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  • How to wrap the "forehead" of a high top van with an arial in the way – alone.

    Posted by Simon Worrall on December 17, 2022 at 10:37 pm

    Hi I have a big LDV van to fully wrap over christmas, and Im trying to work out in my mind the best way to wrap the forehead.

    The arial wont come off, and anyway its really hard to reach this area safely – without turning it into a Russian Contractor video with two ladders tied together reaching out from a balcony over a busy road you know the ones weve all seen them!

    I will probably set up a trestle of two gorilla ladders with a plank between them, (unless anyone has any better ideas.)

    Anyway, my main question is this; do I cut a hole in the vinyl and thread it down the arial into position (alone, remember)? or is it acceptable to do this in two halves with a join up the middle?

    Thanks and happy christmas!๐Ÿคฃ

    Robert Lambie replied 1 year, 3 months ago 7 Members · 17 Replies
  • 17 Replies
  • Robert Lambie

    December 18, 2022 at 1:48 pm

    Is it like this Simon?

    As you will already know, wrapping the headboards of high-roof top vans is a pain.
    The key is your access to this area.

    Trestles with a catwalk spanning the window are great if they are solid. Don’t use something that will bounce as your work on it or you could crack the windscreen if it comes into contact. make sure you have some form of padding anywhere the catwalk will come even close to the window. It is easy to forget about what’s under you when you are trying to focus on the application.

    Standing on the bonnet with your feet like Charlie Chaplin, with heavy protection for the bonnet is doable, but again, the bonnet can be kinked.

    Working up on the roof leaning forward is another option but very limited and the roof will pop here and there as you work. it’s only any use for applying the higher-up area.

    Working from inside the open doors is always the easiest way to access it. Roll down the window too as it gives you another place to put your feet. however, make sure you have whatever you can find to protect the seat and door areas you may stand on. it’s not just about dust or dirt from your feet but it’s easy to scratch or damage the plastic.
    The main issue of working from this area is the max reach is the aerial in the middle. This is fine, but when you apply the vinyl do not go over the curvature of the headboard of the vinyl will not lift for you when you move to the opposite side. (see attached)
    It’s hard to explain in text, but if you go over the curve at all, when you try lifting the other side to get the paper out or to pull it taught and apply, you will find it very difficult due to the vinyl fitted to the curve. apply as much as you can before the curve, then switch sides and continue until the aerial area has been dealt with and move on.
    You can create a template using masking tape.
    just tape off around the aerial and lift and lay it onto paper. cut out the shape and sit the paper over the aerial and make sure your happy with it. then cut it out of the vinyl and position.
    This is easier said than done if “working alone” and particularly up on the headboard area, trying to balance and position a large section of vinyl. It is certainly easier with the hole cut and “slightly smaller” than you need but getting everything into position on your own is never easy.
    if you have any text or logos etc in that area, i would make them separate and apply after the wrap. there is no point trying to also worry about lining up text etc. when it can be done after.
    depending on how close to the window the aerial is, you may get away with a join line from the aerial to the window. it can be as little as 75mm on some vans, granted, others are much higher though.

    • Simon Worrall

      December 18, 2022 at 6:36 pm

      Thank you Rob! You always come through with good information.

      Yup thats the van. If it had that roofrack things might be a little easier, but it is straight out of the dealership without any extras. Ive already had the mirrors, window trim, grill, and kickboards taken off. The panel guys couldnt get the arial off.

      Perhaps if they also had better access they might have tried harder, but now its down to me…

      Hmm perhaps I could reach it from standing on the seat. First look seemed too much of a distance, but it might be doable with a bit of contortion. Might wait a day or so after christmas dinner!

  • Martyn Heath

    December 19, 2022 at 6:26 am

    Hi simon, as you said rob is bang on the money as usual with the technique. However i will put it out there that i dont think a split, join, overlap from the bottom the aerial to the top of the windscreen is the end of the world and something that will not get noticed especially as its 50mm or so.

    This will make it much easier to fit. I have seen it done many times on commercial vehicles. Not saying its 100% the way to go but i do think its an acceptable option depending on the use of vehicle.

  • Tim Hobbs

    December 20, 2022 at 1:50 pm

    Hi Simon

    As usual Rob is spot on.

    The only things I would add are that it really helps on what media you are using. Much easier if it’s a less tacky media. You didn’t say whether it was printed or not. SLX is brill for this job.

    Much more difficult on your own to be sure.

    I like to stand on the window sills in just my socks. I am quite a small guy though so that helps.

    I also cut out the aerial hole, always rounded corners so the media doesn’t tear.

    I like to put a bit of masking tape just in that area, to make the hole stiffer.

