Care and Appearance Washing, waxing, paint care products, etc.

Air Cleaner Decal Application

Old July 29th, 2010, 07:09 PM
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Air Cleaner Decal Application

Before I end up with a wrinkled mess I figured I would ask if anyone has some tips on applying a new air cleaner decal. I thought I read that soapy water will help with positioning and when it dries it should be good but for some reason soap, water and the adhesive don't seem like they would play well together.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks
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Old July 30th, 2010, 03:39 AM
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Well, I'm guessing everyone that read this just scratched their head and said " soapy water"? So I guess I won't go with the soapy water and just try to lay it down smooth the traditional way. I'll post the results....

here's the before picture
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Old July 30th, 2010, 03:52 AM
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Funny, I was waiting to see what others tried. "The Devil is in the details" and all the engine compartment paper/decals are a PITA to keep nice
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Old July 30th, 2010, 03:52 AM
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Give us time...

The soapy water solution trick works fine. You want just enough soap to be slippery, not a lot of suds or anything. A few drops of dishwashing liquid in a quart or so of water should be enough.

Wet the aircleaner lid with the soap solution, then lay the decal in place. The soap allows you to move it around for correct placement and to smooth out wrinkles. Use a soft-edged squeegee or body filler spreader to smooth out the wrinkles after the decal is placed as you want it.
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Old July 30th, 2010, 04:09 AM
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Thanks for the replies guys, guess I'm just feeling the pressure of summer being in the home stretch and me still putting this thing back together. All I want to do is drive it . I'm so close I can smell the the new paint burning off my heads .

Thanks for talking me down.

Soapy water it will be.
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Old July 30th, 2010, 11:36 AM
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the soap breaks the surface tension of the water. this allow the water to cover the surface completely without beading. a plastic bondo spreader or credit card can be used to squeegee any air bubbles away. with the water solution in place, place decal where desired, adjust, squeegee air bubbles and excess water away then leave it alone for a while.
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Old July 30th, 2010, 12:04 PM
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Neat trick! I will try that when the air cleaner gets repainted later.
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Old July 31st, 2010, 03:35 AM
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Air cleaner??
I have over 40 feet of decals on the lower half and tailgate of my Vista.
It's no new trick, they've been been wet applying vinyl woodgrain and decals on cars since around 1948. The Chrysler Town and Country woodies used it first IIRC.
You spray the surface to be applied to and the back of the decal then after it's set in place spray the face so the squeegee slides. A plastic credit card or bondo spreader can scratch or tear the decal surface or edge so be careful, especially on decals with a glossy coating. You can wrap a cloth around a plastic squeegee or spreader, they also make special rubber squeegees and Teflon sleeves for the plastic ones.
The vinyl lady who did my woodgrain had the rubber squeegee, a razor blade, spray bottle of detergent solution and a heat gun that she used very sparingly.
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Old July 31st, 2010, 06:23 AM
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A scrap of weatherstripping or pieces cut from an old wiper blade can work well - I used such things when applying window tining years ago.

I just never heard of using soapy water on decals that are self adhesive.
I learn so much from this forum! (Hope I can retain the knowledge, though.)
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Old July 31st, 2010, 06:53 AM
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soapy water is a misnomer. as stated before, just a couple of drops of Dawn is sufficient. it's almost like.......... magic
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Old August 21st, 2010, 11:38 AM
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Well, it's finally on. The soap think worked pretty well, probably better than if I just tried to apply it without. Was left with two small bubbles but if you don't know where they are you can't really see them.



Thanks to everyone for their help. You guys (and gals) have been great. Now if I can only figure out why it runs like a piece of crap

That will be a new thread all together!

HEY! I finally figured out how to insert an image
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Old August 24th, 2010, 03:15 AM
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To get rid of the two small bubbles, just pierce with a needle and press with finger tip...same also gets rid of more than two small bubbles...
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Old August 24th, 2010, 05:10 AM
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Now-how do I get the metal 'decal' to stay down on my 65 442 air cleaner? ---bil
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Old August 24th, 2010, 06:50 AM
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I have also heard that you should either leave the decals in the sun or heat them with a blow-drier first as that will pre-shrink them to handle the heat of the engine compartment especially the tune up sticker as they tend to crinkle up - anyone know any tricks to that or is it only a matter of time before you need to replace it again anyway.
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Old October 12th, 2010, 10:41 PM
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Just wanted to add my 2cents to the above stated. I used to run the vinyl department of a sign company and Here is the basics for applying any kind o sticky-backed material.

