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That’s a Wrap! - Part Two of Our 2002 GMC Sierra Update

Dec 8, 2015
Contributors: Anthony Soos
Photographers: Jeremy Cook, Anthony Soos
A couple issues ago, we started updating a 2002 GMC using new front-end parts from LMC Truck along with a mesh grille insert from GrillCraft. We cut down an ’01-’02 Chevy HD hood to fit our new, black GMC headlights and used a ’03-’06 work truck grille with the bumper and valance to complete the front end. But that was only the beginning. We had a lot more work ahead to bring the truck up to date. To get a two-tone look, we decided to wrap the top half of the truck. The truck was really worthy of a killer vinyl treatment. But a whole lot of other work had to happen first. First, our Gaylord’s lid, although structurally sound, had succumbed to the sun after 13 years. Plus, our locks and shocks were shot. A trip to Gaylord’s HQ took care of that issue. Next, we installed the rest of our exterior items from LMC Truck, which included’03-’07 Chevy taillights, a new rear bumper, and new mirrors.
After the wrap, we headed over to Devious Customs, where Jeff and the crew paint-matched the bumper valance and portions of the grille shell to the truck’s original black. Jeff’s resident pin striper Wild Bill laid down a single line of red between the black and charcoal to match the calipers. Finishing touches included a new windshield from Pete’s Auto Glass and brand-new retro black license plate from the California DMV. Our last stop was at Meguiar’s HQ for a lesson in black paint restoration, which paid dividends the original paint looks close to new.
Next, the Sierra took a trip to Daley Visual in Rancho Cucamonga, California, to have 17-year wrap veteran Josh Daley work his magic. He created a two-tone effect and gave our 13-year old daily driver serious curb appeal. Starting with a Charcoal Matte Metallic wrap from the folks at Avery Dennison, the team at Daley made short work of our Sierra. Wrapping a vehicle is harder than it looks and takes a great deal of skill. You can’t simply slap sticky vinyl to the paint and trim it up. The process is deceptively simple, but the devil is in the details. Follow along as we wrap the top of our GMC and perform everything else necessary to call the GMC’s exterior updated!
Photo 2/42   |   01 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
In Issue #1, we began a complete update on our daily driver ’02 GMC Sierra with the help of LMC Truck. Shown here is the result of combining the modified ’01-’02 Chevy HD hood, Black LMC headlights, work truck grille, and grafted on ’03-’06 GMC bumper.
Photo 3/42   |   02 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Before we brought the Sierra to Daley Visual, we had other issues to contend with. After 13 years of service, the clear coat on the Gaylord’s lid gave up. But the lid itself was in otherwise great shape, so we had an idea.
Photo 4/42   |   03 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
We brought the truck to Gaylord’s headquarters in Santa Fe Springs, California. Since this lid was never carpeted, the crew laid down some glue to give it an upgrade.
Photo 5/42   |   04 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Once the carpet was smoothed into all of the corners, new locks were placed in either side of the lid.
Photo 6/42   |   05 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
A hot knife is used to slice the carpet off precisely at the fiberglass edge.
Photo 7/42   |   06 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Finally, new shocks were installed on each side. No more creeping down while we’re loading the truck.
Photo 8/42   |   07 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Thanks to Gaylord’s, the lid looked and functioned better than new. Oh, but the top still needed work.
Photo 9/42   |   08 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
We replaced the cloudy and faded stock taillights with new ’03-’07 taillights from LMC Truck. Why? Because we like ’em better!
Photo 10/42   |   09 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
We also bolted up the replacement rear bumper, since the stock one was pretty beat up. It’s as simple as transferring the old brackets onto the new bumper.
Photo 11/42   |   10 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Before we could lay a wrap on the truck properly, we had to smooth out our peeling lid, delaminated roof, and primered hood. We hit the roof and lid with 220 on a DA sander until we couldn’t feel any ridges, and hit everything again with Scotch Brite. Of course, no prep is necessary if your paint job is in good shape.
Photo 12/42   |   11 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Josh Daley tackled this wrap head on and started by prepping the top half of the truck with some simple cleaner to remove road grime or debris, which would make it stick better and lessen the chances of air bubbles.
Photo 13/42   |   12 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Daley’s cutting table saw a lot of use that day, as the sheets of Avery Dennison Charcoal Matte vinyl came from a seemingly never ending roll. Here is what separates the pros from the rookies, using just enough wrap with wasting too much.
Photo 14/42   |   13 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
The hood took the entire width of the sheet with just a little overhang on each side. The wrap is a little forgiving and can be repositioned, to a point, to fine-tune the fit. An extra pair of hands helped place it just right.
Photo 15/42   |   14 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Daley started the seemingly never-ending smoothing process, working from the middle of the hood to the outside edge. Doing a wrap is deceptively simple, but getting the sheets of vinyl to lay absolutely perfect is the hard part.
Photo 16/42   |   15 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
The hood took the entire width of the sheet with just a little overhang on each side. The wrap is a little forgiving and can be repositioned, to a point, to fine-tune the fit. An extra pair of hands helped place it just right.
Photo 17/42   |   16 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
More edge prep here as the wrinkles and bubbles were smoothed out with the trusty blue wedge. It has a soft felt covering that won’t scratch the surface of the wrap.
Photo 18/42   |   17 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Daley started his cuts with the windshield edge, leaving just a 1/8- inch of overhang to be folded over and stuck to the rearmost of the hood. This process differs from the other edges just slightly.
Photo 19/42   |   18 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Once the main surface was handled, the pro level came into effect. To keep the edges from lifting, Josh hit them with a propane torch and stretched them a little. This caused the adhesive to grab on and hold more as he stuck it to the underside of the hood.
