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Installing Hood Stripes
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Installing Hood Stripes

Jared Fenton

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$60

Talent:

**

Tools:

alcohol, squeegee

Applicable Models:

R50 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2002-06)
R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08)
R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
R53 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2002-06)

Parts Required:

vinyl stripes

Hot Tip:

Follow the installation procedure EXACTLY

Performance Gain:

retro looks

Complementary Modification:

Install a set of driving lights
How to Maintain and Modify your new MINI

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Pelican Parts' new book, How to Maintain and Modify your new MINI The book contains 240 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 500+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any MINI owner's collection. The book is due to be released in late 2015. See The Official Book Website for more details.

One of the nice aspects of the new MINI Cooper design is the seemingly endless options for personal customization. MINI themselves offer many different graphics and decals that can be added to the car for a nice personal touch. One of the most striking options that can be added to the car is the addition of hood stripes. These stripes are a great little retro touch that gives homage to the old John Cooper rally cars of the 60's.

In general, the addition of decals is a pretty straightforward process, but it is a bit complicated. In this article, I will go over the steps involved. One of the downsides of the factory stripe kits is the cost. Just one stripe from BMW costs over $50. However you can purchase stripe kits from outside companies for much cheaper that provide more options, colors and designs for that personal touch. I ordered our strip kit from Mighty Stripes. They offer a plethora of ideas for truly making your MINI your own.

The kit we purchased included the stripes themselves in long sheets, allowing plenty of material for doing both the hood and front bumper if you so choose, along with plenty of trim material for creating the border stripes. If you did not receive one with the kit, you should purchase a squeegee to help apply the graphics (See Figure 1).

The first step in applying vinyl graphics to any car is to clean the surface they will be applied to. It's a good idea to use rubbing alcohol on a clean towel to clean any oil, wax or residue that may be left on the surface. Failure to clean the surface can result in the vinyl not adhering correctly. Once clean, lay the stripes out over the hood (See Figure 2). Make sure that you have enough material covering over the front and back of the stripe so that you can fold it over the edge of the hood. It's also best to do this in a garage or in some shade at around 70-75 degrees F. This keeps the vinyl at a cool temperature

When the stripes are laid out on the hood, you'll need to make a few measurements to get them aligned correctly. Shown here is a piece of painter's tape that sets the lower edge of where I made my first measurement. 1 5/8" from the edge of the hood scoop to the edge of the white vinyl. This distance somewhat centers the stripe behind the driving lights installed on our project MINI (See Figure 3).

Now measure the distance from the edge of the stripe to the windshield washer jet. I measured 1/2" distance. Lay a piece of painter's tape along the edge of the stripe to hold in place. You should place the other stripe on the other side of the hood so that it has the same dimensions. Take your time, step back and make adjustments as needed. Once both are in place, lay a piece of painter's tape across the middle of the stripe (See Figure 4).

The tape acts as like a hinge point. The tape at the top will hold the stripe in place while we fit the lower section. Carefully peel the vinyl up off the blue backing paper and lay it over the top section of the stripe. Take care not to touch the adhesive side. Now cut away the blue backing paper from just under the blue tape (See Figure 5).

You will need to prepare a solution of soapy water to act as a lubricant while setting the stripe. The solution also helps to squeeze out any air pockets under the stripe. Get an empty spray bottle and use three to four drops of liquid dish soap to one quart of water. I tend to go a bit on the heavy side as it will allow the stripe to slide easier. The downside is that it will take longer to dry. Spray a good amount on the surface of the hood and also the adhesive side of the stripe (See Figure 6).

Fold the stripe over the hinge point and down onto the hood. If you measured correctly, it should be right in position. If not, carefully lift the stripe up without stretching and re-position it. Now wrap the supplied squeegee with a towel and start to work all the solution out from under the stripe. It's best to work from the center of the stripe outward. Use just enough pressure to squeeze out all the air pockets but not enough to where you can stretch or tear the vinyl (See Figure 7).

Once the lower portion of the stripe has been placed, carefully peel the painter's tape in the center off and fold the remaining rear section over the front. Peel off the blue backing paper and repeat the same process to apply the front half. Fold the ends of the stripe over the edges of the hood. Once dry, trim the vinyl as needed. If applied correctly, it will look as shown in the picture. Let the stripe sit for a day or so and inspect the surface for any remaining air bubbles. If there are any, poke a small hole in the center of the pin and carefully work the air out with a squeegee (See Figure 8).

