available gaps. Warming the film and repeated squeegeeing is needed in order to fully evacuate water to ensure proper adhesion.


What about the fenders? that looks challenging due to the fender flares.
If I were to cover the fenders and the (detachable) flares, I would probably run a single roll, squeegee the film, warm the film and try to push the film as much as possible into the gap between the flare and the fender, and using a very sharp knife, separate the film where the fender flare meets the fender, and then try to push the separated film as far into the gap as possible. I'm not sure if my description makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
does your 3m pro self heal like the xpel stuff?
That’s just insane
I've never tried. All I know is that in my other vehicles with long term film use, areas just outside of the film (most of my vehicles' engine hood cover only get between 18 to 24 inches of front edge coverage because I didn't know where to source larger ones around 10 years ago) have a lot of nicks, while areas covered by the film fared much better. This was made very evident when I recently removed old film from 2 of my vehicles. Self healing or not, they have a rated life of about 5 years.

p.s. I remember watching that video when I was looking up SunTek ppf; I was much more familiar with the 3M & xpel brands from the past installs. I'm not sure what to make of it.
 

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I've never tried. All I know is that in my other vehicles with long term film use, areas just outside of the film (most of my vehicles' engine hood cover only get between 18 to 24 inches of front edge coverage because I didn't know where to source larger ones around 10 years ago) have a lot of nicks, while areas covered by the film fared much better. This was made very evident when I recently removed old film from 2 of my vehicles. Self healing or not, they have a rated life of about 5 years.

p.s. I remember watching that video when I was looking up SunTek ppf; I was much more familiar with the 3M & xpel brands from the past installs. I'm not sure what to make of it.
I’m just impressed with 3M durability and resistance to scratches



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What was the 18x84 used for? It’s about $500 in materials.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
What was the 18x84 used for? It’s about $500 in materials.
I don't recall. It was probably for another vehicle. In that post, I was linking examples of rolls you can find online (see quote below). The bit from my original post listed the two rolls I used to cover the engine hood cover and front bumper cover, with leftover material for parts of the front fender. The cutout for the grille left me with more than enough material to cover the concave areas behind the door handles.

From a vendor via Amazon, a 30"x108" roll covers more than the width of the engine hood cover (~US$190), and a 24"x120" roll covers the side-to-frontal areas of the front bumper cover (~US$170).
After that installation, I found a vendor that can custom cut a wider roll. I will replace the film covering the engine hood cover with the new one in the future. It covers the entire piece.
 

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Emboldened by <B>satrya</B>'s extremely informative posts, I've committed to PPFing my entire 2019 XC90. Having done lots of measurements and PPF research, two 3M Scotchgard PPF Pro rolls (60" wide by 50' and 48" wide by 50') were bought directly from a distributor listed on 3M's USA regional distributor website:
https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/post-fa...otection-film/installers/become-an-installer/ .
It cost me ~$1700 after the distributor kindly applied an unexpected 20% first-time buyer discount. Even before the discount no one I looked at online was even close to the distributor's price per square foot, which makes sense. The rough calculations showed one 60" x 50' full roll is not enough to cover the XC90 - if you determine otherwise please do tell - so another smaller roll was bought. The expected leftovers from both rolls will be used to PPF another sedan.
I'll update as progress is being made but thought that others might benefit from this cost / supplier data point.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
I'll update as progress is being made but thought that others might benefit from this cost / supplier data point.
Best of luck, I hope you get the same positive experience I have.

Once you have all the materials, may I suggest one slight modification to my steps above.

After you clean the car and do the rough cut template (like steps #2 and 7 on my posts above), check if you have a leftover piece that you can mock-install on a body panel that is flat but has enough curvature. For example, where the engine hood cover meets the inner edge of the headlight housing. It is flat enough but has interesting concave and convex portions. It will give you a more concrete feel on how the material stretches, how it responds to different amount of squeegee pressure, and how the adhesive sticks / non-sticks when given the soap solution vs alcohol solution.

Then, proceed with the actual install.

I think this will soften the learning curve significantly.
 

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Just finished mine using a precut kit. The bumper definitely helps having two people. If I had to do it again I would still go with precut but I would buy a roll for the hood. My buddy got me a deal on the kit. He included a pillar coverage and gave me the longer hood. Even though it was precut I had to do a lot of pulling and shaping on the bumper and hood edge. Mirrors came out really good. Waiting for the bubbles now to dry. The lighter the color car the Easier the instal.
 

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Also the fog lights are super easier to do. U can tuck the film behind the bumper. Definitely worth doing.
 

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Best of luck, I hope you get the same positive experience I have.

Once you have all the materials, may I suggest one slight modification to my steps above. . . .

I think this will soften the learning curve significantly.
Thanks for the suggestion.

Just finished prepping the surfaces yesterday. I might start with something easier like the gas cap or top of the rear spoiler which are flat - hopefully I don't screw that up! - then get more complex from there. Here goes some baby-stepping . . .
 

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Go get a box of razor blades and a tweezer. And a super sharp scissors. Cutting on the car can be scary but remember u just need to notch the film. Then use the tweezer to pull it off. Sharper the blade the easier. Don’t push hard I used a new blade for every cut.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
Just finished mine using a precut kit. The bumper definitely helps having two people. If I had to do it again I would still go with precut but I would buy a roll for the hood. My buddy got me a deal on the kit. He included a pillar coverage and gave me the longer hood. Even though it was precut I had to do a lot of pulling and shaping on the bumper and hood edge. Mirrors came out really good. Waiting for the bubbles now to dry. The lighter the color car the Easier the instal.
Great job there. Interesting observation about the bumper install. In my case, I used a lot of blue painters tape as my "helping hand".

Also the fog lights are super easier to do. U can tuck the film behind the bumper. Definitely worth doing.
+1
I use the back edge of a cutter knife to push the film into the gap between the foglight lens and the bumper cover opening for the foglight.

Go get a box of razor blades and a tweezer. And a super sharp scissors. Cutting on the car can be scary but remember u just need to notch the film. Then use the tweezer to pull it off. Sharper the blade the easier. Don’t push hard I used a new blade for every cut.
+1
In theory, one can cut the film by scoring only the upper 1/3 ~ 1/2 of the layer. It is the toughest layer (by design), while the rest is made to be a bit more stretchy for various reasons.
 
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