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Suntek vs XPEL Ultimate: Visible edges

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by EBill, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. EBill

    EBill Member

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    My apologies if this is covered elsewhere in detail. I’ve seen random comments about edges but not this specific issue.

    I plan on putting either Suntek or Xpel Ultimate for a complete coverage on my pearl white MS when it gets delivered in September.

    After visiting the installers and inspecting some of their work I noticed that some of the installations have visible edges in the film coverage where two panels meet. Two examples are where the front bumper meets the front fender and the rear bumper meets the rear fender. There is an uncovered area on the cars about 1/8 – 3/16 inch on each side of the seam between the panels in their installations.

    The installers who used XPEL ultimate and the templates from XPEL were the vehicles with the gaps. One of the installers showed me the XPEL program and how he could modify the amount of cut for the amount of overlap and said he still wasn’t able to cover the seam.

    The Suntek installer had no visible seams and indicated that he wraps these sections and cuts the film right at the edge without taking off the panels. He also showed me the plastic tool they used that cut the film without marring the paint. He was adamant that they use no razors that would damage the paint.

    With the car being pearl white any edges will reportedly show up pretty quickly.

    Has anyone installed XPEL ultimate and avoid visible edges at the end of body panels?
    Did the installer use the XPEL templates, or cut free hand?

    Appreciate any advice, especially from MS owners with white cars and professional detailers on how to avoid visible edges in obvious areas with XPEL Ultimate.
     
  2. Bardlebee

    Bardlebee Member

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    Your color is white, and mine is blue. Of course as you know blue is DARK blue so there may be a difference. My installer was Xpel themselves since they are headquartered in San Antonio. I got half my car done including all the doors. Where there are seems I can't even tell. If I were to hunt for them, I would find them, but just looking at the car... even closely you can't see them unless you knew prior they were there. Even then they don't disturb the look. On white I can see this being a concern however.

    The only seems I know of are at the back end of the hood and particular corners, they did a pretty good job of wrapping around areas that would otherwise require an edge. I can try to take pictures if you'd like.
     
  3. EBill

    EBill Member

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    Bardlebee,

    Thank you for the offer of pictures, however, taking them may not be a good use of your time due to the dark color. On the dark color cars I saw the edges weren't visible unless you were really close - inches away and were looking for them. Whereas on the white cars I could see the seams or cutouts standing up a couple of feet away from the demonstration cars. All the installers mentioned that white was the most painful color for them to wrap as it was very unforgiving. They also mentioned that both Suntek and Xpel Ultimate where untested for yellowing over the rated warranty period.

    If there are any car owners with a white MS it would be appreciated if you have any pictures that you could share on the seams.

    If you have a contact at Xpel that I could contact about their templates and ask them about the edges that would be great. There used to be someone from Xpel that contributed to the forum. I didn't see any recent postings based on their profile.
     
  4. MoeMistry

    MoeMistry Local Vendor - SoCal

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    Got your PM...

    IMHO, the installer and coverage are very crucial. If you can get a quality film, installed by a quality installer that can wrap edges, that's your best bet.

    If your budget allows, and you're keeping the MS for several years, just wrap the whole thing and apply a nano coating to the film, and you'll be well protected for years.

    As for yellowing, ALL films will yellow. Nature of the beast. Some will do it less than others.

    Hope this helps
     
  5. hiroshiy

    hiroshiy Active Member

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    I'm also planning to do a full wrap on blue, with XPEL Ultimate, and got a quote of $9000. It seems to be a reputable installer which was working with XPEL US before XPEL Japan was established.
    However, they say good installers use pre-cut rather than hand cut and those people with hand cut should be avoided; because with hand cut it is easier to damage the paint with the sharp tool to cut the film. Looking at TMC and opinions of experts such as MoeMistry, it seems hand cut is better because of edges.

    So I'm lost - in Japan wrapping is still not very popular and very little information out there. Should I be asking around and find hand cut installers?
     
