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Discussion Starter #41
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 . . .
Good luck.

Gas cap would be a great piece to start. What panels did you end up deciding to cover with the film? Top of the rear spoiler is a bit unusual; I don't expect that area to benefit that much from clear film coverage. Are you planning to cover the entire roof panel as well?
 

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Good luck.

Gas cap would be a great piece to start. What panels did you end up deciding to cover with the film? Top of the rear spoiler is a bit unusual; I don't expect that area to benefit that much from clear film coverage. Are you planning to cover the entire roof panel as well?
Thanks. Started tonight and wished the gas cap was first. Instead did the rear spoiler. Yes, will do the roof as well as all body panels - can never be too paranoid, I mean, safe . . . :)

2 questions came to mind while PPF-ing:

1. What method do you recommend for making edges around features (like body panel seams, headlights, etc), scalpel or scissors? I've seen both on youtube, tried the scalpel and don't like risking cutting into the paint. The risk I see with the scissors is having to lift the PPF to cut it then hoping the PPF falls back where it should.

2. Is it best to PPF around emblems/stickers, leaving them stuck on the original car surface, or completely remove emblems/stickers, install PPF then re-attach the emblems/stickers on top of the PPF?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #44
Thanks. Started tonight and wished the gas cap was first. Instead did the rear spoiler. Yes, will do the roof as well as all body panels - can never be too paranoid, I mean, safe . . . :)
Are you going with clear gloss (i.e. the regular) film for the roof or the slightly more matte one?

1. What method do you recommend for making edges around features (like body panel seams, headlights, etc), scalpel or scissors? I've seen both on youtube, tried the scalpel and don't like risking cutting into the paint. The risk I see with the scissors is having to lift the PPF to cut it then hoping the PPF falls back where it should.
I'm assuming you've already answered this via those youTube links in post #43. Aside from that, re-warming the film and stretching helps when the surface curves. I also prepare a clean microfiber cloth wrapped around a squeegee so I can push the film in creases and seams while absorbing the runoff liquid to help with the adhesive.

2. Is it best to PPF around emblems/stickers, leaving them stuck on the original car surface, or completely remove emblems/stickers, install PPF then re-attach the emblems/stickers on top of the PPF?
For emblems, my vote is neither; that is completely remove them, clean the paint surface, and then apply film. I don't think I've ever applied film in a body panel with an emblem. I most likely ended up debadging that panel.

For stickers, I would leave them on. There is a risk that when you remove the film (for replacement 5-8 years down the line; I left film much longer in one of my vehicles) down the road, the sticker might peel off with it.
 

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Are you going with clear gloss (i.e. the regular) film for the roof or the slightly more matte one?
Just clear Scotchgard Pro. Didn't even know matte was an option . . .
I'm assuming you've already answered this via those youTube links in post #43. Aside from that, re-warming the film and stretching helps when the surface curves. I also prepare a clean microfiber cloth wrapped around a squeegee so I can push the film in creases and seams while absorbing the runoff liquid to help with the adhesive.
You assume right. Hardest part so far with bulk film (ie not pre-cut) installation seems to be edges and their fingers. But I just wait to let the film's adhesive tack a bit (so far without heat gun) and with a little stretching this seems to do the trick.[/QUOTE]
For emblems, my vote is neither; that is completely remove them, clean the paint surface, and then apply film. I don't think I've ever applied film in a body panel with an emblem. I most likely ended up debadging that panel.

For stickers, I would leave them on. There is a risk that when you remove the film (for replacement 5-8 years down the line; I left film much longer in one of my vehicles) down the road, the sticker might peel off with it.
Yeah I'm torn on this one . . .
By the way, do you put any film on the window exteriors to serve the same function as PPF? If so, what would you recommend?
Thanks for all the timely advice!
One lesson I've learned so far is that the 3M recommended all-in-one solution takes far too long to get tacky - like overnight! - which is relevant for setting edges and dealing with their fingers. I found using the two bottle slip and stick method best.
 

