Vehicle Wraps: Everything You Need To Know Motorz #68

Today on Motorz, Chris is getting our F-150 wrapped! Way back in season one, our fifth episode in fact, I showed you how I covered the sides of our 2005 F-150 project truck with die cut vinyl, using my own vinyl cutting and software While it’s possible to do this with minimal cost assuming you have access to a vinyl cutter, your design choices are fairly limited to the colors and patterns made by the vinyl companies.

Now our F-150 gets a lot of visibility, both on the show and on the road. So, after a couple of years when those old decals started peeling up I started looking into some other options of course I considered just putting some new ones on, but I wanted to do something bigger and better this time. So I also looked into a custom paint job, but the number of hours with everything I wanted done really started adding up. It was about that time I started looking into custom vehicle wraps. Now thankfully, here in San Diego we have one of the earliest companies to start doing vehicle wraps and they’re right here.

Now, they’re called APE Wraps and it’s family owned and operated by Mr. Troy Downey. Welcome to the show Troy. [Troy] Hi Chris, thanks for having me! [Chris] Now how’d you get started with all this? You’re like a pioneer with the vehicle wraps and all the techniques for applying them. So how does it all start? [Troy] Well, we come from the custom paint and car world, I growing up with my dad, we were all about that paint and all that hotrod stuff.

The day I saw the digital picture of the bag of groceries on the delivery truck is the day I thought wow, now I can start doing all the things that we could never either afford to do in paint in time and/or it would never turn out as incredible as being able to digitally print it. [Chris] Yeah, there’s no limit to what you can do there. [Troy] So we were like a kid in a candy store.

So anyway here we are full circle and just loving it. It’s a great indudstry. [Chris] Our viewers are probably wondering where the heck we are, cause this isn’t the Motorz studio, so where are we man? [Troy] Great question, well we are at at Seiko instruments the watch company, same place. But they make the printers also that we convert all these graphics with. So we printed your graphics on a Seiko printer. [Chris] Well Troy, I really want to get that big ol’ wrap on the truck, but right now we’ve gotta take a break. When we come back I have a ton of questions for Troy that I know you guys want answered. Hey welcome back to Motorz. I’m here with my special guest, Troy Downey from APE wraps and we’re about to put a huge wrap on our F-150. Before we get to that point what do we have to do first? [Troy] Well, we have to prep it Chris, and preparation is everything. If we’re going to put a decal on a surface, it has to be squeaky clean.

But there’s more that comes with that. Everybody can clean the field. Anybody can do that. But with the right chemistry and all of that not only do we want to clean the fleld of the body but we want to clean all the nooks and crannies. If it’s going to fail and we’re going to lose adhesion, most likely we’re going to lose adhesion in those nooks and crannies.

So a lot of attention needs to be paid to that. Further, as far as preparation is concerned, is there’s a lot of ways to skin this cat. We’ll actually de-badge a good percentage of the vehicles that we do. Especially when it comes in conjunction with maybe a termination point or something to that effect. Like what we’re going to do on this truck is we’re going to do this as a partial, and it actually comes in conjunction with a pinstripe line.

So, by all means we need a de-badge on this truck. Does everyone have the capability of de-badging? No, so I would make sure that whoever is de-badging knows what they’re doing. Wow, brought it in here this morning and a couple of hours later, BOOM it’s all done up! [Troy] There it is, that simple right? [Chris] I know this is incredible. I know there was a lot of planning and preparation that went into this. Some collaboration back and forth and the graphics you know, telling you what I wanted and then you turning it into this incredible design. I think we should let everybody have a look at what that is all about.

Since I have some photoshop skills, I took a level photo of the truck and started playing around with some basic ideas. I started with a metal texture, added the Motorz logo, the Crafstman logo and then some tools. Troy then came up with a slightly different interpretation to stir up more ideas. I wanted to keep the metal texture so I sent him some metal artwork I had purchased along with the logos and some tool images. His frist step was to pull up the vehicle blueprints for the specific year, make and model of the truck. Then he started laying down a final design for my approval. A side graphic was added, then the pinstripe, the Motorz logo, the domain name and finally the Craftsman tools and logo. After the side was finalized the tailgate came together quickly. We went back and forth on a few details a couple of times but Troy really nailed the vision for what I wanted quickly.

