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Cheap DIY Paint Protection Film Project

Lanzer

Member
May 2, 2018
206
462
San Jose
I just paid to have my front bumper wrapped with paint protection film (PPF) as I have no confidence in wrapping the bumper myself.

Though I want to wrap the front hood also, as you need to press pretty hard to close the hood, and I can see myself scratching it up pretty quickly.

Surprising the shop charges even more to wrap the whole front hood, at $670 vs the $400 for the bumper. So I looked into DIY as the hood is very straight forward.

If I try to install the PPF myself, a pre-cut sheet of 3M film designed for the M3’s hood cost $299 - $400. Then I found that you can buy a bulk piece of 3M film for $120 at the size of 60” x 48”. The height of the front hood is only 44 inches long so this might just work. All sellers on eBay seem to sell at this price.

While I’m at it, I’m thinking of getting more films putting more PPF on the door edges, the rear view mirror housing and the bottom door well also. Also debating whether to wrap the whole trunk or just the top side.

Whether this is a good idea or not I’ll soon find out. :) Will update with install detail and results. Hopefully some of you will find this useful.

Do you guys have suggestions on where else I should apply some PPF on the M3?
 

tracksyde

Member
Nov 7, 2013
517
1,260
So Cal
I think besides the hood, you'll want to cover the front/top edge of the fenders. Since the hood tapers towards the middle on each side, there's a pretty big area of "front fender" exposed on each side.
 

Fusion

Member
Apr 13, 2016
682
487
San Francisco
I just paid to have my front bumper wrapped with paint protection film (PPF) as I have no confidence in wrapping the bumper myself.

Though I want to wrap the front hood also, as you need to press pretty hard to close the hood, and I can see myself scratching it up pretty quickly.

Surprising the shop charges even more to wrap the whole front hood, at $670 vs the $400 for the bumper. So I looked into DIY as the hood is very straight forward.

If I try to install the PPF myself, a pre-cut sheet of 3M film designed for the M3’s hood cost $299 - $400. Then I found that you can buy a bulk piece of 3M film for $120 at the size of 60” x 48”. The height of the front hood is only 44 inches long so this might just work. All sellers on eBay seem to sell at this price.

While I’m at it, I’m thinking of getting more films putting more PPF on the door edges, the rear view mirror housing and the bottom door well also. Also debating whether to wrap the whole trunk or just the top side.

Whether this is a good idea or not I’ll soon find out. :) Will update with install detail and results. Hopefully some of you will find this useful.

Do you guys have suggestions on where else I should apply some PPF on the M3?

Wanna practice on our cars together?? Looks like you are not too far away.... haha. The front hood actually looks pretty straight forward. I plan on doing the whole front myself. Will see how that goes.
 
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Reactions: Sean1

SouthBayGuy

Member
Apr 22, 2018
120
83
California
I think the challenge with using a bulk kit are:

1. The Tesla emblem
2. Cutting the ppf to the slight curvature of the front of the hood and cutting the ppf for edges in general.

I think I was able to contact a seller on Ebay once to just sell me pre-cut piece just for a hood for a car before.

Having done a few cars myself. A hood is definitely easier to do than a bumper.
 

Lanzer

Member
May 2, 2018
206
462
San Jose
Wanna practice on our cars together?? Looks like you are not too far away.... haha. The front hood actually looks pretty straight forward. I plan on doing the whole front myself. Will see how that goes.

That sounds fun! I'll probably start working on it in 2 weeks.
 

SouthBayGuy

Member
Apr 22, 2018
120
83
California
I'm almost done installing my pre-cut suntek kit. I still have the mirrors, door handles, 3 lights and one fender to go. So far, it has taken me about 7 hours. I have some bubbles in the film. But I think I can easily take care of that. My greatest fear was getting "fingers". That is, ppf film that bunches up and will not go away. But I was able to flatten them out for this install. As expected, the hood was the easiest. I recommend doing that first to get a false sense of optimism. lol

I put my car on a ramp, for convenience when working on the bumper. Having the car higher was also a blessing when the film would drop down once in a while but still did not touch the ground. I did my install on my driveway. But I highly recommend a dust free environment. There were several times I noticed dust particles and had to lift the film to get the dust out from underneath the film.

