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supershanesta

Just Vinyl Wrapped my 240z... Here are my thoughts

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Posted (edited)

Hey Guys,

 

I have been trying to figure out what I wanted to do for color uniformity on my datsun. I really wanted to get the car sand blasted and do a complete overhaul, but after swapping a l28et in the car, building and installing the megasquirt, and all the other tid bits... I was way over budget to say the least. To be cost effective I decided to do a vinyl wrap. 3m vinyl to do the whole car was only 500 bucks! The car itself was in no shape for vinyl. It had chips, dings, rust, you name it. I had to do all the body work to straighten it out.

 

Here is some before pictures. The paint had to be sanded or removed to metal and bondo was applied. First time ever really doing body work and it looked OKAY. I did have a professional come and do the final things to the driver's side fender and door. Lots of chipping paint that needed to be sanded. 

 

 

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After things were sanded and looked pretty good, spray can primer was sprayed on the trouble spots, then sanded, then black rustoleum, then sanded.

 

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Finally I wet sanded the car with 1000 grit and made sure all surfaces were smooth.  Then the fun began. Vinyl took around 20 hours to finish in a weekend. This did not include the headlight buckets, turn signals, or cowling which I am still trying to figure out. The car being unibody caused issue. The rear bumper section is 1 piece which is then overlapped 1 inch by the quarter panel which is then overlapped by the roof. Knifeless tape was key to get smooth lines.

 

The hood is harder then it looks because of the round center bubble. Really have to stretch and pull to get in on right. Also getting the vinyl to stick properly on the back required cleaning all edges and even applying loctite super glue.... I know not the right way, could use primer 94, but actually works! Just don't get that near any exterior surfaces or you will leave marks on the laid vinyl.

 

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Fenders are one of the easiest. Tucking around the wheel arch was a little tough. Make sure to clean these back areas so that no dirt is in between were you want the vinyl to stick on the inside.

 

This is were I started to notice that my rusto paint would start to peel if we kept taking off and re-applying the vinyl. There are spots were you can see this for sure, but oh well.... it cost 500 dollars.

Also you would get specs of shit for the same reason, small pieces of paint peeling up. Moral of the story. Only works on really good paint or paint that is strong against the body. Should have spent more time in that regard.

 

Rear bumper area was pretty easy just a flat piece.

 

The quarter panels were the most difficult. Trying to get around the rain gutter was a challenge. We accidentally cut the vinyl and had to pivot to a new plan regarding the roof. Paint was peeling up if we removed it so we went with what we got. If we were to peel it off... I would have to sand the whole quarter panel over again. Made it work, just needed to add an intermittent piece between the quarter panel and roof. Getting around the back taillight area was a little hard as you really need to stretch it. I assumed the inner edge would mostly be hidden by the taillight panel, but more is exposed then I thought. Might try to adjust this better.

 

Roof and hatch were also pretty difficult. If you have old shitty gaskets around the glass. CHANGE THEM. Tucking underneath that shit would have been way harder than it already was. I got new rubber were needed and it was way worth it. If you mess up on a part like that... there goes 70 bucks in vinyl to redo it. Tucking worked best with knifeless tape in my opinion.

 

 

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Don't forget the sides of the windshield... I used a small inlay for that. Also the bottom area below the door is an inlay.

 

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Here is the vinyl result.... get it... vinyl result :-)

 

 

 

 

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Might keep the windshield wiper area black... its scary when you see all the spots were it needs to be cut!

 

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Here is a picture of how we did the inlays from quarter panel to roof.

 

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It turned out pretty damn good if I say so myself. I have learned a lot about this process as I went because there is not too much info about unibody cars. I would say that this is a pretty difficult job and very tedious. Details are important, missing a cut or making a mistake can make it look bad. We had mistakes, bumps, paint chips you name it, but the point of this was to get the car looking good for a couple years for cheap until I am ready to get the car painted.

 

What I would suggest if you want to do this...

- Make everything really smooth.

- If painting, take your time and get it to stick well. Paint peeling and sticking to the vinyl was the biggest issue I experienced.

- Have a friend. My dad worked the whole time with me.... I can't thank him enough. I did a trial hood before all this on my own and it took 2 times as long and looked way worse.

- Plan out all the cuts before you apply.

 

Thought I would share my experience. If you have any questions about it let me know.

 

I hope to reassemble the car in the next 2 weeks.

 

 

 

Edited by supershanesta
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On 5/4/2018 at 3:59 PM, JeffB said:

How much vinyl should I order to do a wrap?