    If you have a back-slitter it really helps as you can take out a central vertical strip from the backing paper, where the aerial is.

    Just my five penny worth.

    Good luck.


  • David Hammond

    December 20, 2022 at 3:20 pm

    We wrapped a small fleet of vans over the cab.

    Our usual go to media would be 970, but opted for Avery Supreme on this job, well worth the extra for doing the roof. I’m confident the 970 would have grabbed and we’d end up fighting the media, Avery was a dream – Although that was with two of us.

    • Tim Hobbs

      December 21, 2022 at 11:49 am

      Avery is a dream but give Arlon SLX a go. It’s really good – flite technology – so a doddle to fit and much more reasonably priced. It’s our go-to these days. Well worth getting a sample.

      • David Hammond

        December 21, 2022 at 8:31 pm

        We use SLX for digital wraps, colour change its either Oracal, or Avery is swaying me lately

  • Simon Worrall

    December 20, 2022 at 6:46 pm

    Its avery supreme. Im more used to 3m wrap vinyl and I prefer it, but Ive used supreme a few times and its fine. The red I needed was low on stock.

  • Simon Worrall

    December 20, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    Just to add a little twist to this christmas wrapping story, the van itself is about a centimeter taller than my workshop entrance.
    I was planning to wrap it in my driveway, which is really nice when the sun shines but the forecast here in the south island is heavy rain for the next two weeks…Right now ive got plastic over the removed windows and handles, and its looking a bit grim.
    So. Lower the tyre pressure and put it into the workshop? Anyone ever done this?

  • Robert Lambie

    December 21, 2022 at 1:42 am

    we can get every size van into our workshop. But there are a couple of models. transit extra high roof with “raised suspension” and I think the LDV you are probably doing. ๐Ÿ˜€ it’s only the ones with the highest roof and raised suspension that catches us out.
    Anyway, we also have a large compressor and airline sat in the workshop. so when the need arises, “down goes the tyres” and then drive it in. when I say down, I don’t mean flat on the rims. ๐Ÿคฃ but these big vans easily drop 100mm when you let half the air out, or so.

    I know you work alone, but just for driving it in, have someone on a set of steps watching that the roof doesn’t graze any areas. It’s an illusion of watching from the ground looking up. if you do it from steps there is normally much bigger space than it looks.

    We probably do this about 3-5 times per year without a problem.

    • Simon Worrall

      December 21, 2022 at 6:30 am

      Thanks Robert.
      The weather was quite nice today so I did about a quarter of it this arvo outside.

      If it holds I will keep it where it is. Glad to hear the tyre thing actually works in practice.

      Another issue this van has thrown up is the joins in the bodywork.

      They are filled with black goo, it looks like rubber but it is actually some kind of tar.

      Can I wrap over them?

      I really dont want to knifeless tape either side, because there is no way I will be steady enough not to get some ugly white showing through the red vinyl, and I dont want the edge of the vinyl to end up on the tar because Im pretty sure it wont stick. I tried a test patch, and the glue looks a bit stained with tar when you peel it back.

      Heres a pic.

      • Joe Killeen

        December 21, 2022 at 11:45 am

        The black is flexible joint sealer and no vinyl will stick long term, install over and with a short blade on an angle to the vehicle body cut away the vinyl over the sealer.

  • Tim Hobbs

    December 21, 2022 at 11:47 am

    Hi Simon

    I’ve done a few of these. There is nothing for it but to trim carefully with a scalpel.

    Run down right in the centre first then tuck with a squeegee and cut again as close to the paint as you can go. A little white showing is a probability. I have been know to touch up afterwards with a rubberized tyre paint and a signwriting brush. Works a treat.

    Sometimes we just have to educate our customers and educate them as to what is possible too.

  • David Hammond

    December 21, 2022 at 8:33 pm

    ๐Ÿ˜‚ yep we’ve deflated tyres in the past to get a MaxiMover in the workshop ๐Ÿ˜‚

  • Gary Forbes

    December 30, 2022 at 6:14 pm

    I have always made a slit on the rubber join after reading about it on this site in the past.
    I read elsewhere someone suggested putting 3M primer on it, but i have also read using the primer should be avoided on vans. personally I think trimming it or cutting it away is the safest way.

  • Gary Forbes

    December 30, 2022 at 6:17 pm

    just another thought, does anyone know how body shops and spray painters work on the headboard area? i mean, they cant all be standing on the seats and bonnet trying to reach? ๐Ÿคจ

  • Robert Lambie

    January 1, 2023 at 6:04 pm


    deflating the tyres is a bit of a pain, but it works a treat. You just do what you have to do to get the job done. ๐Ÿ‘

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