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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Cosmetic and Lighting Modifications (exterior/interior) > Smoking Brakelights - VHT or Sheet Tint



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      10-28-2012, 10:02 PM   #1
DiscoMike
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Smoking Brakelights - VHT or Sheet Tint

Has anyone tinted the covershield on their taillights?

If so, what do you think is the best way to go - using VHT Night Shades or using a darkened Tint Sheet - which would be easy to peel?

Going with the VHT, the results would be spectacular if you sand with 2000 grit sandpaper, applying clearcoat after the VHT and finishing the job with compound and lots of rubbing. The caveat is to remove the covershield from the vehicle. Is this easy to remove from a 2009 E92? No way would I perform this job without removing the coversheild from the car.

I plan not to tint the reverse headlights.

Thoughts anyone?
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      10-28-2012, 10:23 PM   #2
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Rear headlight covershield? Reverse headlights? Man, where did you pick these terms up from? Let me help your naming convention...

The lights in the back of the car are the taillights. The taillights are the entire assembly which include the brake lights, rear running lights, reverse lights, turn signals, and (euro option) rear fog lights. The only headlights on your car are in the front.

Now when you're talking about removing the "covershield", I assume you're talking about the actual whole plastic taillight assembly. Yes, it's very easy to remove them on the e92. All you have to do is go in your trunk and remove the grey carpet covers to get access to the nuts holding the lights in place. You can pop the covers for the outer lights very easily without any special tools. To get to the tail light pieces on the trunk, you'll need to pop out all of the little push-locks that hold the grey liner to your inner trunk lid.

Once they're removed, there are a total of 8 nuts holding all of the pieces in place, 3 on each outer piece, and 1 on each trunk-mounted piece. Just unlplug the wiring harnesses and bulb mounts on each piece and unbolt the nuts and you're good to go.

As for which would look better, yea doing a professional job with VHT and clearcoat might look better, but I'd personally do Lamin-X tint, i f anything, because I wouldn't want to irreversably mod my taillights. Especially considering how hit and miss this mod is with people.

Last edited by stopper; 10-28-2012 at 11:09 PM.
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      10-28-2012, 10:31 PM   #3
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Thanks much. I will look into this next weekend.

I have my car parked in a (hopefully) safe location in an attempt to shield it from the upcoming "festivities" that Sandy promises.

Have you tried smoking your taillights? If so, what did you use and what were your results?
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      10-28-2012, 11:09 PM   #4
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Yep, I did it with Lamin-X film. I used the lightest they make just called "Tint" (not "Gunsmoke", "Charcoal", etc). I think it is 6% tint, so 94% light transmission.

I personally would not go darker as I'm not a fan of the smoked or "murdered" tail light look. I think it cheapens the look of the car, but that's just me. I wanted something just to make the red a richer, darker ruby color and I think it came out perfectly.

I'm not going to lie, the Lamin-X was a pain in the ass to get on and I never got the edges perfectly, but after a week or so, all the bubbles worked their way out and unless you're inspecting it from 6 inches away, you'd never know there was film on it (aside from the color). Also, I cut out the tinted film on the clear sections of the taillights (turn signals and reverse lights).
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      10-29-2012, 03:13 AM   #5
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^ that's very nice
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      10-29-2012, 11:10 AM   #6
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I put a vinyl "stretchable" film on mine...I went pretty dark with it...If I get some time later I'll post pics...to be completely honest though I really don't like it...a lighter tint would have been better...I'm just too lazy to peel it and put on a lighter shade...I guess thats what I get for buying garbage from e-bay...oh well
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      10-29-2012, 12:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stopper View Post
Yep, I did it with Lamin-X film. I used the lightest they make just called "Tint" (not "Gunsmoke", "Charcoal", etc). I think it is 6% tint, so 94% light transmission.

I personally would not go darker as I'm not a fan of the smoked or "murdered" tail light look. I think it cheapens the look of the car, but that's just me. I wanted something just to make the red a richer, darker ruby color and I think it came out perfectly.

