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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This writeup is copied from the BayAreaPrelude.com write up (written by me, some photos & info by FiveTenSH and natcc99). Feel free to reproduce this article but please include a link to this or the Bay Area Prelude thread.

Background:
I recently bought a nice base 5th gen with tinted windows. Most of the driving I do is late at night, and so tint doesn't help me much when I'm driving. (I know it looks better, protects from the UV rays, etc., but I'm blind as a bat when it comes when it comes to things in my rear-view) I was also having reception problems with my stock radio, and many people had said that this was the likely culprit (it was). So I decided to remove the profesionally installed tint the previous owner had installed. After calling several tint shops and getting a quote of $140 to get the 5 window (2 doors, 2 rear quarters, and rear window) tint removed I decided there had to be a better way. I did some research online and prepared myself for a messy painful process. Eventually I found Tint Removers (tintremovers.com), and they patiently explained to me part of their specialized process. It turned out to be easy, so easy I figured I'd write it up for you.

The advantages of this method are that you do not need to cut the tint off at all (no razorblades = no mess) and so it is safe on your rear window without any fear of messing up your rear defroster or antenna lines.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a cheap clothes steamer on sale at walgreens for $12.99 to stay stylish, and I figured it just might do the trick on my tint too. Apparently, I got quite the deal, when looking for examples for this write up they were all about $25-$30. If you want to find a deal, you might try Ross or Tuesday Morning, or another place like that.

Here are some examples of fabric steamers (pictures at the bottom):
Sears: Conair GS16 Hand Held Fabric Steamer $22.49 (on sale)
Target: SteamFast Compact Fabric Steamer - SF-435B $24.99
Walmart: Conair Portable Garment Steamer $29.93
Walgreens: Conair Compact Fabric Steamer $29.99

General idea:
The goal here is to steam the window and tint so much that the glue releases itself from the window. Then all you have to do is slowly pull the tint off of the window (as you continue to steam) and the glue comes with it - no mess!

Supplies:
* Cheap clothing steamer (hey, it works on your clothes too!)
* Long extension cord
* Bottle or cup of water (so you don't have to go inside to refill the steamer every 10 min)
* Some rags
* Windex
* 6 pack of beer & a good CD (to keep you entertained while steaming the windows)

Steps:
1) Run an extension cord out to your car with plenty left over to reach inside.
2) Fill the steamer up with water, plug it in, and start it steaming (it takes a few sec. to get hot)
3) Open the moon roof, and windows of the car (to let steam out)
4) Turn on your stereo & crack open a beer

Start on one of the small rear pannels (who cares about them anyhow)
5) Pass the steamer into the car through an open window (you can open the door, but then the door chime will go continously while you're listen to music
6) Look closely around the edge of the window you're working on. You should be able to see the edge of the tint on top of the glass. Once you've found a corner where you can see the tint that is the corner you should start on. (sometimes it will continue just under the trim on one side, start on a different side)
7) Steam away! (don't worry that the molding will get wet, just put down your beer and wipe it with your free hand, or just drink your beer)
Start steaming that area. Hold the steamer there for probably a minute or so, just on that corner. Hold the steamer anywhere from 1/2" to 2" away from the glass, and steam the corner and the 4" or so around the corner.
8) Once you've steamed the hell out of the window, Carefully pick at the corner with your fingernail. If it isn't easy to move the tint a little with your fingernail steam some more (do not use a razorblade!) you do not need it, if it doesn't come up, just steam some more.
9) Keep steaming and then picking at it a little bit, until you have enough tint pulled up that you can pull it with your fingers.
10) Gently keep pulling, or if it does not come up easily, fold the bit you've pulled up under, so it doesn't stick again and keep steaming. As I pulled I was worried that I was going to pull the frit (black border around glass) off, but if you look outside the frit continues much farther than you can see inside & it didn't come off at all.
11) Keep steaming. Do not pull hard! If you pull hard you'll either break the tint and have to start all over, or the whole sheet of tint will come off leaving all of the glue!!!! You don't want this, you want to bring the glue off with both layers of the tint, so go slowly.
12) steam back and forth along the edge you're pulling up. Slowly steam and pull (lightly, more steam = easier to pull) as you go along the window.
13) As you get to the end slow down. If you pull hard at the end you will pull the tint sheet off without bringing the glue with it, then you will have to steam the glue left in the corner and rub it off with a towel (annoying).
14) After the whole sheet is off steam the whole untinted window to see if there is still any glue on the window (it will look like a thin film) If there is glue, wipe it off by taking a clean towel and pressing hard as you wipe. This way the glue will stick to the towel and come off. If you press too lightly the gule will ball up and fall inside your car, or smear across the window.
15) Wipe the window and molding dry.
16) Clean the window with Windex (why not, you're already right there).
17) Open next beer & proceed to next window.

