Polishing factory stripes?

Discussion in 'Viper Detailing Tips & Tricks' started by Cozmo420, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. Cozmo420

    Cozmo420 Enthusiast

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    Guys, Just picked up my Viper on Tuesday - '08 vert, viper orange with black stripes. There are some swirl marks that I'll be polishing out in the next few weeks, some are on the black stripes. They are factory stripes. I believe that they are painted, but there is an edge to them, so they aren't flush with the paint. Can I go through the paint correction process on the stripes? Any risk of damaging them? Unfortunately the swirls are most noticeable on the stripes and I'd really like to fix it.
     
  2. BlknBlu

    BlknBlu Viper Owner

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    I have the same stripes and have had no problems with using a polisher on them, but if you are worried you can tape the edges.

    Bruce
     
  3. Cozmo420

    Cozmo420 Enthusiast

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    Good deal - Thanks, Bruce.
     
  4. Lespauldude

    Lespauldude Viper Owner

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    Hopefully, AJ (aka "Junkman") will see this and chime in. No one knows paint like AJ. I have white stripes on my 09 and have always wondered, if I ever needed to do a paint correction on them, how the raised-edge of the stripes
    would be affected by my random-orbital polisher. For sure, black is notorious for amplifying any/all surface imperfections.
     
  5. agentf1

    agentf1 Viper Owner

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    You should have no issues at all polishing the stripes especially if you are only using a ROB.
     
  6. Cozmo420

    Cozmo420 Enthusiast

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    I'm going to give this a shot...ROB = Random Orbital Buffer? Still learning this stuff...
     
  7. Junkman2008

    Junkman2008 Enthusiast

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    Here's a writeup that I did concerning vinyl stripes. You will learn some fascinating things from reading it.


    This is a question that often comes up on a lot of car care forums so I decided to dig into the vinyl strip industry and get the scoop straight from the manufactures. First, a little background on the industry.

    There are 3 major manufactures, 3M, Oracal and Avery. There are plenty of smaller manufactures but they do not do the volume, nor provide the size of raw materials that these three manufactures do. One thing to note. The companies that actually manufacture the sheets that the stripes are cut from do not sell directly to the public. Thus, if you do not know where the raw material was purchased from which your stripes were cut, there's no way to tell who manufactured your stripes. Your car manufacturers are definitely not going to let you in on this information and your local dealerships don't have a clue.

    Just like in any business today, you also have your Chinese knockoffs. They have flooded the market with their usual sub par quality junk and you can usually spot them by their low prices. Of course, a lot of consumers only see the dollar signs and are easily manipulated out of their money for low grade materials.

    The secret to finding out who manufactured your stripes lies in the adhesive backing that is peeled away during the installation of these stripes. Sometimes, the company who buys the materials in order to cut your stripes will request that the backing be left blank in order to conceal that information. That way, you always have to go to that installer to get the exact same quality stripes, unless you go with something different.

    Vinyl stripes are NOT all the same. They are created to be used in specific situations. From outdoor to indoor, from cars to signs, the vinyl industry creates decals that cater to specific applications. You would not believe how many different blends of vinyl that one company can create. In vehicle lettering alone, Oracal has over 20 different "blends" to choose from. That's over 20 blends, from 1 of 10 categories that cater strictly to outdoor use! Indoor graphics consist of 6 more categories, each with their own set of blends. Talk about the secret recipe vault, I'd like to know who is guarding that thing!

    So as you can see, the vinyl industry is very complex in what they put out. Thus, care for your vinyl stripes can be very specific, depending on what you have. However, Oracal made me privy to their care and maintenance information, which I am going to share with you all. In a nutshell, the ONLY thing you should be doing is washing your stripes with soap and water. They suggest a mild car wash soap. In their information that they gave to me, they suggested Dawn, Joy or Ivory. Now although those product are safe for your car and paint, they will wipe out any wax or glaze on your car. Thus, you want to use something safe for the products that are protecting your paint.

    Care for Your Stripes

    I spoke with Dean Strohmenger who is the Sr. Product Support Specialist for Oracal. First, he directed me to a document, which outlines specifically the care of vinyl stripes. PM me with your email address if you want a copy of that document. Here's the deal. Oracal and other companies like them do not sell directly to the public, they sell to distributors. The distributors either cut the patterns from the sheets that they purchase, or sell to the people who cut the patterns and/or install the cut materials on your car or sign.

