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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello guys:
I am posting because I had the exterior Xpel installed on Tuesday and I had the Radar Detector, Dash Cam and tinting done today. I wanted to share with you my experience and the research I did to save you some time aggravation and if you need more information, at least point you in the right direction…Sorry for the length but it to help you all out…0:) (I posted pictures in the gallery under my Ghibli, Blue Emozione)


As you all know I started the XPel thread when I first started thinking about this product. I researched all the major brands, 3M, ventureshield Avery and Xpel. I will not repeat my findings; there are enough thread comments and reviews out there on line. I do suggest you review the You Tube videos on the testing, installation and maintenance of whichever film you choose.

As you know I picked the Xpel Ultimate self-healing film and I used an Xpel authorized installer from the Xpel website (not a self-proclaimed expert). This stuff is too expensive and too important to rely on an installer’s self-puffery or false advertising representations.

I did my research regarding the product, its self-healing ability, 10 year warranty, and found the installer that answered every “how to properly install ”question I asked based on countless You tube video and web based install sites.
I used Clear Cut Vehicle Coatings in Red Bank, NJ. ([email protected] or 732-687-5415) I asked every question as to the product, the install technique and Ohan Najarian was responsive, accommodating to my schedule and he did the install perfectly. (In fact when I took the car to the installer of the Radar Detector and Dash-cam, a company that installs 3M product, they commented on how they were impressed with how well Ohan did the install.) I highly recommend Ohan, so if you are in the market for the product, at least call him for a quote. His price was on par with every other installer and he did an excellent job. (For an extra charge, pick-up and delivery is available) He is a perfectionist so it took him all day to do my car because if he wasn’t happy with the way a section laid out or looked, he re-did the whole section. He was great, I am Xteremely (pun intended) pleased with the Xpel installation and would use Ohan again in a heartbeat.

Now a couple things you should note on the Xpel and your installer in an effort to save you time and aggravation later on:
1) The car was initially washed dried and clayed. No other product was applied before the Xpel. There is no need to opti -coat under the expel because both products are paint protection products;

2) Make sure the installer is capable of, AND has, use of an on-site plotter/cutter in which to download the patterns for the car and cut the film on site. If a pattern must be redone, they can do it on site;

3) Make sure your installer uses the bumper pattern WITHOUT precut parking sensor holes. This is KEY because the installer will have to stretch and manipulate the film in different areas to wrap it correctly. Patterns WITH the holes already cut out may, once stretched become misaligned with the holes;

4) Make sure your installer wraps the edges on the hood and fenders (top of fenders where hood meets fender cannot be wrapped so that is cut to the edge) doors and wheel wells. This secures the film properly on sensitive areas prone to pealing or abuse after washing and waxing;

5) If you do the doors, which I did, they are custom as there is no pattern for the doors. Now, even my installer said most (99%) people DO NOT do the doors. I explained that as to the doors, I am concerned with keying, scrapes and other scratches that occur in public places where I cannot park so far away. (I explained in previous posts I have to park wherever I can when at a courthouse or client office and don’t have the luxury of taking up a space ½ a mile away in a mall) It was well worth it to get the doors done for my use and expectations;

6) Do not worry if you see imperfections after the initial install. These ARE normal until the film cures (about 14 days in summer) Even the web reviews and You Tube videos refer to this. You will see small bubbles, streaks from the squeegee and what look like imperfections. Relax, they will go away once the film settles, dries underneath and the adhesive fully cures;

7) You cannot wash the car for 48 hours after install. Once on the car however, Xpel maintenance is EASY! You treat it as if there is nothing on it. You may wash and wax the car normally. However, because the Xpel is glossy and it’s a self-healing film, there is no need for buffing. In fact, if you do insist on a paste type wax and a buffing, make sure your detailer does NOT use high speed and/or high pressure because that may result in film burn. Xpel itself recommends a simple high quality spray wax with a micro fiber cloth as all you need for a mirror shine.


Next were the radar detector, Dash-cam and tint install. I did that at AutoImage in Freehold, NJ. Ask for Marc (732-683-1717 or go to AutoImage.com). They were very professional and did not try to oversell me on the tint. I elected to have the 3M Crystalline tint at 70%. This is the best tint bar none and let no one at a tint place tell you differently.

Again, research since April when I ordered the car led me to this choice for my desired purpose. The 3M Crystalline is specifically designed for superb heat dissipation and 99.99% UV protection of you and your leather. You ask at 70%, such a light amount why bother? Well our windows are already somewhat tinted from the factory and I did this not to darken the windows but rather to have the car kept cooler and to have UV protection against future leather damage. The 3M product will help you save your leather interior as it blocks 99.99% UV and keeps the interior cooler than other films.

This makes cooling the car more effective, ostensibly saving some fuel cost by making your AC condenser work easier to cool the car...it’s also recommended by the skin cancer experts for people with such concerns, issues or skin sensitivity. (WARNING: The laws in NJ on tinting are restrictive. Zero tints allowed on windshield OR front drivers and passenger roll down windows. Rear window and back seat windows allow any tint. Check your local laws before tinting).

