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Model Y DIY Xpel Ultimate PPF

Gu$ G

Member
May 7, 2018
158
65
Kaneohe, HI
I purchased a complete car kit for my brand new 2021 Model Y from Opus Premium Films. The film arrived last Friday so I started installing this weekend. I figured I'd start a thread to discuss the trials and terrors that are sure to follow as I learn how to install this material.

I have no experience with PPF and only limited, hobby level experience with vinyl, paint, and paint correction. I've watched a lot of you tube channels and read any writeups I could find. The owner of the company has been helpful in providing tips / suggestions as well.

The kit I purchased comes with four or five rolls of pre cut panels. Each roll has PPF for various panels. I decided to start with the hood because it is a large flat surface and from most indications should be the easiest. It was a fairly traumatic experience with below average, acceptable results. My second panel was the fender and it turned out significantly better still. Here we go:

Biggest takeaways
- I can do this! It is going to take a lot of practice to have anything close to a professional result, but I can get about 95% there and save over $4k from big-metro prices.
- This takes a long time! The hood took me 2.5-3 hours. I've also done a fender and I got the time down to a little over an hour.
- Xpel is extremely forgiving. Keep the material VERY wet with slip solution and rewet often. Keep the Xpel wet on BOTH sides constantly.
- Don't overstretch and don't panic. With lots of slip solution, Xpel can recover if it sticks to itself or be removed and repositioned pretty well.
- Lint, dirt, and hairs are the worst. The cleaner a space you have the better. If working outside / partially outside, low wind and warm temperatures will help. Get the surface as clean as you can and always be on the lookout for lint.
- You can do a lot of the early positioning work with your hands before you start squeegeeing and/or taccing the material into place.
- This is not for the faint of heart. PPF is expensive for a reason. I'm undertaking this project so I have the skill set to wrap future cars I'll own. Its an investment beyond this one car for me.

Things to consider buying for prep:
Car wash supplies - I picked up a foam cannon and a leaf blower for drying. I also purchased premium kirkland microfiber towels and some chemical guys microfiber applicators. Finally, I bought a McGuire's claybar kit.
Spray bottles - For slip solution, a pump sprayer is very preferred. Also have on hand two other small spray bottles.
Rubber/latex gloves

1. Step 1 - Collect your supplies. In addition to your preferred cleaning supplies, you're going to need lint free microfiber clothes, 2-3 spray bottles, Isopropyl alcohol and some common soap. For the isopropyl alcohol, I used 70% but 100% would do as well. I put 5-6 ounces of straight alcohol in my smallest spray bottle. This will be for cleaning / removing lint prior to wrap. Then, second small-ish bottle will be for "tac" solution: This should be about 10mL of alcohol to 16 ounces water. You can use distilled water, if you prefer, I did not. Finally, for your "slip" solution: use the best spray bottle you have. I used what I saw most guys using, pump spray bottles that can be purchased at most home repair stores. For soap, the recommendation is johnson and johnson baby soap. You could also use a different baby soap or even dish soap. Mix 16 ounces of water with about 3 drops of soap. If in doubt, round up on the amount of soap you use. Ensure the soap mixes with the water but don't shake so as to keep the suds and bubbles down.

2. Paint prep. - Wash and clay the car! I have moth balled my MY for several weeks now to avoid damaging our fragile paint. Therefore, the paint is pretty clean. For prep, I washed the car with a chemical guys foam gun. I dryed with an EvGo leaf blower. I then clayed the hood to remove debris and water spots from previous rain.

3. Position the car - If you can do this in a closed garage with exhaust ventilation its probably going to help a great deal to minimize dust. My garage is cluttered from a move, so I made room to get half the car inside with the garage door open... :/

4. Prep the PPF - Unrolling the PPF proved challenging. Each roll I received was 6-9 feet long. I suggest clearing a large, long table if you have one. Another great option would be to hang the PPF from hooks on the wall or even a clothes line. The adhesive side of the PPF is protected like a sticker backing, but you need the space to work with it carefully and avoid introducing unwanted dirt and lint. Once unrolled, find the section you're doing and cut it out.

In this case, I should have cut out the hood from the roll. Instead, I made the mistake of trying to transfer the hood directly from the massive roll that included multiple panels. That was terrible and ended in us cutting it free after we had already transferred about 1/3 of the hood panel to the car. A bit traumatic.

5. Final prep before application - Using my slip solution, I sprayed down the hood and wiped dry with kirkland microfiber towels. Also clean within 5-6 inches on adjacent panels since the PPF may touch those surfaces when you transfer it to the car. Next, I sprayed the pure alcohol lightly and wiped clean a final time ensuring all dust and lint were removed. For future I plan to try and devote a great amount of my time to this step to get it just right. The towels tend to leave behind very fine dust and hairs without the right environment. I didn't have the best lighting in my garage and missed some dust / hairs.

