Summer Install and Long Lasting Wraps
July 15, 2016
If you're like us you're sitting in the heat wishing it was winter already and time to ride. Many sledders take the summer time to work on their sleds and get them ready for when the snow flies.
From turbos, to exhaust, to every add on imaginable, summer is the time to mod out your sled so it's ready when the snow is. Like other mods, your wrap is one that should go on in the summer.
Why install your wrap during summer?
1. It's Hot!
Not many people have access to a heated garage or shop during winter to install their wrap. Wrap material goes on best between 70 and 80 degrees F and there is no better time to get warm temps than in the summer. When wet installing, the wrap needs time to dry and day in the hot sun is a perfect way to let your wrap dry out and make sure that all the adhesive sets properly.
2. You won't be tempted to ride it before it's ready.
One thing we've noticed is that wraps that have enough time to set before being ridden last a lot longer. For example, Kyle's wrap went on and later that day it was loaded on a sled deck and taken out to ride. Three years later, the wrap is starting to peel at the edges. We are very hard on our wraps, we like to ride tight trees and end up in places that get a little too tight sometimes. While Kyle's wrap is starting to show it's age as it didn't have enough time to set up properly, my wrap is doing great!
I only have a few places that are starting to lift and I've been able to fix those places easily by heating them with a heat gun and squeegee-ing them back down. (Check out our post on wrap care for more information on keeping your wrap from lifting).
3. You can take your time.
When installing a wrap in the winter, it's easy to want to rush through it to make sure that it's ready to ride. You can stretch out installing your wrap over several weeks, just remember to store the rest of the wrap out of the heat between install sessions.
While installing in the summer isn't an option for everyone, especially if you don't have a snow check sled yet or you are waiting til show/sled swap season to buy yours, it's a great time to get the wrap on. Summer install can help ensure that your wrap will hold up against the nastiest of conditions and look sharp for years to come.
Wet or Dry? Which install method is best
October 30, 2015
Wrap install comes easy to some, but not so much to others. While wet install is easier to accomplish, it isn't always the best choice for installation. Whether you should wet install or dry install techniques really depends on what you are installing.
Wet install is particularly useful for smooth plastic panels that have complex curves. There are some panels that are next to impossible for even a seasoned installer to wrap without using the wet install method. For example, the convex surface on the hood of the Arctic Cat Pro Climb can make even the most patient man want to throw large heavy items and the manliest man break down in tears without wet install. This is a great panel to install wet to avoid wrinkles and bubbles.
Patience is definitely the key when it comes to these difficult pieces. When using wet install, spray both the vinyl and the panel with the install fluid. You want it to be wet, but avoid saturating either. Start in the center and slide the piece to where it should be. Using the felt wrapped side of the squeegee, firmly press the piece down working from the center outwards. You should be able to see the liquid being pressed out from under the vinyl. You want to make sure that you work out any bubbles as they arise. Unlike with dry install, these won't work their way out later and can cause lifting issues. Wipe away any excess install fluid that collects around the edge of the piece so that it allows the edges to adhere properly.
Wet install should be used sparingly throughout the wrap installation. Do not use wet install on textured surfaces or surfaces with rivets such as the tunnel. Install fluid will get trapped around the rivets and in the air spaces on rough surfaces causing lifting later on. We provide you with installation fluid to ease the process of those hard to install panels, but you should not need more than we provide.
It is very tempting to use wet install for large pieces to make sure that you get everything lined up correctly. Don't do it! Use the dry hinge method for large pieces and work the piece slowly one side at a time. Make sure not to pull too hard on the vinyl as it will stretch and distort the carefully cut template. The vinyl should peel up while installing, especially on textured plastics, allowing you to reposition and get bubbles out. Don't worry too much about small bubbles though, they work themselves out over time.
One of the most difficult areas to install is the tunnel, mostly having to go over the rivets. The vinyl will want to pop over the rivets and doesn't look very nice. To help with this, get a heat gun or hair dryer (personally I like the hair dryer, less chance to melt the vinyl) and heat up around the rivet. Use the non-felted side of the squeegee to push the vinyl down. If you start to get an air bubble, use an exacto knife to make a small slit. Do this before the bubble gets too much pressure or it will stretch the vinyl out of shape. Continue to work the vinyl down and the bubble out. With a little bit of time spent with the rivets, you will get a professional looking result. This method also applies to many other ridged surfaces on sleds.
Now that I've talked a little bit about how to handle some of the issues of both wet and dry install, let's get down to which you should use. The answer is, it depends. Some panels will not install wet, others will not install dry. Make sure to read the information provided with your wrap for brand specific tips to make your install go as smoothly as possible. Remember, dry install will almost always hold up the best as long as you care for your wrap. If installing wet, make sure to let your sled dry for a week in a warm place before exposing it to the elements. If you fail to care for your installation properly, you will have peeling issues. If you have any questions during the installation process, please don't hesitate to contact us, we are more than happy to share our knowledge to make sure your wrap looks amazing!
How to care for your wrap
February 4, 2015
One of the most common complaints we get is that a customer's wrap is peeling. Rest assured that this has nothing to do with the quality of the vinyl and everything to do with the care the wrap receives after installation.
The plastic that is used for snowmobiles is a low energy plastic, the hardest kind to get things to stick to, especially in cold and wet conditions. You will notice as you apply your wrap that there are very few sharp edges to reduce areas of peeling. We constantly alter our wrap design to combat these areas that might peel up.
Regardless, as a wrap is exposed to the elements, it might start to peel up in places. If you notice this it needs to be addressed right away! Ideally, you would have a heated garage or shop that the sled can chill in overnight and warm up before you do your maintenance. Let the sled warm up and take a hair dryer or heat gun to the edges and warm them up. I use a hair dryer cause I'm a girl and I have one around, but also because there is less chance to damage your wrap with a hairdryer. If you are using a heat gun be careful not to get the vinyl too hot. Once the edge is heated up, you can lay it back down and work it down with your fingers and a squeegee.
If you don't have a garage, you will be stuck out in the cold with your hair dryer. It might take a little more warming up of the plastic and the vinyl, but you should still be able to get it to lay back down.
And if you can't get it back down? We will warranty panels to a certain extent, but if it gets ridiculous, we will replace the panel at our cost.
Remember, your wrap is a big investment in both time and money! Make sure you take care of it and it will last through ice cold weather and thick Wyoming pines!
July 15, 2016
October 30, 2015
February 4, 2015