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2003 Forester X
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Maybe a mod might want to move this to the how to section. It might be helpful for others. Now, I'll say up front that I know 99% of people want tint, so this is only useful to the 1% that want to remove tint or the 99% who want to remove tint to re-tint. This is my experience, so your results may vary, but this worked really well. The first owner tinted my Forester and I lived with it for a few years, even though I don't like tint, and I still didn't like it, so I removed it. I'm just posting this to help out, so hopefully it can avoid all the "why in the world did you remove tint? I love tint! It's the first thing I do to a car!" comments :icon_razz:

My car's a 2003. I bought it a few years old, so I don't know how old the tint is. My guess is it was installed about the time the car was purchased. At the time I took it off, the car was almost 7 years old and had 100K on it. It has been in Atlanta all but the last 6 months of it's life. The tint was in very good shape, no cracks, bubbles, pealing, etc and looked good, I just didn't want it anymore.

Tools:
1. Windex (I used the Target brand. You want the kind with ammonia)
2. Razor Blade
3. Steamer (I used a 1000 watt steamer I got at Target. It was less than $30. I got the kind that you hold in your hand, but has a tank that sits on the ground. My logic was that if it's an entirely hand held one, i.e. no separate tank, you're going to be filling up the water a lot plus most of these are lower watts so the steam isn't going to be as hot.)

The trick is basically the steam. It does all the work and the job was pretty quick with virtually zero scraping with a razor. All told I probably had to scrape about the size of a quarter total. The steam works that well if you're patient. To start, just steam the corner of a window for a while and then use the razor to peal it up a little so you can pull. Keep steaming and then use a little pressure to pull the tint back. I sprayed window cleaner on the window as I pulled the tint down so that it ran down between the glass and the tint with the logic that ammonia plus heat helps the glue release. Honestly, I'm not sure that did a lot. I think the steam is the real trick, but it seemed to help a little on some windows.

If you steam back and forth slowly as you pull the tint down, the window will get to a point where the tint starts coming off pretty quickly because it's hot and the glue is releasing. If you ever see the tint start to separate (i.e. the glue half of the tint separating from the actual tint, use the razor blade to scrape the glue half down to where the tint is coming off so it comes off as one piece. The trick is that you do NOT want to leave glue on the window because then you'll be doing a lot of scraping. I only had it start to separate once and I scraped the glue half off the window and then it continue pulling off just fine. Once the tint is off, I cleaned the windows with the Windex while they were still hot from the steam. In my case, I didn't have any glue residue on any windows because I carefully steamed and pulled the tint off as one piece.

The trick to the back windows, because there is no corner to start pulling the tint off from, is to steam the middle top for a while and then use the razor blade to make a cut from the top down a an inch or two. Then steam that cut and use a razor blade to get under the tint on either side of the cut and start pulling it off. Obviously be careful not to cut any of your defroster wires.

Overall this is super easy with the steam. I even did it in the middle of winter with snow on the ground in the garage, so I didn't use any sun or heat other than the steamer. No glue residue was left and the windows looked great after I was done. It was a pretty quick job, definitely under 2 hours and easy. Hopefully I've explained it pretty well. I'm happy to answer any questions...
 

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2008 LL Bean (4EAT)
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4,784 Posts
Thanks. I had wondered how to do that. It would not have occurred me to use steam.
 

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Administrator
2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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29,450 Posts
Nice write-up... I added a link to this thread in the Knowledge Base.
 

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1999 Forester L
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79 Posts
Another method I have used in the past with success, which doesn't involve steam, is to use ammonia to release the glue on the tint. This is best if done on a hot sunny day. It does smell a bit so you might need to air out the vehicle afterwards.

Materials
Black garbage bags
Spray Bottle filled with Ammonia
Razor blade

Get about 4 black trash bags and cut them in half so you have multiple sheets of black plastic. Fill your spray bottle with ammonia. Spray inside of the tint window liberally with ammonia and press the black garbage bag piece up against the window. It will stick to the window and hold the ammonia from running off/down the window. Let it sit for about an hour like this. Lift an edge of the tint with the razor blade and start peeling it. The ammonia should have loosened the grip of the glue to the window and glue comes off with the tint. At least this is what it did in my case.
 