6. Applying PPF to the hood - I washed my hands really well. Next time, I'm going to don latex gloves at this point. I grabbed two friends to help with the application, but you can do it alone if you have to.

I suggest reverse rolling the piece you intend to apply, in this case the hood. Once reverse rolled, you will be able to grab a corner and start peeling it away from the backing and transfer it to the paint in a manageable way. Hold the roll in one hand and the exposed PPF in the other. If you have helpers, they can hold down corners of the PPF once applied to the car.

Before you start peeling the PPF away from its backing, rewet the entire hood with an ample amount of slip solution. You can not have too much at this stage. You're going to want the hood and eventually the adhesive side of the PPF to be wet so the material doesn't start sticking to either the car or itself. Now, with full confidence in your TMC bretheren and not a fear in your heart, unroll the PPF onto the paint.

I'll return when I have more time to edit and continue sharing my experience.
 

Fourdoor

Member
May 31, 2016
906
712
North East Arkansas
I am considering doing this myself, I was thinking I would start on the hatch, where it would be less visible if I screw up, and hopefully I will learn how to do it right before I get to the important parts. I would save over $5,000 if I do it myself for a whole car job.

Keith
 

JonB65

Member
Oct 8, 2020
31
11
Maryland
I did a very similar thing. Got the kit from Opus. Josh was fantastic! Answered all my emails quickly and patiently. I used the XPel "goo" for the slip solution, per Josh's recommendation. I too started with the hood and didn't think to cut it out of the big sheet. Would have made things MUCH easier! I also have three hairs in my hood section. I know where they are, but for now I'm fine with them. I did hood, bumper, all doors, mirrors, front fenders. I saved the front bumper for last and am really glad I did. By then I was getting pretty good at the installation process, but it was still quite a challenge. My doors look really good.

A couple tips: Really work the edges that wrap around. Be patient and keep going back to them with the tack solution. They will eventually lay down and stay. I have a couple areas where I didn't do that enough. I'm hoping they don't peel off.

I was really concerned after I did the hood install. It seemed to be bubbling up like I didn't squeegee it, but I knew I had. I kept messing with it. Mistake! I think what was happening was that the PPF was adhering to the hood and pushing the XPel gel together. Over a period of five days, all these bumps evaporated. Knowing this is what made the doors look so much better. I didn't mess with it once I got it on.

After a week, I went back to the couple air bubbles and used a syringe to puncture the PPF and push the air out. Most of these are completely gone. A couple I need to go back and mess with again.

I'm glad I did this. Like you said, I'm estimating I saved about $3k-$4k by doing this myself, and I don't think it looks too bad. Not professional, but pretty acceptable for the cost savings.

I was pondering doing my own tint for the two front windows, but have held off on that. Josh from Opus said it was much more difficult to do well.
 
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Itsuo-DC

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Nov 26, 2018
175
105
Washington, DC
I appreciate this (and a few other) threads on the topic. I bought a front bumper kit, as well as a driver and passenger window tint from a vendor on eBay. I've had them all rolled up for the last few months as I've been waiting for the warm weather.
 

Fourdoor

Member
May 31, 2016
906
712
North East Arkansas
Looking at it, it seems like the bumper would be the most complex / hardest part to do... I almost want to have a professional do the "partial front end package" and then order separate sections of the "easy" stuff to do as "do it yourself".

Keith
 

Itsuo-DC

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Nov 26, 2018
175
105
Washington, DC
Looking at it, it seems like the bumper would be the most complex / hardest part to do... I almost want to have a professional do the "partial front end package" and then order separate sections of the "easy" stuff to do as "do it yourself".

Keith
I think it definitely IS the most difficult. That's why I'm waiting to see and read more-about other people trying it before I do.

This made me think it's possible:

I also don't mind if it's not perfect. I wouldn't be surprised if I could buy two (and have two tries) and still be under the professional install price for one.
 

J0J0

Member
Apr 6, 2021
6
5
Chicago burbs
Looking at it, it seems like the bumper would be the most complex / hardest part to do... I almost want to have a professional do the "partial front end package" and then order separate sections of the "easy" stuff to do as "do it yourself".

Keith
I had the front end professionally done, then I installed Tesla PPF for rear doors. I'm now considering the lower door/rocker panels.
 

maximus96

Member
Apr 19, 2020
513
342
Bay Area CA
Thumbs up for Opus. I bought precut XPEL tint from them several weeks ago. One window didn't fit quite right for and Josh quickly shipped a replacement. They seem like good guys.
 