Wet Application:

It's best to use a spray bottle to apply soapy water.
1 drop of dish soap is good enough for 16 oz of water
spray just enough to get some soap bubbles on back of decal and surface
place decal in position / Once you are satisfied with placement begin to squeegee material.
If decal is premasked you can spray with windex to loosen premask and remove.
any small bubbles left should be poked with pin/exacto tip and pressed to relieve soap or air.
Decals applied wet should be given sufficient time to dry completely
And yes heat does shrink the decal over time and will also compress some bubbles until they are no more.

Dry application is a whole other story but neither are very hard. Heck, for small decals i just lay them down dry now and squeeqee. Now putting on an 8' tall by 25' long decal by yourself, that's fun stuff. haha
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Old July 29th, 2012, 01:26 PM
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dry fitting

I've been trying to put new air cleaner decals on my '72 Cutlass about three times and have had a problem with them after driing the car for a day. It heats up the decal and I end up with wrinkles and air bubbles. Anyone got any tips on this? It seems like it shrinks up with the heat once it is applied.
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Old July 29th, 2012, 02:12 PM
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which decals do you have? I have used the foil backed decals from year one and I have not had the same problem.

You really have to clean the air cleaner lid with Goo Gone X-treme before applying the decal so it sticks well. Also, when you get a tiny air bubble on applying the sticker take a razor blade and press it into the bubble. Then squeeze the air out of the bubble and press it down onto the air cleaner.
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Old July 29th, 2012, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by RickH View Post
I've been trying to put new air cleaner decals on my '72 Cutlass about three times and have had a problem with them after driing the car for a day. It heats up the decal and I end up with wrinkles and air bubbles. Anyone got any tips on this? It seems like it shrinks up with the heat once it is applied.
This all really depends on the quality of the decal material. There are usually multiple different "levels" of quality to decal (Vinyl) material. For an under-hood decal you really want the highest level of "exterior" material, 9-12 year lifespan etc. Otherwise the decal will shrink, malform etc. If you are having a sign shop make one for you make sure you ask for the highest grade material...if ordering from a catalog you need to ask someone what level material it is as well.
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Old January 6th, 2019, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by bil View Post
Now-how do I get the metal 'decal' to stay down on my 65 442 air cleaner? ---bil
New response to an old thread, How did you apply it Bill?, thanks Jerry.
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Old January 7th, 2019, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by jerry63 View Post
New response to an old thread, How did you apply it Bill?, thanks Jerry.
Bil last logged into this site in May 2012. You might want to stick to not-so-old threads.

And since this thread is back from the crypt, yes, soapy water is THE recommended way to apply water transfer decals. We're not talking bubble bath here. A few drops in the pail will be enough. This provides enough lubrication to slide the decal around to where you want it. Once positioned, squeegee out the water and let it dry. That little bit of soap won't affect adhesion.
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Old January 7th, 2019, 01:17 PM
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On a "pie-pan" like a lot of 60s Olds aircleaners had, use the soapy water trick to lay a new decal on the cleaned aluminum disc.

But since the pie-pans are being reproduced for most engines that used them, get a new one and then use contact cement to attach the metal pan to the aircleaner housing.
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Old January 7th, 2019, 02:47 PM
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I have the quarter moon shaped metal / decal which says "ultra high compression ring". It appears to have a adhesion backing applied to it , as it has a peel off paper backing on it. I figured you can just clean the surface of the air cleaner and then press it down in its place. For the price I payed for it I don't want to mess it up and have to buy another one. Thanks Jerry.
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Old January 7th, 2019, 03:11 PM
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That should work. The UHC plates have the advantage of being FLAT, instead of having to get them centered and laid down both in a circle and at an angle as the Rocket/SkyRocket/Starfire pans do.
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Old January 7th, 2019, 05:45 PM
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The metal pie plates are held down by the round chrome retainer thing under the wing nut. Two barrel different size than four barrel.
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