  6. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    I find this assertion confusing. Even as a layman doing a home job, this risk would be completely avoided.
     
  7. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    This really depends on the installer. Sometimes pre-cut only covers the outside area and doesn't wrap around the parts. In the worst case there is a gap (e.g. on the hood there could be a 2-3 mm area all around the edge that wasn't protected). Some places oversize the pieces (assumes they are cutting from a computer pattern on-site rather than purchasing pre-cut pieces). Then they trim the pieces as required (for corners and such).

    - - - Updated - - -

    On some corners and curved areas the film bunches up, so they have to cut there in order for the folded over film to lay flat. There is really no way around this if the edges are to be wrapped. If the pre-cut pieces aren't wrapped around the edges, then this doesn't happen but the protection isn't quite as good and sometimes the pre-cut pieces don't fit quite right.
     
  8. LonghornDub

    LonghornDub Member

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    Does anybody have any thoughts on XPEL Ultimate vs Suntek more generally (not specific to visible edges)? My installer offers both, and while he says they are both great products, he said he prefers Suntek and recommended it highly if I'm not concerned about warranty length (5 yrs vs. 10 for XPEL).

    The warranty is a real consideration, but I'd also like to know if anybody knows much about how the two products compare outside that.
     
  9. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

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    Yes.

    Cut free hand. They also removed body panels to ensure a complete wrap around the edges.

    Year and a half later still looks perfect. You simply cannot tell it has a wrap on it unless you know where to look.
     
  10. MoeMistry

    MoeMistry Local Vendor - SoCal

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    The main choice should be who's the best installer you can afford...because no two are the same.


    Then, when it comes to film, have the installer put a few demo pieces on a panel and you look at it under shop lights or sun light. Suntek is the more clearer film out of most I've seen. For our OCD clients, ones who are against PPF because of what they've heard or had done in the past, Suntek is what we use. For difficult panels that we push the envelope, we use Suntek because of the more user-friendly adhesive. Everything else, XPEL Ultimate rocks!!
     
  11. hiroshiy

    hiroshiy Active Member

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    I talked to the installer on the phone and it seems here in Japan reputable shops always use pre-cut, but customize the size on the machine on the fly to make the film wrap around *some* edges. Other edges, where two panels meet and zero clearance, they usually don't remove body parts and don't wrap around such edges.
    The reason the installer mentioned not to wrap around such edges was that if two meeting panels are both wrapped at the edges and after the panels are attached again, in a few weeks, the panels cause film to rub against each other and eventually peel off.

    I called another installer with high reputation, and they basically said the same.

    It seems it is not common for wrapping installer to correct factory paint. I'll have another detailer to check and correct paint before going to wrap installer.

    So it seems American detailers have a lot of high end jobs waiting in Tokyo? :)
     
  12. capt601

    capt601 Vin02324

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    you need to buy Moe airfare and hotel to Tokyo and have him stay for a month! Just set him up with a shop to use.
     
  13. MoeMistry

    MoeMistry Local Vendor - SoCal

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    LOL...don't forget the crew...can't do it all myself
     
  14. Peter_M

    Peter_M Member

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    I had the full XPEL Ulitmate wrap done on the "regular" (not pearl) white - all body colour panels and the nosecone and headlights were wrapped. The only seams are on the backs of the side mirrors and along the crease of the trunk lid. I believe they used mostly the pre-cut pieces (actually files from XPEL that they cut on site), but some sections like the roof were cut freehand. The mirror piece didn't cover the whole mirror back so they added a piece, and for the trunk lid, the curve was too strong to be able to work out the wrinkles without a seam. The seams are visible if you look for them, but usually they are almost invisible. Nobody has noticed that the car was wrapped until I told them. If the seams start to show, clean the dirt out with a brush (the installer recommended a horse hair brush). They were able to wrap all the edges around the frunk, trunk and door edges, but there are a few places where you can see an edge if you look for it, like the edges of the roof (no pano) and along the edges of the piece that extends from the A pillar.
     
