Spent a good 3.5 hours in my good friend SSRS55's garage today applying my COPO stripe kit from Big Worm.
About a month or so ago I PM'ed Dave from Big Worm, asking why they didn't sell a COPO stripe kit. I'd heard such good things about their products, and really wanted to give them my business. (Nothing against some of the other vendors, just my personal preference.)
I was told that basically it was in the pipeline, and that they'd let me know when they had something ready. They also mentioned that they were waiting on a car to test fit it on. I mentioned off hand that they could use MY car. (I didn't think they would LOL) Well, turns out they had already lined up a car to test the product on, but it was a dealer vehicle, and that they were interested in sending me their first production set of stripes at a discount in exchange for pictures of my car with the stripes installed. (WOOHOOO)
About a week ago I was told that they were ready to order, so I placed an order for a set of red copo stripes and hood spears to match. 5 days later my product arrived, carefully packed. Not one stripe was creased or bent, every thing was packed just so that it would be compact without damaging the product. Two thumbs up there for big worm.
I called a few custom shops that work with Vinyl locally. I was apprehensive about installing these myself because my track record with vinyl is pretty atrocious. However after being quoted 150-200.00 from one place, and being blown off by two other places (No return call from one, and the other not willing to even give me a ballpark price) I started searching for DIY videos and threads here on the forums.
I found a TREASURE TROVE of information. Between Big Worm's youtube channel, the DIY threads here on camaro5, and a thread of my own that I started looking for advice and support, I felt more than ready to tackle this project. After a few Emails with Big Worm for a few final questions that I had, I was ready to go. I just needed a place to do it since I don't have a garage at my home.
My good friend, Camaro5 member SSRS55 ( A long time friend who is a recent convert from ford to chevrolet ) Was gracious enough to let me use his garage.
So I got to work.
I began by using windex to clean the surface of the car where the stripes would cover. I then mixed a capful of Isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle of water. I used this mixture on a separate, clean microfiber cloth to clean the same area again.
I started at the front of the car since I read that hood spears are easiest.
First I dry fitted the stripes. I left the backing paper on, and lined up the stripes exactly where I wanted them. I used automotive masking tape to "outline" the stripes. These waren't quite exact measurements, but being that my car is so dark in certain lights, I just wanted a baseline to go off of in case things went awry.
Once I was satisfied with the placement, I pulled the stripe off of the car. Made one more pass with the alcohol/water solution with the MF towel. I then saturated the area with the very same water/alcohol solution using the spray bottle. I peeled the backing paper from the stripe, and saturated the sticky side of the vinyl with the solution as well.
Surprisingly the vinyl was VERY easy to manipulate once placed on the car.
I took my time to squeegee thoroughly removing any traces of water/air from beneath the vinyl. One thing to note here is that when wet, the thinnest part of the stripes really love to move around when you squeegee. I had to make several small adjustments with the frontmost part of the stripe, due to movement, and this was when I was VERY thankful for the tape markings that I had laid down.
After I had one stripe laid down and squeegied, I let it sit with the backing paper still attatched to the visible side, and repeated the process on the other side of the car.
Once I had laid that stripe down it was the moment of truth: Time to peel this top layer back and see if I did things right. I used a blow dryer on high heat, kept it about 6" away from the vinyl and gave the stripe a few good passes to make sure that they were dry, this helped the adhesive to bond a little quicker as well. I started from the top of the cowl near the windshield. This is very important: Do NOT pull directly up, on the backing paper, your vinyl will likely pull right off of the car if you do this. What I did was pull straight back, basically peeling the backing paper against the car, while pressing down on the vinyl that had yet to be uncovered.
They came off without incident, and I was VERY pleased with the result.
(Sorry the picture is grainey, my camera phone isn't the best)
There were a few VERY small bubbles present when the paper came off, I didn't even use the squeegee to remove them. I moved them gently out to the edges of the stripe with my index finger. Overall, very easy so far.
While waiting for the other side of the cowl to dry, I started marking off the rear section on the passenger side first. This side had a cutout for the fuel door, so I figured that it would be easier to line up. I asked SSRS55's very steady handed wife to separate the precut section of the fuel door from the backing paper. (It comes pre-cut but it was in once peice and I decided that to get the cleanest, most accurate look, that separating them was a good idea.)
I used a measuring tape to make a few notes, using the top of the fender and the line where the rear quarter panel meets the rear bumper section. Again, I used my painter's tape to make some reference points.
I essentially repeated the process that I used for the front stripes, and started to lay down these quarter panel peices.
They went on very easy for their size. The only real difference here was that I used a blow dryer to heat them up a bit before removing the backing paper from the sticky side. It was about 60 degrees out and the stripes were fairly stiff. Warming them up made them more pliable.
I had a bit of vinyl sticking over the fuel door hole, as you may be able to see in one of the pics above. I corrected this after the top paper was removed, I used a blow dryer and made a curling motion to get the vinyl to "suck itself" into the fuel door opening. It made for a very flush, clean install. I applied the fuel door piece last, and again used marking tape along the bottom of the stripe to line it up perfectly with the stripes that I had just laid down.
That's really about it. I can't stress enough how important it is to TAKE YOUR TIME. Unless you've done this a thousand times before, TAKE YOUR F***ing TIME. Especially when peeling off the top layer of paper. This was where I had a few issues with the Vinyl peeling from the body. If you botch it up at that point, just take a deep breath, get everything super wet and try to recover.
I would definitely recommend this type of project to someone as a first time DIY job. If you're going to do this on your own, dedicate an afternoon or morning to do it right. If you take your time you'll end up with some great looking stripes without paying someone to do it. Nothing beats being able to do something to your car and when someone asks where you had it done, you can say "I did it."
Here's everything all done. There's probably an imperfection here and there, but unless you have a microscope: you aren't going to find an air bubble on this bad boy. I almost doubt that a professional would have acheived much better results. After all, they don't love this car as much as I do.
Hope you like! I think the color really sets off agains the grey, and even better, Red(scarlett) and Grey, are my College's team colors!! (GO UNLV!)
Thanks for reading!!!
^^ the dots you may see on the stripe aren't bubbles, it had just started to sprinkle outside. (Yes, I know there are streaks on my hood!! Definitely need a good wash and rewax after this job)
And finally, a night shot, again in the rain (Yep I drive mine in the rain)
Not the best pic, but I LOVE the way these hood spears look from the front. reminds me of a stealth fighter with blood red markings.