Itsuo-DC

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Nov 26, 2018
175
105
Washington, DC
Thumbs up for Opus. I bought precut XPEL tint from them several weeks ago. One window didn't fit quite right for and Josh quickly shipped a replacement. They seem like good guys.
Did you just use their instructions for the tint? Or did you find any specific YT videos helpful?
 

vwalia

Member
Aug 29, 2021
19
6
Phoenix
I purchased a complete car kit for my brand new 2021 Model Y from Opus Premium Films. The film arrived last Friday so I started installing this weekend. I figured I'd start a thread to discuss the trials and terrors that are sure to follow as I learn how to install this material.

I have no experience with PPF and only limited, hobby level experience with vinyl, paint, and paint correction. I've watched a lot of you tube channels and read any writeups I could find. The owner of the company has been helpful in providing tips / suggestions as well.

The kit I purchased comes with four or five rolls of pre cut panels. Each roll has PPF for various panels. I decided to start with the hood because it is a large flat surface and from most indications should be the easiest. It was a fairly traumatic experience with below average, acceptable results. My second panel was the fender and it turned out significantly better still. Here we go:

Biggest takeaways
- I can do this! It is going to take a lot of practice to have anything close to a professional result, but I can get about 95% there and save over $4k from big-metro prices.
- This takes a long time! The hood took me 2.5-3 hours. I've also done a fender and I got the time down to a little over an hour.
- Xpel is extremely forgiving. Keep the material VERY wet with slip solution and rewet often. Keep the Xpel wet on BOTH sides constantly.
- Don't overstretch and don't panic. With lots of slip solution, Xpel can recover if it sticks to itself or be removed and repositioned pretty well.
- Lint, dirt, and hairs are the worst. The cleaner a space you have the better. If working outside / partially outside, low wind and warm temperatures will help. Get the surface as clean as you can and always be on the lookout for lint.
- You can do a lot of the early positioning work with your hands before you start squeegeeing and/or taccing the material into place.
- This is not for the faint of heart. PPF is expensive for a reason. I'm undertaking this project so I have the skill set to wrap future cars I'll own. Its an investment beyond this one car for me.

Things to consider buying for prep:
Car wash supplies - I picked up a foam cannon and a leaf blower for drying. I also purchased premium kirkland microfiber towels and some chemical guys microfiber applicators. Finally, I bought a McGuire's claybar kit.
Spray bottles - For slip solution, a pump sprayer is very preferred. Also have on hand two other small spray bottles.
Rubber/latex gloves

1. Step 1 - Collect your supplies. In addition to your preferred cleaning supplies, you're going to need lint free microfiber clothes, 2-3 spray bottles, Isopropyl alcohol and some common soap. For the isopropyl alcohol, I used 70% but 100% would do as well. I put 5-6 ounces of straight alcohol in my smallest spray bottle. This will be for cleaning / removing lint prior to wrap. Then, second small-ish bottle will be for "tac" solution: This should be about 10mL of alcohol to 16 ounces water. You can use distilled water, if you prefer, I did not. Finally, for your "slip" solution: use the best spray bottle you have. I used what I saw most guys using, pump spray bottles that can be purchased at most home repair stores. For soap, the recommendation is johnson and johnson baby soap. You could also use a different baby soap or even dish soap. Mix 16 ounces of water with about 3 drops of soap. If in doubt, round up on the amount of soap you use. Ensure the soap mixes with the water but don't shake so as to keep the suds and bubbles down.

2. Paint prep. - Wash and clay the car! I have moth balled my MY for several weeks now to avoid damaging our fragile paint. Therefore, the paint is pretty clean. For prep, I washed the car with a chemical guys foam gun. I dryed with an EvGo leaf blower. I then clayed the hood to remove debris and water spots from previous rain.

3. Position the car - If you can do this in a closed garage with exhaust ventilation its probably going to help a great deal to minimize dust. My garage is cluttered from a move, so I made room to get half the car inside with the garage door open... :/

4. Prep the PPF - Unrolling the PPF proved challenging. Each roll I received was 6-9 feet long. I suggest clearing a large, long table if you have one. Another great option would be to hang the PPF from hooks on the wall or even a clothes line. The adhesive side of the PPF is protected like a sticker backing, but you need the space to work with it carefully and avoid introducing unwanted dirt and lint. Once unrolled, find the section you're doing and cut it out.

