Review & Install Video
Hey, guys, Adam here with americanmuscle.com. And today we're taking a quick look at and installing the SpeedForm aluminum rear window louvers, available for the '15 and newer Mustang Fastbacks. You should be checking this out for your own S550 Fastback if you're looking to pick up a classic retro-styling to really spice up the exterior appearance of your Mustang. This makes such a bold styling impression on that exterior, and it's so impactful. Now, this one here isn't new, right? We've been seeing rear window louvers on Mustangs for generations, and on our '15 EcoBoost we have here, our Fastback, I think it looks really, really sharp. This one, in particular, is a little bit unique than some of the other ones in the category, it is an aluminum rear window louver as opposed to an ABS plastic, which a lot of options typically are. The aluminum adds a smoother matte black finish to it, where typically the ABS has a little bit of a textured black finish to it. So, that's something to keep in mind when you're shopping around, it's all personal preference. I also think some of the other ones in the category have more angular and sharp edges, making it a little bit more aggressive. This one, I think, is a little bit smoother, again, personal preference. This one here does attach using these six individual brackets. Now, on the bottom of each one of the brackets are four individual 3M automotive bonding tape strips. They're specifically meant for exterior automotive usage, so they're meant to take the beating from rain, snow, sleet, and hail. They shouldn't be coming off as long as you install them properly and prep your windshield, I'll talk about that in just a little bit, but that is a hugely important part of this process.Know that this particular option does come, again, in the aluminum finish, has a matte black finish to it. I will say, it has maybe a little bit of gloss, and more so-called a satin finish. With that, you're also getting all the brackets necessary to install, and the price for it comes in right around 450 bucks. Now, I will say that this does come with a lift-off one-piece design. Out of the box, it's two pieces you'll attach together, but you have the ability to remove it all together in one piece to make it easier and more convenient to wash off your rear windshield when it comes time for that car cleaning. You definitely want a louver that makes it easier to clean in between those slats, which I think this one executes very easily.Now, getting this installed, I wanna make sure that we're touching on some really important factors. One, I'm gonna call it one out of three wrenches on our difficulty meter, anybody can tackle it with about 30 minutes to an hour in the driveway at home. What you wanna do is focus really intensely on the cleaning process. You wanna make sure you're prepping that windshield properly and using the proper tools to do so. Using things like Windex and other chemicals aren't gonna be the job, that's not what you wanna do. Using those chemicals, they do leave harsher chemical residues, which can prohibit that 3M from getting a good bond. When your 3M doesn't get a good bond, that's when you start getting some of the rattling that some guys with rear window louvers have mentioned in the past. Rattling can be caused by improperly installed 3M brackets. If you're installing them and prepping properly, that's not gonna be an issue, and are not gonna come off unless you want them to.Secondly, what you also wanna do in the middle of the process is stop down for about 24 hours to let the brackets cure. We'll talk about it again a little bit when we get to the install process. But we'll be installing the brackets onto the louvers on a table, and then sticking them in place where we want them on the windshield. From there, we'll pull off the louvers, and you wanna wait at least 24 hours for those brackets to cure without the weight of the louvers pulling them down. The weight of the louver can put a little bit of added stress on the 3M before it can make a good enough bond, which typically takes about a day. So, that's good to keep in mind as well. Finally, before we get started, SpeedForm does recommend, when things are all said and done and you have this installed, going back and hitting the edges with a little bit of silicone. If you hit the edges of those brackets with silicone, right underneath of that louver where the bracket adheres to the windshield, you'll be able to prevent any moisture from slipping and undercutting that 3M tape, which just adds some peace of mind. Again, it's not required, but it is recommended just to make sure that those 3M tape bondings stay true. So, with all of that in mind, I'm gonna take you through every step of the process. We are not going to be siliconing ours because it is gonna be coming off just after this video, we just wanna walk you through that install process, what do you say we get started?Tools used in this install include a clean microfiber towel, soap and water mixture, and a squirt bottle, an alcohol wipe is recommended, flat-head screwdriver, and also used to get the 3M tape backing off was a box cutter or a small blade like this.All right, guys. First thing we're gonna do is start on our table with our two-piece louver design, we're gonna connect them and make them a one-piece. Now, as you can see, on this bottom portion here we have a little bit of a metal tab sticking out in the middle, and then the sides have them out here. So, what we're gonna do is connect these two, this little section is gonna slide together into the opposite end, and these do the same there. They're just slotted, you just kind of slot them in together, you might have to work them in side-by-side, seated, just like that, that's really all step one is, is just connecting the two sides. All right. So, we're snapping them in together. All right. So, once you have them seated all the way together, that's step number one.Next, what we wanna do is take the three splints included in the kit, two of them have 3M tape on one side and a solid aluminum on the back. The third one, 3M tape on one side, foam padding on the back. What you're gonna do is take the foam padding one, and it's gonna stick right in the center, and these other two are gonna go just below the side holes in the middle. The reason we're installing these is to add some added support to the two-piece design to give them a little bit more stability. So, step number one, what we're gonna do is take a cleaning tissue or an alcohol wipe, and we're gonna wipe down the area on the aluminum where the 3M is going to apply. We wanna make sure we're cleaning that off to free it of any dirt and dust so that the 3M tape gets as good a bond as possible. If there is any dirt, it gets in between the adhesive and the aluminum, and we'll prevent that. So, just make sure you're properly cleaning the area, alcohol wipes are a really good option, a soap and water mixture will also do the job with a microfiber.All right. So, step number one, what we're gonna do is grab the 3M tape backing with the foam on the opposite side. All right. Peel off the 3M, foam side sticking up, obviously, it's gonna go right here in the middle. All right. Apply that, push down to get a good bond. Next, one