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View Full Version : Input on Clear Bras Needed


rsh
11-24-2004, 01:44 PM
OK, I got great input on wheels, rims, lighting upgrades and even audio. Now that I made my purchases and received a body shop quote for painting my front-end and hood of my 2000 528i, I need to know about clear bras. I don't want the body work done until I know if I need to drive it straight to the clear bra installer, whomever that would be.

What are the good and bad points on clear bras? Any personal experience? I've read some posts on Xpel and Stongard. Someone said Stongard wraps the edges while Xpel doesn't. He mentioned that there were good and bad points of each but Xpel would still have an exposed edge. Didn't mention what the good or bad points except for saying that he wouldn't have a new car without getting a clear bra installed. I've read 5 year warranties are normal even though they won't answer questions on what happens if there's a problem after 5 years. I guess this is due to the clear bra technology being fairly new without that kind of data being available. At worst case, I guess the expense would be on the owner to have it removed and done again. Does this damage the paint underneath that would cause the areas to need re-painting???

Anyway - any input on clear bras, good and bad, is appreciated. Get the clear bra after the body work and painting or not???

Thanks,
RSH

trav
11-24-2004, 01:54 PM
I've got the clear bra on my Alpine White 540i. I think it's by 3M though, not the others you mentioned. And to answer your question, I think it's great. You don't really see it unless you're up close, and it has saved my front end from rock chips countless times. I'd say go for it. I know I won't own another BMW with out it.

Trav

M.Wong
11-24-2004, 01:56 PM
I have had the StonGard Clear bra on E38 (three years) and E39 (two years) and have no complaints. No signs of any paint damage as a result. The large hood piece on the E38 was replaced under warranty (for a slight tear in the corner) after it was on for a couple years. There was no sign of paint damage or uneven fading when they pulled it off.

Photos are on my CarDomain sites, link below. (Click on the signature picture of the three cars.)

Check with your body shop about timing. A friend had body work done on his car and they did not want the StonGard put back on until the paint cured 60 days.

http://memimage.cardomain.net/member_images/5/web/257000-257999/257557_86_full.jpg

I have heard the same happy testimonials about Xpel. I went with StonGard because they advertise/support the local BMWCCA here in Puget Sound.

Mr Hyde
11-24-2004, 02:01 PM
3M makes all the film used. X-pel, Armorfend, etc are all just different companies that have cut up their own templates, and sell their own kits.

I actually would recommend custom cut pieces for the hood, amd fenders. No kit I saw went up high enough for me. Bonus was that I got better protection at a lower price too.

The clear bra was definitely worth it for me. 3x my front bumper was tagged while I had the clear bra on it. The damage on the clear bra mostly buffed out, and was unseen after a little work. If I didnt have it on, I am sure I would have repainted my front bumper 3 separate times.

I would do it as soon as possible once the paint is cured so that you have a nice flawless finish to protect. Putting it over chips will make them stand out more.

One thing though, damage to paint underneath on removal is guaranteed only on your OEM baked paint finish. If you are your front end repainted, Id speak to the body shop guy, and installer. Better yet, Id see if the bodyshop can arrange the install with some kind of warranty.

rsh
11-24-2004, 02:24 PM
Thanks all - boy, that was the fastest replies I've ever received.

I'm glad that the curing time was mentioned. I didn't think of this. I'll definitely ask about this and the time (maybe 60 days) for it to be fully cured before having it done.

I did want to ask Mr. Hyde about the OEM baked paint finish being the only guarantee with the clear bra not damaging the paint on removal. The body shop did say that the work would take 4 days since they have to bake the paint and they guarantee all the work. They have about 7 shops throughout the Portland, Oregon area so their reputation seems to be good. Are you saying that only OEM baked paint is guaranteed or that it is only guaranteed if the paint is baked by whomever does the paint job??? Does the clear bra get a guarantee if the OEM does the paint work or does it have to be fresh from the dealer to be OK? I know my BMW dealer verbally quoted this work that was insane compared to this body shop and I bet no one could tell the difference in work. Car painting is an art but BMW dealers aren't the only ones that know how to do it. I even asked the body shop about the paint on the car by BMW in Germany being different than American paint and they knew exactly why.

RSH

M.Wong
11-24-2004, 04:57 PM
Car painting is an art but BMW dealers aren't the only ones that know how to do it. I even asked the body shop about the paint on the car by BMW in Germany being different than American paint and they knew exactly why.
Paint thickness can be measured, and almost any body shop now can tell you if your car has factory or non-original paint, even if the work was done by BMW at their Vehicle Processing Center due to damage during shipping.

I'd check with StonGard or Xpel about the warranty and non-factory applied paint. That exclusion is news to me, but I never needed to consider it.

rsh
11-25-2004, 12:53 PM
Last question on the clear bras:

How do they look on dark colors? Does the edge of the clear bra blend pretty seemless with the darker colors. I've heard it is more noticeable and some people don't like the clear bras on dark colors but OK on silver, white or other light colors.

Any close-up pics out there with the clear bra (Xpel, Stongard, etc.) installed on a dark colored BMW such as Anthracite, dark blue or black?

Happy Thanksgiving!!!
RSH

M.Wong
11-25-2004, 01:45 PM
Photos are on my CarDomain sites, link below. (Click on the signature picture of the three cars.)

The link goes to the E38. On page one are a few pics of StonGard on Orient Blue.

On page four there is a link to the E39 site. On page three are a few more pics of StonGard on Sterling Gray.

http://memimage.cardomain.net/member_images/2/web/206000-206999/206524_193_full.jpg

Tahoe
11-29-2004, 05:57 PM
I have a 3M clear bra that I bought from BavAuto a little over a year ago on my Tit silver 540. It has done a wonderful job protecting the front of the car and is pretty invisable unless you look close. The edges do catch and hold wax so you have to run your fingernail and a rag along the edge a couple of time after waxing. The instructions say that the material can be removed easily from the original paint but it may lift paint from a repainted surface upon removal. I had a friend who also owns a body shop help me install the kit because the installation quote I got was more than double the cost of the kit itself and I figured that I could take it back off for the kit cost alone if I didn't like it. We did a pretty good job but if you look REALLY closely you can find a small wrinkle to the side of one kidney and a couple of finger prints in the same area where he didn't keep his hands wet enough. Now that I have lived with it for a while, and like it, I would recommend paying for a truly professional installation, especially if it is going on a repainted hood.

There was another brand of invisible bra being promoted at the vendor display area at O-Fest in Pasadina this year. They said that the 3M material will start to yellow after a period of time while theirs won't. They also said that the 3M product will filter out UV rays so that paint will not fade from the sun in the protected areas but will, of course, in unprotected areas. They said that is not really an issue for light colored cars but it could be for dark colors. They may have been just pitching their product, I don't know. I don't really see any yellowing or color differences but, as I said, my car is silver and it's only been a little over a year. I also try to keep it parked in the shade. I brought the flyer home with my but it got thrown out in a mass clean up so I don't have it any longer. There may be a way to find our what vendors were at O-fest if you want to investigate that stuff.