posted on August 25, 2010 10:17
Project Tundra Part 3, Making Life Better with 3M Crystalline Window Tint and Protective Film
By Mike Kojima
Project Tundra is MotoIQ's work horse. It's used nearly every day as a commuter, usually hauling a load of parts at the same time. On the weekends it hauls bikes and go karts. It frequently hauls cars to races and fab shops. Several times a week it takes our crew and equipment to photoshoots.
To read more about Project Tundra, Click Here!
We spend a lot of time in Project Tundra and if we can do a few things to it to make our life a little easier it is all a good thing. All of our race tracks in Southern California are in hot areas and most of them are in the desert. This means that we are constantly fighting heat, blowing sand, debris and other severe environmental conditions. To help keep Project Tundra's interior cooler and to protect our paint, lights and trim from abrasion and pitting during road trips, we called upon the folks at 3M for help with some of their advanced film technology.
|The Tint Factory's Frank Garrido first squeegees the 3M Crystalline film onto the outside of the side windows.
We were just about to leave for the Las Vegas round of the Formula D circuit and we knew it was going to be hot. We were not looking forward to the long trek across the desert in scorching 112 degree heat. We were also not looking forward to facing a hothouse like car interior when we kept the car parked at the venue. We had some concerns about heat damage for our delicate camera and datalogging equipment as well.
|Then Frank trims the 3M Crystalline film to rough shape on the outside of the side windows.
We contacted our friends at 3M to see if they had any solution for this potentially serous problem and they suggested we try their Crystalline heat rejecting window film. More than just another window tint, Crystalline is a high tech window film that rejects heat at an amazing rate while allowing visible light to pass through nearly uninhibited.
|The film is transfered onto a piece of glass on the wall for further trimming, especially of the bottom edges.
Thursday, August 26, 2010 1:37 AM
Haha, doing it yourself is pretty hard, I was watching and got convinced I could do it. I ended up ruining a bunch of film.
Thursday, August 26, 2010 1:58 AM
You know window tinters have their own forum? Its a pretty precise art!
Thursday, August 26, 2010 3:39 AM
Call me dumb ass, naive or whatever, but up until recently I didn't know that "tinted windows" were actually a thin-film applied on.....er windows.
In Europe such thing don't exist.
In Europe we have the actual glass being darker from the factory. You decide how dark you want it. Of course, it is far more expensive that regular "tinted windows". I find it a bit amusing.
Thursday, August 26, 2010 5:58 AM
I typically see $500-800 for 3M done with the right skills/equipment for the front of a car, $2k is def way high.
Thursday, August 26, 2010 7:39 AM
No wonder you had trouble, that sheet they're applying to the Tundra's headlight is huge! I've seen pre cut sheets of similar stuff on the internet. They are sized for individual model's headlights, or just squares where you cut out the desired shape. I haven't actually seen these in person so I can't comment on how it looked in terms of quality, but it must be a heck of a lot easier to apply then that giant sheet! It might work well, assuming the headlight is relatively simple. But, getting it to stick to a headlight with even a slight compound curve in the lens without wrinkling could prove to be a major challenge!
Thursday, August 26, 2010 7:42 AM
Also, this seems perfect to protect motorcycle paint in high risk areas like the gas tank, if not the whole bike!
Thursday, August 26, 2010 8:24 AM
The pre cut deal is even harder to apply because its hard to stretch the sheet into the compound curves.
This stuff is pretty hard to put on yourself at home.
Thursday, August 26, 2010 9:01 AM
Good call on the film keeping the glass together when broken. I got some glass in the face in a crash and it was not fun. Another inch and I would have had to find a new job as a pirate.
The safety of the window film is worth the price alone.
Thursday, August 26, 2010 9:16 AM
Wow, that's pretty sweet. I can't imagine driving through the desert and NOT feeling that scorching heat coming through the windows! What is the average price for a car/truck with the 3M crystalline tint?
Oh and I did a search on 3M's website with my work and home zip codes and there are no authorized 3M dealers within 50 miles of each, and I live in San Diego. Wha??? There MUST be tint installers that do 3M film in SD...
Thursday, August 26, 2010 9:59 AM
Window tent is definitely required out in the desert! In driving through Arizona and Up the I5 to San Fran from LA, my arms were getting roasted by the sun. I could feel the heat beating on them.
I have tint on my car now; when the driver's side window is down and I can feel myself getting sunburnt, I just roll up the tinted window and it significantly reduces the heat load.
A little tidbit, CARB wanted to require OEMs to use some type of special glass ($$$) that reflected high levels of UV/IR to reduce the heat load on vehicles, thereby reducing the A/C required, and therefore increasing gas mileage. So far, the OEMs have been successful in battling it I think. Of course, can't use regular window tint (dark) because it's against the law to have the front windows tinted out here. Though everyone does it anyways.
Thursday, August 26, 2010 10:35 AM
I looked into getting that clear protective film for the front end of a new car I purchased a few years ago. The cost of getting that film installed was more than it would cost to repaint the front of the car...
Thursday, August 26, 2010 10:55 AM
I don't know where you got a quote to do the paint on the front end of a new car but I know for sure that if it cost less than the film you were either getting ripped off for your film application or got quoted for a super crappy paint job!
Generally you want to keep your factory paint looking good as long as possible because it is a better quality than your typical repaint job unless you go to high end shops. A lot of paint work I see is simply horrible. By high end, I mean using top of the line paints and primers by PPG, Sikkens or Dupont, proper prep work, removal of moldings and trim and very careful masking. Blending should be done along the lines taught by ICAR. Anything less than this and you are getting something that probably devalues your car.
We have been using this film on our race cars for years and its saved thousands of dollars on paint jobs. Usualy a paint job looks pretty bad after just one race at a place like Willow Springs or Buttonwillow. The film really works to save the paint. It is also used on Project EVO IX.
Thursday, August 26, 2010 11:10 AM
I suspect the place that installed the film was trying to rip me off or may have misquoted me. They wanted around $2,000 to install film on the front of the car.
Thursday, August 26, 2010 11:49 AM
WOW I would say they were ripping you off! I would find another installer for sure. The price should be around $500 or less.
Thursday, August 26, 2010 12:23 PM
Any new car should at least get the headlights covered with a film, even if you do it yourself. Would save a lot of $$$ and prevent frustration further down the road. "Restoring" doesn't last long and replacements can cost a significant portion of a used vehicles actual value.
Friday, August 27, 2010 9:25 AM
I'm totally doing that UV-blocking tint to the next car I buy, even if the DC area isn't as hot as the desert.
Monday, August 30, 2010 9:23 AM
Oh, that's pre-cut? The price range I saw for exterior protection was for a custom cut using some $10k machine a local tuner had just invested in, so the price was likely sort of a loss-leader to get the word out he was doing them. Wish I had done my G's nose, it's black under the Platinum Silver/Serengeti Sand Paint. Not good for hiding chips. But it came OEM with the headlights done with a 3M product and a few selected spots on the sides - front of the rear fender bulge, you'd never notice the stuff if you were not looking for it. Having partial coverage already and buying the car new, I opted out of spending more at the time - should've, could've...
Wednesday, September 01, 2010 10:17 AM
40% is as dark as the crystalline tint goes?
can you layer darker tint on top of it?
Thursday, September 02, 2010 10:54 AM
that is a lot of work and dedication