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Discussion Starter #1
After seeing some pics posted in the Gallery forum, I am
interested in learning more about this process.

Any feedback available from members to educate me on the
following:
tint process (interior or exterior)
long term durability
is the process similar to factory tinted glass
sensitivity to cleaning agents

Any comments, positive or negative would be appreciated.

Thanks
S.
 

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Have had it on several cars

It is not at all the same as factory tint.
Factory tint is in the glass, aftermarket is a film applied to the inside.
Most good installers use 3M films, but there are others out there.
Good film (3M) holds up very well with normal care.
You should use the type of cleasner they recommend only.
It can scratch or chip if abused, but after the first thrashing my son stopped banging his toys on the window :) (Just Kidding)
 

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The internet has everything.

here are a couple forums specifically oriented to window tinting:

Tinter's forum
The Tinters' Cafe

In addition, a Yahoo! search for "window tinting" gives you a zillion links to manufacturers' websites, to learn about specific products.

The tinting process? I offer this from the Tinter's forum, pasted below; it's probably more than you want to know, but it illustrates that the process is definitely not for novices if you want it to look right. And if you think this is a lot, you should read the part about heat shrinking tint to back glass with a compound curve!

Automotive window tint instructions
Step #1: Let a professional tint your car !
Otherwise, read on and proceed at your own risk!

Warning!
If you are planning to tint just one car, it's really not worth the expense of buying tools and materials and then discovering just how difficult the trade is through trial and error. However, if you plan on doing several cars, or going into the field, then this is a good place to start. These techniques are by no means the only way to window tint, some cars demand a combination of techniques. These are merely the basics, a starting point that you can use to begin to teach yourself this most challenging of trades. More help can be found on the message board.


First, the basics
Start with a clean car, and a relatively dust and wind free environment. The window tint is applied on the inside of windows, you may work the window tint on the outside, but it is finally installed in the inside of the windows with soapy water, so you may need to remove the 3rd brake light and/ or rear deck if they are against the clear part of the glass, this can be a learning experience in itself.

Car Tint Preparation
First, get the right tools for the job, a heat gun, film squeegee (they come in long strips that you cut to shape), spray bottles, hard cards, Bondo cards, red devils, a cutting surface (I use linoleum glued to plywood as a cutting table for patterns, a piece of flat glass will work too) butcher paper (plastic coated on one side), a snap off razor blade knife, razor blades, dish soap (I use Joy dish soap, some recommend 'Johnsons Baby Shampoo' because it is milder, but you must use 4 times as much to keep the film from grabbing and sticking to the glass before its squeegeed. If you use Joy, use 10 drops per pint. If you use Baby Shampoo use 40 drops per pint.), paper towels (preferably paper shop towels), and some hand tools. First you want to clear anything that will get in the way or that is against the glass where the film needs to be, like the inner flaps on the door panel where it goes down into the door, depending on the car, you can tape this back with masking tape, or if that doesn't work you can take off the door panels.

Remove the rear deck, and or 3rd brake light IF NEEDED. You will appreciate it when you're in there trying to lay a long piece of film without touching anything but the clean glass, its not that easy and if the felt from the rear deck is against the glass, the film will be difficult to reach and squeegee completely. Most cars only need to have the brake light removed.
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Side Glass

One way to pre-cut the film for the roll up windows is on the window itself, placing the film on the outside, with the liner side facing up, the film can be trimmed to the approximate shape of the window, this method is o.k. but there is a way to get a much more accurate shape to the film using freezer paper patterns and without using blades on the car glass.