So it wasn’t long before it was off to the color printer and on to the truck. Well Troy we just saw a little bit about the design process we went through, but how do we get that onto the truck? What’s the next step? [Troy] Well at this point we gotta pick the media. Prior to printing we have to select a media that is going to have the outdoor durability the clean removeability and in most cases you’re going to use a cast type of vinyl. That is considered the higher end vinyl. It is more expensive than all the other stuff, but it’s the only way to fly when it comes to a vehicle wrap. [Chris] Right, is there particular brand we’re going to be using? [Troy] Well in this case we’re going to use Avery Dennison’s EZRS with their clear gloss laminate.

[Chris] Alright, now how do we get everything onto that media? [Troy] So we have to get the information out of the computer and on to the printer. [Chris] Ok, and what does this thing look like? [Troy] Ok, this is a big old printer. Let’s take a look at it. [Chris] Does this need to be covered with anything or is it good to go right out of the printer like this? [Troy] Well, in some cases it is, but not for vehicle wraps. Vehicle wraps it has to be laminated. So like we were talking earlier, it is a cast media that it’s printed on and now we’re going to put a cast gloss laminate on over the top of it.

And that’s going to give us four year outdoor durability with four year clean and removability. [Chris] Ok. Now, what are the advantages or disadvantages over paint? [Troy] That’s a good question as well. There’s a time and a place for both. This wrap thing has really taken hold out here. From a personalization standpoint wraps are a form of instant gratification when it comes to customizing your truck or your car, or something to that effect.

But even more-so, is that gratification comes from the advertising entity like Motorz TV on the side of this truck. It goes for all of these big companies going up and down the highways. There’s a time and place for paint, and paint is second now. [Chris] And the other difference too, is that if you change your phone number or domain name, or something else you can just replace a section. Now do we have to wrap the entire vehicle or can we just do a portion of it? I know we did ours just up to the top of the door here.

[Troy] Well, this is considered a partial even though we did finish up top and all that. We just did that to be fancy, it’s very current right now. [Chris] Yeah, it looks nice. [Troy] You can get the same impact out of a partial as you can a full wrap. Now, back when we started, 100% of the vehicle wraps that came out of our shop were full wraps. We didn’t know any better either. And so the partial when designed correctly is going always have as much impact as a full wrap would. Taking this, where else am I going to go with Motorz TV on the side of this to be bigger than it is. So, consequently I think it fits into the budget better and at the end of the day, it’s just less expensive.

[Chris] It’s easier to swap out and as you can see here, it looks perfect. Now, when I first gave you the design that I had envisioned, I had this metal texture going all the way up to the roof and you said no, lets not do that. So obviously there’s some design limitations depending on the vehicle I would assume what are we working with there? [Troy] Well, with your truck, your truck is pretty straight forward but it’s the transition areas I’ve seen a lot of vehicles that have this texture or type of texture or types of texture that goes all the way up.

The thing is though, is we’re talking about separate components. The side versus the hood. And then we have a radius fender on this, so we have to radius the side graphic over to the hood. Could we have done it, yes? Is it cost effective? No. [Chris] Well everybody wants to know what it costs. [Troy] Well the design is the most important thing. It has to be clear and concise. It takes time to get that done and time is money. Making sure that that designer is on her or his game so that is a variable. As far as materials are concerned and that type of thing, that’s pretty consistant. So when I use terminology, two or four grand and those kind of things those are ball parks. [Chris] Alot of our viewers, unfortuneately aren’t in San Diego so where would they go to get a quote or even have the thing installed? How does that work? [Troy] Well, ironically we probably only do, and I’m guessing… 2% of our work in our own back yard. We ship stuff all over the world.

So as far as an install network I’ve got a vast install network. [Chris] Now I saw you guys putting the vehicle wrap on and it looked pretty simple. Is this something that our viewers can do or is this best left to the pros? [Troy] Well the material is very forgiving now but, are you willing to risk $500 – $3,000 a graphic for you to be on a learning curve? [Chris] Yeah, wrong cut, you drop it on the floor and it’s over. [Troy] My guys will take care of it. [Chris] The other thing I noticed too is that on door handles and stuff like that there was some serious technique to getting that right. [Troy] Yeah that’s an exercise in bleeding. [Chris] Well Troy lets talk about maintenance now. Just like a new paint job it’s inevitable that first week I’m going to get this thing dinged or scracthed, what do I do? [Troy] Ok, first week no problem we can replace it. The key is though is the first week I don’t want you to do anything to it but get it out in the sun and let it cure.