As for the Radar and dash cam, the installer used the fuse box array to hard wire the detector and camera. They ran the wires through the plastic housing above the rear view mirror and as you can see in the pictures thus making the entire install look unobtrusive. The actual power regulator unit for the dash-cam (Power Magic Pro Plus Unit) is mounted under the dash behind the passenger black plastic panel next to the passenger’s calf (See picture with panel removed).

The installer was very positive about the entire process because, and you practical Ghibli owners will like this… the Chrysler Uconnect and similar access in the Maserati actually made installation of after-market stuff easier. Why? 1) Accessibility is easy and most importantly the rear view mirror parts are clips and snaps and; 2) familiarity with the electronics leads to predictability. The installers are used to seeing this set up and these electronics in American cars so there were no surprises. So as for you reviewers out there that criticized the Maserati use of Chrysler Parts Bin “Be Damned!”...this proves you are short sighted at the minimum….

Now all I have to do is address the stereo speakers….but there’s another thread on that…..

I am done with the add-ons (for now) and I am very pleased with the installation process. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. If you are in the area or you need similar installs, seriously consider these guys. I promise you I would not recommend people I do not trust with my own Ghibli…:D

Steve
 

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Great job on the radar, I'm going to show pic to my guy. In Las Vegas 70% is not appropriate. We did 20% and have no problem with vision. We used a nano-tech product that really upped the heat reduction from our previous 3M, it was 101 today! We also put a new uv product on windshield that is transparent but big uv protection. Our cars are the most exposed I have seen for awhile.We used Expel Ultimate on front and first third of hood and equivelent fenders. He folded under wherever possible. In our heat it set up really fast, threw in rear bumper below trunk lid. I can't believe how expensive this is back east, I paid $700 for paint protection and $500 for tint. I have RWD so I'm having calipers painted red for $400 done mobile, promised the wife at time of purchase,she was willing to get Q4 just for the painted calipers! $1600 after sale so far and I might do something to the sound if Maser doesn't, more than I've typically spent.Except for carbon license frame, have't touched my SLK55 at all.
 

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Super job Steve,

Love this post - Forum use as it is meant to be!

Can you clarify for us/add to the post what you did for paint protection on the rear of the bodywork?


DD


Envious - and counting down; still over 100 days for me
 
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Nice job, but about your pics... think people will like to see your car in combination with the blue calipers ;)you probably forgotten.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies.

As for the back of the car I have not done any Xpel. I plan on doing a liquid paint protection like opti coat for the rear and the roof.

As for the wheels, I posted them on another thread but will post here as the gallery only allows 10 photos to be uploaded. >:D

So here are my wheels....I'll post better ones when the sun comes back out.

Steve
 

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Steve,
What did you end up paying for the Xpel from Clear Cut Coatings? Did you do the front bumpers, full fenders, full hood, mirror covers, headlamps, all 4 doors, and interior leather treatment?
Thanks,
Rich
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey Rich
Yes I got the Xpel Ultimate on the front bumpers, full fenders, whole hood,mirrors, all four doors and head lamps I also had the leather treatment done. The entire process was $2,600 because the doors were custom done as there is no pattern for them. Basically 2/3 of the car is covered. The only areas not covered are the pillars, roof and rear of car. Ohan was honest about it and said the areas left undone are very low risk for chips and scratches. I may go back just to have the rear bumper done before the winter but that is for later.

Call Ohan and ask for an estimate for what you want done again, I did the doors which is usually out of the ordinary and I think that's why there aren't Xpel patterns for them. So if you don't do the doors your price will be lower than mine.

Steve
 

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hi steve, great job, did someone know where ca i get the dash-cam here in fort lauderdale fl? and sorry for my cuestion, the dash cam for what's for? security?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Final results

Ok this should be the last installment on the Xpel and the coatings and after market things I did to the car outside the dealer offered services. My total costs for the Xpel and application, the leather treatment, tinting for the rear windows and front and rear side windows, the Escort Passport Max radar detector and Blackvue HD wifi dash cam and their installations was $3,821. Well below what the dealer wanted for the Xpel installation alone!!!:D

Today, Daniel Coyle of Apex Detailing did the leather treatment on the car. He came to my home from Newark, NJ to apply the treatment on my interior leather. He cleaned the leather and then used the Gtechniq L1 leather guard and applied it to EVERY leather surface in the car. It looks great, and best of all will last one year before I need to reapply.

As for cleaning, EASY, only use the warmest water you can handle and wipe with a micro fiber cloth. Do not use any other chemicals to clean. You may use some conditioners later but to clean, only water and the cloth.

Now I hired Dan to simply do the leather treatment. However, he did something that just exudes customer service and he did something that made me a client with him for the life of the car. As I said, he came to me (more on that later). As he pulled up I was beginning to prepare to do my first wash and wax with the Xpel in the car. I bought Griots spray wax and speed detail. I also bought the appropriate cloths. Dan took it upon himself to instruct me on the proper way to wash and apply the wax on the car.

