When we last left our ’01 Excursion from Devious Customs, the front-end sheet metal had been transformed with the addition of an ’11-’16 Super Duty grille, fenders, and hood. With this project behemoth already having received a 6-inch lift from Fabtech and a set of SOTA Offroad wheels shod with General Tires, it was now in the homestretch. This formerly ho-hum family truckster was going to reemerge with a new attitude, and a new look. After all the hard work had been finished, it was time for a little spit and polish. The replacement hood and fenders now did not match the faded white factory paint and some decisions had to be made. Go balls out and do a respray? Or change the look in a fraction of the time with the addition of a vinyl wrap.
Jeff Davy, (a.k.a. Mr. Devious) wanted his hauler of humans to be back on the road transporting his family in safety and style, so the choice was simple. All that was left was to decide where to take the biggest of the big SUVs. After a little research, 1daywraps.com in Murrieta, California, had Davy penciled in for an appointment. 1daywraps.com handles cars, trucks, SUVs, and other four-wheeled vehicles, but it was the company’s experience with larger vehicles, including busses, motorhomes, and toy haulers that convinced Davy he had brought his lifted Excursion to the right place. Brian Wear is the owner of 1daywraps, and as you can see in the pictures below, loves his work. He makes his shop enjoyable for his employees by dressing it up to be more of Man Cave than a bare-walled shop.
When the wrap was slated to be finished, Davy was prepping a bumper from Tough Country that matched the new attitude of the reborn Excursion. After the installation of the bumper, this project was in the final stretch and would soon be drivable again. Follow along as we spend a few days in the Inland Empire to start the last leg of our project in Murrieta at 1daywraps.com, finishing up at Devious Customs in Riverside.
| When we brought our ’01 Excursion to 1daywraps.com in Marietta, California, our Excursion was in the final leg of its transformation. The idea was to give it a two-tone treatment with black on top, white on bottom, and a pop of red down the middle. The headlights, taillights, lights, front and rear bumpers, as well as the door handles were removed for an easier installation.
| The Excursion had been already washed, as asked, but they gave it another wipe down to get the surface absolutely particle-free. The wrap will adhere perfectly to clean paint, dirty paint not so much. 1daywraps.com started at Zero Dark Thirty in the morning, as you can see from that whole lot of dark outside.
| One of the installers, Bryce, cut a sheet of vinyl at the shop-length cutting table. Our Excursion roof required the application of an entire roll-width of wrap. The Man Cave design is seen here with owner Brian Wear’s skateboard collection on the wall.
| Jobs this large require a team effort with Bryce and George laying down the full sheet over the roof. It’s laid down as carefully as possible, and then the smoothing process started. The vinyl is slightly forgiving, so if a (small) mistake was made, it could be peeled off and re-laid down. Our installers made no such mistakes, however.
| To get the wrap to lay into the crevices and over the various humps that make up our Excursion’s exterior, a quick hit of flame from a butane torch is used to stretch the vinyl just a little. This method is essential for corners to give the wrap a strong anchor.
| Here, George fitted the wrap around the complexities of the barn doors in the rear, and cut the excess with a razor. That area had already gone through a series of heating, smoothing, and stretching to reach this point.
| The hood was next to be covered and went down similar to the roof. A large, single sheet covered from side to side and its protective backing was carefully peeled off.
| After the initial placement of the wrap, the torch came out. What looks like large ripples in the vinyl actually is, and they are necessary so they can stretch the slack and then smooth over the step on either side of the hood.
| George smoothed the edges of the wrap around the edges of the hood with a razor and cut away the excess, which would have otherwise covered the area where the emblem goes on the fender just ahead of the driver’s door. The exposed areas will be covered, too, but it’s better to do them separately.
| By stretching the wrap over the edge of the hood, Bryce ensures the adhesive has a firm hold and won’t peel up over time. The edge of the hood just behind the grille will always be exposed to wind and must be laid down good and strong. Then, the excess was cut off.
| The wrap game is all about details, and here, Jose gave a little insurance for the wrap to stick around the taillight buckets. A little 3M Primer 94 cleaned all the particles out of the channel and ensured a firm grip.
