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Old 05-17-2001, 11:35 AM
Mervyn's Avatar
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Location: Singapore
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I have a 1983 W126 (280SEL). Having seen all the newer cars come with factory-fitted tinted glass, I'm thinking of getting some tinted film for a DIY job for all my front/rear windscreens and side windows. The dark look as well as the extra privacy it affords is really tempting. The upmarket brands (V-Kool, SunCool etc. are out since a complete installation cost at least USD$650).

My questions are:

1. Will these cheaper DIY films "trap" any harmful UV or infra-red rays inside the cabin? (since I do not suppose they have proper reflection properties)

2. Once I install the film, will it be permanent? If I choose to remove them in the future, will it damage the glass?

Need some advice on this, thanks in advance!

1983 W126 (280SEL)
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Old 05-17-2001, 11:42 AM
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Shop around - I've always got tint on my cars for $200-250, using top quality tint (3M, guaranteed for several years, etc.). Protects the interior and keeps the kids cool. A must.

The better films have UV protection, and do *not* need to be very dark to get intended effect. No limo tint on my rides, thank you.

I'd personally shy away from DIY on this, unless you really know what you're doing and have a lot of patience. Will not last nearly as long. I know it's a lot cheaper to DIY ....


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Old 05-17-2001, 11:52 AM
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Aftermarket tint (as well as factory) requires a bit of extra care...

It is prone to scratches (so NO decals, especially if you have to remove them later).

NEVER use Windex or any ammonia-based window cleaning product, or the tint will discolor (Sparkle, the purple stuff is fine).

I've seen some aftermarket tinted rear window develop bubbles near the electric defroster elements. This problem may/may not have been corrected with the latest technologies.

Check with local laws regarding the use of tint and the allowable tint percentage. I had limo tint in my VW show car a decade ago which was okay in Illinois, but was forced to remove them from the front windows upon residing in St. Louis.

If you change your mind about the tint later on, you can use a hair dryer to remove it completely without any residue.
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Old 05-17-2001, 12:08 PM
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Brian and Giulo,

Thanks for your prompt reply.

I've seen some rather nice limo tints in the magazines, but I guess I wont go with them. Our law here stipulates a minimum of 70% light penetration for the front windscreen, and 50% for the sides and rear. I'll probably go for 60% (front) and 40% (sides and rear).

Brian, yes, the DIY films cost soooo much cheaper than the upmarket ones, but I've found a place which charges USD$9 for labour for one window, using DIY films. So that probably comes to USD$54 for all six windows. I guess the cost (or rather, the lack of it!)is one big evil temptation to wanna buy DIY films.

Giulo, I've read about the effects of Windex in other similar posts, so I'll steer clear from it. I suppose a moist towel is suffice for cleaning the insides?

One question though, will my defroster lines on the rear window be affected if I do pull out (with the aid of a hair dryer) the film? I've read that lighter fluid is able to remove the remaning residue, but will the glass be like its original condition without any scratches/adhesive/hairline cracks?

Just wanna feel assured before I proceed.



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Old 05-17-2001, 12:27 PM
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Dont try it.....

It just so happens that I used to install window tint professionally, And I will tell you, Let the Shop do it for you! If you have never done it before, it is a HUGE chore.! It took me 1 month of training to get it right, (not to mention all the tint I wasted)....Let me tell you a fewthings about the Tint Job:
1) You have to be in a dust free enviroment to install it. No wind at all, And you have to clean each and every window with a razor blade(but dont use it on de-frosters). If your windows are not SPOTLESS, you will see every little dust,dirt..etc.. in it when you are done.
2) The best quality of Tint usually, is only found at the Tint places, The auto parts stores usually sells inferior tint. It is very thin and will not last. The tint places may sell you the tint, but be prepared to pay about $7-10.00 a foot. 3M is a good quality,if you can find it.
3) So now you have every thing spotless clean, and now you have to cut the tint to size, I cant tell you the times I have mis-cut the tint film, You have to make such a perfect cut, that one slip, and you just ruined that piece of tint.It takes 2-3 hours to do a whole car (depending on the car) It is so easy to make a mistake,its not really worth it to DIY, but if you must try, try a small window first.
4) Practice is the only way to get good at it..
5) I havent done it in about 4 years, But I am going to get my car done soon, And I am going to let them do it.!! There is just way to much room for error, and the more you do it, the better you get, I will let them do it. I checked prices around here (N.C.), and the going rate is around 225.00-275.00 for a 4 door and back glass.. If I had PLENTY of tint to use (without it costing me) I would do it myself.
5) As far as removal, your windows will be fine, tint does no damage to windows, But let me tell you, when you remove it, be prepared to remove ALOT of adhesive..If by chance the tint does rip off without leaving any, consider yourself very lucky...Good Luck.
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Old 05-17-2001, 02:14 PM
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Listen to Shagbenz! He really knows.
Before his very informative post, I still wouldn't recommend doing it.
It'll look like crap, to be blunt, if you try and do it yourself.
They're right, it's not that much more to have it professionally done.
I had every window in my C280 done (except the windshield)and it only cost about $260.