    The vinyl material for lettering and stripes vary in quality due to their plasticizer content. This plasticizer content consist of various materials/chemicals and determines how long the stripes will last. This also determines how long of a warranty you will get with your stripes/lettering. Each company has their own "secret recipe" that makes up their platicizer content but I'm sure that the maintenance procedures are going to be similar for all of the various manufactured stripes/lettering.

    One very interesting thing about the warranty of these vinyl stripes. They are warrantied based on a sliding scale, depending on where you are located. In other words, a 10 year warranty is not 10 years in Arizona or Texas, like it would be in New York or North Dakota. Also, and this was the most shocking point that he made, the warranty is based on the vertical plane. That means the stripes on the side of your car is where the warranty is applied, not the horizontal parts. The horizontal parts are NOT warrantied because the elements of weather are too brutal to warranty that part! Wow, I never knew that!

    So there you are. A document that definitively instructs you on how to care for your stripes. One thing that he said to definitely not do is wax your stripes. He said that waxing the stripes will dry up the plasticizing content in the vinyl and cause them to fail well before their supposed lifetime. He also said that waxing the stripes will have adverse affects to their appearance like causing them to turn white. I've seen plenty of car owners who have found that out the hard way.

    So there it is folks, straight from the Junkman's research desk. You learn something new everyday if you go off looking.


    The Junkman
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
  8. Lespauldude

    Lespauldude Viper Owner

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    AJ -
    I think the OP was adressing his factory painted stripes, not the aftermarket vinyl ones. The one common thread concerning the Viper factory painted stripes is the raised edge. For the life of me, I don't see why these stripes were painted this way (resulting in the raised edge). IIRC, Dodge had an outside vendor paint the stripes (the name escapes me, I think it starts with a "P").
     
  9. Nader

    Nader Viper Owner

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    Prefix paints them on after car is finished.
     
  10. Lespauldude

    Lespauldude Viper Owner

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    Thanks Nader. I had the first letter..................................
     
  11. Junkman2008

    Junkman2008 Enthusiast

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    If they are painted on the car, you treat them no different than paint. They should be clear coated if they are painted on the car. Now if they are painted ON TOP of the factory clear coat and not cleared themselves, that's another story. So which is it?
     
  12. Cozmo420

    Cozmo420 Enthusiast

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    They are definitely factory. I have the original window sticker for the car showing that. I don't know if they are clear coated, but it looks like they are. Will probably take it somewhere to have someone look at it.
     
  13. Junkman2008

    Junkman2008 Enthusiast

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    Are they shiny or flat black?
     
  14. Cozmo420

    Cozmo420 Enthusiast

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    Shiny and I confirmed that they are painted.
     
  15. Junkman2008

    Junkman2008 Enthusiast

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    If they are shiny then one would believe that they are clear coated. If you buff on them and the pad doesn't turn black then they are definitely clear coated. In that case, treat them just as you would your paint.
     
  16. Steve M

    Steve M Viper Owner

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    Factory stripes are painted on top of the factory paint/clear coat. It gives them a noticeable edge that makes you think they might be vinyl, but it is definitely paint/clear on top of paint/clear.
     
  17. jman2

    jman2 Enthusiast

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    so do we tape the factory stripes and then proceed with pc 7424xp or do we just polish without tape???
    keep in mind the stripes are clear coated and painted on top of the car....
     
  18. Junkman2008

    Junkman2008 Enthusiast

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    Stripes that are painted and clear coated are treated just like paint. There is no difference in those stripes and the paint on the car.
     
  19. Steve M

    Steve M Viper Owner

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    Tape the edges, and then polish away.
     
  20. Junkman2008

    Junkman2008 Enthusiast

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    There's no need to tape the edges of stripes that are PAINTED on the car.
     
  21. mitchdob

    mitchdob Viper Owner

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    AJ/Junkman: Any advice for stripes that are painted but not clear coated? That's what I have (black stripes). That and 'badge delete' were performed as deal modifications at the time the car was purchased. I currently wax/polymer them and they seem to be doing great.... but want to make sure I'm treating them correctly. Thanks for the help.
     
