The 450-horsepower 2022 Ford F-150 Raptor is one of many shiny toys rolling into paint protection film (PPF) shops these days. Former National Hockey League coach Mike Babcock brought his truck into Lingenfelter Auto Spa in Brighton, Mich., for a PPF project handled by installer Matthew Celotto and 22 pieces of XPEL Ultimate Plus PPF.
WF: What would you compare this vehicle to in terms of installation difficulty?
Celotto: This truck was fairly simple. I would compare it to a Ram TRX—simple but time-consuming and awkward. The height and width of the truck cause issues with the ability to reach parts comfortably.
WF: How does this truck rank against others, difficulty-wise?
Celotto: This is one of the easier trucks to install [PPF]. The hood is made easier due to the hood scoop towards the back, allowing you to feed film there to reduce the amount of tension you need along the front edge. The bumper is much easier than any other trucks the big three [Ford, General Motors and Dodge] make. It doesn’t have any deep valleys and is much less convex towards the edges compared to the regular F-150, Rams and Silverado/Sierra.
WF: What was the most challenging part of the installation?
Celotto: The most difficult part for us was the fender flares, not because they were super hard but because of the harsh valleys they have surrounding the side markers. It made installing film on them very tedious and time-consuming. On this Raptor, the owner had the flares and hood scoop painted and color matched after the fact, which means we had to make sure there was little to no tension on the film in the valleys of the side markers, mainly because we risk pulling the paint. So in this situation, we laid the valley with no tension as far over the radius as we could then cut a relief and persuaded the film throughout the rest of the flare where we had more surface area for the film to bite to reduce the chance of the film and paint failing.
WF: Can you share tips and tricks for those tackling the truck for the first time?
Celotto: Your biggest issue will most likely be dirt management. When we installed the film, we removed as much as we could. We removed the fender vents, which pull off unbelievably easy, and we removed the hood vent.
WF: Did you plot or hand-cut for this vehicle?
Celotto: I did a mix of both. On the bumper and more intricate/small pieces like the headlights, grill and mirrors, I used the kit, but the hood was completely bulked. The fenders and flares were customized kits that we edited to get the coverage we wanted.
WF: What tools did you use?
Celotto: MMM X-Style large and medium squeegees; spray tank from Dirty Tools; NT Cutter Pro; 30° Carbon Blade (Japan NT); electric spray bottle from Amazon; and a Fusion Pink Clean Squeegee.
WF: Which sections did you tackle first?
Celotto: In order—hood, fenders, front fender flares and then the rear, mirrors, headlights, grill and bumper
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