  15. birdsaresmarter

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    One thing that strikes me is comments from installers coming up time and time again indicating that there can be quite the variation in quality of film produced by the same mfr and the same general product line/brand. This does not seem to be limited to one particular mfr either. In fact, I came across a spec sheet published by Suntek that seems to indicate that depending upon whether the installer orders the film "with the cap sheet" (generally for cutting purposes) the base film may be 1 mil thinner but the top coating may be .50 mil thicker. (Hopefully this is okay to post the link here)
    http://www.suntekfilms.com/files/PPF%20Specifications.pdf I have put a message in to Suntek to try to clarify if this is current info and the technical reason for this. Maybe others already know.

    Anyway, if there really is such a variation in the film products then you may look at one installation and say "oh that's great" and then look at another one with a thicker film and notice more edges having crud built up even though same brand name?

    Other thing is that Suntek is thinner film from Xpel Ultimate yet I believe they claim it is at least as resistant to poke through/strikes? One may say "oh sure" but then I saw some installer griping about how the Suntek film is so much harder to cut and score. Hmmm...so that leads me to believe it may be more of a P.I.T.A. to the installer trying to do a custom wrap, but may lend credence to the claim that it is still as tough as thicker films. But is that the 5.0 mils base film or the 6.0 mils base film or both?

    Of course some installers LOVE the more forgiving adhesive and some absolutely hate it. As with many of these things I think there is as much art as science and practice builds skill of course.

    As far as warranty is concerned, I still wouldn't contemplate leaving ANY film on the paint for 10 years, assuming anybody plans on keeping their car long term. First of all, if you are driving the car "regularly", that film will look like heck long before 10 years because it's doing its job of taking the abuse. Next, these are "newer" films with "new adhesive forumulations" on the market now and nobody really knows (unless they have a time machine) how that adhesive and film is going to hold up for that long. I have to assume that when exposed to heat over time it's going to be a mess to remove just like the "old film". If it's a garage queen, okay, maybe that's fine.

    I don't plan on keeping the partial Nano Fusion kit on my car for too long which is why I am constantly monitoring experirences (consumers and installers) re: films and coatings so I can make a longer term decision in this regard. I only got the factory kit as an immediate but short-term fix.
     
  16. birdsaresmarter

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    #16 birdsaresmarter, Aug 29, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2014
    Suntek responded to the product question and, essentially:

    PPF-S is a product they started offering to their dealers this year but it does NOT have their proprietary self-healing top coat. Per suntek, the PPF-S has a coextruded top coat. The latter construction is sold with Cap sheet to protect the integrity of the film and align with industry standard.

    the PPF-C is their self healing topcoat - newer technology. They estimated virtually all their installers in CA were using PPF-C
     
  17. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    I was referring to the indication of risk of cutting into the paint/clearcoat with a blade. That seems like a risk that a skilled installer should never be taking.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I wouldn't state it this strongly. I definitely have had people double-take when I told them it's wrapped. But it's detectable even to the untrained eye if you're looking.
     
  18. EBill

    EBill Member

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    Thanks to all for your feedback. I appreciate the maintenance tip with the horsehair brush.

    I went back to two of the installers while they were wrapping other Teslas (the first ones to arrive in HK) and shared my concerns about the visible edges. Similar to what Hiroshiy wrote above, panels aren't removed here for the reason he states.

    One of the installers proudly showed me his work on a Sig red car and it was near impossible to find the edges on the bumper and roof lines. He said he worked on these areas for quite awhile knowing that both myself and the owner would be closely inspecting his work. He also does paint correction prior to application. The other installers do not do paint correction prior to applying the film.

    Will post pictures when the car is completed. Delivery scheduled for sometime in late Q3 - early Q4.
     

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