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2003 Forester X
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I have heard of the garbage bag method as well. What I heard was mixed success with some people reporting a lot of follow up scraping to get all the glue off. I haven't tried it though, so I'm glad to hear it worked in your case.
 

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Administrator
2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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29,450 Posts
I've removed tint with WD-40 and a razor blade before. Messy and you have to be careful not to get too much of the stuff on the plastic/rubber trim, but it worked.
 

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2007 2.5X 5mt
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943 Posts
The pros use 409 cleaner. I worked in a tint shop for a week before I quit because the owner was doing illegal stuff (made employees pay out of pocket for damage done to customer cars and such). We used 409 and a heat gun with good results along with a good scrubby (not the kind to scratch).
 

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Smooshed FOTY 2011
2005 Lifted 2.5 XT 5-Speed MT Dual-Range
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5,732 Posts
Another method I have used in the past with success, which doesn't involve steam, is to use ammonia to release the glue on the tint. This is best if done on a hot sunny day. It does smell a bit so you might need to air out the vehicle afterwards.

Materials
Black garbage bags
Spray Bottle filled with Ammonia
Razor blade

Get about 4 black trash bags and cut them in half so you have multiple sheets of black plastic. Fill your spray bottle with ammonia. Spray inside of the tint window liberally with ammonia and press the black garbage bag piece up against the window. It will stick to the window and hold the ammonia from running off/down the window. Let it sit for about an hour like this. Lift an edge of the tint with the razor blade and start peeling it. The ammonia should have loosened the grip of the glue to the window and glue comes off with the tint. At least this is what it did in my case.
+1. I've used this method before, works very well.
 

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2004 2.5XT
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73 Posts
I took mine off the otherday without seeing this write up and now i have that glue on all my windows whats the trick if you got the tint off but you got that glue on it?
 

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2003 Forester X
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I have heard that you can steam the glue and that it helps get it loose. You're still going to have to scrape, but the heat from the steam should make it easy to scrape. I don't have any personal experience with it though.
 

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4EAT [email protected]$&*VF39 I.P.T. 4.44 SLUSHBOX
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785 Posts
glue off

easy
To get the glue off, I used a second person pointing a hair drier on hot, on the outside of the glass. Tape the door trim with an easy to remove masking tape (I used plastic postal tape, free:Banane17:). I wet a piece of balled up news paper with a bottle of Windex, which I added 20% amonia. Razor blade some of the glue off, then rub with Windex wetted news paper, hair drier following along outside.
done.
 

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98 Forester Almost broke
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20 Posts
Thanks for the write up!

Unfortunately it was a little to late when i found this. My friend thought it would be a good idea to take the tint off in the cold.

So not only is it twice the work because of it. But sometimes we have to use a little acetone.
 

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2009 Forester XT Limited 4eat
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9 Posts
00 steel wool and any ammonia glass cleaner will take any thing off of glass, tint glue, sap, paint, overspray. Anything. 00 will not scratch the glass, i promise.
 

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2009 XT Limited Auto
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5 Posts
I've used nail polish remover to get mine off. That stuff really breaks down the glue. Used the razor blade after that to easily scrape it away. You just have to have the nail polish remover on there for a minute or so to do it's job. Lighter fluid too I think works in the same way.
 

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2007 Forester XT Sport Auto
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8 Posts
+1 Steamer
I bought a $35 steamer from Target - it removed tint like a hot-knife through butter.
Some kid has a video on Youtube for removing tint - that was what convinced me (look it up if in doubt). Took longer for the steamer to heat up than to remove the tint - absolutely no residue left behind.
 

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2005 Forester 2.0X 5MT
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17 Posts
Thanks for the advice. It was very helpful. Here in India, government ordered removal of all tints from all glasses.
 
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