I'm not going to lie, the Lamin-X was a pain in the ass to get on and I never got the edges perfectly, but after a week or so, all the bubbles worked their way out and unless you're inspecting it from 6 inches away, you'd never know there was film on it (aside from the color). Also, I cut out the tinted film on the clear sections of the taillights (turn signals and reverse lights).
LOVE it! Will be doing to my AW E92 335 as well!
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      10-30-2012, 01:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trimtab81 View Post
I put a vinyl "stretchable" film on mine...I went pretty dark with it...If I get some time later I'll post pics...to be completely honest though I really don't like it...a lighter tint would have been better...I'm just too lazy to peel it and put on a lighter shade...I guess thats what I get for buying garbage from e-bay...oh well
What did you get so that we know what to avoid?

Love to see pics.
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      10-30-2012, 02:00 PM   #9
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Never understood this. If I ever rear end a guy with tinted tail lights I'm pretty sure I'd win. You guys are just asking for trouble all in the name of vanity.
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      10-30-2012, 03:12 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by 335BBS View Post
Never understood this. If I ever rear end a guy with tinted tail lights I'm pretty sure I'd win. You guys are just asking for trouble all in the name of vanity.
If the taillight cannot penetrate its outer tinted skin, or a headlight cannot penetrate another drivers brakelight with tinted skin to see the reflector, I could see what your are saying. That would be a case where the tinting application was applied with excessive darkness. That is something I (and I am sure most others who are into tinting) would never do. I would like to give my taillights some tinting, maybe a tad darker from the picture you see above from forum member stopper - nice pic of how you used your tinting application properly on your taillights.
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      10-30-2012, 05:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiscoMike View Post
If the brakelight cannot penetrate from the outer tinted skin, or a headlight cannot penetrate the tinted skin of ones brakelight to see the reflector, I could see that. That would be a case where an application that was applied with excessive darkness. That is something I (and I am sure most others who are into tinting) would never do. I would like to give my taillights some tinting, maybe a tad darker from the picture you see above from forum member stopper - nice pic of how you used your tinting application properly.
i have nothing against people who dont speak english fluently, as I have some friends that dont.... but dood. do you write stuff out in google translate and then post???
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      10-31-2012, 05:21 AM   #12
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I just hit my sidemarkers with vht. That shit is awful. Each coat the spray would bead together and come out blotchy. I did about 6 extremely light coat, then 4 light clears and wetsanded then polished and then waxed. They look great from afar. But up close you can still see the blotchiness. I would never spray this stuff on a bmws tail lights.... No effing way.

And yes I prepped with cleaning the markers, sanding them, cleaning them in preparation for paint.

I say do the tint film. Much easier and more easily reversed. But if you want spray stuff, look into pactra hobby paint. I read that stuff is great. They make paint for rc cars and offer a window tint type spray paint. I think it would work great on tail lights. Much better than vht at least.
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      11-01-2012, 07:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stopper View Post
Yep, I did it with Lamin-X film. I used the lightest they make just called "Tint" (not "Gunsmoke", "Charcoal", etc). I think it is 6% tint, so 94% light transmission.

I personally would not go darker as I'm not a fan of the smoked or "murdered" tail light look. I think it cheapens the look of the car, but that's just me. I wanted something just to make the red a richer, darker ruby color and I think it came out perfectly.

I'm not going to lie, the Lamin-X was a pain in the ass to get on and I never got the edges perfectly, but after a week or so, all the bubbles worked their way out and unless you're inspecting it from 6 inches away, you'd never know there was film on it (aside from the color). Also, I cut out the tinted film on the clear sections of the taillights (turn signals and reverse lights).


Thank you thank you thank you,

I have had the lamin x "tint" for a few months now, awaiting installation bc I was searching for a pic of the color.

Thanks for posting!

What did you do to remove the clear...just xacto knife it on the lens?
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      11-01-2012, 07:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taibanl View Post
What did you do to remove the clear...just xacto knife it on the lens?
Hey thanks man, no prob. When I was looking to install it, I was never able to find anyone with a picture of the lightest shade from LaminX either.