| To get the two-tone to match up perfectly, they laid a line of cut tape arrow straight down the middle of the Excursion just above the door handles. In a later step, this cut tape will work its magic and give a seamless transition from one color to the next.
| This vantage point puts the enormity of the cut table into perspective. At just over 18 feet, it allowed the guys to roll out large amounts of material and make sure there was little to no waste. This sheet would cover one whole side of our SUV, and the cuts will be made from there. This ensured consistency over the cut tape.
| Using magnets, the wrap is adjusted and stuck to the doors and fenders on the passenger’s side. Our two-tone is starting to take shape, with bright white covering up the faded factory paint to be mated up with black later.
| With a vehicle this large, it seemed the smoothing went on for days, but every bubble and ripple was chased down and smoothed.
| Sometimes, they used a plastic paddle to smooth the wrap into place, sometimes it was better to get a little “hands on,” and George used his finger to seat the vinyl into place around the fender.
| The taillight bucket had been cleaned earlier, so the wrap was heated again, pushed into place, and the excess was cut off. And when the taillight is installed, it’ll look flawless. You can see the cut tape through the white wrap, and although, the excess will be cut away, the ripples will be smoothed out to ensure the black layer goes down smoothly. That can be seen in a later step.
| All the door handles and cut out for the keyless entry pad were trimmed away, the vinyl was heated, and pushed into the crevices.
| With the white layer down and smoothed, they started the black layer. With the windows open, the black layer was worked around the doorframe. As can be seen, the black overlaps the white. This will be cut away with the cut tape, which will match the two perfectly.
| The black layer was smoothed over the top half of the SUV and around the edge of the rear hatch, which was the most complex area. Attention to detail was key at this juncture as there is no going back. You can’t lift and reapply the black layer as it might damage the white layer.
| The top few inches of the front fender were coated in black, as well, as the two-tone theme continued. The black layer was worked over the edges of the fender leading into the engine bay to protect against lifting. Unlike the leading edge of the hood, heat would be the culprit for lifting here, not wind, and they applied an extra inch to prevent that.
| With the cut tape process started here, the two layers are cut at the same time. The black layer was peeled off, and because it overlapped the white, the excess white had to be carefully removed from under the black. After that, there was no separation between the two colors, just a seamless transition. The curled green line is the remnants of the cut tape.
| The black and white layers were done and totally smoothed out, and the pop of color was about to happen. Brian came out of his office to help out and laid down some masking tape to allow a 1/2-inch wide pinstripe to be applied. It was cut from vinyl wrap again and laid down the same way as the previous colors.
| Long strips of red were cut and laid down over the meeting line of the black and white. With the completion of the pinstripe, our Excursion wrap was done, and ready to head back to Devious Customs in Riverside.
| Back at Devious, Jeff Davy and his crew wasted no time completing the Excursion. The bumper had been sent out to be coated in spray-in bedliner material and was installed on the doctored frame horns. The bumper itself came with big installation brackets that fit over the frame horns.
| Now that the bumper is locked into place, the dressing could begin. Two 30-inch lightbars ordered from Tough Country filled up the slots in the bumper. These T.C. branded lightbars were plenty bright and can turn night into day with the flick of a switch.
| These 4-inch light pods came from Tough Country, too, and fit perfectly in the holes in bumper. It’s like the holes were cut to fit these exact lightpods. In fact, they were.
| All those LEDs need some electricity to power them, otherwise, they are just expensive placeholders. We routed them along with the headlight wires.
| When our bumper lights were wired in, we re-installed the door handles and the keyless entry pad, as well.
| The final touches were to install the headlights and our recently upgraded grille, which is what Devious bodyman Tim is doing here. Since their positions had already been determined when originally installed, all he had to do was bolt then back up and shut the hood.
| Here is our ’01 Excursion in its final form. The lift and tires gave it the right height, the ’15 Super Duty front-end swap gave it some attitude, the wrap transformed the dull factory paint, and the bumper is just plain mean. Our Ford will now dominate the highways and streets of SoCal.