of the other ones, the other splints, peel off the backing. Now, if you go to the side, there's a hole in the side, this is where one of the brackets will install. So, it's not going here, similar to this one, instead, it's gonna go on the back of a louver itself, right over top of the split here where they connect. All right. So, once that's there, push that down. Again, this is just adding that support to each side, including the middle, same thing on the other side. We're gonna put even pressure all the way around to make sure that it's getting that good bond, and it's time to move on.All right. So, next what we're gonna do is take our brackets. Now, you'll see that the stud is off-centered, it's on the side of each one of them. We have six in the kit. So, what we're gonna do is actually install these into the pre-drilled holes, three on each side, of our louver, and we're gonna do that along with these plastic caps. Now, full disclosure, there are washers in the kit. When the studs go through, you put a washer and then the cap. We're not permanently installing these just yet, so I'm not gonna worry about the washers. What I'm gonna do is insert these in the holes. On the other side, I'm gonna tighten down the cap just by hand, just finger-tight. What that's gonna do is allow us to install all of them, lay it on the windshield, once we peel off the 3M tape, just to have the brackets in the proper position. From there, we'll lift off the louver, make sure everything's good to go, well let it settle for up to 24 hours, and then you can install the brackets, and the louver, with the washers included, I'll walk you through that.Next step here, what we're gonna do is grab one of these brackets and one of these caps, start on the end, insert that, and then tighten the cap down on the inside. The goal with inserting these is to make sure that the off-centered stud is going through and that the whole bracket is on the inside of the louver. Now, if you were to install that differently, it would look like this, and you would see the bracket. You don't want it overlapping that edge, you want it on the inside here. So, we're gonna tighten that down, finger-tight, again, just making sure it's nice and snug, and we're gonna repeat that for the rest of them. Remember, when it comes time for permanent installation of the louvers, we'll then use our washers, same thing on the other side.All right. Next up, guys, what we're gonna do is peel off all of the 3M tape backing. Now, each bracket has four backings, there are six backings, you do the math, there's a lot of them. So, what we're gonna do is just take our time, peel off each one of the backing on the 3M. Once we have the backing off, we're gonna go to the vehicle behind us and clean our windshield. We'll clean the windshield using soap and water, and nothing else, soap and water microfiber, clean that off, then we'll apply our louvers. All right. You do the same thing on the other side.Guys, the next step of the process is extremely important. You want to properly clean your back windshield before you apply the louvers. That is the biggest mistake most people make, is they don't properly clean and prep the windshield before installing the louvers. And then when the 3M tape fails, your louver might be rattling, or even come off, altogether. So, this is very important. I'm gonna be using a simple soap and water mixture, and a squirt bottle, and a microfiber. You don't wanna use things like Windex, you don't wanna use things like a quick detailer, or anything, on your windshield. They have chemical residue that they leave behind, which prohibits a perfect bond with the 3M adhesive, soap and water is gonna be your best friend here. I'm just gonna squirt this guy down, wipe it down with a microfiber. You really also wanna focus a lot on some of that edging, from, like, the edge of your paint to about six inches out, that's a really good spot where the 3M is usually going to be adhering to. It's also a good idea to hit the top of your third brake light because this is gonna be sitting up against it.All right. So, at this point, guys, we got our window cleaned up. What we're doing is, I have a helping hand here, my buddy Stan is gonna help me lay this in place. When you do lay it in place, first off, make sure that these brackets are tucked in the way they should be, you should not be able to see them from the outside. What we're gonna do is lay it on top of the third brake light, of course, still making sure that these are rotated the proper way, and lay it into place. Once you have it in place where you want it, put even pressure, firm pressure, on each one of the studs here, where the caps are, to make sure that the 3M is getting a good bond, and then you're good to go.All right. So, you've got your louvers in place, everything's settled in, looks pretty good, here's what we have to do. We have to remove our louvers and keep the brackets on the windshield and allow them to cure for about 24 hours. The reason you wanna take your louvers off is because that added weight of the louvers is pulling a little bit down on those brackets. What we wanna do is make sure that there isn't any added stress that would prohibit the bond of the 3M tape. So, I'm gonna walk around the car, walk around the louvers and take off the end caps, and lift our louvers off to allow it to cure. So, in this process, what we basically did is found its proper position, this is where it's gonna install when it's time to put our louvers back on. We can let these brackets cure once I take this off, and then from there, we can reinstall the louvers, the washers, and then the end caps. If you lift straight up on the louvers, they'll disconnect, I'm gonna do that side just to make sure they're off, and then the other side.All right. So, it's been 24 hours, you wanna make sure you've left it that long to cure, it's about time we throw our louvers back on. It can be a solid one-person job once the brackets have cured. It's really a two-person job when trying to put it on for the first time with the 3M, that's when you wanna make sure you're doing it exactly right. All right. As you can see, we're dropping it right back on. Let's grab our washers, and those caps, and tighten them down. All right, cool. From here, washer on the stud, and then finally, your cap, do this for all six. Now, as you can see, on the top of the cap there is a little bit of a split, so you can grab a flat-head and just get them all the way tightened down. Now, you don't wanna over-tighten it, it is a plastic cap, you don't wanna strip them out, but you can get them a little bit tighter so that there wouldn't be any rattling.All right. The last one tightened down, guys, you are good to go. Keep in mind that any time you wanna clean the underside of the louvers, clean the underside of your windshield, just remove these guys with a flat-head screwdriver, pull the louvers off, you have free access to the windshield, like you saw just a second ago, and you can throw it right back on, it's as easy as that.Well, guys, that's gonna wrap up my review and install for the SpeedForm aluminum rear window louvers, for the '15 and newer Fastback S550. If you wanna pick this up for your own S550, you can do so right here at americanmuscle.com.