About a month ago I took an experimental run at applying some 3M-like clear bra paint protection film to the side panel covers on Blue. These are the custom-painted, plastic panels that Miss Debbie’s lower leg and western boots rub up against when we’re out riding. Not surprisingly, some of her more fashionable boots have various types of decorations on the shafts that have left some pretty good scuff marks on the paint.
As mentioned in the previous blog entry, I went ahead and buffed those out and applied some clear bra film over the part of each cover where her boots made contact. As suspected, the material that I had on hand was not the best in the world and some of the blems that appeared in the film after applying it to the left side panel cover simply wouldn’t go away.
Having seen how the film worked, I went ahead and ordered a 12″ x 24″ sheet of the “real deal,” 3M’s StoneGuard film, off of eBay for $16. Wow, what a difference. This is the stuff you’d want if you were going to do something to protect the paint on your Harley hard-bagger instead of that pre-cut junk they sell for $79.
Making the template for the piece of film was pretty straight forward. I used a clear Ziploc freezer bag to create the original blackline template, and then transferred that to a piece of heavier paper stock that I trimmed as my actual template. That was used to create the cut lines on the 3M material and in about 5 minutes from start to finish I had my left hand side-panel cover.
I used a small spray bottled filled with a water and a dab of Palmolive dish liquid to “lube-up” the part and both sides of the 3M film, positioned it to align with the pinstripe and then squeegeed the film to remove the water. The result was amazing; as clear as glass. It was a dead nuts match to the small piece of film that was applied to another part of the side panel by Harley during assembly, so it’s pretty clear that they know the difference between the “good stuff” they use and the “no so good stuff” they sell in kits to protect saddlebag lids.
I would note, the 3M material will definitely show scuffs and scrapes over time, but removing “the damage” takes all of a minute: just peel off the 3M film and cut another piece from the 12″ x 24″ sheet. There’s enough remaining material in that sheet of 3M film to make at least another 5 sets of side panel covers. Great stuff and definitely what I’d use to protect my saddlebags if I was so inclined.