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Stongard (was RE: BRA FOR A4?)
As you probably know, stongard makes two "packages" for the A4. After
looking at what the two covered, I decided that it made sense to get the
more complete kit, if I was going to do it at all. I would STRONGLY
recommend that you have professionals apply it, it does not look easy to
get all the air bubbles out. My cost was $450, and that included the
labor to apply the stuff, by the people at the local (Bellevue, WA --
just east of Seattle) shop. This also included getting the lights done
too, which is also an extremely good idea. The only drawback about
having stongard on the lights is that they need to be hand cleaned more
often. Dirt just sticks better and forms a film on the stongard more
easily than on the lens of the light. I did some test right before and
after the stongard was applied to the lights, and I couldnt tell any
differences, but I was using my eye on two seperate occasions. ymmv.
I learned about stongard from a very rich microsoft co-worker who owns
~16 cars. Several of the cars (including a ferrari 355, which I saw and
got to ride in!!) have had stongard applied. He lives to race his cars
and having seen him use the stuff on $$ cars helped me feel more
confident about getting it.
Its really hard to see its there. The darker the color of the paint, the
harder it is to tell. Metallic colors hide stongard esp. well, because
you look through the film, and see the metallic reflection. This was
probably the biggest issue for me, since I have a white car. I dropped
by the Stongard shop, and the owner had the stuff on his fairly bright
yellow porsche, and it looked GREAT. I would recommend you stop by your
local stongard shop and ask to see several real-life examples. On my
white car, even when it is slightly dirty, you can not see the stongard
until you get ~1 meter away. I showed it to several friends and they
said "you paid $400 for that? theres nothing there!" :-) The edges, of
course, are the only way you can tell its there. And when I have just
washed my car, you literally need to be 2 feet away to tell its there.
Again, I'm sure the local stongard place can show you photos, if not a
real-life example, and that is the best advice I can give.
The visible edges on the car look great, but the edges underneath on the
lower valance are my only misgivings about stongard (or at least how it
was applied to my A4). The stuff is bonded to the paint, and it aint
comming off, but I think that the people who installed it on mine could
have done a better job making sure that the top edges on the lowest
body-colored part were better sealed. (this is around the air intake
openings on the lower front valence). The body curves around going from
perpendicular to the ground to parallel to the ground (its the part of
the car right before the black slotted vents at the very bottom in
front). The edge there didnt seat completely in a few spots, because it
was wrapping around from perpendicular to the ground to horizontal to
it, but, hey, you have to lie down on the ground and stick your head 2"
away from the front to see any of this, so I let it slip.
As far as peeling up, if it was applied correctly, that will NEVER
happen. When applying this stuff, the apply a layer of bonding material
(its a liquid) and then lay down the clear stongard film (made by 3M of
post-it-note fame), and then squeegie is used to get rid of the excess
liquid and make sure no air bubbles are trapped. Once it dries, its not
I spoke with the dealer where I bought the car (Barrier porsche audi
lamborghini, etc...) and he said the stuff on the rear wheel arches of
the 911 series porsches was also made by 3M, but it was a slightly
different product from what stongard is. He said the material that
porsche uses is stiffer that the normal stongard (since the wheel flares
on a porsche are relatively flat compared to the front end of any car).
If you cant see a good example of a vehicle that has had stongard
applied, then drop by any local porsche dealer and check out a some of
the 96' carrera S4's. You will get a VERY good idea of how hard it is to
see the stuff, and how it feels on the paint (even though stongard is
_slightly_ different). As for fading, if the clear layer causes the
paint to fade differently, then why would porsche put this stuff on at
the factory?? I personally find the "fading" story to be complete bs,
and asked the stongard people about it. They said they have never seen
or heard of a case where fading took place. You should pose this
question to them too, though.
I have been waxing my car fairly religously (i use a caranuba based
product) and I have had no problmes with wax building up along the
edges. I hadn't even thought abou this problem, when I "wax-off" (beavis
would like that term), I just run my fingernail underneath my towel
along the edge and it works fine.
As to your final querry, once stongard is on, I would suspect that
removing it would also entailing repainting the car. The stuff is
_stuck_ and would probably take most of the paint off trying to remove
All in all, I am very satisfied, and I plan on owning my A4q forever,
and I think this was a wise investment in keeping it looking good that
>From: Mark Blum[SMTP:HobbesCT@ix.netcom.com]
>Sent: Wednesday, January 22, 1997 6:02 PM
>To: Reiner Fink
>Subject: RE: BRA FOR A4?
>I have a new '97 A4 and have been looking into Stongard for it. I
>requested info from Stongard's web site and they sent me a brochure and
>price quote. I have been debating whether to get it or not, but was
>interested in finding someone with firsthand experience. I take it from
>your post that you are very happy with the product. May I ask some
>Did you have the kit installed professionally or did you install it
>yourself? If a shop did it, how much was the install? If you did it, how
>hard was it to apply? Is it very noticable, or do you really have to look
>to know it's there?
>How do the edges look? That seems to me to be the part which might make it
>most visible, by being able to clearly discern the line. Does the edges on
>your car look good ( I am guessing they do). Does it seem like they may
>peel up over time? Does wax build up along the edge?
>Do you know if you can remove the stuff if you decide you don't like it, or
>does that ruin the paint underneath?
>Also, my car is not white like yours, its black. I was concerned about the
>possibility of the paint fading differently under the Stongard. Any truth
>Answers to the above and/or any other details would be *much* appreciated.
> I really want to put this stuff on my car but I would just like to have my
>fears assuaged by somebody who actually used the stuff, particularly
>somebody who has an A4.
>Thanks in advance,
>Mark Blum (HobbesCT@ix.netcom.com)