  22. jman2

    jman2 Enthusiast

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    correct me if i'm wrong but as my great local mechanic had mentioned if we keep the machine away from the edge of the stripes then we dont need the tape correct???
    i would assume tape is needed if you plan to polish the stripes to???
     
  23. Steve M

    Steve M Viper Owner

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    Re-read the thread...Prefix paints the stripes OVER the existing paint, and clears only the stripes, creating an edge to them that can easily be felt and could potentially be damaged by a machine polisher. They feel just like a vinyl stripe would, only it is paint/clear. That's why I say tape the edges.
     
  24. Junkman2008

    Junkman2008 Enthusiast

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    Paint is paint. It doesn't matter if they are stripes or anything else. If it is painted on the car, you treat it just as you would the REST of the paint on your car.

    You have to be specific about which type of stripes that you are talking about. DECALS are treated completely different than painted stripes. Like I said above, paint is paint. The paint used to paint your stripes is no different than the paint on your car. Decals warrant a completely different approach. So which are you talking about?

    Which would be WRONG. The main reason you tape off decal style stripes is to keep from getting polish or wax under their edges and thus, causing them to peel. That also keeps them from looking like azz, which is what polish or wax caked under your stripes will look like. The other reason for taping off the decal style stripes is because polish and wax can dry up the platicizer content IN the stripes and cause them to fail prematurely. You should NEVER polish or wax decals for that reason alone. I covered all this in another thread about decals that you can read here.

    Hell, I posted most of that writeup in this thread!
     
  25. Steve M

    Steve M Viper Owner

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    Something's getting lost in translation here.

    So here's what I'm trying to say:

    1. Yes, the stripes on a Viper as they come from the factory are painted on. They are NOT painted on how you would expect, however. They are painted directly over top of the existing paint/clear, and then cleared over after painted, but not the entire panel (only the stripes are cleared over). That gives the stripes an edge just like you would encounter with a vinyl decal, hence why people aren't sure how to deal with them.

    2. TAPE THE EDGES. Not to protect them from peeling up (which is the reason you cite for taping the edges of vinyl decals/stripes), but to protect the edge from being damaged by the polisher/pad.

    The stripes on other cars may be a different story, but for these particular years in Vipers, the stripes aren't what you'd normally expect to find.
     
  26. BlknBlu

    BlknBlu Viper Owner

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    The only reason I would really tape is Clay barring and polishing compund getting on the edge of the stripe. It is difficult to remove from the harsh edge, But the materials are the same so buff away.

    Bruce
     
  27. Junkman2008

    Junkman2008 Enthusiast

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    I completely understand that. It still does not change my opinion in how to deal with them.

    The only way THAT is going to happen is if you don't know what you're doing and/or you are using equipment that is out of your pay grade. I buff on and all around edges all the time and at no time have I ever experienced an issue with damaging them. Just because there is a slight raise in the clear coat is not a serious issue with paint. Clear coat is measured in microns or MIL's. The amount of clear coat or paint that you are going to remove per pass depends on quite a few factors including the compound, the grade and/or type of pad, the machine used and the skill of the person doing the job. Someone using a PC with the most aggressive pad and compound on the market is not going to create any issues without some SERIOUS effort, no matter how hard you try. I have more than proven that in "how safe" videos featuring the PC. In this video at the 19:03 mark, I talk about crossing seams without pushing polish into them. There is an art form to doing this and I show it in this video. Since the painted on stripes don't have a true seam, getting polish into them is of no concern if you know what you are doing and damaging them should be your least concern. That is, if you know what you are doing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrNJ9ZAK-_M&t=19m3s
     
  28. shine

    shine Viper Owner

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    I used a random orbital on my ACR's stripes just fine, no tape on the edge. The buffer is not nearly strong enough to do anything to the edge.

    I did, however, tape off and mask the hood vents, just to keep product from getting on them. That's a bear to get off!
     
  29. jman2

    jman2 Enthusiast

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    shine are u using a portercable?
     
  30. Junkman2008

    Junkman2008 Enthusiast

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    Even with a PC, it is possible to push polish up under the edges. I see this all the time with novices. If your strips have a matte finish, buffing on them will cause them to shine. For those who are purist with the appearance of their car, that is not a good thing. Also, polish can cause adverse affects to the stripes over time. Remember, the stripes are not made to last forever. They are only temporary. Thus, you want to do everything possible to prolong the life of them.
     

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