[Chris] Now for people that don’t have it on their entire vehicle, it’s just a partial, and maybe they’ve got some paint exposed… is there anything they need to worry about? Fading or anything like that? [Troy] That’s all part of that. Paints are pretty good today. When you take it off after three or four years, you’re going to see a color shift anywhere you come from they can take that color fade out. [Chris] What about care of the vinyl itself? Should I wax it, avoid waxing it? And the matte as well.

[Troy] Matte is a very special product and it requires a lot of attention. Like white, you just look at it and it’s dirty. But, for all of the gloss laminates we do use is by all means hands wash only. Don’t run it through the car wash. And wax it. This stuff is going to last four to five years max on verticle surfaces. If it’s looking at the sun it’s not going to last more than a year, year and a half. So all the verticle sides will last three, four, five years. [Chris] Car covers help too right? [Troy] Oh, yeah! If everybody would do that. I came up with using the fist Crafstman logo from 1927. Recreating it specifically for only this truck. So I called up my friend Steve Smart at Billet Badges who’s created many badges for our past project vehicles. He delivered with this custom, one of a kind emblem. Crafted from billet aluminum and hand painted to spec.

A valuable tool you should have in your tool chest is a heat gun. They’re super versitile and come in handy for a number of projects such as heat shrink tubing for your electrical, stripping paint, bending plastics, softening adhesives or even working with giant vehicle decals. The one we use in our shop is the grand daddy of them all. It’s the Craftsman Professional 27801 Heavy Duty corded heat gun. It features a powerful 1500 watt output and electronic control. A variable heat dial on the back gives you three airflow options to keep you in control of the heat which outputs air at temperatures ranging from 120 degrees F all the way up to 1050 degrees F… Now that’s hot! A typical hair dryer shuts off at about the temperature this one starts. It includes six LED temperature range indicators as well as the the 5/16 inch reduction nozzle. Pick one up today at your local Sears store or shop online at www.sears.com.

If you’ve got a truck or SUV you know there’s just a ridiculous number of after market options available to you. It can really be overwhelming especially if you’re a new vehicle owner and you’re also considering all your other options for wheels, tires, exhaust, intake, steps and everything else. Well let me save you a whole lot of time right now for at least one of those, your new steps. I’ve personally had them on every truck I’ve ever owned including the Motorz project truck. I’m talking about the AMP Research power step of course. This is the coolest after market product you can get too. Because they’re retractable and automatic. So every time you open up your door they extend down.

You close your door a and they retract right back up and tuck away so you can barely see them. They even have an optional stainless steel trim kit and lights that illuminate the entire running board at night. They’re well engineered, they look great and they come with a five year sixty thousand mile warranty and they’re made right here in the USA. We’ve got more information as well as videos on how to install them right at our website. So step to it. Are you envious of those cars that offer hands free keyless entry and push buttom start systems? Don’t you wish you could easily add one to your own vehicle? Well, as usual the after market has come to your rescue. The new 2 Go Keyless automotive product line from Digital Guard Dog offeres a system that looks and works just like the OEM push button start system from Lexus. The system is operated by a slim credit card style iKey transponder with RFID technology. Keep it in your pocket or wallet and as soon as you get within a few feet of your vehicle, your doors unlock.

Now walk away and they automatically lock. It also includes a full feature alarm with available remote start. Now with this system your keys are a thing of the past. You can also choose from over twenty different push start buttons, including most OEM styles. Now what happens if the battery dies or you lose it? Well, they also provide an emergency bypass card that lets you back in. Now both systems are available for cars, trucks, motorcycles, hotrods and even boats. Visit the Partz page on our website for more information. When you add more horsepower to your engine you also need to consider what other parts on your vehicle might need to be upgraded as a result. Of course you should look at your drive train but don’t forget about the engine itself. A simple replacement part can make a huge difference.

