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How to Vinyl Wrap your Truck for a Two-Tone Look

2002 GMC Sierra Buildup, Part Five

Oct 15, 2020
Contributors: 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.
More on This 2002 GMC Sierra!
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Once the carpet was smoothed into all of the corners, new locks were placed in either side of the lid.
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A hot knife is used to slice the carpet off precisely at the fiberglass edge.
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Finally, new shocks were installed on each side. No more creeping down while we're loading the truck.
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Thanks to Gaylord's, the lid looked and functioned better than new. Oh, but the top still needed work.
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We replaced the cloudy and faded stock taillights with new '03-'07 taillights from LMC Truck. Why? Because we like 'em better!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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   |   96768265
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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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Sources

Avery Dennison
626-304-2000
http://www.averydennison.com
Daley Visual
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
951-356-5776
http://www.daleyvisual.com
Devious Customs
Riverside, CA
951-359-9666
http://www.deviouscustoms.com
Gaylord's Truck Lids
Santa Fe Springs, CA
562-529-7543
http://www.gaylordslids.com
LMC Truck
Lenexa, KS
800-562-8782
http://www.lmctruck.com
Meguiar's
Irvine, CA
800-347-5700
http://www.meguiars.com
Pete's Auto Glass
800-607-3837
http://www.petesautomotiveglasscenter.com

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