To avoid sloppy cuts and creasing, I like to use Reynolds plastic coated freezer paper to make a pattern for rollup windows. Cut a piece of the paper about an inch larger than the window. Make several cuts along the sides of the paper, about an inch long and about 5 per side, this is so the paper will lay flat when you tuck the edges into the frame. Spray the outside of the fully rolled up window with unsoapy water. Lay the paper over the glass plastic side down and smooth it out with a hard card. Be sure to keep the paper side of the plastic coated paper dry. Trace the edges where you want the edge of your film to be onto the paper with a hard card and draw them in with a sharp pencil. Use the factory edge of the paper against the bottom flap of the car window, (so you wont have to draw the bottom line). First draw the sides with the pencil, lift the bottom of the paper about an inch away from the glass and roll the window down until the upper edge is exposed. Use the edge of the pencil lead to trace the top edge of the glass. You should now have a perfect, REUSABLE representation of the car window. Take the pattern and lay two pieces of film, with the liners opposing, under the pattern. Spray a little water in between all of the layers to keep them still as you cut. Cut them on a piece of flat glass or a linoleum cutting table.
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I shrink most roll ups because I dont tape the flaps anymore and I dont want any fingering under the flap. To shrink the door pieces, I place the film on the wet outside about an inch above the bottom flap and about an inch to the left or right of the side felt, squeegee the film so that its tight on top and all the excess is on the bottom, then wet shrink.
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When you're ready to tint the car window, start with the glass rolled down so that the top of the window is about a half inch from the felt, Clean and prepare the glass to receive film, lay the film near the bottom of the soapy wet glass first and slide it down into position as you lay the top into position. Then squeegee from an anchor point to keep the film from moving, working from the middle out. Roll the window up and squeegee the bottom out. Blot any water from the sides with a hard card wrapped with a paper towel.

Another good tip is to mark the outside edges of the window with a dry erase marker (with the window rolled fully up), then when the window is down a little and you are laying the film you will be able to tell where the edge of the film should be. As you know, the window shifts as it is rolled up and down, so this will let you position the film properly before it sets up to much to move.
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To prevent gaps, stationary 1/4 panes should be cut slightly
oversize and the inner rubber should be trimmed
to accommodate the slightly larger piece of tint.

Cleaning the glass in preparation

This is the main thing about window tinting, keeping the dirt to a minimum. This may be hard to follow, but I'll try to keep it understandable. Most cars have a felt edge inside that guides the glass as it rolls up and down. When this felt gets wet it 'bleeds' tiny black felt hairs. These really stand out when the film is dry. To avoid this I will roll the window as far down as it will go, and cover the felt with masking tape, then roll the window back up until the top of the window is about 1/2 inch from the top. Spray the window down with soapy water (10 drops of Joy dishsoap per pint) and clean it with a new razor blade. The blades wont scratch if they are new and the window is wet. Spray the glass again lightly, get a blue shop paper towel and wipe the edge of the glass and frame in one stroke to pick up heavier dirt, wipe your squeegee with a moist blue shop paper towel, and make one pass along the side of the window, wipe your squeegee again, start at the dry side you just did and squeegee side ways to the other side, repeat until you reach the bottom. Then a last stroke down the side you were squeegeeing toward and the window should be completely clean and dry. Next flush the window from the top down with soapy water keeping the very top edge dry. If you flush the very top edge, it will bleed dirt, as your squeegee wont quite dry the top. Flush the middle first, finish by flushing the sides. Even after all this, if you dont handle the car tint well, it will get dirty. Peel and apply the film. As you are squeegeeing, (on roll up windows) do the top first, work down avoiding the edges until last, stroke them downward, some times I will use a thin card, like a credit card cut into a triangle to squeegee the last stroke down the edges, it depends on how tight the frame is. Spray the film and squeegee it again, more firmly this time, to remove more water from under the film.

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(c)2002 ric nelson
 

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Cleaning tinted glass

The detailing community at Autopia.com, as well as the shop that put the tint on my Pilot, recommends avoiding anything with ammonia in it, seems it usually makes the tint turn purpleish over time. The products generally agreed upon are Eagle One 20-20 glass cleaner (pump spray) or Stoner's Invisible Glass (aerosol). I can find both at AutoZone auto parts with no problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Window Tint

casdas:

Thanks for the web links and info.
I hope most tint installers are this careful with procedure.
 
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