This guy has given me a lot of useful tips:

 

Acho

Member
Mar 28, 2017
381
389
Las Vegas, NV
I'm almost done installing my pre-cut suntek kit. I still have the mirrors, door handles, 3 lights and one fender to go. So far, it has taken me about 7 hours. I have some bubbles in the film. But I think I can easily take care of that. My greatest fear was getting "fingers". That is, ppf film that bunches up and will not go away. But I was able to flatten them out for this install. As expected, the hood was the easiest. I recommend doing that first to get a false sense of optimism. lol

I put my car on a ramp, for convenience when working on the bumper. Having the car higher was also a blessing when the film would drop down once in a while but still did not touch the ground. I did my install on my driveway. But I highly recommend a dust free environment. There were several times I noticed dust particles and had to lift the film to get the dust out from underneath the film.

This guy has given me a lot of useful tips:

Fingers are sign of tension in material. I agree that fingers are one of the biggest fears with reason
 

Lanzer

Member
May 2, 2018
206
462
San Jose
I put my car on a ramp, for convenience when working on the bumper. Having the car higher was also a blessing when the film would drop down once in a while but still did not touch the ground. I did my install on my driveway. But I highly recommend a dust free environment. There were several times I noticed dust particles and had to lift the film to get the dust out from underneath the film.

This guy has given me a lot of useful tips:


Thank you for sharing the useful tips and video! It definitely eases the worry knowing how to properly handle fingers and parts that wrap around.

I didn't think about putting a film on the door handle. Is the cutout a pattern that just cover the front side or does it wrap around the side of the handle? The handle gets a lot of finger prints and I wonder if the POF will help with that.

I know that you're supposed to wrap the rear view mirror assembly in one piece of film but I have no clue how to stretch the piece properly to get everything to wrap around. That will be a great experiment.

The film arrives tomorrow but I won't get to work on it until next week. This memorial day weekend shall be stress free. :)
 

SouthBayGuy

Member
Apr 22, 2018
120
83
California
I didn't think about putting a film on the door handle. Is the cutout a pattern that just cover the front side or does it wrap around the side of the handle? The handle gets a lot of finger prints and I wonder if the POF will help with that.

I know that you're supposed to wrap the rear view mirror assembly in one piece of film but I have no clue how to stretch the piece properly to get everything to wrap around. That will be a great experiment.

The Suntek Kit door handle piece just covers the door handle itself. Initially, I figured I would apply the film so finger prints would not be as visible. But then I already noticed a small scratch on the handle! So I'm glad the kit came with film for the door handle.

The Suntek cutout for the side view mirrors covers the front facing, outside and top of the mirror. The part of the mirror facing the inside of the car is not covered. What worked best for me was to start by lining up the film to bottom edge of the front facing part of the mirror first and use about 1/3- 1/2 of the front facing part as the anchor to stretch the film to meet the top and outside of the mirror. I noticed the bottom of the cutout is not perfectly flat. It starts to taper up about halfway through the cutout. This was were I stopped anchoring the film so that I could stretch the film flat along the rest of the bottom of the mirror to the outer part of the mirror once the first part of the film is anchored to the mirror. I'm not sure what a pro would do. But this worked best for me. Hope I explained this ok.
 
Last edited:
  • Informative
Reactions: tracksyde

juanmedina

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
2,097
5,187
SC
I think the challenge with using a bulk kit are:

1. The Tesla emblem
2. Cutting the ppf to the slight curvature of the front of the hood and cutting the ppf for edges in general.

I think I was able to contact a seller on Ebay once to just sell me pre-cut piece just for a hood for a car before.

Having done a few cars myself. A hood is definitely easier to do than a bumper.

#1 remove the emblem
#2 you can use knifless tape since you lay it first and will follow the contour of the hood or have an ebay vendor precut.
 

pace

Member
Aug 7, 2017
30
22
Conway
Where did you get the kit and how much did it cost?
I'm almost done installing my pre-cut suntek kit. I still have the mirrors, door handles, 3 lights and one fender to go. So far, it has taken me about 7 hours. I have some bubbles in the film. But I think I can easily take care of that. My greatest fear was getting "fingers". That is, ppf film that bunches up and will not go away. But I was able to flatten them out for this install. As expected, the hood was the easiest. I recommend doing that first to get a false sense of optimism. lol

I put my car on a ramp, for convenience when working on the bumper. Having the car higher was also a blessing when the film would drop down once in a while but still did not touch the ground. I did my install on my driveway. But I highly recommend a dust free environment. There were several times I noticed dust particles and had to lift the film to get the dust out from underneath the film.

This guy has given me a lot of useful tips:

 

bnsfengineer

Member
Aug 25, 2017
723
269
So.Ca.
I just paid to have my front bumper wrapped with paint protection film (PPF) as I have no confidence in wrapping the bumper myself.

Though I want to wrap the front hood also, as you need to press pretty hard to close the hood, and I can see myself scratching it up pretty quickly.