When you get to the rear window: (you should have practiced by doing the two small side windows first)
* If your car has an interior 3rd rear break light, remove it (on 5th gen preludes remove this light by pushing it towards the back window, and then pulling up. Disconnect the light, and store it in the front seat.
* If your car's rear seats fold down, fold them down so you have more room in the back window area.
* It is important to go super slowly so that you do not damage your rear defroster lines or your antenna (in 5th gen preludes and many other cars the antenna is the top few lines in the rear window).
* Find a top corner where you can see the tint, and start steaming.
* Pull the tint diagonally towards the middle back of the car.
* It is a little hard to steam the bottom edge, so just take your time. You don't want to mess up and have to clean glue from down there!
* Once you've gotten the tint coming off, and are about 1/2 way done, start pulling the bottom before the top so that you will finish in the top corner, not the bottom corner.
* When you've sucessfully pulled this huge tint off in one piece without leaving glue behind, celebrate by having an extra beer.

When you get to the side windows that roll down (drivers and passengers): (you should have practiced by doing the two small side windows first)
* Remove the door pannel and any weather stripping until you can see the entire piece of tint on the glass (likely goes to about 1" above the bolts).
* For instructions on how to remove a 5th gen door pannel see http://www.handaaccessories.com/prelude/preludeinteriortrim.pdf (Thanks hot_97_lude!) or follow these (copied from natcc99 post here)
a.) Remove the screw that is hidden behind the cap located at the door handle.
b.) Pull the door handle and tweeter unit out and disconnect all the wires.
c.) Unhook the door handle metal rod with a flat head screw driver
d.) Pull off the speaker cover. (There are hooks located closest to the door's edge. The other end are held by snaps.)
e.) Once the speaker cover is off, remove the THREE screws located around the speaker.
f.) Remove the screw that is hidden under the cap located inside the handle used for closing the door.
g.) Remove the small plastic cap located at the upper corner near the door's hinge.
h.) Lastly, grab the door panel from below and carefully pry the door loose.
i.) Finish off by pulling up to unhook it from the window's edge and disconnect any remaining wires.
If you need to, you can completly remove the window from the car by doing the following:
a.) Roll the window about 95% down.
b.) Remove the plastic weather covering by using a heat gun to loosen up the glue. Once the area is warm, pull the covering to reveal the bolt as shown in the picture above.
c.) Remove the bolts, BUT be careful not to drop the window!!!
d.) Carefully lift the window upwards. When the window is half way up, tilt the back of the window up and pull it out of the rear tracks.
e.) Continue to carefully pull the window up until it is off the car.
f.) Lay the windows on some soft towels, as shown below.
Once you can access all of the tint on the window, you can go ahead and steam and remove the tint as you did above.

Tips:
* DO NOT RUSH - it isn't worth it. If you pull the whole sheet off you will have to steam the glue separately and it makes a mess, is annoying, and makes hair grow on your palms.
* Listen to music/talk on the phone/drink beer - why not?
* If you do pull too fast or some glue remains steam the hell out of it (15-45 sec) and rub it with a clean towel. It will ball up into yellow balls that are not very sticky. Wipe them off by pushing on a towel and wiping it hard (otherwise you'll just smear the glue around). It isn't too hard, just use a clean towel & don't rush..... Have I mentioned not rushing yet?
* Wipe off the condensation on the molding around the windows, but don't worry about it. It will be fine.
* DO NOT USE RAZOR BLADES, if you have to use a razor you're not doing it right and are going to ruin your defrosters & antenna (not to mention make a mess)

Thanks for reading. Best of luck, feel free to PM me your questions or post your success stories :) (feel free to add rep points too)

- novegi

My tint steamer (it also removes wrinkles from my clothes so I can impress all the girlies):


Example steamer at walgreens:


Car before:


Car after:

JK, nice car though :D
 

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i think theres one thing you overlooked while writing this. if you are a small guy who doesnt have a great alcohol tolerence, you either have to do the removal in two parts on seperate days, or drink half the amount of beer.

