First order of affairs – removing the vinyl firetruck decals.
“You simply peel them off...”, they said. “It'll be fun...”, they said.
“You simply peel them off…”, they said. “It’ll be fun…”, they said.
Ok, it literally took two people 6 hours to pull these things off. Our fingers were swollen sore after the ordeal, which can only be summarized as living hell. On the bright side, we did learn a few decal removal ‘tricks-of-the-trade’, which we are happy to share with you.
Point of advice: removing warm glue is easier than removing cold glue, so pull out the heat guns. Heating the decals is a delicate affair. Not enough heat, and they don’t come off. Too much heat, and the foil literally melts (not to mention that you can damage the paint). It takes a bit of time to get it right, but after several minutes you get the hang of it and the work begins to inch forward. It helps if you have a heat gun with an adjustable temperature dial. Running it on level 3-4 helps with obtaining the ‘correct’ temperature balance (we were using a Makita HG551V, and a second generic heat gun without temperature adjustments – the adjustable Makita made the process much easier). Be careful to control the temperature not to overheat the paint!!
Another point of useful advice when removing adhesive decals: pull at about 45 degree angles. It’s a delicate art of getting the pull-angle correct. Too high, and a lot of the glue remains on the van; too much, and the vinyl tears apart.
Finally, purchase an adhesive remover. Once the label is removed, spray the adhesive remover onto any glue that remains on the vehicle. It softens the glue, and you can use a plastic spatula to scrape it off – another ‘pain-in-the-bottom’ part of the process.
Having removed the decals the van will require a thorough automotive detailing job, but we plan to do this after the build is complete.
Anyway, 12 combined hours later, the firetruck labels were removed. Congratulations to us!