And that’s exactly the case with this damper called the Fluid Damper from Horschel Motorsports. Also called a harmonic balancer or harmonic damper, the Fluid Damper uses a silicone fluid inside instead of two pieces of metal with a rubber strip between them, to lesson tortional vibration and absorb more impact from the crank shaft. Now unlike the rubber strip, this fluid will never break down, plus you’ll have the advantages of a smoother idle, less vibration and less wear and tear on your engine. The Fluid Damper is available for a wide range of both gas and diesel engines. Check out the Partz page at our website for more information. Hey guys, before we get to our Letterz I want to congratulate Jason Palmer from Texas. His 2005 Ford Mustang GT recently won our monthly rides contest. So he gets a Motorz branded Covercraft car cover thanks to Covercraft and Katzkin. Now on to our first letter.

Lee writes, “I’ve wanted to lower my 2011 Mustang. After watching your episode on lowering a Mustang, I felt I could tackle the job. With the help of your show and factory manual it couldn’t have been any easier.” Well thanks a lot Lee! That’s what the show is all about, giving you the advice and tips to kinda get started. But it’s always wise to seek additional information online or with those owners manuals. I got another letter from Anres. He writes, “Hello there, Chris! Great show! I’m currently in Japan and would love to rebuild a Japanese engine. Will you go more in depth on foreign cars and engines?” Well Andres we don’t have any plans to rebuild one of those, but the best thing to do is to check out our engine rebuild series on our Chevy small block.

It’s a total of five episodes, we’ve got one more coming up. That gives you the basics. Then find a rebuild manual that will tell you everything else that you need to know. And finally Brandon writes, “I’m 13 years old and love working and learning about cars, especially Dodges and Fords. Do you guys have tips for me?” Well Brandon I highly recommend you watch Motorz we’ve covered quite a few Fords over the last five seasons of the show and you also want to check out the owners manual of the vehicle that you’re working on. Online forums are also helpful, and don’t forget about those shop classes at school. Now I want to thank Brandon, and everybody else for sending in their Letterz. You guys get free E3 Spark Plugs for your ride! Now to find out more about their Diamond Fire technology or to find out if they’re available for your vehicle, just head over to www.e3sparkplugs.com.

Well Troy this turned out awesome! We’ve got our huge Motorz logo on the side, everybody is going to see that and this turned out way better than I could have done myself. Thank you very much. Now is there anything else we need let people know about? [Troy] Yeah, I think we needed to cover what if you got in an accident? So, lets assume God forbid it happens. In six months you blow the bed off this thing. I would just replace the bed. Let’s say the same thing happens in two years, two years down the road you’re going to have some element of fading. At that point we’re going to replace the whole side. The beauty of this is the design is already done. So two years down the road it’s literally, that’s when it becomes just pushing a button. [Chris] Yep, press a button, print it out and put it on.

[Troy] Yeah, so whether you’re here in San Diego or in Nova Scotia, it’s six in one, half dozen of another. Digital information. [Chris] Cool, so where can people go to or what do they do to get a hold of you? What’s the best way? [Troy] Well, we’re APE Wraps, as in gorilla, and the best way is to probably email. I see everything that comes over our desks. info@apewraps.com and let me know what you got and what you guys need, and we’ll explore it and figure out what’s best. [Chris} Ok, actually there’s an acronym here for APE it’s not really and APE. [Troy] Actually, we’ve got all these different ain’t paint enterprises, auto paint equivalent, you name it. Pick one. [Chris] Yeah, pick one or make up your own. Well thank you very much for helping out with the wrap. This turned out awesome! Obviously I couldn’t have done this myself so I can’t thank you enough. [Troy] Thanks Chris, my pleasure. [Chris] So are you going to say it now? [Troy] No no no, you say it.

I’ve already said it, you say it. [Chris] Hey! It’s a wrap! Now for more information on all the products that we used on this episode just head on over to our website www.motorz.tv We’ll catch you guys next week, on Motorz! [Chris and Olivia] Today on Motorz! Chris is getting our F-150 Wrapped! [Olivia] Wouldn’t it be funny if if all of the sudden I had a grille or something and I was like “Yeah!” [Chris] F-150 Wraps! MTV! [Olivia] Wikka wikka! [Troy] Ok grab one of those magnets behind you, ok put it back on the metal part of the truck. [Chris] Here? [Troy] Oh well, you’re already grounded, I was going to have you shock yourself. [Chris] Oh [Laughing] [Chris] It’s a wrap! [Olivia] Yeah it sounds a little… WRAAAAAPED! [Chris] Ok we done with the wrap? [Olivia] Yup Yup!.

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