 

I ordered 50 feet but did not wrap the cowl or the front lower valiance. I still need to wrap the buckets and turn signals and am hopping I have enough. I would recommend 55 or more to be safe. I have almost no vinyl to spare. Also for testing purposes or if you make a mistake it would be good to have.

 

On 5/3/2018 at 12:26 PM, Austenp405 said:

Good Job SS! I've seen a  couple pro installers and there is definitely an art form to it. It may be a 20 footer but looks way better than what you started with.

 

Thanks Austenp! Exactly the goal not perfect, but enough to look pretty good!

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the review! I've been thinking about Vinyl for my car. It seems like a much simpler option than going through all the paint prep and it looks just as good or BETTER! Yours went from "scrapyard look" (no offense haha) to a Z that looks damn near perfect!

 

Plus it seems cheaper. Although, I am not as brave as you and don't think I would do it myself haha. Glad to know it seems reasonable though.

 

I'm thinking of a mirrored chrome look, or like a mirrored dark blue... not sure yet

Edited by AlbatrossCafe

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Thanks for the responses guys. I appreciate it! My car did look like shit for sure, but turned out okay. Wrapping the z is doable with patience's.

 

10 hours ago, AlbatrossCafe said:

Thanks for the review! I've been thinking about Vinyl for my car. It seems like a much simpler option than going through all the paint prep and it looks just as good or BETTER! Yours went from "scrapyard look" (no offense haha) to a Z that looks damn near perfect!

 

Plus it seems cheaper. Although, I am not as brave as you and don't think I would do it myself haha. Glad to know it seems reasonable though.

 

If you paint it in good shape this is a good option for sure. I actually was just speaking with a guy who finished a 240z and he only charged 1500 which included the vinyl. I was thinking next time I would have them do it. It turned out great.

 

 

Anyways here the final results!!!

 

The hard part was taking off all the locks, windows, door handles, and finding the same bolts to put it back together.

 

 

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13 hours ago, supershanesta said:

If you paint it in good shape this is a good option for sure. I actually was just speaking with a guy who finished a 240z and he only charged 1500 which included the vinyl. I was thinking next time I would have them do it. It turned out great.

 

 

That is a very good price. $1500 is totally worth it to me.

 

I was hoping that you had a front air-dam on there so I could see what you did.  I have a urethane one now (haven't put it on yet) but I'm thinking vinyl will not stick to it. Might sell it and go with fiberglass if I am gonna wrap.

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25 minutes ago, AlbatrossCafe said:

 

That is a very good price. $1500 is totally worth it to me.

 

I was hoping that you had a front air-dam on there so I could see what you did.  I have a urethane one now (haven't put it on yet) but I'm thinking vinyl will not stick to it. Might sell it and go with fiberglass if I am gonna wrap.

 

Hmm idk. You could ask a vinyl guy. Might need paint over it first.

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How do you get the vinyl under the windshield molding? Do you pull it back with a plastic tool and tuck the vinyl in? If I need to sand this area out because of damaged paint, do I need to prime and paint the area under the rubber molding? I'm assuming that the molding cannot be removed without also removing the windshield. 

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33 minutes ago, JeffB said:

How do you get the vinyl under the windshield molding? Do you pull it back with a plastic tool and tuck the vinyl in? If I need to sand this area out because of damaged paint, do I need to prime and paint the area under the rubber molding? I'm assuming that the molding cannot be removed without also removing the windshield. 

 

Yes. You tuck it under with the vinyl wrapping tool and I used like a tint square or interior trim tool. I used vinyl wrapping knifeless tape to cut it very close to the rubber and just tuck maybe an 1/8 to a 1/4  MAX of an inch under the rubber. I practiced before and I would used knifeless tape. I did the rear hatch by hand and messed up although you can't notice unless up close.

 

The spots with damaged paint... I sanded. primed and painted. and sanded 1000 grit wet. It needs to be smooth like original paint to stick properly. I would do a good job painting because I had issue with paint peeling when I lifted the vinyl to pull, which ruined vinyl and finish. My first post talks about that. I would sand with 400  or 320 then prime, then sand, then paint, then sand. It needs to be hardened and stick well to the original paint. It needs to fully cure before applying vinyl. I would wait a couple days before applying as the gas from paint curing can ruin the vinyl.

 

I had issue around the rear hatch with 1. Bad paint and 2. Bad gasket. So I paid to have the glass removed and reinstalled with new gasket. As he was working on the new gasket I sanded the area and applied paint.

 

It would be really hard to wrap around dry, crusty rubber. If its in half decent shape and the paint just has chipping just sand it smooth and your good to go.

 

The only time you need to apply new paint is if you sand through to metal. Normally you can fix chips with just light sanding.

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