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Old 05-17-2001, 04:28 PM
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I can only join in the advice that you do not do this job yourself. I see so many boy racer cars (rice rockets??) with peeling window tint.

Also, you have to be uber careful not to scratch or tear the tint once applied (obviously it has to be on the inside). I started to remove the dealer sticker from the rear window of our Range Rover and ripped a 4 inch hole in the tint film. 200 ($290) to re-apply the tint.

I have heard mention of a dip solution which does not give rise to this risk. I think Mbenz had his W202 windows 30% blue tinted using this method.

Also, if your local law requires minimum 70% light penetration in the windscreen and 50% in the side glass, that means you can have a maximum 30% tint up front and 50% on the side. The figures you suggested would apparently be illegal. You may not be bothered, of course... (!)
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Old 05-17-2001, 07:30 PM
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Originally posted by jjrodger
I have heard mention of a dip solution which does not give rise to this risk. I think Mbenz had his W202 windows 30% blue tinted using this method.
That is right; I had it done by a company that coats the windows of all big shots and celebrities in the Netherlands. The coating is brought on the removed windows as a liquid and becomes as hard as glass (no stickers though).
You can shop around on the website to have a look at the possible stick-em-to your-window options, but I would not be satisfied by those kind of products.

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Old 05-17-2001, 08:02 PM
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Find out who the local dealer's use, and use them.

Also, if you want to keep the maximum heat and UV out, use a tint that is metallic (I think titanium) based.

It reflects more, but it sure keeps out the heat.

Good luck,

:-) neil
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Old 05-17-2001, 08:06 PM
Lim Lim is offline
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Why not driving your car up to KL, and get your car tinted in KL? For V-Kool (for all glass in the car), you are looking approx S$700.

Malaysia and Singapore are having the same law on tinting windows of the car. 70% on the windscreen, and 50% for the rest of the window.

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Old 05-18-2001, 01:18 AM
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Shagbenz, you can be sure you got me convinced after sharing your experiences. I guess you're in the best position to advise on this, and also to everyone who has given his 2 cents, thanks for the help!

Apologies for under-estimating the DIY nature for such a job, the 1-month training really wowed me!

David, I'm located in Singapore. Too bad I could not try out the shop where you'd done your tint if you were to recommend me one.

Jonathan, you must forgive me for letting slip the light transmission figures! I actually meant 80% for front and 60% for sides and rear. The idea being a 10% allowance above the minimum legal limit. It must be the late nights that caused me to fumble........

On another note, a friend of mine assured me that the traffic cops here in Singapore are more likely to target boy-racer cars (such as Civics, Lancers and CRXs) than luxury cars such as MB, even though both kind of cars have the same level of tint. It seems that MBs are less likely to incur the cops' wrath assuming modifications on both cars are about the same. That's one advantage of driving a MB, yea?

Lim, V-Kool for the entire car costs S$1200 here in Singapore for my W126! Thats a saving of S$500! Incredible, it sort of affirms my suspicion that most auto products and services in Malaysia is cheaper than in Singapore.

Ok, enough of a super long message. I will take into consideration all your comments, and one thing for sure, I'm gonna get the pros to do it for me!

Thanks again, cheers!

1983 W126 (280SEL)
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