After the vinyl stripes have set and you have removed any remaining pockets of air, apply the trim edging. Cut the sheet of trim strips so you can apply one at a time. Position the trim strip on the edge of the vinyl and use tension to hold the trim straight while you follow the edge of the vinyl. This process takes a little practice to get it exactly right, but just taking your time should do the trick (See Figure 9).

Shown here is the finished result. A set of hood stripes that looks OEM while costing a fraction of the price and much higher quality (See Figure 10).

The first step in applying vinyl graphics to any car is to clean the surface they will be applied to.
Figure 2

The first step in applying vinyl graphics to any car is to clean the surface they will be applied to. It's a good idea to use rubbing alcohol on a clean towel to clean any oil, wax or residue that may be left on the surface. Failure to clean the surface can result in the vinyl not adhering correctly. Once clean, lay the stripes out over the hood as shown. Make sure that you have enough material covering over the front and back of the stripe so that you can fold it over the edge of the hood. It's also best to do this in a garage or in some shade at around 70-75 degrees F. This keeps the vinyl at a cool temperature.

When the stripes are laid out on the hood, you'll need to make a few measurements to get them aligned correctly.
Figure 3

When the stripes are laid out on the hood, you'll need to make a few measurements to get them aligned correctly. Shown here is a piece of painter's tape that sets the lower edge of where I made my first measurement. 1 5/8" from the edge of the hood scoop to the edge of the white vinyl. This distance somewhat centers the stripe behind the driving lights installed on our project MINI.

Now measure the distance from the edge of the stripe to the windshield washer jet.
Figure 4

Now measure the distance from the edge of the stripe to the windshield washer jet. I measured 1/2" distance. Lay a piece of painter's tape along the edge of the stripe to hold in place. You should place the other stripe on the other side of the hood so that it has the same dimensions. Take your time, step back and make adjustments as needed. Once both are in place, lay a piece of painter's tape across the middle of the stripe as shown here.

The tape in the middle acts as like a hinge point.
Figure 5

The tape in the middle acts as like a hinge point. The tape at the top will hold the stripe in place while we fit the lower section. Carefully peel the vinyl up off the blue backing paper and lay it over the top section of the stripe. Take care not to touch the adhesive side. Now cut away the blue backing paper from just under the blue tape.

You will need to prepare a solution of soapy water to act as a lubricant while setting the stripe.
Figure 6

You will need to prepare a solution of soapy water to act as a lubricant while setting the stripe. The solution also helps to squeeze out any air pockets under the stripe. Get an empty spray bottle and use three to four drops of liquid dish soap to one quart of water. I tend to go a bit on the heavy side as it will allow the stripe to slide easier. The downside is that it will take longer to dry. Spray a good amount on the surface of the hood and also the adhesive side of the stripe.

Fold the stripe over the hinge point and down onto the hood.
Figure 7

Fold the stripe over the hinge point and down onto the hood. If you measured correctly, it should be right in position. If not, carefully lift the stripe up without stretching and re-position it. Now wrap the supplied squeegee with a towel and start to work all the solution out from under the stripe. It's best to work from the center of the stripe outward. Use just enough pressure to squeeze out all the air pockets but not enough to where you can stretch or tear the vinyl.

Once the lower portion of the stripe has been placed, carefully peel the painter's tape in the center off and fold the remaining rear section over the front.
Figure 8

Once the lower portion of the stripe has been placed, carefully peel the painter's tape in the center off and fold the remaining rear section over the front. Peel off the blue backing paper and repeat the same process to apply the front half. Fold the ends of the stripe over the edges of the hood. Once dry, trim the vinyl as needed. If applied correctly, it will look as shown in the picture. Let the stripe sit for a day or so and inspect the surface for any remaining air bubbles. If there are any, poke a small hole in the center of the pin and carefully work the air out with a squeegee.

After the vinyl stripes have set and you have removed any remaining pockets of air, apply the trim edging.
Figure 9

After the vinyl stripes have set and you have removed any remaining pockets of air, apply the trim edging. Cut the sheet of trim strips so you can apply one at a time. Position the trim strip on the edge of the vinyl and use tension to hold the trim straight while you follow the edge of the vinyl. I usually aimed for seeing 1/32" of the white vinyl past the edge of the trim. This allows a good gauge of depth to get the trim strip straight. This process takes a little practice to get it exactly right, but just taking your time should do the trick.

Shown here is the finished result.
Figure 10

Shown here is the finished result. A set of hood stripes that looks OEM while costing a fraction of the price and much higher quality.

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