Choosing a "clear bra" is not as easy as expected
Do any of you have any recommendations on which type of clear bra is best for a Z4?
1. Which material is best with the least discolorations, "stretch marks" and safest adhesive? Is it true that 3M films leave the most "stretch marks"? While 3M uses a top coat, do Venture and Avery films without top coats look weathered after a year? Is there really a difference? I know installers like to install Avery and Venture because they're so easy to wrap around bends (since they do not have the more rigid top coat).
2. Who makes the best Z4 kits with the fewest "relief cuts"? X-pel and StoneGard has fewer relief cuts for the front bumper than the Star Shield, but does it matter? What about the rear bumper? X-pel's rear bumper strip is larger than Star Shield, but Star Shield makes the nicest side rocker panel body kit.
3. I spoke to an installer listed on the X-pel website, but he informs me that he uses X-pels patterns to cut his own film using a plotter. He claims it's just as good. Does this matter? Have any of you used these independent operations who cut their own patterns?
4. Did your installer use a *RAZOR* to trim your clear bra while it's on your car? I didn't realize this, but many installers do this, especially if they use oversized kits (e.g. Star Shield).
5. For headlight protection, most installers I spoke with will *not* use 3M b/c of the adhesive problem but use some other thicker urethane. I have one installer who wants to use the regular 3M film on the headlamps, though. And I posted earlier, Star Shield has stopped doing *all* headlamsp b/c they claim it raises the temperatures causing fracturing of the headlamps.
If you can offer any opinions on this topic, I'd really appreciate it.
Roadster Solutions Spoiler Guard
I installed the Roadster Solutions Spoiler Guard to protect the bottom of the front spoiler. It is also made to be sacrificed.
<B>2004 Z4 3.0i - Maldives Blue Metalic / Beige Leather / Black Top
Steptronic, Premium & Convenience Package, Wood Trim
Xenon, Fog Lights, Premium Sound System, 3M Clear Bra,
Clear Wind Blocker
addressing one of your questions based on experien
"4. Did your installer use a *RAZOR* to trim your clear bra while it's on your car? I didn't realize this, but many installers do this, especially if they use oversized kits (e.g. Star Shield)."
I had a Stoneguard clear bra (3m material) installed on my Sequioa a year ago. When I went to pick the vehicle up I noticed that the sideview mirror "bras" didn't cover much surface area and seemed like they would be ineffective. Since they basically looked like A$$ I pulled them off at the installers shop while they were still a bit wet to make the job easier.
To my amazement I discovered cut lines through the paint all the way around where the protective film had been. I asked the installer about this...obviously...he said they used a special knife to trim the film and that it was not supposed to cut through the paint. He then offered to pay to have the mirrors repainted....keep in mind I had had this $45,000.00 vehicle for 4 days.
A little freaked out, I leave and tell him I'll be in touch about repairing the mirrors.
On the way home I started wondering about the rest of the job. As soon as I got home I decided to just pull the whole kit off. Unfortunately I found numerous, deep cuts all over the front of the vehicle.
The end result was that the installer agreed to pay to have the front of the vehicles and side mirrors painted by the bodyshop of my choosing.
Great....now my brand new vehicle has a repainted front end.
Beware of an installer that uses knives to trim the kit on the vehicle. I'm not sure if they all do this.
Maybe the more experienced installers don't have this problem, but since these cuts are essentially impossible to see when the clear bra is installed, looking simply like part of the film's edge, you may never know if your paint has been cut unless/until you remove the protective film.
Re: Roadster Solutions Spoiler Guard
Sounds like a good idea. I've been a bad boy too and have my front spoiler messed on curbs. How difficult is it to install the RSSG? Could you post the URL and their number?
My StonGuard experience was different....
...I watched the entire process as the guy installed it on my frontend. The piece was PRE-CUT and NO TRIMMING was done whatsoever. The StonGuard kit has precut pieces already measured for a perfect fit.
I have had absolutely no problems with my StonGuard clear bra...
Re: Roadster Solutions Spoiler Guard
It is very easy to install, you utilize 2 existing screws and they send two others that need to be installed. It screws in from the bottom and unless you know it is there it is not very noticable. The install took me about 30 min. It helps to have a stubby Phillips screwdriver.
Here is the link:
Re: My StonGuard experience was different....
That's good to hear because apparantely my "pre-cut" Stonguard kit didn't fit at all.
Xpel kits do not require trimming if done right.
They might require stretching on some, like the Z4 bumper kit, but no trimming should be required.
I've had great experience with Xpel's kits. Also, make sure if you or an installer is putting it on that the surrounding area is clean. It is very easy to get bits of debris on the inside of the kit and not notice until the film has adhered. The only way to get it out is to cut into the film; even then you will tend to mar the adhesive and leave a noticable mark on the inside.
I'll install the Spoiler Guard after the clear bra
Ultimate Auto Care (SoCal) did a great install!
Thanks for everybody's input on the "clear bras". I finally concluded that I wanted 3M's current generation of film b/c it supposedly yellows far less than its previous versions and b/c of the top coat that seals the porous urethane.
As for the brand of pattern, I chose X-pel b/c it seemed to offer fewer relief cuts and StoneGard's SoCal installer only just recently finished the training course.
I also learned that it may be advantageous to choose an installer that cuts the patterns on his own plotter. If part of the install goes badly, it would be easier for him/her to just cut another piece rather than trying to fix a bad job. I imagine you would get more resistance to a re-install if your installer has to pay out-of-pocket for a replacement kit from X-pel.
Also, many installers do use razor blades on the film while on the car. You have to avoid the inexperienced ones. My installer (see below) demonstrated how he scores the film (and not cut) for the custom pieces. But he also mentioned that he would not use any razors and could cut his patterns off the car without problem.
After all this, I wanted to recommend Sean Heiland in SoCal. He did a terrific job on the Z4. I had standard X-pel patterns cut on 3M film placed on the front hood, front bumper including front spoiler, headlights, foglights, side mirrors, rear fender, and rear bumper strip. I had him do custom work on the areas behind the front and rear wheels, A-pillars and door edges.
I told Sean I was very particular and would not be happy if the films were placed with any bubbles or marring and that each piece had to be perfectly aligned. He was always professional, courteous, and did a really spectacular job. If any of you are interested in this paint protection film, I would definitely contact Sean at the following:
Ultimate Auto Care
1537 East Spruce Street
Placentia, CA 92870
Re: Roadster Solutions Spoiler Guard
Thanks for the link. The front got worse when I drove to San Francisco last night for a family reunion party. I shouldn't have parked on the drive-way.
I'm glad it all worked out...
I'm still debating about it since my car is a lease.<B>arnolds</b>
Thanks-I noted you were also considering Ultimate
Auto Care, too. He definitely did a great job. Good luck on your decision.