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  1. #1
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    Getting old sealant off to prep for vinyl wrap

    Hey guys!

    Long time lurker, first time poster. Used a lot of tips here to keep my own car in top shape! My cousin wants to wrap his car, and I'm about to help him, but there were a lot of preliminary questions to be answered, foremost among them: How do I completely remove paint sealant and prep a surface for a vinyl wrap? I thought it was a super basic question, and it's lead me down a rabbit hole of six hours reading posts and about 33 open tabs on Firefox.

    After using Google and this forum's own search function I've run directly into a knowledge wall. I'm orbiting different answers like: just use a paint cleaner (but then some have a residue?); just use a polish; wash, then clay, then polish; use an All Purpose Cleaner at high dilution...and, if I'm reading things correctly,advancements in sealants might have made older answers redundant too? I have no idea what sealant is on there, either...asking my cousin just results in a, "Uh, I dunno, like a sealant I think."

    I know Mike's not a huge fan of the wraps! But I'm hoping we can get a bit of help here regardless. We're planning on working in stages, since this is probably going to be an ongoing thing over a matter of weeks, so any advice there would be helpful too!

    Much obliged

  2. #2
    Senior Member Coatingsarecrack's Avatar
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    Re: Getting old sealant off to prep for vinyl wrap

    Their are strip washes paint prep products, paint cleaners. The only way I know (newer to detailing) to for sure remove it is a polish and then a paint prep like car pros eraser. I don’t know if Hans polishing will work but using an orbital and some polish should suffice.

    No need to correct paint if wrapping


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  3. #3
    Senior Member Big Dave's Avatar
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    Re: Getting old sealant off to prep for vinyl wrap

    I had the hood on my FJ Cruiser done about 14 months ago, I didn't trust doing it myself, so I paid the extra to have it done. From memory it was a paint prep rinse, something the same as eraser, and he clay barred it as well. A wrap will amplify any contaminants left on the paint, and may cause bubbles or adhesion issues.
    Dave.

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  4. #4
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    Re: Getting old sealant off to prep for vinyl wrap

    No wash/soap is going to entirely remove a sealant. High end wraps involve a lot of surface prep; a wash, decontamination wash(tar remover and iron remover), wash again, clay, light polish, ipa/eraser wipe down. The polish will remove any sealant and clean surface.

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  6. #5
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    Re: Getting old sealant off to prep for vinyl wrap

    Amazing info guys, thank you!

    So for this particular project...I'm between two products for the polish. Meguiar's m09 and Wolfgang's paintwork polish enhancer. I'm to understand the latter has some light fillers; I wonder if that might affect the vinyl's stability...

  7. #6
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    Re: Getting old sealant off to prep for vinyl wrap

    There is also P21S paintwork cleanser and 4Star paintwork cleanser.

    IMO, you might want to use something w/ a bit more 'umpf' like Menzerna 3500 or 3800 or something in the Sonax line
    like Perfect Finish or Nano.
    The paint cleansers really do not have much bite.

    Google -> auto polish comparison chart
    and you'll see where each polish from the major mfgrs falls on cutting ability

  8. #7
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    Re: Getting old sealant off to prep for vinyl wrap

    Thanks! Super appreciate it. I think I'm settling on Meg's 09 or 82 - both seem to have enough bite to them to get it done.

    Would those on an orbital with a microfiber pad do the trick?

    Cheers!

  9. #8
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    Re: Getting old sealant off to prep for vinyl wrap

    As mentioned, most sure way is to polish.

    Second most sure way is acid/alkaline/solvent process.

    Anything less than these two methods, it's most likely not removed as wax/sealants all have different chemical makeup, therefore different tolerances

  10. #9
    Senior Member Mdjas's Avatar
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    Re: Getting old sealant off to prep for vinyl wrap

    I will say i work at sign shop and we do wraps all day everyday. I don’t personally do them but i know how. We usually wipe it down real good with denatured alcohol and thats it. It usually gets everything off pretty well. We do the same for graphics too. We do alot of police vehicles too. Never had any issues as long as you get it clean with the denatured.


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