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From digest.v6.n516 Thu May 1 15:36:34 1997
From: Dan Tackett <>
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 16:55:45 -0700
Subject: Re: Paint chips/clear film for paint protection

Jimmy Shrake writes:

>Regarding the posts concerning lots of paint chips on the front of new
>cars... In the March BMW Car magazine, Pg. 39, there is an
>advertisement for a product called "Armourfend".
>Does anyone know anything about this products or similar ones? This is
>the only one of it's type I've ever seen. Other than the price, a few
>questions come immediately to mind:
>After baking in the Texas sun on a black car for a couple of years, will
>this thing end up fusion welded to my paint or come loose? I'd expect it
>to last a few years and look good for that price.
>If it works, I think it would be a nice product since it is almost
>invisible and wont require constant removal like a bra.

When I bought my E36 M3 in 1995, I only wanted one chip, and that was for *under* the hood! My car is no stranger to the track and its hazards, and I drive about 25K per year for business. My M3 is also painted an Individual color, so "keeping my nose clean" was a top priority.

3M makes a product (oh so cleverly) called "Paint Protection Film" which is intended for this purpose. It's a clear, non-yellowing plastic film about 8 mils thick that is applied like a decal with water and a squeege. I had it put on by a professional who does mylar decals/graphics for race cars. It required removal of the hood badge, a heat gun to stretch the film around the hood contours above the kidneys, and experience to trim the edges without cutting into the clear coat. They also make some "kits" which are precut for certain vehicles (I put one on my Dad's minivan myself--pretty simple since there were no cuts or contours). They don't make a "kit" for BMWs, though.

The final product looks great, which is to say YOU CAN'T SEE IT unless you look very closely. The hood badge placed over the film gives it a "factory" look. Imagine a straight line drawn from the curvature of the turn signals across the front of the fenders and hood, about 10" from the leading edge of the hood at its center point. The film covers from that line forward in my case. It does have a thick look, kinda like orange peel in a paint job, but it virtually disappears from a few steps back. Porsche has used a similar product on the flared rear fenders of 944s and 911s (the Turbos were done in black, others clear).

After 30K miles battling California drivers and setting up passes at track events, the hood is free of chips on its leading edge (not so the windshield, my "control" in this test). The film still looks great, with no peeling, air bubbles, or discoloring, and this is on a car that spends its days out in the sun :-(

Unfortunately, I also recently discovered (after 15 months on the car) that it's as removable as expected. Someone backed into my car (rather exceeding the limits of the film's protection), so we have an opportunity to remove the film before repainting the nose. After my experience with 3M's Paint Proctection Film, my new paint will certainly be protected by it again.

3M sells the product in many sizes, but what worked for me is a roll 11.25" wide X 75" long. The 3M part number is 84911, and it should be possible to order it from any paint supply store that deals with 3M. The clincher: it only seems appropriate to put a 3M product on an M3.

Standard disclaimer: I don't work for 3M--never even been to Minnesota or involved in Mining or Manufacturing.

Just contributing to the bra thread, y'know, tit for tat ;-)

Dan Tackett

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