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Discussion Starter #46
Just clear Scotchgard Pro. Didn't even know matte was an option . . .
Not necessarily within the Scotchgard Pro option. I don't recall which brand it was that I used in 2 of my vehicles; the film was clear but very matte. Had I applied it to the entire painted body panels, it would look like one of those matte vinyl wrap but with the OE color. Iirc, the optional "Decor" film (part# 31408677) for bursting blue xc90 from Volvo is like that:
https://accessories.volvocars.com/en-us/XC90(16-)/Accessories/Document/VCC-510470/2018

You assume right. Hardest part so far with bulk film (ie not pre-cut) installation seems to be edges and their fingers. But I just wait to let the film's adhesive tack a bit (so far without heat gun) and with a little stretching this seems to do the trick.
I sometimes tape parts of the edges with blue tape, applied with a bit of extra tension away from the film to help while the moisture (from the water spray during installation) slowly evacuates from the surface overnight.
By the way, do you put any film on the window exteriors to serve the same function as PPF? If so, what would you recommend?
My understanding is that these clear body paint films are not rated for windows, either from an optical clarity point of view or from their hardness/scratch resistance point of view. This is assuming that you're talking about the glass part of the window, and not the chrome trim around them. If it is the latter, clear film works just fine, but maybe for additional effect, you may consider the matte one to make the chrome appear almost like polished metal instead. They have window films that are optically clear, have no tint, and blocks some UV and heat (IR), but those are to be applied on the interior side of the glass. I'm not sure if they work when applied on the exterior. They have a stiffer consistency for the same thickness than the clear paint films. (I've used them for 1 of my vehicles, albeit on the interior surface as intended; I bought the roll from a local Tap Plastics store)
Thanks for all the timely advice!
Happy to share my observations.
One lesson I've learned so far is that the 3M recommended all-in-one solution takes far too long to get tacky - like overnight! - which is relevant for setting edges and dealing with their fingers. I found using the two bottle slip and stick method best.
Hopefully, the longer curing time means that it becomes more durable.
 

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Discussion Starter #47
..., I've committed to PPFing my entire 2019 XC90.
Having recently updated the front engine hood cover with a 72" x 60" sheet, I can't imagine how much effort and how challenging it must have been. I was amazed before, but I'm even more amazed now. Great job.


p.s. In the past installs, I've managed to not need a helping hand by taping edges of the yet-to-be-squeegeed film to keep them from moving, and by cutting the backing to pieces so I can work on specific sections. One lesson learned, on what not to do: cut the backing in directions where it curves a lot, and crossing the line of another cut line. In a recent install, I split the backing along the transverse direction (see picture below); which pinched some of the film when accessing/removing the backing, and also created these stretch bubbles. I was able to deal with most of them eventually, but having 2 pairs of hands that can hold the 4 edges of the film would have made the install much better and faster.


Many squeegees after; and still many more bubbles to deal with:
 

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Having recently updated the front engine hood cover with a 72" x 60" sheet, I can't imagine how much effort and how challenging it must have been. I was amazed before, but I'm even more amazed now. Great job.
Thanks but it's not that bad. Zero "pre" cuts were made for the hood so it was just a rectangular sheet - I did any cutting / trimming after the entire sheet was temporarily stuck. (I learned the hard way also not to trim until the last possible minute.) I cut the sheet to some extra length then rerolled it to make it easier to handle later with one hand. I peeled the backing off and stuck the PPF a little bit at a time starting from one side of the car.

To help hold the peeled PPF down while incrementally removing more backing I used stick solution temporarily on the peeled PPF and car knowing I would adjust again in a few minutes - it acted like another pair of hands. (I used this method for all large sheets where an extra pair of hands would have been nice - remove some backing from the roll, stick the peeled PPF with stick solution, unroll and unpeel more backing, then repeat the process again and again.)

It's important to mention this temporary sticking method requires all surfaces to be clean, lint-free, etc - that means not only the entire car surface to about to be PPF'd but both sides of the PPF and backing because the backing will be touching the car surface as it's incrementally unpeeled/unrolled. So I cleaned the PPF and backing with isopropyl alcohol and a microfiber cloth right after I cut it off the larger roll.

Once all backing was removed and the sheet was installed onto the car, I lifted up the PPF and squirted slip solution to prevent permanent sticking so I could adjust the whole sheet appropriately. I wasn't in a rush and took my sweet, sweet time as i was content on not using the XC90 for 3-4 weeks (didn't want to dirty and reclean all over again) until all the PPF was done.
 
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