5 cans of beer + steam cleaner = 3rd degree burns
 

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Nice. I'm gonna have to do this, since my tint is all bubbly in the back. And it's that wierd purple tint. Can't see shit out my back window.
 

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I have a good question about this....does the temperature outside have any effect on this? I heard it needs to be above 60 degrees I believe..or with this process does it matter??
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have a good question about this....does the temperature outside have any effect on this? I heard it needs to be above 60 degrees I believe..or with this process does it matter??
Great question. When I did it we were having a cold spell and it was in the 50s or maybe even the 40s. I think the warmer the better, but in the end you'll just have to use either a larger steamer or more time. what is important is that you get it hot enough to melt the glue on the inside of the window. I wouldn't do this if it is cold enough to have ice on the other side for example, stay above 40 deg or so, and I think you're cool.

Give it a try & let us know.
 

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there is another cheaper way... take black garbage bags and cut them so they are in big sheets and spray soapy water on the inside of the glass and use the bags as if they were tint... take the car outside when its hot out or just put a heat lamp on the outside of the glass for about 30 mins or so and then pull the bags off and peal the tint...and then to get the rest of the glue off just use some rubbing alcohol and water mix with a flat blade it will come off with no issues...thats what ive seen and it works awesome!
 

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there is another cheaper way... take black garbage bags and cut them so they are in big sheets and spray soapy water on the inside of the glass and use the bags as if they were tint... take the car outside when its hot out or just put a heat lamp on the outside of the glass for about 30 mins or so and then pull the bags off and peal the tint...and then to get the rest of the glue off just use some rubbing alcohol and water mix with a flat blade it will come off with no issues...thats what ive seen and it works awesome!
yea. this involves heat... like in the summer.
i have seen the heat lamp trick and it did not work worth a damn but it may not of been powerful enough.

the steaming trick should work just as well and not be as messy.
so i should be able to do this within a few weeks instead of a few months :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Finally someone brings up the other often touted way of doing this:
there is another cheaper way... take black garbage bags and cut them so they are in big sheets and spray soapy water on the inside of the glass and use the bags as if they were tint... take the car outside when its hot out or just put a heat lamp on the outside of the glass for about 30 mins or so and then pull the bags off and peal the tint...and then to get the rest of the glue off just use some rubbing alcohol and water mix with a flat blade it will come off with no issues...thats what ive seen and it works awesome!
This is definitely cheaper, and how most people online have recommended removing tint. (for more complete instructions just google "remove tint")

The problem with this method is the likelyhood of messing up. If you make a mistake you could ruin your rear defogger, antenna, or scratch your glass.

This method can also be really messy. With the method described above the only mess is steam on the inside of your car and possibly some small balls of non-sticky glue.

We are talking about the difference of $25-$30 for a clothes steamer that you can use and return if you want, or use later to clean your car (it works great at removing oil & dirt buildup on armrests etc.), and on your clothes versus a bunch of garbage bags, soap, & razor blades that cost a few bucks and the possibility of a huge mess & the risk of messing up your car.

Uncle Buck brigns up a good point. If you're interested in the uber-cheap method, there are plenty of writeups on how to do this. It has its merrits (price), and should be considered if that is your main goal.

Happy tint removal, however you do it.

- novegi
 

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Shit, i wish I would have known this a couple days earlier. I've been scrapping off my tint with a razorblade and ammonia. Well, at least I found this out before I tackled that rear window, thanks for the info.
 

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I've also heard that spraying the windows down with amonia, and then putting a black bag against the window while it dries is the quickest way to do so. My father does mobile tinting as a side job and he scraps it off....I'ma have to school him!
 

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Man, i wish the morons at the tint shop had read this before they took the tint off my car...(the previous owner had to take the tint off before it would pass MD inspection). I have huge scratches all down my windows, especially the front passenger window.

The ass didn't even knock anything off the original price...:jehon:


By the way...does removing your window tint automatically upgrade your wheels and tires and clear your side markers too? HAHA:tongue:
 
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