Photo 20/42   |   19 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Next came the start of the tricky parts, convincing the wrap to lay over the edges of the hood, in preparation for cutting them later on.
Photo 21/42   |   20 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
After what seemed like days of preparation, the driver’s side hood edge was trimmed down in one continuous cut and flattened afterwards using more wedge strokes. This was repeated on the passenger side.
Photo 22/42   |   21 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
The front of the hood would receive the most wind turbulence and Daley took an extra step to prevent edges from losing their adhesion. A can of 3M surface prep primer was applied to help seal the seam. At this point, the hood was complete and we moved on to several other sections.
Photo 23/42   |   22 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
The roof went down similar to the hood and the same tag team method was used. The real trick was getting the wrap into the drip channels where the top of the doors meet the roofline. More smoothing, more stretching and plenty of wedge was used to get the wrap to lay just right.
Photo 24/42   |   23 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
A little heat goes a long way to have the wrap sit in the gap above the rear window perfectly. Details here again, as Josh used his steady hand and years of experience to make this look easy.
Photo 25/42   |   24 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Daley laid down a strip of Knifeless tape on the doors to get the line absolutely straight and keep our two-tone looking consistent. This method is used on large straight sections to keep the cut in line the whole way through. But again, you have to have eagle eyes.
Photo 26/42   |   25 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
The wrap goes down in one big sheet over the open window and is cut down in the next step. Now, the Knifeless tape was put into play, the string was pulled and left behind a perfectly straight line. Note how little wrap is getting cut off.
Photo 27/42   |   26 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
The windows of our ’02 were cut out in preparation of getting tucked under just like the hood. A little propane-powered heat was applied to soften the wrap and it was tucked under with no wrinkles or bubbles.
Photo 28/42   |   27 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Our tonneau cover had also seen a little weather. It too was sanded down back at the Truckin’ workshop to get it flat and even. The cover itself was just too wide and long to have one sheet applied, so two were overlapped about an inch to cover that huge expanse of fiberglass.
Photo 29/42   |   28 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
With our two-tone almost done, about eight inches of the bed and the bedrails had to be covered. This turned out to be the hardest installation of the whole day and had to be redone a total of three times. But it was that attention to detail that got our ’02 looking so sharp. With that we were done!
Photo 30/42   |   29 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
But not quite. We stepped back and noticed the black rearview mirror housings stuck out. Daley quickly covered those with scraps from the window cuts. Now we were really done!
Photo 31/42   |   30 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
We left the valance in the capable hands of Devious Customs. In a couple days, it was expertly paint-matched to the factory black paint. We decided to do the outer sections of the grille shell, too.
Photo 32/42   |   31 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
While the car was at Devious, local legend Wild Bill the pinstriper separated the two colors with a clean and simple single red line. No Von Dutch stripes on this truck!
Photo 33/42   |   32 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Our cracked and pitted windshield had to go. Our next stop was in Whittier at Pete’s Auto Glass, where they handled the job in 30 minutes. Ben and the crew specialize in classic and custom rides, so you know you’re in good hands.
Photo 34/42   |   33 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
We expected the work truck grille would match perfectly the wrap. And it was close, but not close enough. We met up with Daley one more time, and he wrapped the center of the grille shell in minutes, again using heat and primer in the tight corners and edges.
Photo 35/42   |   34 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Our final stop was right down the street from the Truckin’ offices at Meguiar’s headquarters. We happily received a lesson on saving black paint. For most trucks, the Meguiar’s pros recommend the Ultimate Compound, Polish, and Wax, with their corresponding buffing pads. However, this truck needed something from the professional line—the Correction Compound and Finishing Wax.
Photo 36/42   |   35 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Meguiar’s compound and wax, along with their corresponding microfiber pads, are made for use with the company’s awesome dual-action polisher. Here, our buddy Mike taped off half the door and hit one side with both steps. The DA polishers are awesome because they tell you the recommended speed, and if you push too hard, it stops spinning, which forces you into keeping the pad flat and learn other good polishing habits.
Photo 37/42   |   36 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
The proof is in the big halogen light. There’s no trickery here. That’s what we did in a few minutes. Just like the Meguiar’s ads!
Photo 38/42   |   37a 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Photo 39/42   |   37b 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Check out this small portion of the same two areas, magnified 200 times. Pretty cool, and pretty awesome this great system works without beating yourself or your car up in the process.
Photo 40/42   |   38 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
After a final wipe down with Quik Detailer (which works great on vinyl wraps, by the way), the GMC was finally ready for its close up. Our updated truck can now serve us for many more years and look pretty cool doing it.
Photo 41/42   |   39 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap
Photo 42/42   |   40 2002 GMC Sierra Wrap

Sources

Meguiar's
Irvine, CA 92614
800-347-5700
www.meguiars.com
Devious Customs
Ontario, CA 91761
909-947-1800
http://www.deviouscustoms.com
LMC Truck
Lenexa, KS 66219
800-562-8782
www.lmctruck.com
Gaylord's Truck Lids
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
562-529-7543
http://www.gaylordslids.com
Daley Visual
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
909-481-1617
http://www.daleyvisual.com
Avery Dennison
626-304-2000
www.averydennison.com
Pete's Auto Glass
800-607-3837
www.petesautomotiveglasscenter.com

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