Cutting out the turn signals and reverse lights was actually surprisingly easy. Just like you said, I did it with an exacto knife once the tint was on the lights. I let the tint "cure" for a couple days so the water evaporated underneath, before cutting them. If you feel the exterior your taillights, there are actually very light channels along the outlines of both of those sections, so I just slowly ran the razor blade along them and they cut out perfectly.
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      11-01-2012, 09:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blindside_137 View Post
I just hit my sidemarkers with vht. That shit is awful.
Thanks for the advice. I was tinkering with the thought of VHT after seeing the Youtube Video.

With Stoppers pics I am thinking of going the way he went. It is expensive though - $50+ for just the back. But since Stopper is happy, it is money well spent.
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      11-01-2012, 10:10 PM   #16
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ya know.... plastidip now has a "smoke" color lol

and then glossifier as well.
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      11-01-2012, 10:17 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stopper
Quote:
Originally Posted by taibanl View Post
What did you do to remove the clear...just xacto knife it on the lens?
Hey thanks man, no prob. When I was looking to install it, I was never able to find anyone with a picture of the lightest shade from LaminX either.

Cutting out the turn signals and reverse lights was actually surprisingly easy. Just like you said, I did it with an exacto knife once the tint was on the lights. I let the tint "cure" for a couple days so the water evaporated underneath, before cutting them. If you feel the exterior your taillights, there are actually very light channels along the outlines of both of those sections, so I just slowly ran the razor blade along them and they cut out perfectly.
Stopper.

One more thing:

In the pic the near side light looks perfect. Basically a deeper color version of OEM. The far side (off angle) does come out significantly dark with a tint appearance in the pic.

How accurate do you feel this is? My ultimate goal is a bit deeper darker color but dont really want anybody to "realize" its tinted.
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      11-01-2012, 11:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taibanl View Post
Stopper.

One more thing:

In the pic the near side light looks perfect. Basically a deeper color version of OEM. The far side (off angle) does come out significantly dark with a tint appearance in the pic.

How accurate do you feel this is? My ultimate goal is a bit deeper darker color but dont really want anybody to "realize" its tinted.
I have this exact concern as well.
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      11-03-2012, 11:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taibanl View Post
Stopper.

One more thing:

In the pic the near side light looks perfect. Basically a deeper color version of OEM. The far side (off angle) does come out significantly dark with a tint appearance in the pic.

How accurate do you feel this is? My ultimate goal is a bit deeper darker color but dont really want anybody to "realize" its tinted.
Quote:
Originally Posted by QBimmer View Post
I have this exact concern as well.
That picture is really just an optical trick from the sharp angle the far taillight is being viewed from. The same thing happens with any semi-translucent material. From lower angles, there is more material for light to pass through so it looks darker. It never really appears that dark in the real world.

Here's a couple more pictures just to give you an idea. The first one is in a parking lot, late on a cloudy day. As you can see, even with tint, the lights are not noticably "aftermarket darkness" compared to many other oem taillights. The stock red from our unmodified lights is probably closest to to red in the VW Beetle on the far left. The second picture just shows the lights on with the tint, clearly not a visibility issue there.
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      11-03-2012, 11:47 PM   #20
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You da man
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      11-04-2012, 09:06 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stopper View Post
Yep, I did it with Lamin-X film. I used the lightest they make just called "Tint" (not "Gunsmoke", "Charcoal", etc). I think it is 6% tint, so 94% light transmission.

I personally would not go darker as I'm not a fan of the smoked or "murdered" tail light look. I think it cheapens the look of the car, but that's just me. I wanted something just to make the red a richer, darker ruby color and I think it came out perfectly.

I'm not going to lie, the Lamin-X was a pain in the ass to get on and I never got the edges perfectly, but after a week or so, all the bubbles worked their way out and unless you're inspecting it from 6 inches away, you'd never know there was film on it (aside from the color). Also, I cut out the tinted film on the clear sections of the taillights (turn signals and reverse lights).
Very well done
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