Surprising the shop charges even more to wrap the whole front hood, at $670 vs the $400 for the bumper. So I looked into DIY as the hood is very straight forward.

If I try to install the PPF myself, a pre-cut sheet of 3M film designed for the M3’s hood cost $299 - $400. Then I found that you can buy a bulk piece of 3M film for $120 at the size of 60” x 48”. The height of the front hood is only 44 inches long so this might just work. All sellers on eBay seem to sell at this price.

While I’m at it, I’m thinking of getting more films putting more PPF on the door edges, the rear view mirror housing and the bottom door well also. Also debating whether to wrap the whole trunk or just the top side.

Whether this is a good idea or not I’ll soon find out. :) Will update with install detail and results. Hopefully some of you will find this useful.

Do you guys have suggestions on where else I should apply some PPF on the M3?
I just bought a kit on Ebay 3M pro and purchased only the half hood(partial) on a blue M3 and you can see the line fairly well. I would imagine the lighter the color the more it will blend and I read and watched several videos before attempting and still not satisfied with my diy install... a couple of small bubbles in the film. I also did the headlights which have to be stretched on and they looked perfect until several days later where now there are a few bubbles in both! So now I'm going to do what I should had done in the first place and have the seller which happens to be local to redo the entire hood and the rest of the install.
 

Lanzer

Member
May 2, 2018
206
462
San Jose
Here the first update:

My 48 x 60" film arrived two days ago, and I immediately got to work.

View media item 118378
With the help of my girlfriend, we laid out the sheet and I held it in place with masking tape while I cut out the excess film.

View media item 118379
I sprayed the water/alcohol mixture and started peeling

View media item 118380
With enough water under the film it was pretty easy to put the film into position, now to put the film in place with the squeegee.

View media item 118381
Everything looked great after the film is put in place

View media item 118382
But half an hour later, bubbles had started to form, and I realized that I didn't press hard enough as I move the squeegee, so there were tiny pockets of water hiding between the slight dimples on the car paint's surface. It was very unsightly and I was terrified.

View media item 118383
Having heard that bubbles will work their way out the sheet, I went to bed worried and upset. But turns out people were right. Only after 12 hours, most of the bubbles that were filled with liquid were gone. Only some bubbles remain, and they are hard to notice standing 3 feet away.

Hopefully the rest of the bubbles will disappear in a week or two. But I'm definitely starting to get the hang of this. Will attempt to put film on the front fenders next week!
 

Fusion

Member
Apr 13, 2016
682
487
San Francisco
Here the first update:

My 48 x 60" film arrived two days ago, and I immediately got to work.

View media item 118378
With the help of my girlfriend, we laid out the sheet and I held it in place with masking tape while I cut out the excess film.

View media item 118379
I sprayed the water/alcohol mixture and started peeling

View media item 118380
With enough water under the film it was pretty easy to put the film into position, now to put the film in place with the squeegee.

View media item 118381
Everything looked great after the film is put in place

View media item 118382
But half an hour later, bubbles had started to form, and I realized that I didn't press hard enough as I move the squeegee, so there were tiny pockets of water hiding between the slight dimples on the car paint's surface. It was very unsightly and I was terrified.

View media item 118383
Having heard that bubbles will work their way out the sheet, I went to bed worried and upset. But turns out people were right. Only after 12 hours, most of the bubbles that were filled with liquid were gone. Only some bubbles remain, and they are hard to notice standing 3 feet away.

Hopefully the rest of the bubbles will disappear in a week or two. But I'm definitely starting to get the hang of this. Will attempt to put film on the front fenders next week!

BofgNqX.jpg


BTW.. what did you do in the emblem area? If you cut around how did you go about it?
 
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Reactions: omgwtfbyobbq

Lanzer

Member
May 2, 2018
206
462
San Jose
Nice! Did you have any issues with the corners or edges? How did you deal with the badge?

Corners are relatively easy as I just removed the excess where the corner is. Since I have plenty of extra film and I have full access to the underside of the hood, I just wrap the extra 1/2" of film to the underside and everything stay put.

The logo area is cut after I had set the top half of the hood. I bought a surgical knife (100 blades with handle for $12) and they are great for cutting the film. I lift the film up slightly with one hand, and start cutting with the other. I was too generous and cut 1/8" from the top of the emblem, then I realized I should cut closer, and the rest are about 1/16" away from the logo. Wearing a strong reading glasses like a 4.0x lets you make much closer and precise cuts.

Feeling brave, I spent $180 and bought two pieces of 30x60 film to cover the two front fenders. There will be plenty of left over to cover various parts of the car also.
 

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