I hooked up my power washer and Dan used his chemicals and tools and showed me step by step how to prewash, foam, wash, dry (he used my leaf blower to dry the car!) and apply the wax to the car. He didn't have to do any of that but went way beyond to educate me. I have a new found respect for the detail detailers go through to keep our babies looking so good.

Now Dan services car collectors and owners all over the country he will come to you wherever you may be so if you want your car to look as good as it can I recommend him highly. He will travel all over New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. I posted the before and after of my car on here. ( I can't for some reason paste more than one picture at a time so forgive me for adding a couple posts.) you may reach him at theapexdetail.com or 1-201-308-3839 or cell at 1-917-545-0645.

Again I want to make it perfectly clear, I research stuff to the Nth degree and I won't recommend anyone I wouldn't use myself. I researched my Xpel product, the installer, the leather treatment based on what some of you all wrote on this site, and other detail and exotic car sites and I looked up the professionals that would do the work. (I understand the service industry and the fact that there are a lot of people claiming to be experts. Heck,I am an attorney and depend on a client's ultimate satisfaction of their result in order to put food on my table so I wouldn't do work for a client I wasn't an expert at and I expect people to look up my experience before they hire my firm, if I didn't I'd be an out of work lawyer.)>:D

It cannot hurt to call and ask him about his services, whether you use him or not, he is a great guy willing to share information on the products out there.

Below is the before picture of my car taken before Dan taught and assisted me in washing and waxing the car....next post will be the after...;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Here is the same angle AFTER Dan's work on the car while he taught me how to wash and wax properly...:D

You can see the clouds...:nerd:

I wish you all the best of luck with whatever you choose to do to your cars. I only hope these posts shed a little light on a few of the many different products out there so you don't have to recreate the wheel...

And if you do choose to use some of these products, or find other brands that may serve you better, here are at least a couple service providers to contact so you can compare products, interview providers and negotiate the best services at the best prices you yourselves can arrange. I believe that these cars, perhaps next to our homes are the most significant investments dollar wise we can make, so it's important to protect them...at least I am not going out to buy another $80,000 automobile any time soon:crying:

Steve
 

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Finally i saw this post by you Steve... :)
 

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I believe that these cars, perhaps next to our homes are the most significant investments dollar wise we can make, so it's important to protect them...at least I am not going out to buy another $80,000 automobile any time soon:crying:

Steve[/QUOTE]



Wait until you get involved with BOATS!
 

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Steve - Car really looks great. Glad you found someone to help guide your path on how to take care of your care and keep it looking brand new (better than new). I too was fortunate with finding a local detailer (Ken at All Shine) who did an outstanding job for me and always there to answer my questions. Interesting the GTechniq package I got included a 7 year warranty on all treated surfaces including the leather seating areas.

I now have my garage full of detailing/cleaning supplies, foam soap cannon, air blowers, pressure washer, indoor car cover (which is like silk pajama's), battery tender plug-in and heat so the Ghibli doesn't get cold over the winter.:)
 

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I forgot all about the video they did of my car being detailed ... Ken posted this video which shows the detail these guys go through when working on your car.

 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
BeerGuy

Nice video. I too bought a garage full of soaps, waxes, cleaners, microfiber cloths and even a foam lance for the power washer that shoots the foamy soap like a snow storm. :D

I just had the final Xpel installed yesterday. I had the rear bumper done and the rocker panel on the rear door and the front of the wheel well. I should be fully protected against rock chips, salt, stones and even vandals. The only areas now unwrapped are the trunk, roof and pillars. You all can see it July 12. ;)

I have found, and the pictures I posted show it, that if properly washed and spray waxed, the Xpel shines like treated paint. Next I need a car dryer but that I have to get that toy without the wife seeing that...>:D

I am very pleased with the Xpel and I had my first test of it last Friday evening.

I had a charity event dinner where the car was valet parked. Somehow, the valet scratched the side of the mirror by either rubbing or scraping something against it. I noticed it the next day, applied some hot water and a little hair dryer heat and...scratch and rub gone!!!

That feeling alone made the entire install worth it because now I know any other vulnerable area with a small scratch or mark will come clean. ;)

Steve
 

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I would love to see it on your car Steve, and then looking to get the same thing done... soon.
 
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Excellent job done... by the way how much did it cost you..

Here is what was on the statement for 19.5 hours of work ($725 + 6% tax):
Full Wash
Clean engine bay
Apply plastic protectant to plastic pieces in engine
Single stage paint correction (5hrs)
prep for coating
Coat with C1 Crystal Lacquer
Coat with 2 coats of EXO2
Remove wheels / Clean and coat faces and barrels with C5 Wheel Armor
Clean and coat all 4 brake calipers with C5 Wheel Armor
Apply exterior glass coating
Apply C4 Trim protection to exterior plastic moldings
Vacuum interior
Apply fabric protectant to carpet flooring and both sets of floor mats (including trunk)
Apply Leather Guard to all leather surfaces
Wipe down all plastic surfaces
Apply water based, satin finish tire dressing
 
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