In this case, I should have cut out the hood from the roll. Instead, I made the mistake of trying to transfer the hood directly from the massive roll that included multiple panels. That was terrible and ended in us cutting it free after we had already transferred about 1/3 of the hood panel to the car. A bit traumatic.

5. Final prep before application - Using my slip solution, I sprayed down the hood and wiped dry with kirkland microfiber towels. Also clean within 5-6 inches on adjacent panels since the PPF may touch those surfaces when you transfer it to the car. Next, I sprayed the pure alcohol lightly and wiped clean a final time ensuring all dust and lint were removed. For future I plan to try and devote a great amount of my time to this step to get it just right. The towels tend to leave behind very fine dust and hairs without the right environment. I didn't have the best lighting in my garage and missed some dust / hairs.

6. Applying PPF to the hood - I washed my hands really well. Next time, I'm going to don latex gloves at this point. I grabbed two friends to help with the application, but you can do it alone if you have to.

I suggest reverse rolling the piece you intend to apply, in this case the hood. Once reverse rolled, you will be able to grab a corner and start peeling it away from the backing and transfer it to the paint in a manageable way. Hold the roll in one hand and the exposed PPF in the other. If you have helpers, they can hold down corners of the PPF once applied to the car.

Before you start peeling the PPF away from its backing, rewet the entire hood with an ample amount of slip solution. You can not have too much at this stage. You're going to want the hood and eventually the adhesive side of the PPF to be wet so the material doesn't start sticking to either the car or itself. Now, with full confidence in your TMC bretheren and not a fear in your heart, unroll the PPF onto the paint.

I'll return when I have more time to edit and continue sharing my experience.
Great write up. Thank you for sharing your experience. Gave me some motivation and courage to tackle it myself and save some money. Thank you.
 
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Reactions: Gu$ G

Gu$ G

Member
May 7, 2018
158
65
Kaneohe, HI
Boy.. I oh you guys an update! Life has gotten in the way of this project. I was successful on my hood and front fenders. Then I ran out of time and haven't been able to do the rest of the car. I'm going to do a panel or two again this weekend. After that, I'll reassess when I'm ever going to get this whole car wrapped...
 

gleearch

Member
Mar 11, 2021
30
29
USA
Nice detailed write up. I purchased Xpel Ultimate from Northtints instead of Opus. I did the same thing. The hood first and panicked when it started to adhere faster than I anticipated but after my panic attack, I calmed down and using a lot of slip solution was able to back to film back onto the backer sheet. And started over. I did cut out all the separate panels first, so I only had each section I needed to install at a time. I did use a pump sprayer. My initial mistake was to try to use a regular sprayer and it does not get enough of the slip solution out in a timely manner.

The hood came out well and any bubbles disappeared after a few days. Use your fingers to press out any edge fingers in the film to help it lay down and adhere. I did the right and left fender next. For the fenders, the area around the camera is the most difficult. Lightly anchor the fender pieces around the headlights to keep it from falling to the ground and then work the area around the camera because it's tricky. Any part of the cutout that does not conform right to the curves can be taken care off by pressing and applying pressure with your finger or thumb and it's conformed but requires patience. Both came out well but I found a piece of tiny clay bar material the next day and was not able to work it out. I swear it was not there during installation but this made me more careful moving forward. I did the front and rear doors and those were fairly easy and came out the best. While I did use a pin to remove some water bubbles later, I think I could or should have left them alone because most of these eventually faded away on their own.

I did the front bumper when I was tired and should have waited for another day. But I didn't want to keep having to prep the car after using it, so I pushed through. Big mistake. The bumper with it compound curves and complex precut film is very difficult. I made the mistake of anchoring from one side and trying to stretch across to the other side. The instructions were not that clear. In hindsight, I should have lightly anchored and then reposition so it was centered. Anchored from the center and reposition the sides. Then lightly stretch to anchor around the headlight and worked to the bottom. As is, it's not a great job but I learned alot and if I had to redo, will do a better job next time. What is satisfying is seeing all the marks and impact stains from debris etc that have been bombarding the front of the car. I just light wipe and they are gone. If that was exposed paint, I don't think it would have fared as well. I did apply two coats of cq.uk 3 nano ceramic coat and CarPro Reload over the PPF and whatever paint was not protected. Used a good 3m filter for organic vapors for your face mask when applying the ceramic coat.

I did everything inside my garage and sprayed the floor down to keep the dust levels low. I could have used better lighting since that is really helpful in finding any lint or debris under the film during installation. It would have been nice to have help but I did everything on my own. Get help if you can.

I used the videos from this channel to learn the methods for PPF installation or you can search on Youtube for Model Y DIY PPF wrap from WrapID.
 
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